If you are trying to lose weight and lowering your calorie intake, then you may need to adjust your consumption depending on how many calories you are eating. Likewise, if you are trying to gain weight, then you may need to up your intake of certain foods to get more nutrients.
The percent daily values are more of a guide to let you know how much of each type of nutrient is in the food you are eating. Ideally, if you want to eat less of a certain nutrient, such as fat or sodium, you need to eat foods with 5% or less daily values. If you need more of a nutrient, you need to look for food with about 20% or higher daily values.
Take note of the total fat
Contrary to what most people think, fat is not actually bad for your health. Your body needs at least a certain amount of fat in order to maintain normal body functions.
The problem lies in eating a lot of foods that are high in fat. Which is why it is important to take note of how much fat is in a certain product, so you can control how much fat you are taking in.
Another thing to look at is if the product contains any trans fats. Trans fats should be avoided, since these types of fat can increase your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
For other types of fat such as unsaturated or saturated fat, these should be consumed in small amounts.
Be mindful of the sodium content
Another thing to take note of when it comes to how to read food labels for healthy eating is how much sodium is in the food. Foods such as chips and canned goods have a lot of sodium, and just like fats, should be eaten only in moderation.
Ideally, the food you eat should have a percent daily value of 5% or lower for sodium. This helps ensure that you are not consuming too much sodium, which can cause heart problems.
Check how much sugar is written on the label
Just like fats and sodium, sugar is another nutrient that you need to eat less of. Some foods, such as fruit drinks are naturally sweet, so they tend to have a higher amount of sugar. However, you might notice that some juice drinks have what’s called “added sugars” on the label.
Added sugars means that additional sugar was added to make the drink sweeter. Food and drink with added sugar should be avoided as much as possible, since these tend to have a very high amount of sugars, and can be very unhealthy.
Take note of the vitamins and other nutrients
Lastly, you need to check the vitamins and nutrients on the label. This helps give you a rough idea of what nutrients you are taking in when you eat certain foods. This is an important tip in the discussion about how to read food labels for healthy eating.
This is especially helpful if you are trying to up your intake of specific vitamins and minerals. In particular, nutrients such as vitamins A, B12, C, D, E, fiber, calcium, choline, magnesium, potassium, and iron are essential for your health. Try to look for foods with these specific nutrients in mind.
With these tips, you’ve learned how to read food labels for healthy eating. You should now be empowered to make healthier choices when it comes to the food you eat.
Learn more about Healthy Eating here.