Nutrition labels: Your guide to a healthy diet Nutrition labels: Your guide to a healthy diet

Nutrition labels: Your guide to a healthy diet

Special 18 February, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.

Learning how to read the nutrition labels of packaged foods can aid in managing conditions such as diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The following tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can help you make the right decisions for integral health.

1.Serving size: Packaged foods often contain more than one serving size. The first line of a nutrition label states how many servings the package contains and how much a serving size is (in cups, tablespoons or pieces, for example). The nutrition information found on the remainder of the label is based on this single serving size of the product.

2.Percent Daily Value: This percentage states how the nutrients of the portion consumed will contribute to your overall daily diet. Health professionals recommend choosing products with a high amount of the nutrients that the body needs most. Keep in mind that a low nutritional value is considered to be 5% or less, and a high nutritional value is a percentage of 20% or more.

3.Saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and sugar: Choose foods that are low in these items. The excess consumption of them can lead to chronic heart disease, some types of cancer and high blood pressure.

4.Fiber, vitamins, calcium and potassium: These nutrients are essential to feeling strong and healthy. Choose those with values over 20%.

When you consume two serving sizes of a food item, you are ingesting twice the amount of the nutrients that are healthy for you; however, you are also ingesting twice the calories, fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium.