You might know how to read nutrition labels, but do you know how to read food labels to help you get the most benefits for eating healthy and to lose weight. If you’re trying to slim down, there are a few important numbers that matter more and a few numbers that matter less. If you learn to scan the Nutritional Facts label quickly for essential information, you’ll be able to shop faster, eat better and lose weight with greater ease.
As you read this article, keep in mind that the Nutritional Facts label changes from time to time. The labels you see in the store today will be changing in the coming years to reflect the newest health guidelines established by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By 2018, most food labels will need to use the newest design.
Portion control is essential when you are trying to eat healthy and lose weight. Counting calories accurately matters, too. So it’s essential that you check the serving size on the food label because it will help you to eat correct portions for weight loss and to count the right number of calories.
Use serving size to manage portions. The serving size on the package is not the amount of food you should eat. It is the amount of food that a typical eater consumes during a single eating occasion. So you shouldn’t use this number only to determine how many calories are in a typical serving of that food. To find out how much of it to eat, use the guide to correct portions. Use serving size to calculate calories correctly. If you use a diet app or a website like Calorie Count or my fitness pal, you will enter foods and food amounts into your daily food journal to count calories and manage your diet. Most of these services use serving size as the default amount. Be sure that you change the amount if your portion size is different than the serving size listed.
Always remember that Calories Count for weight loss. You will lose weight faster if you eat the right number of calories each day. When you read nutrition labels at the grocery store, check the calorie count to see how many you’ll gain when you eat the portion of that food that you usually consume. Then compare different brands and products to see if you can find one that provides fewer calories to keep your daily intake on track.
All of the information on the nutrition label can help you to eat a healthy diet. But there is some information on the label that matters less when you’re trying to lose weight. It doesn’t mean you should ignore the numbers. But if weight loss is your primary goal, these numbers may be less important for you.
Ask anyone who has achieved long-term weight loss how they did it and they’ll tell you that the first thing they did was to learn how to portion control everything they ate. So how do you learn the right amount of food to eat at a meal and snack time? It’s easy. Use these guides to master portion control so you lose weight easier and healthy living is all yours.
For more information on portion control contact Lethia Lee at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Office, at 910-592-7161.
ReachLeitha Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center. She can be reached by calling the Extension Office at 910-592-7161.