“It’s all in, like, Swedish or something,” Regina George stares at her Kälteen bar’s nutrition facts. “There’s some weird ingredient in them that’s not legal in the US yet,” Cady replies. Regina then shrugs it off when Cady says: “It just burns up all your carbs.”
Like Regina George (of “Mean Girls”), many of us want to lose those few extra pounds without putting in too much effort. I mean, who isn’t guilty of stocking up on those granola bars or oatmeal cookies that just look so organic.
Before adding seemingly healthy snacks to your cart, however, it’s important to read the nutrition facts. They may have more sodium than a bag of chips, more sugar than a chocolate bar, or a higher calorie count than your personal limit. Or you could simply be allergic to some of the ingredients.
Don’t just blindly reach for those vegan and gluten-free snacks on the shelves. Find out what’s in what you eat by checking nutrition labels.
Why should you read nutrition facts?
How many times have you wondered, “Why read nutrition facts when you can limit yourself to one pack or just a few biscuits from the tin can?”
Discipline is definitely important whether you’re reaching for your ideal weight or simply trying to live healthier. But it’s not the only thing that matters. You should also understand what’s in the food you eat.
Consider these reasons for paying attention to the nutritional labels:
- Nutrition facts remind you of key dietary information, like recommended serving size, calorie count, and ingredients, especially for snacks you’re new to.
- By reading the nutritional facts and knowing what’s in the food you’re about to eat, you save yourself from totally avoidable allergies and other food reactions.
- It’s easier to cut back on your calorie count or food intake when you know the numbers. It also shows you how much salt, fat, and sugar you’re taking in.
- By forming the habit of reading nutrition labels, you’re actually training yourself to be more mindful of what you eat. It could even help curb your cravings.
Moreover, by reading food labels, you’ll find it easier to compare similar snacks and choose those that bring greater nutritional value for you.
How do you read nutritional labels?
- Take note of the serving information and the total calories per serving. These things are typically specified on top of the nutritional facts label.
- Check for generally unhealthy factors, like added sugar, sodium, trans fat, and saturated fat. Avoid snacks with high contents of these nutrients.
- Be wary of misleading claims. For example, a snack can claim to be made with whole grains. But whole grains may not even be a key ingredient.
- Study the % Daily Value (DV). It shows the percentage of each nutrient that you consume in a single serving, based on the daily recommended amount.
Finally, keep in mind that the information on nutrition labels is based on a 2,000 calories/day diet. You may want to consult a doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist about your dietary lifestyle and weight concerns.
It’s about knowing, not limiting what you eat. Check the facts now.