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7 Pointers for Nutrition Labels

If you understand how to use it, you can understand how a specific food item can fit into your overall diet!

Serving Size : Is a standardized amount of food. It may be used to quantify recommended amounts. Your serving size may be the one recommended on the nutrition label or you may base your serving on your calculated calories & macros. Whatever you choose, following the serving size or a proper portion will keep you from over serving yourself and eating larger portions, unnecessarily.

Calories: A calories is a unit of measurement and it measures energy. When you hear something contains 103 calories, it's a way of describing how much energy your body could get from eating or drinking it. Your body needs calories to operate and to keep its organs functioning properly. Eating too many calories can cause weight gain, while eating too few calories can cause your body to shut down.

Fats & Trans Fat: Fats are a macronutrient and our bodies need fats in a small amount. Fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, our body cannot make itself. Fat helps the body absorb vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E. Trans fats are a form of unsaturated fat associated with a number of negative health effects. Too much Trans fats raises your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol.

Carbs & Fiber: Carbohydrates are macronutrients. Carbs are naturally occurring sugars, starches and fiber in food. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest. Fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body's use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check. Their a many benefits to including fiber in your diet.

Protein: Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to building muscle mass and create the lean “toned” look so many desire. Every cell in the human body contains protein. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids. You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones, i.e., muscle!

Sugars & Added Sugars Sugars can be found naturally in whole foods like fruit that come with added health benefits like fiber and antioxidants. Added sugars are added during the processing of packaged foods and do not provide any nutrients.

Vitamins & Minerals: Note that the requirements for listing vitamins & minerals is very limited: Vitamin D and potassium values have recently been made a requirement on the label.

Calcium and iron has always been required.

Vitamins A and C were once required but can be included on a voluntary basis.

But, when vitamins or minerals are added to the food, or when a vitamin or mineral claim is made, those nutrients must be listed on the nutrition label.

If you practice reading nutrition labels you’ll understand how the foods you eat effect you and your results. It may seem intimidating at first, but remember, SERVING SIZE is where you want to start, it’ll tell you how much to start with, now if necessary, you can always increase the serving size BUT ONLY if the other 6 pointers make sense. If you need any additional help, message me, and let’s chat!

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