Reading food labels


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Reading document for English 3. Week 3, class 1

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Reading food labels

  1. 1. Reading Food Labels - Nutrition Facts ExplainedThe key to controlling your weight and improving your health is quite simply eating right. Readyour food labels and check over the nutrition facts to ensure that you are eating lots of the goodstuff, and little (or none) of the bad stuff. Thats pretty easy to understand.However, what might be slightly tougher for some people to understand are the food labelsthemselves. What does it all mean? What should you be looking for? What are all of thesenutrients? Which ones should be high? Which should be low? Which should purposely be eaten,and which should purposely be avoided altogether?If youve ever turned over your package of food and asked any of these questions, youve foundthe right place. Its time to get the answers. Lets start at the top and work our way down. Serving Size At the very top of all food labels (right under the words "Nutrition Facts") is the serving size. This is one of the most important pieces of information on the label because all of the nutrition information shown is based on this exact amount. If you ignore the serving size, the rest of the information is useless to you, so be sure to notice it first. Depending on what youre eating/drinking, the serving size could be described a few different ways. The most common are grams, ounces, cups, and pieces. Grams tend to be listed most of the time even when the serving size is first listed a different way. For example... Serving Size: 2 Pieces (100g) If you saw this example serving size on your food label, it would mean that all of the nutrition facts shown are for 2 pieces (or 100 grams) of that food. That means that if you only ate 1 piece (or 50g), you can cut all of the nutrition information in half. If you ate 4 pieces (200g), then you should double all of the nutrition facts. This isall pretty easy to figure out when your foods serving size is actually listed in "pieces" (or evensomething like "cups" or "scoops"), but much of the time, this isnt the case.A lot of the time serving sizes tend to be given in a unit of measurement that is nearlyimpossible to tell by eye, such as grams and ounces. In these cases (and the above cases aswell), the only real way to get an accurate idea of exactly how many servings you are eating isby weighing your food out on a food scale. Obviously this isnt too practical if youre eating out,but for when youre home, its perfect. (Any of these scales would be perfect.)Most food scales weigh food in both grams and ounces. This will cover pretty much everysingle food youll ever eat, as, like I mentioned before, grams are typically always given as aserving size.