You look at a nutrition label and it tells you everything you need to know… easy, right? Well, it does tell you everything you need to know, but not always in the most cut-to-the-chase type of way. Sometimes food manufacturers are like Shakespeare, forcing you to read between the lines when it comes to their food labels.
You ever grab a bag of chips or a nice pint of ice cream, and the label makes it seemingly clear to you that their product only has 100 calories per serving. The keyword is per serving. You see, a lot of the time, we may not consider the “per-serving” part. Or, they write it so it’s hard to see and easy to miss.
There may be a bag with 60 grams of chips in it. The label might say only 25 calories per serving. However, if the serving size is only 15 grams, that means the whole bag would actually have 100 calories. This is a problem since we all know how easy it can be to consume an entire bag of chips. So instead of 25 calories, we would be consuming 100 calories.
Another example would be underestimating how much of a beneficial nutrient a food might have. A bag of Jack Links beef jerky might say 9 grams of protein per serving. Guess what? That bag probably has 3 servings in it. It’s easy to eat an entire bag, and if you did, you’d be getting 27 grams of protein instead of just the 9 that you may have thought!
Let’s say the bag doesn’t advertise the nutritional information per serving size. You may be more likely to overlook the actual calories and nutrients per serving since it’s not being brought to your attention.
Pay Attention to The Weight Of Ingredients:
Nutrition labels will show you the weight of all the different contributors to the food. Let’s use a protein powder for example. If you have a powder that says each scoop weighs 28 grams, and you have 25 grams of protein and 1 gram of carbs in it and for explanation sake, it doesn’t have anything else with weight in it, where are the other 2 grams coming from? Is the company hiding something or being misleading?
These scenarios are rare and usually don’t have a ton of impact, but it is still something to take note of!
I usually suggest measuring food by weight since that will give you the exact amount that you are consuming, instead of using something like a measuring cup, where the actual amount of food may vary.
This next thing to be careful of isn’t on the manufacturer, rather, the person measuring the food. Be careful of what unit of measure you are using. If the label is in ounces, make sure you’re weighing in ounces. If it’s in grams, make sure you’re measuring in grams, etc. This will likely also make logging the food into your tracking app easier if you track your nutrition, since you will already have the weight in the unit of measure provided.
That’s All She Wrote!
The primary aspect of comprehending a nutrition label is understanding the actual amount of food you’re eating so you know exactly what you’re eating. Paying attention to the weight of each serving compared to the ingredients list, and ensuring you are accurately measuring your food are a couple of additional aspects to pay attention to.
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Until Next Time,
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