Saturday, November 3, 2007

Nutrition Facts Labels is KEY to Successful Dieting

Choosing foods wisely based on the information that you can glean from Nutrition Facts labels is key to successful dieting. At first, the label may seem awfully confusing, but if you know what to look for, interpreting a label is really pretty simple. See the list that follows for the skinny on the most important information featured on the Nutrition Facts label:

Calories: The calorie total is based on the stated serving size - so if you eat more or less than what the label lists as one portion, you need to do the math.

Diet StartDietary fiber: Choose the foods with the most fiber. Research shows that people who eat plenty of fiber also eat fewer calories. You get the most fiber in foods made from whole grains, such as cereals and breads. Fruits and vegetables have fiber, too. A food is considered to be high in fiber if it has at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Serving size: Notice how the food manufacturer's serving size compares to the size you usually eat. For example, does your normal serving of ice cream measure more than the standard %z cup? And remember that serving amounts are given in level measuring cups or spoons. Servings per container can help you estimate sizes if a measuring cup or spoon isn't handy.

healthy diet and nutritionTotal fat: For dieting, keep total fat to less than about 20 to 30 percent of calories. For someone who eats 1,500 calories a day, that's no more than 33 to 50 grams. Remember, the Percentage Daily Value numbers on Nutrition Facts labels are based on 65 grams of fat a day (30 percent of total calories) and calculated on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet.

Trans fatty acid is the newest item to be added to the Nutrition Fact label. By January 2006, all foods required to carry nutrition labeling will have to state the amount of trays fatty acids in their product. Like saturated fat, trans fat is a type of fat. The grams of these fats, and their calories, are already accounted for in the total fat.

To quickly figure the number of grams of fat that 30 percent represents, start with your total number of daily calories. Drop the last digit and then divide the remaining number by 3. So if you allow yourself 1,800 calories for the day, divide 180 by 3 to get 60 grams of fat as your daily limit.

... andjoyohoxing