Living Well: The Importance of Reading Food Labels

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LITTLE ROCK, AR – More people are reading nutrition labels these days.
 
They can often be difficult to understand but there are some simple ways to make sense out of the information listed on labels.
 
“It’s just Greek to them. Basically it does spell it out what you’re looking for and nutrition facts on the side. That’s where you will probably look for the serving size,” explains Holly Dixon, nutrionist. “a lot of people will say ‘I’ll just put my normal serving in a bowl’.” 
 
“One serving for this particular product for one cup gives you so many calories, this one 160 and total fat 1 gram, which is actually a good ratio,” she adds.
 
So, what should you be looking for on that label? Especially if you’re watching your fat intake? 
 
“Off the top for a cereal and or any whole grain, bread product I’m looking at the dietary fiber. That’s going to tell all the answers to, if it says whole grain, certified, but what is my dietary fiber? That’s what truly is ing to benefit me,” Dixon explains.
 
Any cereal between 3 and 5 in fiber is good. Anything less than that is refined sugar. So, it’s very important to pay attention to the serving size. It matches the nutrients on the label. So, if you eat two servings of something – double the nutrients, carb and fat intake as well,” she says.
 
Dixon says it’s not bad if you eat more, but cautions – “Just know that it adds up,” – if you’re counting calories to stay healthy. 
 
Click here for the guide “How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label”, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.

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