Deconstructing Labels

Labels are the “key” to deconstructing the nutritional value of what you are about to purchase from your supermarket shelf.  There are 5 key factors that you should look for and if they pass the test then you can be confident that it is good for you.  Look not only in the Nutrition Facts but also in the Ingredients for full deconstruction.  The FDA allows food manufacturers to list 0 trans fat in the Nutrition Facts if it contains less than 5 mg but it may still contain hydrogenated oil.  Food manufacturers do however still have to list the hydrogenated oil in the Ingredients so make sure you check that out as well to decode its real nutritional value.

  • Fat: Calories from fat should not exceed 20 percent of the total calories.
  • Sugar: Look in the “ingredients” and there should not be any added sugar in the first 5 ingredients.
  • Sodium: The number of milligrams of sodium per serving should be no more that the number of calories per serving.  Ideally less is better.
  • Grains: Look for the words “whole grains”  you can also look for words that say cracked, stone-ground and crushed.
  • Protein: For a woman 46 grams of protein per day is plenty.  There is protein in virtually every food so no worries there.

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