You would think we would have learned how to read nutrition labels in school, instead we learned how to find the circumference of a pineapple on top of a mountain in the middle east. And who says the united stated education system doesn’t work?
I’m going to take you through a standard nutrition label and how to understand it. Don’t worry If I had to guess I would say about 80% of people don’t understand how to read a nutrition label because quite frankly they don’t teach you how to in school.
Section 1 Serving size
Serving size refers to the amount of the item that is represented throughout the label. For example on our example image this particular measurement contains 2/3 of a cup or 55 grams for the weight of the serving size. You can either measure this out with a measurement cup or use a food scale to measure out the portion size to 55 grams. Whether you weigh the portion or use a measurement cup both the 2/3 cup or 55 grams of the product should coincide.
Section 2 Calories
The calories represent the amount of stored energy in the product. Calories are the most basic form of energy represented in a food item. But be careful, not all calories carry the same nutritional benefits as one another.
IMPORTANT FACTS- Not all calories are equal to one another. 500 calories coming from a mcdonalds burger is not the same as 500 calories from a homemade hamburger with ingredients found at your local grocery store.
Calories are a storage of energy but it is not universal throughout every single product. How the product is made and what other ingredients lurk in your hamburger effect your bodies ability to breakdown and utilize the calories listed on the nutritional label.
A lot of products contain chemicals that make it harder for the food product to breakdown. I suggest making all of your own food when possible and making sure your food is fresh and as organic as possible. You can test this out by simply eating a mcdonalds burger and comparing it to a freshly made hamburger made with ethical ingredients and see how your body responds to it. A.K.A see which product makes you shit out your brains more and use that as a guide to whether the product is healthy or not.
Section 3 Daily Values and Basic Nutrients
Section 3 lists important breakdowns of the calories like fats, carbohydrates and protein as well as FDA recommend daily values of each category. Don’t worry I’ll go into a rant later in the article explaining why this section should be taken with a grain of salt and deserves much more scrutiny on your end.
IMPORTANT FACTS- Same concept that you’ll learn form section two in this article. Not all carbs, fats and proteins are created equally. We can use protein as an example for this one, protein coming from fast food is not even close to the quality of protein coming from store bought chicken or steak.
The protein listed in many fast food items or products that contain preservatives, do not have the same amino acid profile or quality of fresh chicken or other protein products. This is due to the origins of the meat and added ingredients found in the fast food items. When you switch to clean eating this is extremely noticeable with your digestion, quality of skin and weight gain. If you ditch the fast food and preservative oriented foods you’ll get much more efficiency out of your foods.
Section 4 Vitamins and minerals
Section 4 represents the vitamins and minerals that can be found in the product. If you are deficient in a particular mineral or vitamin this is an important section to look at.
Section 5 Daily value recommended text
This is a section that for most people is irrelevant and explains that the daily value is based upon the governments recommended amounts based upon having 2000 calories per day.
Not all calories, Protein, carbohydrates or fats are created equally. I suggest watching the embedded video in this article and I’ll explain more in detail.