Understanding the Value of Nutrition Through Product Labels
Choosing products based on information on food or beverage packaging labels is one of the main keys to a healthier life. The packaging label will inform the nutritional value or nutritional value, including the number of calories and ingredients in each product.
By reading the packaging label, you can make healthier and suitable choices for consumption.
Benefits of Reading Labels
If read and used correctly, the information on the product label can bring many benefits, namely:
- Manage the total amount of calorie consumption that enters the body each day
Women’s average caloric needs every day are 2,000 kcal. While men are 2,500 kcal. Weight will still be ideal if you maintain the amount of calorie consumption so it does not exceed daily needs.
On each label, the total energy number is written in units of kcal per serving size. This number can be a benchmark of how many calories you get if you consume one dose of the product in question.
For example, the label says that one cup or 250 ml of milk contains 200 calories. So if you eat 2 cups of milk in the morning, then you have consumed 400 calories. This means, if you are male, the remaining calories you need to consume is 2,100 kcal while if you are female, 1,600 kcal.
Counting calories plays an important role for those who want to increase or lose weight. If you want to gain weight, your calorie intake must be greater than the calories you burn during your daily activities. Conversely, if you want to lose weight, calorie intake must be smaller than that burned.
- Choose products according to the nutritional content you need
The key to choosing packaged foods and drinks is to compare the types and nutritional values in two similar products. For example, comparing the saturated fat content of potato chips A and B. A potato chip contains 5 grams of saturated fat in each serving of 100 grams. While Potato Chips B contains 3 grams of saturated fat per serving of 100 grams. In this case, potato chip B is a healthier choice than A.
Paying Attention to Nutritional Value
In order to choose healthier food products, you need to pay attention to the nutritional value stated on the label. There are a number of nutrients that should be limited, but some need to be increased by the amount of intake.
Here are some guidelines on the nutritional value that needs to be limited:
- Carbohydrates or sugar
Carbohydrate content in a product is categorized high if the product contains more than 22.5 g carbohydrates or sugar per 100 g, and is categorized as low if it is worth 5 g or less per 100 g.
- Total fat
High categorized if more than 17.5 g per 100 g, and low if it contains 3 g or less in 100 g.
- Saturated fat
High categorized if there are more than 5 g per 100 g, and classified as low if there are 1.5 g or less in 100 g.
- Salt (sodium or sodium)
Salt content can be stated with the description of sodium or sodium on the package, including high if the product contains more than 1.5 g of salt per 100 g (or 0.6 g of sodium / sodium), and low if there are 1.5 g of salt or less in 100 g (or 0.1 g sodium / sodium).
Instead, several types of nutrients should be chosen with higher levels such as:
- Polyunsaturated fat.
- Monosaturated fat.
- Calcium (Ca).
- Fiber (fiber).
- Vitamins, such as vitamins A and C.
Manage Specific Health Conditions
If you or your family member suffers from certain diseases such as blood pressure or high cholesterol that require a special diet, reading the product label will make it easier for you to determine which choices are good and which are not good for consumption.
The following are some of the diseases and nutrients that need to be limited or added:
Diabetics need to limit products with high sugar and carbohydrate levels.
Avoid consumption of products that contain cholesterol, saturated fat, trans fat, and high levels of salt.
- High blood pressure
Conditions of high blood pressure or hypertension should limit the consumption of high salt (sodium / sodium) products.
Osteoporosis sufferers need to increase consumption of foods / drinks high in calcium.
- Autoimmune or immune disease
Autoimmune disease sufferers need to increase consumption of products containing minerals and vitamins, such as iron, vitamins A and C.
Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on the expiration date printed on the packaging label. Do not let you buy or consume products that have passed the validity period because it can cause health problems.
Carefully compare the nutritional value of two products of the same type. That way, you are able to control the intake of nutrients from food or drinks that enter the body, so that the body weight remains ideal.