Scan food labels faster to get essential weight loss facts
You might know how to read nutrition labels, but do you know how to read food labels to lose weight? If you’re trying to slim down, there are a few important numbers that matter more and a few numbers that matter less. If you can learn to scan the Nutrition Facts label quickly for essential information, you’ll be able to shop faster, eat better, and lose weight with greater ease.
Learn to Read Food Labels for Weight Loss
As you read through this guide, keep in mind that the Nutrition Facts label changes from time to time. The label you see in the store today will be changing in the coming years to reflect the newest health guidelines established by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By 2018, most food labels will need to use the new design. The new design includes larger text for “Calories,” “Serving size,” and “Servings per container.” These changes will help you to find the most important weight loss information.
The images throughout this guide will show an example of an older version of the nutrition label on the left and an example of the newer version on the right. So no matter which version you find on a package, you will know how to read food labels correctly to lose weight.
Portion control is essential when you are trying to lose weight. And counting calories accurately matters, too. So it’s essential that you check the serving size on the food label because it will help you to eat correct portions for weight loss and to count the right number of calories each day.
Use “Serving size” to manage portions. The serving size on the package is not the amount of food you should eat. It is the amount of food that a typical eater consumes during a single eating occasion. So you shouldn’t use this number to decide how much food to eat. Instead, use this number only to determine how many calories are in a typical serving of that food. To find out how much of it to eat, use my guide to correct portions for weight loss.
Use “Serving Size” to calculate calories correctly. If you use a diet app or a website like Calorie Count or MyFitnessPal, you will enter foods and food amounts into your daily food journal to count calories and manage your diet. Most of these services use “Serving size” as the default amount. Be sure that you change the amount if your portion size is different than the serving size listed.
No matter what kind of weight loss plan you follow, calories matter. You’ll lose weight faster if you eat the right number of calories each day. When you read nutrition labels at the grocery store, check the calorie count to see how many you’ll gain when you eat the portion of that food that you usually consume. Then compare different brands and products to see if you can find one that provides fewer calories to keep your daily intake on track.
Eating some healthy fat is good for your body and will help you to stay satisfied throughout the day. If your belly feels comfortable, you’re likely to eat less and slim down faster. But fat is full of calories, so you need to choose your fat carefully and eat it sparingly. When you read food labels, first check the total number of fat grams (red arrows) provided by the food. Then check the numbers below (yellow arrows) for further information.
Saturated fat. While there is some emerging evidence that saturated fat may not be as bad for our bodies as we thought, most experts still recommend that you eat less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat for good health. So it’s best to choose foods that have the lowest number listed here.
Trans fat. Experts agree that trans fats are not good for your body. Try to choose foods with as little trans fat as possible.
If you’re on a low-carb diet for weight loss, you should check this number right away. Keeping your carb intake low will make a big difference in the success of your diet.
But even if you’re not counting carbs, choosing better sources of carbohydrates is important for good health. The food label can help you make better decisions about which food to choose. But you’ll need to look underneath the “Carbohydrates” listing to get the information you need.
Dietary fiber. Fiber is a dieter’s friend. You’ll feel full longer and you’ll keep your net carb intake low if you choose foods with more dietary fiber. So if you can choose foods with a higher number in this area, you may have an easier time sticking to your diet. Packaged foods that contain whole grains or vegetables like spinach are often good sources of dietary fiber.
Sugars. It’s smart to watch your sugar intake if you want to reach and maintain a healthy weight. So you’ll want to check this number and choose foods that contain less sugar. But not all sugar-rich foods are the same. The new Nutrition Facts label makes it easier to choose healthier foods with sugar. On the new label, you will see a listing for “Total Sugars” and “Added Sugars.” Try to choose foods with the fewest “Added Sugars.” Foods with more added sugars provide empty calories that can increase your daily calorie intake and provide very little nutrition.