Reading and understanding nutrition label or nutrition fact is one of the keys to success in weight loss. From previous articles, you have understood about carbohydrates, protein and fats and how to create calorie deficits for weight loss.
Many of us are attracted with the label such as “low fat”, “Less Sweet” or “high in fiber”. Unfortunately, just because a product makes that particular claim, doesn’t mean it is the best or the healthiest choice. Once you learn to quickly scan the Nutrition Facts on the food packaging for essential information, you’ll be able to shop faster and eat better to achieve your goals.
Steps to Read a Nutrition Label
1. Serving Size
The first step is to see serving size which tells you what size portion of the food is for a serving. For example, the picture above shows that a serving is equivalent to 1 slice of bread which weighs around 38g.
When calculating calories, it may be useful to measure out portions on a weighing scale. Do this at least for the first time, so that you know exactly what you are eating and what a serving size looks like. For example, a 100g of cooked chicken looks like a palm size of food. This will be convenient for you to roughly estimate your food to prevent overeating in the future.
The number of servings tells you how many are in each package.
2. Calories Per Serving
You need to pay attention to this number if you want to lose weight with calorie deficit state. This shows the total of calorie consumes per serving. For example, 90Cal calories will be consumed per slice of whole grain bread based on the pictures.
Calories Breakdown (To be explained later)
Fats = 13.5Cal
Carbohydrates = 60Cal
Protein = 16Cal
Total = Around 90Cal per serving.
3. Total Fat
1g of fat consists of 9Cal calories. This is the reason why high-fat content food makes you fat as they consist the highest energy level per gram as compared to carbohydrate and protein. The picture shows that the fat per slice of whole grain bread is 1.5g. Thus, calories for 1.5g of fats are 1.5g x 9 = 13.5Cal calories.
From previous articles, we know that trans fat is bad for overall health as they can raise your blood cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. Avoid the food with trans fat in the label.
4. Total Carbohydrate
1g of carbohydrate consists of 4Cal of calories. The picture shows that the total carbohydrate per slice of whole grain bread is 15g. Thus, calories for 15g of carbohydrates are 15g x 4 = 60Cal calories.
We know that fiber is important during our weight loss progress as you will feel full longer with high fiber content. If possible, choose food which is high in dietary fiber.
We always get attracted to those advertising with “Less Sweet” in the front package. However, the manufacturer often uses alternative to replace sugar such as fructose or maltitol which makes the food or drinks taste less sweet. However, the sugar content in terms of the gram is similar. It is smart to read and compare the sugar content in gram for different products.
1g of protein consists of 4Cal of calories. The picture shows that the protein per slice of whole grain bread is 4g. Thus, calories for 4g of protein are 4g x 4 = 16Cal calories.
Protein is one of the important macronutrients for weight loss program as it maintains muscle mass for higher metabolism. Protein also keeps you feeling full longer to prevent you from snacking.
The daily recommended calorie required for inactive females are 1600 – 2300 Cal and males are 2000 – 2500 Cal per day. The macronutrient breakdown based on calories is 40% carbohydrates, 40% protein and 20% fats.
Plan your nutrition guide and eat accordingly to achieve your weight and body goals. However, we are giving FREE complete fat loss guide with nutrition and exercise guide with the purchase of Apple Lite if you are looking to lose weight fast and healthy.