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Top 3 Quick Tips For Food Label Know-How!

Before you head to the grocery store to buy a cart-load of health food, make sure you know these 3 tips to help you read food labels correctly!

Article Summary:
  • It is important to analyze your food labels so that you know what you're eating.
  • Pay extra attention to the serving size and calories from fat on the label.
  • Diet alone cannot help you lose weight, you must also exercise to achieve results.

I can't tell you how many articles I have read about the best diets of today. Diets such as: How to Lose Weight, What's the Right Food to Eat, What's the Wrong Food to Eat and more.

But I have never once read an article on "Just Plain Eating Right" and "What to Look For on a Food Label."

All the diet programs out today are really just trying to sell you a bill of goods. They either want you to buy their books or buy their supplements or food programs. Without really telling you what the basics are for a healthy diet.

They act as a crutch so that you'll never learn the right way and what to look for on your own.

Now, I have tried every diet there is under the sun and I can tell you from experience that none of them work. You must learn to know your own body. This is the key.

Something that works for one person will most likely not work for the next. You must learn how to analyze the food labels so that you will know what you are putting into your body.

You may end up spending a lot more time at the market at first, but in the long run you will win by being in better shape.

Labels are really very self-explanatory if you take the time to read and understand them. The average diet should consist of the following percentages: 50% of calories should come from carbohydrates, 20-35% from fat (10% of calories from saturated fatty acids and less than 300mg/day of cholesterol, and keep the trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible) and 20% from protein.

How Do You Determine The Macronutrient
Percentages From A Food Label?

    When you're calculating percentages from protein, carbohydrates, and fat, a little math is needed. Here's a quick calculation to show you how to get your percentages.

    Check Out This Sample Label Of Supreme Protein's Carb Concious Bar.

    Start with your calories, for example a 200 calorie snack. Carbohydrates and protein equal 4 calories per gram, and fat contain 9 calories per gram.

    To find out what percentage of fat, take the amount of grams, for example 9 grams of fat, and multiply it by 9, this will give you 81 calories coming from fat. To find out the percentage simply divide 81 calories from fat, by the total within the item.

    (Ex. 81/200=40%)

    Protein and carbs are the same way. If it has 15 grams of protein, take the 15 grams and multiply it by 4-because each gram of protein has 4 calories-and you will get 60 calories from protein. Take that 60 calories from protein and divide it by the 200 calories in the snack.

    (Ex. 60/200=30%)

    If you're not a fan of doing the arithmetic-like most of us-use this calorie calculator below for all your quick counting needs.

Fats Grams
Carbs Grams
Protein Grams
Simply enter the information from the Nutrition Facts Label and the Label Calories Calculator will tell you how many calories and what percentage of protein, carbohydrate, or fat the food contains! It's as easy as that!
Fats Calories
Fats Percent
Carbs Calories
Carbs Percent
Protein Calories
Protein Percent

Find More Helpful Calculators Here.

Most people, when dieting, drop so many calories from their diet that they actually put their bodies into starvation mode, and will thus gain body fat. By "starvation mode" I mean that if the body thinks it's starving it will attempt to conserve as much energy as possible, thus your metabolism will slow down in order to stay functional and will hold onto body fat as a reserve.

When you want to drop body fat the % of fat calories in the diet should be dropped to 10-20%. Thus the % of calories from carbohydrates too should be dropped to 30-40% and the calories from protein should be raised to 40-50%. And you should be eating 4-6 low calorie meals daily to speed up the metabolism thus burning calories and fat.

Note: All food labels contain a footnote with the Percent Daily Values (DVs) based on a 2000 calorie diet only.

Do You Check The Labels On The Foods You Buy?


1. The Serving Size

The 1st place to start when you look at the nutrition facts label is the serving size and the number of servings in the package. The size of the serving influences the number of calories and all the nutrient amounts listed on the top part of the label.

Pay attention to the serving size, especially how many servings there are in the package. Then ask yourself, "How many servings am I consuming?" In the sample label above 1 serving size is 1 bar. If you consume two bars that doubles the calories and other nutrient numbers as well as the % Daily Values.

Pay Attention To The Serving Size, Especially How Many Servings There Are In The Package
+ Click To Enlarge.
Pay Attention To The Serving Size, Especially
How Many Servings There Are In The Package.

2. Calories And Calories From Fat

There are 200 calories in one Supreme Protein Carb Conscious Bar (43g) and there are 88 calories from fat. This is a little more than 1/3 of the calories from fat. The general guide to calories is as follows: 40 calories is low, 100 calories is moderate and 400 calories or more is high.

Remember, eating too many calories per day is linked to unhealthy weight gain.

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3. Nutrients: How Much?

Fats, cholesterol, and sodium are the key ingredients that are the "ones to watch". These items need to be limited and eaten in moderation. Eating too much fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium may increase the risk of certain chronic diseases like heart disease or high blood pressure.

The main source of sodium in the average US diet consists of 5% added while cooking, 6% added while eating, 12% from natural sources and 77% from processed and prepared foods. So even though you may limit your sodium intake, the food itself may already be high in sodium.

It is recommended that sodium intake not exceed approximately 2000 mg (2g) of sodium per day for healthy adults. The lower your sodium intake, the more beneficial the effects on blood pressure. Though your body does need some sodium to function properly. It helps to maintain the right balance of fluids in your body, it helps transmit nerve impulses, and it influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles.

The last 2 items on the label are carbohydrates (which includes dietary fiber and sugars) and protein.

It Is Recommended That Sodium Intake Not Exceed Approximately <BR> 2000 mg (2g) Of Sodium Per Day For Healthy Adults
+ Click To Enlarge.
It Is Recommended That Sodium Intake Not Exceed Approximately
2000 mg (2g) Of Sodium Per Day For Healthy Adults.

Carbohydrates make the body produce excessive amounts of insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to keep the blood sugar in check. If the body produces too much insulin it stimulates an enzyme that causes the body to convert calories into body fat instead of burning them.

Also there are 2 types of carbohydrates: complex (dietary fibers) which consist of rice, pastas, and potatoes; and simple, which consist of sugars and fruits. All of which can raise blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cram fat into cells, change protein and sugars into fat and cause the body to retain excess water.

The percentages of calories from the carbohydrates totals 10% for a serving of one whole English muffin. This is a moderate amount of carbs. Also the fact that the grams of sugar are low is exceptional because more often then not when you buy a "low fat or non fat" item it will be loaded with sugar, which defeats the whole purpose as stated above.

A Carb Conscious Bar has 15 grams of protein. Protein helps your body burn fat. There are many other sources of protein, as you will read about. But too much protein (in excess of 50% of calories) over an extensive period of time may damage the kidney and can take calcium from the bones.


I hope this has given you some insight into reading your food labels. But just remember one thing if you want to lose weight, ALWAYS EXERCISE!! Exercise will help to burn excess calories.

In order to lose weight you must burn off more calories than you take in. You cannot lose weight by just dieting alone. So get yourselves on a good exercise program and meal plan.

(Please consult a registered dietitian with specific questions about your body composition. Everyone is different and all metabolisms are different).

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