How To Read Food Labels for Healthy Living

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Have you ever been confused looking at the back of a food label? You're not alone! Here is a detailed guide on how to read the labels from the FDA.  

But here a quick breakdown of how to read food labels. 

Above is a sample label for Macaroni and Cheese. 

Check the label for serving size to make sure you are making the correct amount for each serving. 

Next, check calories and calories from fat. This example is based on a 2000 calories per day but this will vary depending on the individual. Generally speaking, 40 calories is considered low, 100 calories is considered normal and 400 calories is considered high. 

Next, check the Total Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. You will want to limit these in your diet, as consuming too much will cause diseases, high blood pressure and some cancers. 

Then check nutrients to see what vitamins and minerals you are getting. Vitamins and minerals can increase your health. 

Finally, look at the ingredients. I will usually buy a product if I can read and know what most of the ingredients are. I stay away from ingredients that say "high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)", "artificial", "food coloring", "monosodium glutamate (MSG)",  "natural flavors" and generally words that I don't understand/can't pronounce. 

Though some organic products are a little more expensive, do a comparative check on the labels and ingredients between different brands and maybe the price difference is worth it, or maybe not. But knowing how to read the label and ingredients helps you form better decisions for how to spend your money and if what you're actually eating is healthy.