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Food Labels and Your Balanced Diet

December 16th, 2009 · No Comments

Reading Food Labels is a usefull habit.

Did You Know that every word on a food label has a specific meaning. The word “healthy” means that a food has no more than 480 mg. sodium and 60 mg. cholesterol. “Fresh” means that a food contains no preservatives and hasn’t been previously frozen or heated. “High in” means that 1 serving supplies 20% or more of the Daily Value for a nutrient. “Lean’ means a serving has fewer than 10 g. fat and 90 mg. cholesterol.

Think of food labels as road signs on the highway to good health. When you read the ingredient labels and nutrition information on the backs of cans and packages, you’ll know if the food is going to keep you on that highway. It requires just a few seconds of your time to get all of the essential information you need to ensure a healthy balanced diet.

You won’t find labels on fresh fruits and vegetables, because these foods don’t have hidden surprises. They’re always good for your health. The labels on packaged foods, however, provide essential information. Start by checking the fat content. Eating less fat is essential for preventing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. Your intake of fat shouldn’t exceed 30 percent of total calories-for most of us, that’s about 50 g. a day.

Check the amount of dietary fiber. Your total fiber intake should be 25 to 30 g. daily to help lower cholesterol, prevent constipation, and improve blood sugar levels. Getting more dietary fiber is also among the best dietary ways to reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke. If your doctor has advised you to cut back on salt, check the amount of sodium, the lower it is, the better. Doctors advise getting no more than 2,400 mg. of sodium daily, but that’s the upper limit.

Food labels provide a remarkable amount of information. So much information, in fact, that you may not want to read it all. You don’t have to look at every line. If you’re like most people, you probably have a few health issues that you’re most concerned about. Maybe you’re trying to increase the amount of fiber in your diet and want to ensure that the foods you buy will help you get the recommended amount. Or, maybe you want to increase your intake of certain nutrients or decrease the amount of fat or sodium. You can use food labels to find exactly what you need to know in just a few seconds.

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