By learning to read the nutritional labeling we will achieve a healthier diet since we will be able to choose those foods whose nutrients interest us the most globally.

Today, people’s diet has changed dramatically, and not exactly for the better. This is because most daily diets are enriched with sutured fats and refined sugars, which have created great problems for world health. This is why nutritional labeling is so important.

The significant and truly worrying increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and dyslipidemia (excessively high levels of cholesterol or fats in the blood) in developing countries have created a global alarm.

This has motivated various international entities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to urge governments to take specific actions to promote nutritional education in the population.

It is in this particular that nutritional labeling appears as a didactic tool. The reason is very simple: it helps consumers choose the healthiest foods for their organisms.

What is nutritional labeling?

Nutrition labeling is defined by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the black and white box that is attached to food and beverage packages. Make sure that this instrument can be used as a practical guide. It will help you make decisions that can affect or benefit your long-term health.

  • If you suffer from any allergy or intolerance to a particular ingredient, the labeling will guide you in the correct choice of food. This will avoid future complications.
  • Helps implement sound nutritional principles in food preparation for the benefit of public health.
  • Invites manufacturers to improve the nutritional quality of their products, because the consumer can learn about the ingredients they contain.

How is it interpreted?

We need to learn how to interpret and understand nutrition labeling. This information will help us make the right decisions regarding the foods that will most benefit our health.

Identify the portion size

What does nutrition labeling consist of?

The FDA explains that the serving size and number of servings per container is at the top of the nutrition label. This is key to understanding the rest of the information on the label.

  • They indicate that the nutritional information in foods, such as calories, fiber and sodium, is based on serving size.
  • For this reason, if you eat two servings of the products, you will consume twice the calories and double the number of nutrients. Whether they are good or harmful, and so on.

Therefore, they point out that it is necessary to know the size of the portions. Only then will you know exactly how many calories and nutrients you are eating daily.

Find the amount of calories

Calories can be found on the nutrition label as “energy value”, “energy content” or “total energy”. All reveal the amount of energy that food or drink provides us per serving or portion.

  • These can be listed in Kilocalories (kcal) and Kilojoules (kJ), which we usually call calories.

Similarly, the FDA clarifies that the daily values ​​are established on a 2000 calorie diet. However, they state that your nutritional needs will depend on how physically active you are.

Therefore, they recommend you go to a specialist in this area so that you know what is the amount of calories that will favor you the most.

Learn how to use the percentage of daily value

What does nutrition labeling consist of?

The FDA highlights that this data tells us what is the recommended daily amount of a nutrient that provides the portion of food. This way you will maintain a healthy diet.

In this sense, they recommend that you use this part to choose foods that are rich in nutrients that you should consume more. And in the same way, to recognize those that you must ingest less.

The nutrients that you are advised to consume daily in adequate amounts are: calcium, fiber, vitamin A and C, as well as potassium, although the latter is optional.

On the other hand, they suggest that you reduce saturated and trans fats, cholesterol and sodium. However, you must remember that each organism has different needs. A nutrition specialist will be responsible for explaining exactly what foods your body needs, and to what extent.