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Ever wondered how to dechiper the nutrition facts label on the back of your food purchases? It is actually not as difficult as it seems, let us help you better understand the details so as to assist you in making healthier choices during your next supermarket trip!
It is important to understand the portion / serving size, this provides the most accurate nutrition content per serving in the succeeding information laid out in the nutrition facts table.
This displays the amount of energy provided per serving. For those who are focused in calorie counting will have to take note of this and multiply the total calorie intake based on the number of servings consumed.
One of the three macro nutrients. This displays the total fat content and is further segregated into the types of fats available, namely : poly-saturated, mono-saturated, saturated and trans-fats. Poly and mono saturated fats are good fats that can raise good cholesterol in the body.
However, saturated fats should be consumed in moderation as it is linked to increasing the risks of chronic illnesses such as heart diseases and diabetes. Trans-fats is the most harmful of all fat types and needs to be entirely avoided.
High cholesterol foods can cause heart diseases in the long run. There are no specific limits to cholesterol intake limits per day, but it is advised to consume as little of this as possible.
Something that has to be noted especially if you are on a DASH diet or managing hypertension. The suggested sodium intake per day for a healthy adult is about 2000 mg.
The other macronutrient which is the primary energy source that the body extracts energy from and listed in the form of fibre and sugar.
High fibre foods are recommended as it helps with the digestive system and also reduces fat absorption when food travels through the intestines.
Carbohydrate in the form of sugar will be something that needs to be given special notice. Sugary foods are the primary cause of all chronic illnesses. It is important to take note of this portion of the table, the daily suggested sugar intake limit is about 35 g.
The third macro nutrient, protein is important in lean muscle building and cell repair. An average person would require a suggested 46 to 56g of protein on a daily basis and would be greatly increased for those who are seeking to build more muscles.
Vitamins and minerals
This portion shows the vitamins and minerals that are available in the food. Make sure that the body consumes adequate amounts of each element.
In conclusion, it is important to choose foods that are low in saturated fats and cholesterol, zero trans fats, high in fibre and protein but most importantly, low sugar content.
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)