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How to Read a Nutrition Label on Food

When it comes to eating right, a little basic information goes a long way.

Nutritional labels on food can help us make better choices about what we eat, whatever our diet or fitness goals might be.

Lower salt? Yep.

More fiber? Absolutely.

Less sugar? Of course.

So, take a minute to learn how to read the Nutrition Facts while you’re shopping. You can instantly learn:

· Calories

· Fat grams

· Certain kinds of fat grams (saturated and trans)

· Cholesterol

· Carbohydrates – including fiber, sugars and added sugars

· Protein

· Some vitamins and minerals

In the US, the information is more detailed than ever, thanks to new government regulations that went into effect this year. They mandate more details about the different kinds of fats, for instance, and call out manufacturers for adding sugar that’s in addition to sugars naturally found in the food.

Older adults often don’t get enough Vitamin D and potassium, which are important for bone health. They’re now required to be listed on the labels.

Getting enough of these nutrients, plus fiber and calcium, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure, says the National Institute on Aging.

Also, pay attention to serving size. The new rules make it easier than ever, since packagers would previously slip multiple “servings” into packages that look like a single serving.

It only takes a moment to read the labels and make better choices. It’s even fun to keep track – and it’s definitely a step toward healthier living.

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