The truth about fat and nutrition labels

Healthy fat intake is important to a balanced diet. Many people eat too much fat, which can lead to a variety of health problems — including cancer. There are some diets that revolve around high fat intake that have been linked to breast, colon, and even prostate cancer. Simply by making a few adjustments to the way you prepare your food, you can cut your fat intake down to a safe and healthy level.

It’s a lot easier to control the amount of fat you consume these days. It is now easier than ever to spot the amount of fat in a food product by simply reading the label. In fact, even fast food restaurants now often have nutrition labels on the food products they sell. Some restaurants will even publish their fat content in comparison to other comparable food outlets so that consumers can compare the fat content of common meals at various fast food establishments.

By paying attention to this nutritional information, you can now choose the amount of fat you consume in each meal you prepare. Once you have learned to read the labels, you will find shopping for food much easier. You will have an educated idea of the difference between healthy and less healthy food choices. In fact, the more you shop for food while being conscious of the fat intake of your grocery choices, over time, as you become familiar with the fat content of your favorite foods, you will likely get better at creating balanced meals at home. You will know that only a certain portion of one type of food ought to be within the meal to avoid excess fat consumption.

The amount of fat you eat will vary from day to day, but as long as you balance your intake of fat over time, this shouldn’t be a problem. It isn’t the amount of fat you consume each day that matters, it’s the amount you consume over weeks and months. This allows you to make consolidations in your diet for special occasions when you may be exposed to fatty food options. There is no problem in indulging in favorite food items from time to time, however you should be conscious of the foods you are eating in the following days to help balance that fat intake out. For example, a meal at a party that contains high fat content may be followed with entire meals of low fat content for the next day or two.

Because young adults and active adults often require more caloric intake, they can sometimes get away with a little higher fat consumption. Adults who aren’t as active should watch their fat intake and keep it to a minimum to avoid the numerous health problems that are associated with a high-fat diet. The other alternative is to slowly gear your body to a more active lifestyle. Care should be taken not to shock your system into more exercise right off the bat. Make sure that your activity levels increase gradually so that you are not causing unnecessary harm to your body with movements it may not be used to.

It is easy to know where your consumption is because it is now required that all food items be labeled with nutrition facts. These labels can contain a wealth of information about a food product. If reading and interpreting these labels seems intimidating, it’s a lot easier than you may think. Following are some tips and definitions regarding the information contained on most nutrition labels.

Serving Size – The serving size is determined based on the amount eaten by an individual.. Usually, similar foods will have similar serving sizes.

Percent of Daily Value – The percent of daily value is determined based on a 2,000 calorie intake. This is important to decide if a food item fulfills a major or minor portion of recommended daily nutrients.

Fats, Fiber, Sodium (The Middle Section) – The most important part of the label you’ll want to read is the middle section. The middle section contains the amounts and types of fats, fiber, sodium and other nutrients contained in the food.

Vitamins and Minerals – The percentages of vitamins and minerals that are labeled are based on the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances. These allowances have been adjusted over the years to be up to date with common lifestyle choices that have caused our dietary needs as a whole to be adjusted.

Additional information on understanding these definitions can be found on the official FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) Web site. Once you understand how to read the nutrition labels, it will be easier to choose foods that are healthy and ultimately maintain balance in your diet and lifestyle.

Last updated on Feb 25th, 2009 and filed under Healthy Eating. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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