Need some extra help with your commitment and motivation? We are always very excited and motivated after the holidays but after a month or so we kind of lose momentum. Here are 8 simple ways to get you going again.
- labels provide information on how the food fits into an overall daily diet
- labels will include information on the amount per serving of saturated fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, and other nutrients of health concern to today's consumers
- terms such as light," "fat-free," and "low-calorie" meet government definitions
- be consistent across product lines to make comparison shopping easier
- expressed in common measures
- reflect amounts people actually eat
Serving size is the first item listed on a nutrition label. Serving sizes are standardized, recommended snack or meal size portions. Depending on the type of food, the serving size may be indicated by cup measure or number, such as one cup of cereal or one slice of bread. Some foods, like salad dressing, can be represented by small measures like tablespoons. This information is followed by the metric amount (e.g., grams) the serving contains.
Serving size is the most important part of the food label. It is integral to using the additional information on the label to lose weight. Whether you count calories, fat grams, or carbs, it is impossible to accurately track them without knowing and measuring serving sizes.
Calories and Percent Fat CaloriesThe calories in a serving are displayed directly under the portion sizes. The number of calories you actually take in is determined by the number of servings you eat.
The FDA considers a food with 40 calories or less per serving to be low calorie; 100 calories per serving, moderate; and 400 calories or more per servings is a high calorie food (How to Understand).
The food label assumes that the typical adult needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain his/her weight. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, with men requiring more daily calories than women to maintain their weight.
It is recommended that your diet provides no more than 30 percent of total calories from fat (Choose a Diet). For a 2,000 calorie diet, no more than 600 calories of your day’s food intake should comprise of fat.
Using Food Labels in the Real WorldThe key part of using food labels is they provide instant portion control. The only way you can use food labels effectively is to measure and eat portions based on the recommended servings sizes.
The good news is, in time, assessing the serving size of your favorite foods will become second nature.
At first, measuring food servings will seem tedious, but it will not always be that way. Within a matter of weeks, you will learn to eyeball servings and practice automatic portion control.
Once you assess your caloric needs, food labels will help you identify areas in which you can cut back painlessly and lose weight.
For example, when you see your favorite yogurt contains 160 calories per serving, it will be much easier to identify one that contains 100 calories if you always check the nutrition label. If you eat yogurt every day, this one change can cut over 400 calories from your diet each week!
Remember ... every 3,500 calories cut or burned equals one pound lost. A little light reading on the packages of your favorite foods could be the start to making it happen.