“Putting it all together” is a funny title, isn’t it? But this is exactly what I do when I assemble my food labels. I put them all together and attempt to fit them into a logical, easy to understand format. Just like my old business card, each label is a summary of the information about the food I have selected, along with a brief description of that food and its nutrients. Before I share my food labels with you, however, I will have to share with you some of the labels I’ve received on my blog comments.

When shopping for food, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Some items contain artificial ingredients while others contain natural ingredients. Some have high amounts of sugar while others are high in calories. Some are high in fat while others are high in protein.

This is the fifth part of a series of blog posts on food labels. The series will cover all the sections of the label and how they are used. In this post we will talk about the Nutrition Facts Panel.

We’ll offer you some ideas and action actions in this last part to guarantee you’re getting the most out of your food labels.

Parts 1–4 of this food label article series (click here to examine parts 1, 2, 3, and 4) looked at:

  • whether or not food labels really assist us in being healthy;
  • if food labels (particularly calorie counts) provide us with relevant, helpful information as health-conscious shoppers;
  • how food labels differ depending on location and kind of food;
  • if manufacturers’ food labeling are truthful and transparent; and
  • what customers do with food labels in real life

We’ll offer you some ideas and action actions in this last part to guarantee you’re getting the most out of your food labels.

Step 1: Take it easy.

Take a moment to think about how you make purchases. Manufacturers rely on hurried, busy, inattentive, and impulsive customers.

Put your phone down, read a package for 30 seconds, and concentrate for a few minutes longer than usual.

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Step two: Keep it genuine.

One of the members of the PN team said it best:

“What is a food label?” you may wonder.

What they meant was that they purchase entire foods that aren’t labeled (except, perhaps, for that annoying little sticker on the produce, which never seems to peel off properly).

Stick to whole/unprocessed foods if you’re worried about what’s in your meals (this will also prevent more food packaging trash from entering the landfill). Eating genuine food saves you time and effort by eliminating the need to read labels, and there are no unpleasant surprises.

Use the USDA nutrient database to look up a food’s nutritional composition (or another relatively unbiased scientific database that does its own analysis).

Precision-Nutrition-Food-Lbels-Part-5-Apple-and-Label

Step 3: Put ingredients first, not calories.

If there is a label on a food, check at the ingredients list first. It doesn’t matter how many calories, fat grams, or sugar grams are on the label if the components are bad.

Look for brief lists of items you’re familiar with while looking at ingredients. On a package of oats, for example, you should see: Oats are one of the main ingredients.

If you can’t pronounce and/or sketch the components in a product, it’s likely that you shouldn’t put it in your body. You won’t need to examine the labels on the goods you purchase after you’ve been acquainted with them.

Step 4: Go on a comparison shopping spree.

When deciding between two comparable goods, consider the following criteria:

  • more of what you’re looking for (e.g., protein and fiber)
  • less of the things you don’t want (e.g., sugar and salt).

Other things to keep an eye out for include:

Fair Trade is a term that refers to the practice of Most essential for goods from warm climates, such as coffee, chocolate, and tropical fruits, since they are more likely to originate from areas where farmers do not get a fair pay or work in safe circumstances. If buying Fair Trade is an option, take advantage of it.

Organic. If buying organic is an option, take advantage of it.

Local. Make sure to look up the country of origin. If buying locally (or closer to home) is an option, take advantage of it. (If you can purchase the food directly from the person who raised and/or processed it, you’ll get bonus points.)

Packaging. If you can purchase anything without a lot of additional packing, do so. Is it really necessary to place those three apples in a plastic produce bag?

Step 5: Take action on your own.

Take a photo of the label if you find a product intriguing. After that, you may go home and figure out how to create it using actual ingredients.

This is a fantastic chance to be creative while learning a new culinary technique. Plus, creating it yourself typically saves you money.

Step 6: Don’t trust what the packaging says on the front.

The more a product tries to persuade you that it is healthy or that you should purchase it, the more wary you should be. Real food does not need to persuade you that it is healthy. Kale is well aware of the situation.

Step 7: Think beyond the statistics

Don’t be concerned about stuff like calories. They won’t be as helpful as you think.

Move beyond calorie tracking if you want to become healthy and slimmer. Recognize that even “unbiased” statistics aren’t always accurate or helpful.

Step 8: Apply common sense.

If a dish says “heart-healthy” and you like it… Check the ingredients on the back of the box. Is the ingredient list consistent with the promise of “heart-healthy”?

Step 9: Establish your deal-breakers and “minimums”

Determine your starting point. What foods are you unable to consume?

You don’t consume a food if your deal-breakers are listed on the label. The following are some of the PN team’s suggestions:

  • Oils that have been partly or fully hydrogenated (source of trans fats)
  • High fructose corn syrup (not always since it’s treated differently from other sugars, but it’s generally a sign of a low-nutrient meal)
  • Sugars that have been added (including hidden sources like syrups)
  • Artificial colors (example: FD&C Blue #1)
  • Items in cans that aren’t labeled as BPA-free
  • Salmon, either wild or farmed (instead of wild caught)
  • China-made products (which has recently been busted for many food safety violations, such as melamine in baby formula and heavy metals in various foods and herbal preparations)
  • Ingredients from animals
  • Gluten
  • Non-organic
  • Nitrates/nitrites
  • sodium deficiency

Naturally, you may choose the “baseline” and “deal-breakers” that best fit you, your nutritional level, and your specific requirements.

Whatever you choose, the most essential thing is that you are in control of your dietary choices.

YOU have the ability – and now the information – to make healthy choices as a consumer and “food warrior.”

Make good use of your strength.

References

To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

Antonuk Beth & Block LG. The Effect of Single Serving Versus Entire Package Nutritional Information on Consumption Norms and Actual Consumption of a Snack Food. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2006;38:365-370

The Associated Press is a news organization. Some foods will be recommended by the American Heart Association. The date was June 28, 1988.

Nut intake and weight increase in a Mediterranean cohort: The SUN research, Bes-Rastrollo M, et al. 2007;15:107-116 in Obesity (Silver Spring).

M. Bes-Rastrollo, M. Bes-Rastrollo, M. Bes-Rastrollo, M. Bes-Rastrollo, M. Bes-Rastrollo, M. Bes-Rastrollo, M. Bes-Rastrollo, 2009;89:1913-1919 in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

New research eat into diet math, according to C. Bialik. The Wall Street Journal published an article on April 2nd, 2010.

JE Brody. Are you still keeping track of your calories? It’s possible that your weight-loss strategy is out of date. The New York Times, July 18th, 2011.

The nutrition label awareness and use behaviors of women in the United States. Byrd-Bredbenner C, et al. Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 315-322, 2000.

Mind over milkshakes: attitudes, not just nutrition, influence ghrelin response, according to Crum AJ, et al. 30:424-429 in Health Psychol.

Soft drink intake and the risk of acquiring cardiometabolic risk factors and the metabolic syndrome in community-dwelling middle-aged individuals, Dhingra R, et al. Circulation, vol. 116, no. 4, pp. 480-488, 2007.

A theoretical and empirical study of nutritional label usage, Drichoutis AC, et al. 2008;9:293–304 in Eur J Health Econ.

Duffey KJ & Popkin BM. Energy density, portion size, and eating occasions: contributions to increased energy intake in the United States, 1977-2006. PLoS Med. 2011;8:e1001050.

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Evenepoel P, et al. Stable isotope methods were used to evaluate the digestibility of cooked and raw egg protein in humans. J Nutr. 128:1716-1722, 1998.

A short history of food and nutrition labeling from 1862 to 2011.

Fooducate. Nutritionism Is a Difficult Problem.

Nutrition labels: a study of usage, knowledge, and preferences among ethnically diverse New Zealand consumers. Gorton D, et al. 12:1359–1365 in Public Health Nutr.

Jones G & Richardson M. An objective examination of consumer perception of nutrition information based on healthiness ratings and eye movements. Public Health Nutr. 2007;10:238–244.

Kim WK & Kim J. A study on the consumer’s perception of front-of-pack nutrition labeling. Nutr Res Pract. 2009;3:300-306.

Kümpel Nørgaard M & Brunsøa K. Families’ use of nutritional information on food labels. Food Quality and Preference. 2009;20:597-606.

CT Lin et al. Do dietary habits influence the way people look for nutritional information on product labels? 59:1955–1967. Soc Sci Med. 2004;59:1955–1967.

A viewpoint on food energy requirements for nutrition labeling, Livesey G. The British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 85, no. 2, pp. 271-287, was published in 2001.

G. Livesey, G. Livesey, G. Livesey, G. Livesey, G. Livesey, G. Livesey, G. Livesey, G. Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 51, no. 6, pp. 617-637, 1990.

A comparison of two nutrition signposting systems for usage in Australia, Louie JC, et al. NSW Public Health Bulletin, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 121-126, 2008.

Martinez-Gonzalez MA & Bes-Rastrollo M. Nut consumption, weight gain and obesity: Epidemiological evidence. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011;21 Suppl 1:S40-S45.

Mattes RD & Dreher ML. Nuts and healthy body weight maintenance mechanisms. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19:137-141.

M. Melnick Fast-food salads aren’t popular, but that isn’t the issue. Time is a magazine published by Time Inc.

Mozaffarian D & Ludwig DS. Dietary guidelines in the 21st century – a time for food. JAMA. 2010;304:681-682.

Changes in diet and lifestyle with long-term weight increase in women and men. N Engl J Med. 2011;364:2392-2404. Mozaffarian D, et al.

K. Murakami et al. In free-living Japanese women aged 18-22 years, the hardness (difficulty of chewing) of the regular diet was related to BMI and waist circumference. 2007;86:206-213. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86:206-213.

MSNBC. There are no calories and the flavor is same (and heart risks). On the 30th of August, 2011, I checked my email.

Nørgaard MK & Brunsø K. Families’ use of nutritional information on food labels. Food Quality and Preference. 2009;20:597–606.

Ogden CL & Carroll MD. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1960–1962 Through 2007–2008. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2010.

Food texture variations influence energy metabolism in rats, according to Oka K, et al. J Dent Res., vol. 82, no. 4, pp. 491-494, 2003.

Popkin BM & Duffey KJ. Does hunger and satiety drive eating anymore? Increasing eating occasions and decreasing time between eating occasions in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91:1342-1347.

The International Choices Programme developed international standards for a front-of-package food labeling system. Roodenburg ACJ, et al. 2011;65:1190–1200 in Eur J Clin Nutr.

Impact of front-of-pack ‘traffic-light’ nutrition labeling on consumer food purchases in the United Kingdom, Sacks G, et al. 344-352 in Health Promotion International, 2009.

The Food Industry and Self-Regulation: Standards to Promote Success and Avoid Public Health Failures. Sharma, LL, et al. 240–246 in American Journal of Public Health, 2010.

R. Thiel, R. Thiel, R. Thiel, R. Thiel, R. Thiel, R. Thiel, R. Thiel, R. Thiel, R. Thiel, R. Thiel, R

The calorie delusion: Why food labels are incorrect, by B. Trivedi. Issue 2717 of New Scientist was published in 2009.

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 was passed by the United States Congress.

Food and Drug Administration of the United States (USDA). Food Labels: Consumer Information The Nutrition Facts Label: What to Look for and How to Use It

Food and Drug Administration of the United States (USDA). Dr. Hamburg’s Open Letter to Industry Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

Food and Drug Administration of the United States (USDA). Dear Manufacturer Letter Regarding Front-of-Package Symbols: Industry Guidance December of the previous year.

The accuracy of claimed energy contents of reduced-energy, commercially prepared meals. Urban LE, et al. 2010;110:116-123; J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:116-123; J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:116-123

Accuracy of reported energy amounts of restaurant meals, Urban LE, et al. JAMA, 306:287-293, 2011.

EL Vyth et al. Consumer motivations in food selection: actual usage of a front-of-pack nutrition logo at the supermarket. Public Health Nutrition, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 1882-1889, 2010.

Whole Foods is a store that sells a wide range of The top ten ANDI results.

Exploring worldwide consumer attitudes toward nutrition information on food labels, Wills JM, et al. 67(Suppl. 1):S102–S106, Nutr Rev. 2009;67(Suppl. 1):S102–S106

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

It’s both an art and a science to guide clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a manner that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.

Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.

This was a short series of part 5, and I hope this one will be a little shorter too, as I’ve got a lot to say! When I first started this blog series, I was hoping to make it into a book. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that, at least not now. Though I think I’ll still keep writing about food labels, I’m sure there are other things I can write about by the time I decide to stop.. Read more about how to stop hedonic eating and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 parts of a food label?

The five parts of a food label are the front, back, top, bottom and side.

What is the 5/20 rule?

The 5/20 rule is a guideline for how much time you should spend working on your project. It means that you should work for five hours and take a break of twenty.

What are 5 ingredients you need to avoid when looking at food labels?

A: -High fructose corn syrup -Artificial colors -Partially hydrogenated oils -Trans fats -Potassium bromate

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • precision nutrition food labels
  • maths food labels
  • nutrition math problems
  • i like food too much
  • how to stop hedonic eating
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