Reading Nutrition Labels for Medical Weight Loss
Nutrition labels—everybody sees them, but not everybody reads them. We are talking about the black and white grid on the side panel or back of every bag, box or bottle of processed food that you pick up. The labels often have incredibly small print, as well as numbers and percentages of daily allotments of certain vitamins and nutrients. The ingredients are listed just below these numbers next to information about potential allergens and other concerns.
All of this information is at your fingertips every time you bite into a potato chip or take a swig of soda, but if you are like most Americans this isn’t something you look at regularly. During your medical weight loss program in Rochester Hills it is time to start slowing down before indulging in a snack and evaluating just what the nutrition label has to say. Doing so can boost your weight loss efforts and give you the knowledge to stay in control of your diet.
To get started with this healthy habit, here are a few simple tips to help you read nutrition labels correctly:
- Start at the top. When it comes to your weight loss efforts some of the most important information you can glean from a nutritional label is at the top. This includes the portion size and the calories per serving. Don’t make assumptions about how many portions are in your snack bag. Read the label to make sure your 150-calorie afternoon snack isn’t actually a 450-calorie diet buster thanks to the “servings per container” size.
- Track the nutrients that matter. Talk with your weight loss doctor about what nutrients matter to you and your weight loss plan the most. The top nutrients to watch for are often fat, carbohydrates, protein, fiber and sugar. If you are struggling with obesity-related conditions, things like cholesterol and sodium may also be important to watch for. As a general rule, more fiber and protein and less sugar and fat will make for the healthiest snack.
- Get your vitamins. If you are going to be eating a snack you are best off benefiting from it nutritionally. Instead of opting for an item that is only good for its taste, try to find a snack that has a lot to offer at the bottom of the label where the nutrients are listed. Nutrients like vitamin A and C as well as iron and calcium are often found in healthy snacks and can benefit your health as you overcome hunger.
What do you look for when you are reading over a nutrition label?