Smart Woman: ABC's of Food Labels

Published 11/19 2012 07:17AM

Updated 11/19 2012 08:48AM

Nutrition labels are there to help us. Research shows people who read nutrition labels tend to be slimmer than those who don't, but while a third of people say they always look at the calorie counts on a label, in reality, only nine-percent really do!

Research shows only one percent of people look at total fat, trans fat and serving size when they look at labels.

True or false: you should always look at total fat? False, look for saturated fats instead. It raises blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Five percent of your daily calorie value is considered low, and 20 percent is considered high.

Which is more important: calorie count, serving size, or vitamins? According to, serving size is the most underestimated thing on the food label. Remember, three servings means three-times the calorie intake.

Finally, how much sodium do you need a day? 23-hundred milligrams! But americans typically consume more than three-thousand a day!  Aim for foods that have five or fewer percent of your daily value of sodium.

People over 50, african americans and those with high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease should curb their sodium intake to 15-hundred milligrams a day.

Another tip: Women should keep daily sugar intake at 24 grams or fewer a day, and men should stay at 36 grams or fewer. One teaspoon of sugar equals about four grams.

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