Nutrition packaging comes with peculiar symbols that try to drive useful information to users. One of the symbols you might fail to understand is the cross sign.
Are you a fan of Pepsi drink products? If so, have you ever noticed the cross symbol on the product? Before going any deeper, let’s first find out;
What does the cross mean on nutrition facts?
It has double meanings. When used with an asterisk, it tries to signify you to read the footnote. The other meaning might be to denote the ingredients that do not match the place values.
The cross tends to appear on most food labels. The article will take you through the different tips and things to avoid on food labels.
How To Read Food Labels Like A Complete Pro
Good research skills will help you acquire valuable items that match your needs. Below is an insightful guide on how to read your food labels from your nutritional supplements.
1. Serving size
The facts section normally begins with serving size. It is the most critical part of the food label. Every detail found on the food label is subjected to the serving size.
Generally, the serving size quotes the food amount taken at a single time. It outlines the measurement for a basic household, such as ounces or cups. For instance, a serving might have a single cup of cereals or even seven cups of potato chips.
Before purchasing a nutritional product, you should consider the serving size element present. You can compare your consumption amount with the serving size information outlined on the food label.
When you take exceeded amounts, you might gain unnecessary weight that is toxic to your health. Being aware of the serving size will save you from obesity. For example, if your serving size states seven potato chips, you need to adhere to that. Taking more of the amount might double calories.
Let us check on the aspect of calories on the below point.
The calories section is not available on all food labels. Nutritional products with the calories part might include fatty fish products.
What are calories? These are the total energy in a food serving that you can source from carbohydrates, fat, proteins, or even alcoholic products. Calories have a bolder font for the consumers to see clearly.
To get that healthy dream body, you might need to watch out for the number of calories you take inside your body. The standard advice for the daily intake is at least 2000 calories.
You might need to consult your doctor to know the exact and safe calorie intake. Some of the other factors might include age and your weight details.
The calories section also segregates the fat amount into different fats, including saturated, trans fats, or polyunsaturated. The calories part on the food label also mentions the cholesterol content.
3. Primary ingredient potency
In this part, you will notice a list detailing the key ingredients of the nutritional product. You might find a single ingredient with higher contrast than others. Below that, you might get nutrients details of the key ingredient.
For instance, you might come across your fish oil product in a bolded form along with a display of the serving size. You will also see a breakdown of the nutritional components that build up the key ingredient.
For our case, there might be instances of omega-3 fatty acids with further sub-divisions of EPA and DHA. The elaborated details assist you in knowing the importance of certain ingredients in your health.
4. Percentage Of Daily Values
On the fats section and the key ingredients, you will find double columns of numbers. The first column explains the contents of several fats for each serving. It has units of measurements, including milligrams, micrograms, or international units.
The other columns display percentages daily values for the available ingredients. When studying the daily values, you need to know they are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Remember, the amount might vary depending on your age, health status, and your functional level.
A daily value percentage of 5% or less is lower for the nutrient. Conversely, a daily value of 20% or more might be higher for the nutrient.
However, most of the ingredients might lack numbers on the percentage daily value column. Due to the US FDA’s delayed information, it might detail the number of all the available ingredients.
Nonetheless, you should not avoid products that do not have daily value percentage columns. Include that nutritional product in your diet.
5. Extra ingredients
Ingredients that do not play key roles in the product might be available in this section of the food label.
In here, you might also find several allergens about the nutritional product. It might also detail out warnings of the affected allergens. Most manufacturers give out a list of the allergen ingredients.
However, they are not entitled to point out potentials for cross-contamination. Legal entities like NOW can voluntarily display information related to cross-contamination.
Tips On How To Read Food Labels
Below are some of the tips from nutrition specialists. You might follow them to discover the effective use of a nutritional product.
1. Do not trust the claims on the front part of the product
Some of the information on the front side of the nutritional product might have misleading information. Most of the details are primarily based on sales pitching and luring advertisements.
Some nutritional labels might employ low-fat types of claims that to impress the set standards by the government. They do not reveal the full story.
They might contain even higher toxic substances, unlike what they state on the product label. It would be best not to assess a product due to a single item such as fats or sugar.
2. Focus on the nutrition facts label and ingredients list
The nutrition facts and the key ingredient sections might help you evaluate your purchased product’s health status. For instance, you might find your favorite bread with a ‘low-sugar label, yet it might contain more sugars than you could have ever imagined.
3. Monitor the serving size
For the past multiple years, the government set standards for most serving sizes. However, some manufacturers are posing unrealistic amounts on the food labels.
When you check on the serving size, you can monitor your consumption to avoid obesity or diabetes-related infections.
4. Evaluate servings for every meal
Long ago, most nutritional products had single servings. You could only consume a bottle of your soda flavor or candy bar with one serving. The majority of products today have many servings.
For instance, a 20-pounce soda bottle might have at least 2.5 servings with at least 110 calories for each serving.
5. Check the calories for every serving
If you want to eliminate excess calories in your body, you might consider calculating calorie content for each serving. For example, the 20-ounce soda bottle example above does not mean you will consume 110 calories.
You need to compute the total calories by the number of servings. In that case, 110 calories by 2.5 servings might give you a whole total of 275 calories.
FDA permitted manufacturers to round down some food calories. The products that state “calorie-free” labels might not mean what they say.
6. Monitor the sodium level
Do not rely much on the daily value percentage of sodium in your product. The information is based on government standards that might not be helpful for the consumers.
Instead, look at the sodium amount that each serving contains. You can comply with the rule of thumb that limits sodium intake, which exceeds each serving’s number of calories.
7. Monitor the types of fat
It would be best to stay away from saturated fats. They might include; butter, coconut, or margarine. All these are toxic to your heart and arteries.
Other types of fats like polyunsaturated fats like sesame are quite useful to your health. Or, you might opt for monounsaturated fats like canola and olive oil. The less harmful types of fats need to align with the perfect fat level and concentration.
8. Check the sugar
Also, you need to stay disciplined with caloric sweeteners. The refined and added sugars might skyrocket your daily calorie intake.
Do not worry much about the natural sugars in fruits and several dairy products. The most significant thing to do is monitor the ingredients list and ensure the top three ingredients are not refined sugars.
9. Ensure your grains are whole-grain
Most bread in the market proclaims to have whole wheat. The first ingredient might have ‘wheat flour,’ yet it is entirely ‘refined flour.’
Only go for the products with whole grains content. Ensure you consume at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
The Top Misleading Information Of Food Labels
Researchers have found out that most products have misleading information to mislead shopping choices. Some of the misleading information to avoid on food labels might include the following:
All-natural labels: Do not get fooled with this type of information. Nutrition acts advise you to check on the availability of added colors or preservatives in the product.
When purchasing your bread for breakfast with a multi-grain label, pay attention to terms such as ‘whole grain’ or ‘100% whole wheat.’ Do not fall for ‘multi-grain’ or ‘made with whole grain’ marketing terms.
Whole grains such as oatmeal have higher fiber content than refined wheat ingredients, making it a healthier nutrition choice.
No sugar added label: If you regulate your sugar intake, you might include products with no sugar added label in your shopping list. You should know that these types of labels whatsoever do not guarantee you calorie-free diets.
We have seen that the cross label on nutritional products has multiple meanings for consumers. Besides this symbol, there are also other food labels that all individuals need to know. The content will come in handy when doing your shopping.
There is misleading information on these products that might cause harmful effects to individuals, especially those with immunodeficient body systems.
It would be wise to stay alert to have a healthy body. The article helps you stay in shape and get that dream waistline for your favorite jeans pair or summer dress.