Eating For The Rest of Your Life

Nutrition Facts Panels Allow You To Better Plan A Healthy Diet

by Jon Weaver

A quick glance at the side of a cereal box reveals detailed nutritional information. The nutrition facts panel tells a clear tale about the good -- and sometimes bad -- things found in your food choice. Most people take the nutrition panel for granted. Even someone hoping to lose weight and improve his/her health might not seriously examine the published list. Consistently reading the panel ensures you only purchase food items that support your overall health goals.

Healthy Eaters Need More Than A General Idea

One brand of cereal may be healthier than another. One choice of packaged hot dogs may fit a low-carb diet while another one doesn't. Such general understandings prove a bit helpful when shopping, but precise knowledge would be better. With a more careful reading of a nutrition panel, you can do the following:

  • Keep More Accurate Calorie Counts: A cursory glance may reveal a serving contains 230 calories. How much is a serving though? Similar products might come with dramatic differences in calories, but you need to look closer at the serving size. 130 per 1/2 cup is less than 200 per cup, but that only becomes obvious when you carefully read the nutritional label. Calorie intake control improves the ability to maintain a desired weight.
  • Make Meals More Heart Healthy: Not everything you eat ends up being good for you. Minimizing "bad stuff" from your diet requires effort since so many foods come with unhealthy ingredients. Saturated fat and cholesterol present well-known risks to the heart. Sodium, due to water retention issues, also presents cardiac woes. Reading labels makes it easier to screen out foods unhelpful to the heart-health conscious.
  • Engage in Targeted Carb Intake: Eating too many carbohydrates plays a role in weight gain. Eating a lot of carbs also provides dietary support to people needing energy. Finding a smart balance involves knowing the carb content of your foods. Eating good carbs at the right time of the day maximizes the benefits of carb-heavy foods. By reading the panel, you can choose food with the proper balance of carbohydrates and fiber minus added refined sugar.
  • Avoid Eating Too Much of a Good Thing: Overdoing it with vitamins and minerals might not be wise. A watchful, label-reading eye keeps you from ingesting too much of beneficial ingredients. Sometimes, excess consumption of a particular nutrient can cause unwanted problems.

Consistently reading food labels won't make you an expert in nutrition, but it can assist in improving your diet. Maybe that is good enough.

For more information about nutrition facts panels, contact a company such as