How to Read Nutrition Labels

Nutrition Labels

Nutrition labels are quite confusing, even for those educated in nutrition. With the tips and information provided on this page you can learn the basics of how to read a nutrition label. It will help you to understand the importance of reading the ingredient list. Besides that I give tips on what to look for when choosing the best, healthiest foods possible. Reading and understanding nutrition labels is a skill you can learn. Using three steps I teach you how to do it!

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How to read nutrition labels?

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Step 1

Look at the quantity. Most labels use 'per 100 gram' or 'per ounce'. Find out how you consume in one portion. If you consume 200 grams of the food you obviously need to multiply it by 2. For 50 grams that means you need to divide it by 2. Of course you will have to make more complex calculations. Ask your math teacher for advice! Some products have pre-calculated serving sizes.

Step 2

Look at the macronutrients. Next it is important to see how many of each macro nutrient the food contains.

1. Calories are most important when looking for the right food. Want to gain weight? Then pick one with a lot of calories per serving. If you want to lose weight you want to limit the calories per serving.
2. Protein is a great nutrient, so if there is a lot of it in the food, you have made a good choice.
3. Carbohydrates are great for energy. You can also see 'of which sugars'. Sugar should be low (one-third of the total carbohydrates or less).
4. Fats are also great for energy. However they add up to the amount of calories quickly! Look at what kind of fats it contains. Saturated fats are bad so limit them. Same goes for transfats. Unsaturated fats are the good ones!
5. Vitamins and minerals are also great. Not all labels contain them, but if they do pick the product with the most vitamins and minerals. You can often see the percentages of daily needs for them!

Step 3

Look at the ingredients. Finally you might want to check out the ingredients. If you are allergic to certain things this should be a habit. Regardless it’s great to know what is in your food. Ingredients are ranked from common to least common. So when sugar is on top of the list, most of the product contains sugar.

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