That small bag of dark chocolate-covered almonds seemed like the perfect pick-me-up for the mid-afternoon slump. After all, dark chocolate and almonds are supposed to be relatively good for you right? So you devour the bag, relishing in the savory mix of sweet and salty, and marveling at how this new nut nirvana can only be 170 calories.
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5 THINGS TO FOCUS ON WHEN READING NUTRITION LABELS
The FDA recommends focusing on the following five key areas of a nutrition label:
• Serving size – This tells how many servings are in a package and is the first place to start when reading a nutrition label. Serving sizes are given in familiar measurements such as cups or pieces but may not be the same as a typical person eats at one sitting. It is important to remember that all nutrition information on a label is based on the defined serving size, so be aware of how many servings are in the package.
• Calories – The calories listed are for one serving size. Remember that a product that’s fat-free isn’t necessarily calorie-free and the number of serving you eat determines the number of calories you are consuming.
• Percent daily value – This indicates how the nutrients in one serving of the food contribute to a recommended 2,000 calorie diet. Individuals should use this percentage to choose foods that are high in the nutrients they need and low in the nutrients they should reduce. It’s important to remember that daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
• Limit certain nutrients – Eating too much total fat, cholesterol or sodium may increase the risk of certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, some cancers and high blood pressure.
• Know what nutrients are important – Generally, Americans don’t get enough dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and potassium in their diets.