Nutrition Facts: How To Understand What You Eat?

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In understanding what you eat, learn the essentials of nutrient food groups, nutrition, and detox program.

These days, a wealth of nutrition info is at your fingertips. From diet books to news stories, everyone appears to have an opinion about what you ought to be eating.

It’s no secret that awesome nutrition plays an all important role in preserving wellness and a healthy weight.

While you already understand its imperative to consume a healthy diet, you might find it harder to sort through all of the data about nutrition and nutrient choices.

You might have grown up with the “Basic 4”: dairy group, meat group, grain group, and the fruits and veggies group. As nutrition science has changed, so have these nutrient groups.

Basic Nutrient Groups

Foods are grouped together when they share like nutritional properties.  Taking an account on the plan you select, you may find the food groups arranged with some slim differences.

For example, My Pyramid has a meat and beans group instead of a meat, poultry, and fish group.

Here are a few examples of a regular diet so you might stay healthy.

arrow2Grains: brown bread and rolls, whole-wheat pasta, English muffin, pocket bread, bagel, cereals, grits, oatmeal, brown rice, unseasoned pretzels, and popcorn.

arrow2Fruits: apricots, apples, bananas, dates, grapes, orange, grapefruits, grapefruit juice, mango, melon, peach, pineapple, raisins, strawberries, tangerines, and a 100 percent fruit juice.

arrow2Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, collards, green beans, peas, kale, limas, potato, spinach, squash,  tomato, sweet potatoes.

arrow2Nonfat or Low Fat Dairy: fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk or buttermilk, fat-free, low-fat, or reduced-fat cheese, fat-free or low-fat regular or frozen yogurt.

arrow2Lean Meats and poultry: beef, pork, game meats, fish, shellfish. Pick only lean meat and cut away the visible fats. Broil, roast, or poach and cut skin from fowl.

arrow2Nuts and Seeds: almond, filberts, mixed nuts, peanut, walnut, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, kidney beans, lentils, split pea.

 

A healthy eating plan will found you how much you need from every nutrient group to remain inside your calorie demands and promote excellent health.

 

A levelheaded eating plan might also help you learn:
  • How many calories you need daily?
  • How much of each food is a portion?
  • How to arrive at fit choices in each food group?

Notes on Nutrition  

One of the best places to begin taking notes about nutrition is with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA offers recommendations about what they find to be healthy eating-related habits for the general public.

And their information covers these main areas of focus: nutrition pyramid, needed nutrients, weight management, physical fitness and food safety.

Nutrition Pyramid

The USDA has revised dietary guidelines and lists a food pyramid with a color scheme to help people eat in a healthy manner.

Needed Nutrients

The USDA advises people to drink and eat a wide variety of nutrient-dense beverages and foods from the basic food groups they note in their nutrition pyramid.

They also suggest limiting alcohol, salt, added sugars, cholesterol, saturated and trans fats. And they recommend following plans like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan or their USDA Food Guide.]

Weight Management

The general weight focus of the USDA stresses that people strive to maintain body weight in a healthy range, balancing calories from beverages and foods with those expended.

And to help manage weight control as aging occurs, people are to gradually decrease the amounts of foods and beverages consumed and increase physical fitness.

Physical Fitness

The USDA desires people to regularly partake in physical activity while decreasing sedentary activities in order to promote not only healthy bodies but overall general health and psychological well-being.

Optimum activity is targeted at around 30 -90 minutes minimum a day of moderate to intense physical, depending upon weight status, age, and eating habits.

For even more health benefits, a combination of either more intense activity and / or longer periods of activity is advised for most persons instead of just 30 minutes, checking with health care providers first for approval.

Key areas of focus for physical fitness are stretching exercises for increased flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning, and calisthenics or resistance exercises to improve endurance and muscles.

Food Safety

The USDA recommends that people avoid microbial foodborne illnesses by thoroughly washing hands, surfaces where food is handled and vegetables and fruits.

They also advise against washing meats and poultry; however, separate raw foods from those that are already cooked or ready to eat when shopping, handling and storing foods.

They also recommend that foods need to be cooked at temperatures safe enough to destroy microorganisms and promptly stored in refrigeration or freezers if perishable.

 

And they advise people to avoid:
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk
  • Products created from unpasteurized milk
  • raw or partially cooked eggs
  • Foods containing raw eggs
  • Raw or undercooked poultry and meats
  • Unpasteurized juices
  • Raw sprouts.

Read Nutrition Labels

There are so many nutrients in food, so many ingredients, and so many facts to know about what’s supposedly good for you and what’s supposedly not?

But by failing to read the small print, particularly the “Nutrition Facts” panel and the ingredients list, consumers may not be aware of what else they are getting, namely added sugars and trans fats.

“We believe – and emerging science confirms – that a high- carbohydrate diet, particularly one that includes a significant amount of added sugars in a variety of forms, contributes to many health-related concerns,” said nutritionist Colette Heimowitz, vice president of education and research for Atkins Health & Medical Information Services. “Thus, it’s crucial to read the labels on all packaged foods.”

Fortunately for all of us, the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) created a standardized format for the nutrition label that all processed and/or packaged consumer foods must affix to the outside of their product.

No matter what the food, you can easily compare its value to you with that of any other food.

There are 3 fundamental areas to look for first on a nutrition label, and they’re all conveniently grouped together near the top, just under the title “Nutrition Facts”.

What is the Serving Size: standardized amount (like cups or tablespoons or pieces) followed by the equivalent amount in the metric system (such as grams) in general.

How Many Servings per Container: Most packaged foods contain multiple servings in a single package, making it easy to double, triple, quadruple, etc. the caloric intake from that of a single serving.

What is the Amount of Calories per Serving: Typically, a single serving of around 40 calories is considered low-calorie, around 100 is considered moderate, and 400 is considered high-calorie.

Keeping tabs on the amount of servings you take in, based on the caloric intake per serving, is one great way to manage your weight.

Another is to balance out eating high-calorie foods with some low-calorie foods earlier or later in the day.

The next step to using nutrition labels to help control your weight is to get the most nutrition out of the calories you take in.

Use the Percentage Daily Value to tell you how rich in each of the required nutrients the food really is.

Daily values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. 5% or less of a nutrient’s %DV is low, 20% or more of a nutrient’s %DV is high. Limit your amount of Total Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium.

No daily requirement exists for Trans-Fats (the most dangerous kind), though their quantity per serving does appear on the label. So, just be sure to keep them to an absolute minimum.

Make sure to get plenty of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.

Knowing what ingredients should not be in products is equally crucial. The front of the package may say “no trans fats,” but the ingredients list might reveal trace amounts of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

A product that contains less than 1 gram of these oils is not required to include them on the Nutrition Facts panel.

The only way you can be sure that a product is free of these unnatural, harmful fats is if there is no mention of them in the detailed ingredients list.

Avoiding added sugars also is important. Natural sugars in milk and fruit are fine, while added processed sugars, such as sucrose (table sugar) or corn syrup, should not be part of any healthy diet.

Intake of sugar alcohols, which often are used in low-carb products to replace sugar and add bulk, also should be monitored.

Once you have gathered all the information you need, you simply ask yourself if a food choice is a wise choice for you in terms of both calories and nutrients, and whether it makes more sense for you as part of a meal or as a standalone snack.

If the answers to these questions don’t satisfy you for a particular food, then the next question to ask yourself is whether you can find a suitable alternative. The answer that question is almost invariably, ‘Yes’.

Indeed, there’s no need to worry if you are eating right through understanding proper nutrition and what exactly are you eating.

 


POINTS TO REMEMBER

Basic Nutrient Groups

  • Grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nonfat or Low Fat Dairy
  • Lean Meats and Poultry
  • Nuts and Seeds

A levelheaded eating plan might also help you learn:

  • How many calories you need daily?
  • How much of each food is a portion?
  • How to arrive at fit choices in each food group?

A Healthy Guide to a Good Nutrition

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fat
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals and Trace Elements

Read Nutrition Labels

3 Fundamental Areas to Look for:

  • What is the serving size
  • How many servings per container
  • What is the amount of calories per serving

It’s crucial to know the ingredients of the products.

TAKEAWAY QUESTIONS

– Are you aware of the nutrition you are eating?

– Does your diet includes some of the basic food groups?

– Do you follow some sort of healthy food guide?

– Are you satisfied with the good nutrition you are getting from what you eat?

– Do you take time to read the nutrition labels of the food products you are buying?


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