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Read food labels

  • Use the food label for a granola bar to understand the following.

    Granola bar food label
    • Serving size: The serving size lists how many calories and nutrients are in one serving of the food. If you eat twice the serving size, you are getting twice the calories, fat, carbs, sodium, etc
    • Calories and calories from fat: Calories are a measure of energy released by a food. Try to limit your food choices to those that have less than one-third calories from fat.
    • Total fat: Total fat includes all types of fat. Try to eat foods low in saturated and trans fat.
    • Saturated fat: Saturated fat raises LDL (the "bad") cholesterol. Reduce saturated fats to help protect your heart.
    • Trans fat: Trans fat can raise LDL cholesterol, lower HDL cholesterol, and add to heart disease. Eat as little trans fat as possible. Avoid foods that contain "partially hydrogenated" and "hydrogenated" oils, including shortening.
    • Cholesterol: Foods from animals (meat, fish, eggs, cheese, butter) have cholesterol.
    • Sodium: Too much sodium (salt) can lead to high blood pressure. One teaspoon of salt has 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium.
    • Total carbohydrate: Carbohydrates give your body energy. However, too many can raise your blood glucose.
    • Fiber: If the food has five or more grams of fiber, subtract half of the grams from the total carbohydrate.
    • Sugar: Sugar is included in the number of total carbohydrate.
    • Protein: Choose lean meats, poultry and fish.

    Label guidelines for fat content

    When looking for low-fat foods, check the nutrition label for the amount of fat per serving and compare it to the guidelines listed below for the maximum grams of fat per serving.

    Food choices Maximum grams of fat per serving
    Dinner entrée 10 grams
    Soup 5 grams
    Luncheon meats 3 grams
    Potato, rice, pasta, vegetable 2 grams per ounce
    Cheese 2 to 6 grams per ounce
    Yogurt 3 grams
    Crackers 3 grams
    Frozen desserts 3 grams
    Quick breads 5 grams
    Cake 2 to 5 grams
    Cookies 3 grams

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