Learn About Nutritional Analysis And Food Label Nutrition Facts
A balanced diet is a key to a healthy, happy, and disease-free body. Today, almost everything that we eat is processed and packaged. There’s a variety of health foods, supplements, and beverages marketed as ‘healthy’ for you. But a closer glance at their nutritional analysis information reveals something else.
Many people, while purchasing any food, overlook the need for its nutritional analysis. They either find it time-consuming or struggle to make sense of various nutrition terms. Contrary to what you may think, doing a nutritional analysis of food isn’t as challenging as it may seem. Let’s find out how.
What Does Nutritional Analysis Mean?
Woman examining a food label, Credits: Pixabay
It is the process of finding out about the exact nutritional value and content of various food items. It is displayed in a tabular form at the back of any food packet in as nutrition label.
It displays information about the various macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in your food of choice. It also displays calories, i.e., the total amount of energy that your body will gain after eating a particular serving size.
The amounts of all these nutrients are given in the form of serving size and %DV (the percentage of daily recommended amounts based on a 2000 calorie diet). For example, a 6% DV of protein will mean that the food provides 6% of the daily requirement of protein for a person consuming a 2000 calorie diet.
However, a point to remember is that everyone consumes varying amounts of calories per day. Based on that, you need a higher or lower %DV.
How to Do a Nutritional Analysis of Food?
Follow the steps below to easily read nutrition labels and find out if a particular food is good for you or not.
Determining the serving size.
Use percent Daily Values (DV) to know how much to eat
Read the various nutrition terms
Analyze if the food is good for you or not
1. Determining the Serving Size
Two serving sizes of food, Credits: Pixabay
Check the serving size as well as the total number of servings that the food you’re purchasing consists of. Serving size refers to the amount/quantity of food that you’ll be eating during your mealtime. If the serving size is mentioned as one cup on the label, you need to ensure that you are eating accordingly.
2. Use Percent Daily Values (DV) to Know How Much to Eat
A food label showing its nutrition facts, Credits: Pixabay
As mentioned above, the DV of the food is based on a 2000 calorie diet. Not everyone requires the same amount of calories every day. You may not need a 100 percent DV for certain nutrients. A low DV is 5 percent or less, while a high DV is around 20 percent.
Keep in mind that you need a low DV of trans and saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Contrarily, you need a high DV of micronutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
3. Read the Various Nutrition Terms
Food nutrition label, Credits: Pixabay
When you read the label, you can find various terms like calorie, cholesterol, fat, sodium, or a specific nutrient. Find out the number of calories in a single serving. If they are less than 50, then the item is genuinely a low-calorie one.
A product is considered low in cholesterol and fat when it has less than 20 milligrams of cholesterol in it and less than 2 grams of saturated fat in a single serving. If a food item claims to provide 10-19 percent of the requirement for a vitamin or mineral, it is considered a good source of that specific micronutrient.
You can say that a particular food item is a calorie or sugar-free when it has less than six calories in a single serving and below 1 gram of fat or sugar in a single-serve. Food is said to be low in sodium when it provides less than 140 mg of it.
4. Analyze if the Food Is Good or Bad for You
Woman with healthy and unhealthy food, Credits: Pixabay
After you’ve examined all the nutrition terms and how much nutrients you will get from it, you can easily ascertain if that food is good for you or not. A food item should always be low in saturated, trans fat, and cholesterol. It should also have minimal amounts of sugar in it. Additionally, you should aim for a food item having a high DV of vitamins and minerals.
Can You Analyse Nutrition Content of Fruits and Vegetables?
Variety of fruits and vegetables, Credits: Pixabay
Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t come with a nutritional label. In such cases, you can go online and check what kind of nutrients they contain. You can also find out how many calories are there in a single serving of a fruit or vegetable.
Let’s do a nutritional analysis of avocado as an example. If you go online, you can find out that a container of avocado consists of three servings. A single serving (50 g) of avocado has about 80 calories. It fulfills your daily requirement of 10% monounsaturated fat and has zero cholesterol and sodium. It also provides a variety of other vitamins and minerals.
Thus, we see that by merely reading the nutritional label, you can find out so much about its health benefits. Food a fact of life nutritional analysis aims to arm you with the correct information you need to make healthy food choices. It is also essential to enable you to become smart and stop simply believing everything that advertisements of different food items propagate to increase their sales.