Yesterday we started a study of the nutrition label. So let’s continue that.
We looked at the top section which gives the serving size and how many servings in the container whether box or bag. The next part is the calories.
This represents the number of calories per serving. The calorie is a unit of energy. It is the standard for measuring the energy produced by different foods. A calorie is a calorie. A calorie of meat is the same as a calorie of spinach. They produce the same energy.
When you see the calories listed, be sure and check the serving size. This label shows 250 calories per cup. If you would normally eat 2 cups then you would have to double the calories. The important thing about calories is the quality of calories. A 150 calorie Twinkie is going to give you different nutrients than 150 calories worth of Kale. So the number of calories is certainly helpful but it doesn’t give the whole story.
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According to the FDA when looking at the number of calories, 40 is low, 100 is moderate, and 400 is high. They also add that eating too many calories per day is linked to overweight and obesity–you think. So calories can be a guideline. We will discuss the governments recommended number of calories in another blog.
Also in this section is how much of these calories per serving is made up of fat calories. If you are watching fat, although fat is a much maligned component, then you can instantly tell how much of it is fat. Here you can see that almost half the calories are fat. Actually 44% is fat. That is probably a high percentage of fat. Our bodies need a certain amount of fat. But this amount is high in itself. The next step would be to see what kind of fat it is. Some fats are worse than others. So the next section will show what kinds of fat make up this 110 calories. Fat is denser than carbohydrates for example. A gram of fat has nine calories whereas a gram of protein or carbohydrates has only four. Fat has little nutrients. You will read a wide variety of opinions about fat. Some diets will say it isn’t fat that makes you fat (Atkins) and others will say that too much fat is bad for you (Dr. Fuhrman). We will go into this more in the next section when we write about the kinds of fat.
Some products you see will be mostly fat. Salad dressing is like that. It’s not unusual to see 180 calories and 170 calories from fat. Anything with oil in it is mostly fat. I don’t like to see soybean oil in the list on ingredients. It’s just something I would rather not eat. That’s why I have finally found a low fat recipe for dressing that actually tastes good.
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