Reading the nutrition facts label is about so much more than seeing how many calories are in your food. But what really matters—and what things should you look for when picking out your meals and snacks? Well, this is a loaded question and there is a ton of information to dissect. But have no fear, CF Nutrition is here to help you break down the nutrition facts label with our top 5 tips. Find out more below.
Tip 1: Acknowledge the servings per container.
Ever notice how big that bag of popcorn is? Or how large that king-size candy bar seems? Well, my friends, the truth is it probably isn’t meant for one person or one serving. When looking at the nutrition facts label, check out the section above the total calories that says ___ servings per container.
However, always use your mindful eating skills and enjoy your favorite snack or sweets until you feel full. So instead of mindlessly crunching on that popcorn until there isn’t anything left, eat slowly and enjoy every bite. Once you feel satisfied, clip it up and put it back in the pantry to enjoy later.
Tip 2: Look out for added sugar.
Did you know that the FDA now requires companies to include the amount of added sugar on food labels? This is excellent news because it helps us see the difference between sugars that are naturally occurring versus the sugars that are added. Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods like fruit and milk while added sugars are sugars and syrups that are put into foods during preparation or processing. The American Heart Association recommends keeping your total added sugar intake to less than 10% of the total calories you take in per day; in a typical 2000 calorie diet, this equates to 20g per day. But ideally, your goal should be to limit added sugar as much as possible.
CF Nutrition prides itself on limiting added sugar in our products. We use stevia to sweeten our drinks, which comes from a plant and is a natural source. When you look at CF(Protein)®, you may notice it has 14g of sugar but 0g of added sugar. That means the sugar is naturally sourced. CF(Preop)® contains only 4g of added sugar and CF(Rehydrate)® & CF(Rehydrate) Immunity +® have less than 1g of added sugar per serving.
Tip 3: When it comes to fat, type matters.
Did you know there are four types of fat—saturated, trans, polyunsaturated (PUFA), and monounsaturated (MUFA)? On the nutrition facts label, you will always see total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat. Sometimes, you may also see polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.
Often, we think of fat as being “bad” for us. But not all fat is bad. Trans fat is the worst type of fat. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding trans fat and limiting saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories. To further reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), the AHA recommends limiting saturated fat to less than 7% of total calories. So, when looking at the nutrition facts label, it is best to choose foods that have 0g trans fat and no or a low amount of saturated fat.
MUFA and PUFA are good types of fat and should be included in your diet every day. You will often hear one specific type of PUFA is an omega-three fatty acid. The term omega 3 has to do with where the double bond is. Omega 3s are essential to consume from your diet because the body cannot make them. This is why omega 3s are called essential fatty acids. CF(Protein)® contains chia seed oil and is rich in omega 3. Omega 3 consumption is essential to a healthy diet and poses many benefits to your health—including helping prevent/lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Omega 3s are not only good for your heart but also your brain, immune system, skin, and joints.
Tip 4: Fill up on fiber.
Fiber is an essential part of an everyday diet. Unfortunately, most Americans fall short of the recommended amount of fiber to consume each day. So, when reading the nutrition facts label, checking the fiber content is crucial. On average, Americans consume about 15 grams of fiber per day, far lower than the recommended daily intake, regardless of age or gender. The recommended daily intake (RDA) for total fiber intake for men and women 19-50 years of age is 38gram/day and 25gram/day, respectively. The RDA for men and women over 51 is 31gram/day and 21 grams/day, respectively.
The best ways to increase fiber intake are choosing whole grains whenever possible, consuming legumes and beans, and increasing fruit and vegetable intake. Fiber can also help maintain a healthy weight. High-fiber foods are typically more filling than lower-fiber foods. They also help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Satiety is the term used to describe your fullness. Fiber increases satiety after a meal. If you are looking to lose weight, increasing your fiber intake may help by increasing satiety and preventing the intake of excess calories. Fiber also helps regulate bowel movements, keep blood glucose levels in the normal range, and helps increase satiety which can support weight management.
Consuming CF(Protein)® can help you meet the RDA for Fiber and get all the benefits of consuming adequate amounts of fiber in an easy, on-the-go format. There are 13g of vegetable fiber per one 8 ounce bottle of CF(Protein)®.
Tip 5: Less is more when it comes to ingredients.
Ever pick up a snack or drink at the supermarket and look at the ingredients list only to find 25 different items? Oftentimes, there are some items you can’t even pronounce! That is why we recommend simple, short ingredient lists—the fewer, the better. When looking for snacks, sauces, meats, and more—aim to find clean products that don’t have a laundry list of ingredients you can’t pronounce. At CF Nutrition, we keep our ingredients list short and sweet—providing you with everything your body needs and nothing it doesn’t.
Overall, reading the nutrition facts label is all about looking at a few key things to ensure you are buying quality products. Use these 5 tips to make grocery shopping—and healthy eating—a breeze!
Ready to start adding premium products that check all the boxes when it comes to the nutrition facts label? You can order CF (Preop)® here, CF(Rehydrate)® here, or CF (Protein)® here. And, as always, don’t forget to browse the rest of the CF Nutrition blog for empowering health, wellness, and lifestyle tips.