All foods have a brief biography, whether it comes plastered on the contents or in nutrition books. The nutrition label may be confusing and irrelevant to some, but it’s like a personality profile, telling the food’s major components, flaws and what’s really in it – the things that aren’t noticeable on the surface.
The American Dietetic Association survey reported that more the 60 percent of Americans pay attention to nutrition information, according to Deciphering Those Food Labels on webmd.com
A survey of 100 randomly selected FAMU students showed that close to 70 percent of the students read the nutrition label, but only 22 percent understood all of the information. Twenty-nine percent said they understood only what is important to them.
But all of the information is important, said Eric Alvarez, a TCC student one class away from nutritionist certification and operations manager of D&A Nutrition Health Stop, a store for nutritional supplements. “A lot of people only look at fat or carbs, but it’s really important to know what you’re putting in your body. According to the survey 40 percent of FAMU students agree.
Alvarez said ingredients, an often neglected part of the nutrition label, is really important, thought the survey showed only 23 percent of FAMU students feel this is important.
“Say for example you buy a can of peaches that says ‘no sugar added,’ but you look at the ingredients and it lists fructose or glucose. Those are added sugars,” Alvarez said.
Keep in mind that words like right, smart and natural are not federally regulated and could mean anything, Deciphering the Codes reported.
He added that consumers should check the nutritional content and ingredients of their favorite restaurant foods because “companies put some pretty bad things in food.”
The webmd.com article said checking ingredients is especially good to prevent reactions to food allergies, “since even trace amounts can cause a reaction.”
Also, ingredients are listed in descending order of importance, so if sugar is listed first then it is the more important ingredient.
Most nutrition labels give the percentage daily value based on a 2000-calorie diet. The percentage shows how much of the recommended daily intake a person gets in one serving.
But Alvarez said it’s almost impossible to meet your body’s daily requirements by just eating food. “That’s why multivitamins are so popular, because people aren’t getting everything they need.”
Another way to prevent consuming too much or too little of a nutrient is to pay close attention to the serving size. Get in the habit of reading all of the nutrition label,” Alvarez advises. “Especially if you are exercising or weight training, to be sure you are getting what you need.”