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Reading Food Labels for Fat and Cholesterol

Reading Food Labels for Fat and Cholesterol

Do you ever wonder what is really in the foods you eat? The labels on canned, packaged, and frozen foods tell you. Comparing these labels will help you choose foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and calories.

Reading food labels is one of the best things you can do for your nutritional health.

What to Look For on the Label

Look for the box on the label that says, "Nutritional Facts". Then look at the numbers for each of the items below:

Total Fat

This number tells you how many grams (g) of fat are in one serving. Choose foods with the lowest numbers of total fat.

Saturated Fat

This number tells you how many grams (g) of saturated fat are in one serving. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol the most. Look for foods that have little or no saturated fat.

Cholesterol

This number tells you how much cholesterol is in 1 serving. Choose foods with the lowest numbers for cholesterol. You should eat less than 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.

Serving Size

This is the amount of food in one serving. This is important because many of us glance at say a small entree' nutrition label and see, "370 calories per serving". We don't look beyond that thinking the entire entree is 370 calories when in fact, the fine print tells you that the small package is supposed to serve 2!

Therefore, check the number of servings, then ask yourself if this is the amount you will eat. If you eat more, obviously you will get more of everything on the label, including fat, cholesterol and calories.

Calories From Fat

This number tells you how many calories from fat are in one serving. Look for foods with the fewest calories from fat.

Percent Daily Value

A large number means one serving contains a lot of that ingredient. A low number means one serving contains a small amount. Look for foods that have low numbers for total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

Sample Food Label

Reading Food Labels for Fat and Cholesterol

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