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Healthy Living

Label Me 'Health Conscious'

Nutrition fact labels on your food can help you eat better. . .if you know how to read them. For example, a package of cookies is labeled to have only 2 grams of fat. But it also has six servings. If you eat the whole package, you consume 12 grams of fat. As a rule, check out the serving size first because all the other numbers are based on this category.

Examine the other nutrition facts for information relative to your particular health concern. If you have high blood pressure, check the sodium listing. Low-sodium foods should have no more than 140 mg per serving. If you have diabetes, watch the total carbohydrates number (sugars and starches) because of its effect on blood sugar levels.

And if you want to cut your cancer or heart disease risk, pay attention to fiber and fat, especially saturated fat. A healthy meal should keep saturated fat under 7 grams (snacks, 2) and derive no more than a third of its calories from fat. As for fiber, choose foods with at least 2 grams.

Finally, you don't need to pay much attention to daily value percentages, based on 2,000 calories per day. That's just an average, usually for an active 170-pound man. Instead, focus on your personal needs and examine milligrams and grams.


Source: ehealth Fall 1999

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