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Decrypt food labels

Understanding what exactly is in food is key to keeping healthy food in your kitchen.

Understanding what exactly is in the foods you buy is key to keeping healthy food in your kitchen. However, food labels are not always easy to decipher. What exactly do you get when you buy "juice", "bread from several types of cereals" or "low-fat foods"? 
Increasingly, terms such as "fresh", "no additives" and "natural" can be found on labels. Even more confuse us with various measures of measurement. Although these products look good on packages, these terms are not regulated, which means they do not necessarily mean that these products are better for you.
If you get lost reading these labels, you're not alone. Experts found that half of consumers understand what is written on food labels only "partially", although 2 out of 10 consumers said they read them all the time.
The secret to reading labels is knowing what to look for. If you understand the language of labels, making healthy purchases will not be so difficult for you. 
The most important and reliable information on the label is usually indicated in the composition of the product, as well as in the list of ingredients.
Here is the information that is most important:
Calories. Despite all the talk about carbohydrates and fats, calories are exactly what matters when controlling weight. So the first thing you need to look for on the label the number of calories per serving. Some manufacturers are trying to make information about the calories on the labels easier to find, indicating it in larger and bold letters.
Serving size and number of servings per package. This information is critical to understanding everything else on the label. Sometimes with the number of servings there is confusion, because some manufacturers put in the packaging, which most of the consumers consider as one-serving packaging, two servings of food, hoping that consumers will better perceive these numbers on the label.
Alimentary fiber. They help us to get enough, but for this you need to use at least 25 grams of fiber daily. In order for food to be considered rich in fiber, it is necessary that it contains at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are sources of fiber.
Fat. Fat contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates and proteins. All fats contain 9 calories / gram. If possible, choose foods with unsaturated fats, and limit the intake of foods containing saturated and trans fats (also called trans fatty acids). Manufacturers in some countries are required to list the amount of trans fat per serving starting January 1, 2006. This information already appears on the labels. At the same time, pay attention to terms such as "partially hydrogenated" or "hydrogenated", which indicate that the product contains trans fats.
The amount of sodium per serving. It is necessary to limit sodium intake to 2300 mg per day (less than 1 teaspoon of salt) for healthy adults, and 1500 mg for people with health problems or hereditary high blood pressure. To reduce sodium intake, choose less processed foods.
Sugar. It adds calories, and is often indicated on the label under such "pseudo" terms as "fructose-rich corn syrup," "dextrose," "inverted sugar," etc. Choose foods that contain less than 5 grams of sugar per serving to control your calorie intake.
% of daily requirement. This rate reflects the percentage of certain nutrients contained in the food in the diet caloric content of 2000 calories. This rule gives a rough idea of the amount of nutrients contained in the products of your diet.
List of ingredients. Manufacturers are required to list all the ingredients contained in the product by weight. A can of tomato sauce, the first ingredient on the label which indicates the tomatoes, says that tomatoes are the main ingredient of the sauce. The spices or herbs listed at the end of the list are the fewest. This information is crucial for those who are allergic, as well as for sensible buyers who want to buy, say, more tomatoes than water, or whole grains as a leading ingredient.
Established specific rules for what food manufacturers call "light", "low", "lightweight", "does not contain", and other specific terms. Here is the complete information regarding the interpretation of these terms: 
Healthy foods should be low in fat, limited in cholesterol and sodium.
All that is labeled "does not contain" should contain only tiny amounts of ingredients in each serving. For example, “non-trans fat” or “fat free” foods may contain only 0.5 mg of trans fat or fat; Cholesterol-free foods can contain only 2 mg of cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat.
A portion of the product labeled "low sodium" may contain no more than 140 milligrams of sodium.
A portion of the product labeled "low cholesterol" may contain no more than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat.
A portion of the product labeled "low fat" may contain no more than 3 grams of fat.
A portion of "low-calorie" food can contain no more than 40 calories.
A serving of “low-fat” food should contain 25% less of a specific ingredient (for example, fat) than an ordinary serving.
A portion of "lightweight" food should contain 50% less fat or 1/3 less calories than an ordinary portion.
Are "organic" foods really the best?
Organic products must be manufactured, grown without the usual pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, biotechnologies or ionizing radiation. "Organic" animals must be fed organic feed. Such animals also can not be stabbed with hormones or antibiotics.
But are organic foods really better than regular foods?
Not necessary. It all depends on a number of factors, such as growth conditions, food storage conditions, and what nutrients you are looking for in these products.
Organic foods contain the same amount of calories, fats, proteins and carbohydrates as ordinary ones. Their nutritional composition depends on the soil, climate, growing conditions, as well as the amount of time they have come from the field and the garden to our table.
Eating freshly harvested products grown organically or in an ordinary way is ultimately a good diet, as time has a huge impact on food quality. Some fruits and vegetables grown without chemical pesticides may have higher levels of antioxidants. But there is no big difference between the nutritional composition of organic and commonly grown foods.
Are organic products really worth the extra money they pay for?
Some people prefer to buy products without pesticides. Others believe that pesticides are necessary to ensure a good harvest of products. Therefore, they prefer to thoroughly wash all products and enjoy the bounty of products at a lower cost.
Keep in mind that experts have established acceptable levels of pesticide residues in products that are significantly higher than the total in the products we buy. The decision is yours.скачать dle 12.1
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