Reading food labels and controlling portion sizes

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Food labels are an extremely important tool when trying to make healthier diet decisions; however, many people are confused about what to look for when reading food labels.

The very first thing you should look at is the serving size, as serving sizes vary greatly among the different food choices.

The serving size acts as your reference point when reviewing the rest of the nutritional information on the label. The three major nutrients to look at on food labels are the fat, carbohydrate and protein content.

When looking at the fat content, be sure to look at both total fat and saturated fat contents. Try to avoid foods with a saturated fat content that is more than half the percentage of the total fat.

Different forms of carbohydrates are listed on food labels, such as sugar and fiber amounts. Paying attention to carbohydrates is especially important for individuals with blood sugar issues and diabetes.

Portion control also plays a major role in maintain a healthy diet. The ‘My Plate’ model serves as a great resource for individuals trying to manage and pick the right portions for different types of food.

The model demonstrates that ¼ of our meal should consist of a lean protein food item, ¼ should consist of a starch choice and ½ should consist of vegetables and/or fruits. Making the right food choices and maintaining a healthy diet can often be an overwhelming process.

Fortunately, the exceptional team of registered dietitians at Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center are dedicated to educating individuals and families about reading food labels, making the right choices and controlling portions to get them on track to healthier lifestyles.

Spokesperson Background:
Beverly Paddock is a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian at Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center.

Paddock received a Bachelor of Science from University of Georgia in 1979.

She became a registered dietician through a work-study program in Florida in 1982, and became a certified diabetes educator in 1983.