Sometimes, nutrition labels can be confusing. You always hear about low calories and sugar-free, but what does that mean? Don’t you want to be eating food with a nutrition label you can understand? Picking up snacks with ingredients you can’t pronounce can be scary. It’s important to choose a nutritious bar with organic ingredients, superfoods, and ingredients that you’ve heard of.
What’s in a Label?
Serving Size – The number of servings in a package. If the serving says 1 cup, and you eat 2, you are getting double the calories, fats, sugars, and more.
Calories – This is an important factor, especially when taking in serving size. If you double the serving size, you will double the calories. Higher calorie foods are worth eating if they have all the proper nutrients.
Total Fat – It is hoped that most of this fat comes from unsaturated fat. If it does, you are good to go! If the label reads trans fat, put it back! Continue reading to find out why.
Trans Fat – Trans fat has been shown to increase levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease “good” HDL cholesterol, which is a nutrition tragedy. It does two bad things to your body at once.
Saturated Fat – Similar to trans fat, saturated fat isn’t great for you, either. It is linked with an increased risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. It is advised to eat less than 20 grams of saturated fat per day.
Cholesterol – Cholesterol is an essential part of cell membranes that is a fatlike chemical. Only animal products contain cholesterol. Too much of it puts you at risk for heart disease. It is also the building block of hormones and nerve-cell fibers.
Sodium (salt) – Excess sodium can raise blood pressure, therefore increasing the risk for heart disease. Typically, it’s a sign for highly processed foods. 805mg is the suggested limit. The labels typically state the daily limit at 2,300 mg.
Dietary Fiber – Fiber will help you maintain good health and will reduce your risk of anemia and osteoporosis. It helps you digest the food that you eat. Food is considered high fiber when it contains 5% or more per serving.
Sugars – Sugars can get tricky because the label doesn’t distinguish between naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars consist of sugars found in fruit or the lactose in milk. Added sugars could be brown rice syrup or high-fructose corn syrup, which would make the calorie count and trans fat skyrocket. Look at the ingredients for words that end in –ose, like fructose or glucose, which indicates added sugar.
Protein – Most people get enough protein effortlessly because it is found in meat. In fact, people who eat a normal diet are probably getting too much. A good rule of thumb per person is .45 grams of protein a day per pound.
Vitamins and Minerals – The main types of vitamins found on nutrition labels are vitamin A, C, D, calcium, and iron. These also help reduce health problems. These are found in the food naturally, along with anything else added to it.
When it comes to labels, sometimes there are loopholes. For example, a product can contain up to 0.5% trans fat but can still show that it has 0%. Look at the ingredients for hydrogenated oil or shortening—these definitely contain trans-fat.
The Santa Barbara bar is a great snack or meal replacement, contains no refined sugars, and is GMO-free! You can pronounce everything on the label of The SB Bar. Find your nearest retailer and be sure to pick one up today! Nutritious Tastes Great!