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March 10, 2014

AMEEN: Learning about food label lingo

(Continued)

Fat, sodium, and fiber: These nutrient names are pretty standard on most food labels, because knowing how much of each of them is in a certain food is what helps you determine whether or not it’s good for you. Most often, you’ll see how much you get of each listed by its weight – in grams (g) or in milligrams (mg). The following list gives you recommended numbers as helpful guidelines.

Total Fat, Saturated Fat, and Trans Fat: Total fat should be 20 percent to 35 percent of your total daily calories, with saturated fat as less than 10 percent of your daily calories. You want to try to keep your intake of trans fat as low as possible.

Sodium: This is a fancy word for “salt,” and when it comes to that – less is best. You want no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. People age 51 and older and those with certain risk factors like hypertension might want to try and limit their sodium intake further to around 1,500 milligrams per day.

Dietary fiber: In general, more fiber is better. Different types of fiber can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Fiber can also help you lose weight. Limit the amount of refined grains that you eat, and instead choose whole-grain foods, beans, peas, other vegetables, and fruit.

Does this seem like a lot of information, and more numbers to remember? You’re right, it is. What’s most important for you to understand is that we all need to pay attention to these numbers. You don’t have to memorize the important parts about every food label, but knowing how nutritional the foods are that you eat will keep you and your family healthy and happy. At the end of the day, that’s always our goal. Visit our website – www.logansportmemorial.org – for more resources on food labels and staying healthy, and access this article for future reference at any time on our blog – www.logansportmemorial.blogspot.com.

David Ameen is president and CEO of Logansport Memorial Hospital. He can be reached via email at emailus@logansportmemorial.org

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