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Health Tip: Reading Food Labels

How to interpret them

(HealthDay News) - Reading and understanding the nutrition facts label on food products can help you maintain a well-balanced diet that contains healthy amounts of fat and calories.

Here are guidelines to help you interpret food labels, courtesy of the American Academy of Family Physicians:

  • Pay attention to the serving size -- usually the first line on the label. The serving size is the manufacturer's estimate of how much a person is likely to eat at one time. If you eat more than the serving size, be sure to increase the label's other values accordingly.
  • The percent daily value shows, for each ingredient, how much of that ingredient's recommended daily amount you are getting in each serving.
  • Limit foods with unhealthy amounts of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.
  • Favor foods with healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals.
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