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What are healthy ingredients to look for on a food's nutrition label?

Dr. Andrea Pennington, MD
Integrative Medicine
If you eat 2 servings of a food, you will consume double the calories and double the % daily value (% DV) of the nutrients listed on the nutrition facts label. When you look at a food's nutrition label, first check the calories and then check the nutrients to decide whether the food is worth eating. Names for added sugars (caloric sweeteners) include sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, and fructose. Total intake of fat should be in the range of 20% to 35% of the calories you eat daily. Most sodium you eat is likely to come from processed foods, not from the salt shaker. Read the nutrition facts label and choose foods lower in sodium and higher in potassium. Use the % Daily Value column: 5% DV or less is low and 20% DV or more is high. Keep these low: saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium. Get plenty of these: potassium and fiber, vitamins A, C, and D, calcium, and iron. Check the calories: 400 or more calories per serving of a single food item is high.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.