I'm going to show you how to do something
that the majority of Americans do incorrectly: Read food labels. You must
know how to read food labels to accurately determine how much protein,
fat and carb calories you are actually getting per serving.
Getting the correct quantity of protein
and carbs is quite easy. You simply take the gram amount listed in the
amount per servings column and then multiply that number by 4 (one gram
of protein or carbohydrates equals 4 calories). This will give you the
total number of protein or carbs per serving. See example below:
One scoop of Precision Protein powder will
give you 10 calories of carbs (2.5 x 4) per serving, and 80 calories of
protein (20 x 4) per serving. Getting the TRUE fat content is a little
Because most Americans are so fat conscious,
food manufacturers try to give their products more appeal by making them
low fat (or at least appear so). When the labels says "low fat", that
does not necessarily mean that it is true. When a product says "low fat"
it is usually referring to the total fat calorie amount per serving.
So, if a product has one 1 gram of fat,
it has a total of 9 calories of fat per serving (one gram of fat equals
9 calories) and can be labeled low fat. Seems ok, right? Well, we don't
know yet, since this is not the complete way to determine the actual fat
content of the product. To really
know if the product is low in fat, you must take into account the TOTAL
number of calories per serving that the food provides.
So, if the product has 9 calories of fat
per serving and the total calorie amount per serving is 18 calories, then
the product is 50% fat per serving. Would anyone who wants low fat foods
knowingly eat a food that is 50% fat? Of course not. But people do it
all the time because they see it labeled as "low-fat".
To get the true fat amount you must take
into account the serving size.
Fortunately, this product is 100 calories
per serving, so that means that each serving is 9% fat. This product is
actually low in fat, low in carbs and very high in protein.
Here is another example:
Original Parmesan Cheese
A regular 8oz container of Kraft Original
Parmesan Cheese says on the label that it has 1.5 grams of fat per serving.
Seems pretty low, right? Well let's see.
To find out the true fat content, first
multiply the number of fat grams (1.5) by 9 to get the number of fat calories
per serving (13.5 calories). Then divide that number by the total calories
per serving (Calories per serving is 20). This will give you the percentage
of fat you get for each serving of this product.
After this calculation, I learn that this
cheese is approximately 68% fat. This is not a good product for a low
Here's the formula again:
- (Total grams of fat per serving) x (9)
= Total fat calories per serving
- (Total fat calories per serv.) / (calories
per serving) = percentage of fat calories per serving
Thanks to a new rule by the FDA to help
stop label deception, all food labels should have a new calculation named
"calories from fat". This is the first calculation above. Then, to get
the percentage of fat for each serving, simply divide that number by the
calories per serving (step #2 above).
Food Label Terms
The FDA has created rules regarding the
use of certain terms on food labels. To understand what the food actually
contains, you must know what these terms mean.
Calorie " = Contains no more than 40 calories per serving.
- "Reduced Calorie" =
Contains 25% fewer calories per serving than regular product
- "Calorie-Free" = Contains
less than 5 calories per serving
Sodium" = Containing 140mg of sodium or less per serving.
- "Very Low Sodium" =
Containing 35mg of sodium or less per serving.
Fat Terms (non-meat)
= Contains no more than 0.5g of fat per serving.
- "Low Cholesterol" =
Contains no more than 20g of cholesterol and less than 2g of saturated
fat per serving.
- "Low Fat" = Contains
no more than 3g of fat per serving
Fat Terms (meat products)
= Contains no more than 10g of fat, no more than 4.5g of which is saturated
fat, also contains less than 95mg of cholesterol per serving
- "Extra Lean" = Contains
no more than 5g of fat, no more than 2g of which is saturated fat, also
contains less than 95mg of cholesterol per serving
"No", "Zero" = Containing no amount, or a trivial
= Containing less than 0.5g per serving
- "Good Source"
= Provides 10%-19% of Daily Value per serving
= Can mean one of three things:
a) provides 1/3 fewer calories or 1/2 the amount of fat as the regular
product per serving
b) if it's a "low fat", "low-calorie" food, it can
be called "light" if it provides 1/2 the normal fat present
c) can be referring to the actual color of the food itself