Have you ever found yourself at the grocery store, comparing two or more product labels in a state of confusion?
Have you ever found yourself at the grocery store, comparing two or more product labels in a state of confusion? Do you focus on the fat, calories, percentages? It can all get very overwhelming, plus it all depends on your personal goals.
That little label can give you big insight into what you’re putting into your body. At Lifesum, we’re continually striving to make healthy habit changes as easy as possible for you. Which is why we’ve made product analysis easy for you with our brand new feature: the Barcode Comparison Scanner.
The new barcode scanner feature makes eating healthy easy by interpreting that plethora of nutrition information for you and instantly comparing it to another product. Simply scan the barcode of the first product by taking a picture of it with the new feature. The name of the food will pop up with a green check mark next to it, indicating that the app has registered it.
Then all the analyzing happens behind the scenes to determine which product that has a higher nutritional value. Tah-dah! And the winner is…You’ll see a quick summary of the reasons why the product won as well as a comparison of nutrition facts for each. Place the winner in your shopping basket and off you go to better wellness!
When it comes to choosing one food or drink over another, the nutrition label can give you some key insights into the quality of the food. So let’s break down some of the basics of checking nutrition labels and what to look for.
Shown in bold on the nutrition labels are the calories and serving sizes. So make sure you check the portion size. Keep in mind that the serving size is a good reference point rather than one-size-fits-all because we all have different nutrient needs. If you want to learn more about your particular needs, download Lifesum.
When it comes to calories, the amount to look for can depend on your personal needs, such as your height, weight, and activity level. The first step is to get the right amount you need to fuel your body and the second step is to make sure they come from good, nutritious sources.
Unsure how many calories you need? Check out this article: The Calorie Goal, Explained.
The third section of the food label displays ingredients that can impact your health. As a rule of thumb, it's best to aim for products with less saturated or hydrogenated fats, sodium, and added sugars. That’s because eating too many of these types of foods increases your risk for some health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes (1).
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day and less than 10% of calories from saturated fats in order to reduce the risk of heart disease (2, 3). The total sugar includes both natural and added sugars. The added sugars are best to keep at about 10% or less of total daily calories (4).
There are also nutrients that are good to focus on because they can improve your health! These include dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium. These are highlighted on the nutrition label because most Americans don’t get enough.
The percent Daily Value is just as the name describes, a percentage of the Daily Value for each nutrient in a serving of the food. In general, if a food is 5% or less of a nutrient per serving, it’s considered to be low, while if it's 20% or more, it's considered to be high (1).
Ingredients often get ignored but these can sometimes be more important or insightful than the food label. They are listed in order of descending weight so pay close attention to the first few ingredients.
As a rule of thumb, go for the ingredients you know how to pronounce and those that are closer to the way they are found in nature. For recipes that contain lots of healthy ingredients, check out Lifesum.
All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.