Meeting Your Nutritional Needs Knowing which nutrients your body needs and what foods contain them is a good first step towards a healthy diet. The government has developed several types of recommendations to help you choose how much of each nutrient you need to eat to have a healthy, balanced diet. Objectives • Describe wheat the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are • Analyze the nutritional value of a food by using the information on the food label. Key Terms: • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs): Recommended nutrient intakes that will meet the needs of almost all healthy people. • Daily Value (DV): Recommended daily amount of a nutrient; used on food labels to help people see how a food fits into their diet. RDAs • RDAs are not exact requirements but are meant to serve as general guidelines for correct nutrient intake. • Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UILs) are the largest amount of a nutrient you can take without risking toxicity. Why are Recommended Dietary Allowances only guidelines and not strict rules? Understanding Food Labels Understanding Food Labels • Serving size: The size of a single serving is shown at the top of the Nutrition Facts panel. The amount of nutrients given below this are the amounts found in this size serving. Often, the portion is which certain foods, such as cookies, are sold in bigger than one serving size. Understanding Food Labels • Calories: The label must list total calories and calories from fat in a serving of the food. Labels can also list descriptions for foods that are lower in calories. • Daily Values (DVs): Recommended daily amounts of a nutrient that are used on food labels to help people see how a food fits into their diet. Understanding Food Labels • Total fat and saturated fat must be listed by weight and as a percentage of the DV. To keep your fat intake at a healthy level, look for foods that have a low percentage DV for fat. • Cholesterol must also be listed by weight and a percentage of the DV. To help keep your blood cholesterol within a healthy range, look for foods that have a low percentage DV for cholesterol. Understanding Food Labels • Sodium is listed by weight and as a percentage of the DV. To help keep your sodium intake at a healthy level choose foods that have a low percentage DV for sodium. Look for low sodium (140 milligrams of sodium or less) or reduced sodium (25% less sodium). Understanding Food Labels • Total Carbohydrates: The Nutrition facts label includes all sugars, whether they are natural, like the sugar in milk, or added like the refined sugar in cookies. • Fiber, an important complex carbohydrate, is given in grams and as a percentage of the DV per serving. Choosing foods labeled high fiber (20% or more of the DV) or a good source of fiber (10% or more of the DV) can help increase your fiber intake. Understanding Food Labels • Protein must be listed in grams. Because protein is plentiful in the American diet, the percentage of the DV is not usually listed. • Vitamins and Minerals that you need are also listed. Calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, and some B vitamins are given on labels only as a percentage of the DV. Understanding Food Labels • In your group, look at the Calories, Sugar, Fat, Fiber, Sugars, and Fiber. • The foods are not labeled, without knowing what the food is, decide if it is a healthy food choice or junk food. • You will find out what foods you are looking at after presenting your conclusions.
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