How to Read Fat Grams on Food Labels

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How to Calculate Nutritional Values....5

Food labels give you the number of fat grams, calories from fat, carbohydrates and proteins in foods, but you must know how to read and interpret these numbers before you can make informed food choices. Get the facts behind the numbers in this free video on nutritional calculations.

Part of the Video Series: Nutritional Calculations
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Charlotte Lawson, a registered and licensed dietitian, and I'm going to provide you with a little bit of information on how to read the nutrition facts label. And in particular, how to determine the amount of fat grams and calories that come from fat, we get provided calories from three different sources: our fat, the carbohydrates, and the protein that we consume throughout the day. Now, fat is kind of special because it contains the most calories per gram. So, special meaning that this becomes the focus a lot of times in a weight loss or weight maintenance program. There's different types of fats as well. We have saturated fats, we have polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Now, the saturated fats really are the harmful ones, meaning they increase our risk for cardiovascular disease. They build up on the arterial walls where they form that plaque or the hardening of the arteries, and again, just increase our risk for that unwanted heart conditions. Now, looking at the other types of fat the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, these actually have been proven for positive heart health, as well as good brain development, joint movement, and they often have or are found in foods that often contain also fat soluble vitamins, again, that are good for overall metabolism and well-being. Now, our saturated fat sources are really animal products as they also contain cholesterol. Those unsaturated fats like our mono and polyunsaturated are from plant and nut sources. So, if we can choose the oils over the solid fats, you are really doing better here. Now, getting back to the food nutrition facts label here, you can see the total fat listed. Now, oftentimes the product will list saturated fats or tans fats as again those are the harmful ones. Sometimes if the product is trying to promote that it's a good source of a healthy fat, they will list them underneath here as well. This product however does not. Now normally, the calculation is kind of done for us. Like I mentioned calories provide us about 10 grams excuse me, 10 calories per gram. So, the math is a little bit off here and that could be some sort of different ingredient contributing or taking away from some of the fat calories. So basically, 120 calories are coming from fat out of the total 260. Now again, this is per serving, so if you've consumed this whole container you would have to multiply this by two to see exactly how many calories you were getting from fat. Otherwise, the information here is pretty cut and dry. Like I said it will mention the bad fats as typically those are the ones you really want to be monitoring and avoiding and keeping track of in your diet, again, as they increase our health risks, and a lot of times will often provide you with the calories from fat. That's just a little bit of information on our dietary fat and how to read that nutrition facts label and really utilize it to benefit your health needs. I'm Charlotte, and eat happy.


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