How to Read a Food Label

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Cholesterol and sodium are straightforward -- the lower they are, the better for you. High amounts of sodium and cholesterol lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Carbohydrates are then broken down, much like the fats. Look for plenty of fiber -- it's a beneficial part of your diet. Unfortunately, the sugar isn't categorized, so try to avoid high-sugar foods and drinks. Sugars can include high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, or any other sugar, so you'll have to check the ingredients list. That's a good thing to get in the habit of doing anyway. You do want to know what you're eating, right?

Protein is the last major item, and foods that are rich in protein are great nutrition for your body, supplying both energy and the amino acids your body requires to function. Foods that have higher protein content than fat are excellent choices.

In all sections, %DV (percent daily values) are given. You can use this to estimate how much of a product you need to meet your dietary requirements for the day by adding together the percents for all the foods you'll eat in a day. Remember to multiply by the number of servings.