Monday, July 2, 2012

Glossary: Basic Food Label Definitions

To start off, this is a list of some words (with their basic definitions) that I will be using in my blog.  Often, you may see me refer to these words in my posts.  Most of you know what these words mean already, but it will be good reference to look back on if you forget what these are, or if you are unsure of their meaning.


Calories: measures how much energy a food provides to the body

Fat: an important source of energy, contains 9 calories per gram (compared to 4 calories per gram in carbs and protein).  Too much fat can lead to health problems such as heart disease and cancer.

Subcategories of fat:

Unsaturated fat: known as the "good fats", do not raise cholesterol levels

Saturated fat: known as the "bad fats", raises LDL (bad cholesterol) levels

Trans fat: the worst type of fat, raises LDL (bad cholesterol) levels AND lowers HDL (good cholesterol) levels.  The body is unable to burn or use trans fats, which causes them to build up and clog our arteries.

Cholesterol: used by body for many functions including production of vitamin D and certain hormones.  High levels of cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Sodium: a component of salt.  Helps keep proper body fluid balance.  Too much sodium can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke.

Carbohydrates: the body's primary source of energy

Fiber: helps move food through the digestive system and helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time

Protein: helps build muscle and protects the immune system

Sugar: "sweet", plays major role in obesity, (added sugars) rarely comes with any valuable nutrients

Source: Read it Before you Eat it

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