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Healthy Living: New Nutrition Labels


Have you ever wondered how much saturated fat is in your ground beef?  Or which has more protein_ ground chicken or ground turkey?

Until recently, if you wanted to answer these questions you had to dig in and do your own research. But now all you have to do is pick up a package at the grocery store.

For decades, virtually all packaged foods sold in the U.S. have been required to have a nutrition label, indicating ingredients and content of fat, protein, fiber and nutrients. This is due to the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990. Restaurant meals and some fresh foods were exempted.

But now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made it mandatory that 40 of the most popular cuts of meat also include a nutrition label on the package or the package display.

The label will allow you to pick meat based on the amount of calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, protein, sodium and iron. It will also serve as a reminder for the proper serving size of meat.

The most important part of the nutrition label is not how much fat is in the product or how many calories it has – it’s the serving size. The serving size lets you how much of a product you can have for x amount of calories. Many of us forget a serving of meat is only 4 ounces. Seeing the numbers will allow you to see how important that serving size is for weight management.

The part of the label that really helps open my eyes is seeing the % Daily Value. Let’s take a look at 80% lean ground beef’s nutrition facts panel.  There are 9 grams of saturated fat in a serving. Not so bad, right? Well,  if you slide your finger over you will see that is 43% of the daily value of saturated fat you can have during a single day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Seeing the % Daily Value really opens your eyes to what you are eating.

Now there is no need to guess how many calories are in your meat. You can look at the labels right in the store to make an informative choice for your family.


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