Learning To Read a Jerky Nutrition Label Correctly
People who work to improve their health will quickly receive an education in food science. How much fat and cholesterol you should intake, what a serving size means, what vitamins are essential—all of these questions are vitally important to people looking to make a change in their diet.
If you have started to count calories but wish to savor the same delicious jerky you have always enjoyed, then you should start learning to read a jerky nutrition label correctly. Having a solid grasp of how to analyze and interpret the information on these labels will help you make the smartest decisions for your health. In this article, we will explore how to read these labels and what valuable information you can take away from them while shopping.
The serving size on a jerky nutrition label is not necessarily the recommended amount of food one should eat, but the amount of food the common eater consumes throughout a single eating occasion. Its use, therefore, is not to tell you much food you should eat, but instead to reveal how many calories are in the typical serving of jerky.
The calorie count seen on the jerky nutrition facts panel tells the consumer how many calories are in a typical serving size. Consumers often mistakenly believe the number reflects the total amount of calories in the package. But, in reality, it only matches the calories for the serving size disclosed at the top of the panel. Make sure you remember this fact as you read the jerky nutrition label.
Regardless of your diet or eating plan, calories matter. Though it is preferable to eat nutritious calories, you should at the very least reach your calorie goals every day and refrain from eating more than necessary. This will help you manage your weight and improve your overall health.
Fat and Cholesterol
Fat has a higher number of calories than carbohydrates or protein, so you should be careful of how much you consume. On a jerky nutrition label, the total fats contain two categories: saturated fat and trans fat.
Saturated Fat: Often taken from animals, saturated fats raise cholesterol and can lead to heart disease. Saturated fat should take up 10 percent of your daily calories. There is some evidence that saturated fats are better for us than previously thought, but experts still say you should avoid them.
Trans Fat: Made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, trans fat is the worst kind of fat, and the FDA is actively pushing companies to phase them out. This type of fat is usually used to increase the shelf life of food or create a particular consistency.
The total carbohydrates inform us how many grams of carbohydrates are found in one serving. Jerky is high in carbohydrates. This section of the panel includes two categories: dietary fiber and total sugars.
Dietary Fiber: As you go about the process of learning to read a jerky nutrition label correctly, you should pay extra attention to dietary fiber. You want jerky with a high fiber content because it will make you feel full for a longer period of time.
Total Sugars: Unlike fiber, a high sugar content should be a bad sign when you look at the nutrition panel. Sugar provides empty calories, meaning it increases your caloric intake while providing little to no nutrition.
Protein is a vital macronutrient for building and maintaining muscle mass. Since jerky is an excellent source of protein, you can compare the quality of different brands by focusing on how they compare in this segment. Jerky that is high in quality and crafted for nutritional value almost definitely has a higher protein value than the average jerky on the market.
When you are looking at the protein value of a particular jerky, however, make sure you compare that value against its fat. If the saturated fat is higher than the protein, then it is likely not a high-quality cut of meat. Generally, you should look for jerkies with more protein and less fat.
Vitamins and Minerals
The nutrition label will highlight the wide variety of vitamins and minerals in jerky. One item in particular, sodium, should catch the attention of people looking into the snack. Sodium has its own bolded line because a high amount could harm your health. Healthy adults should keep their sodium intake to under 2,500 milligrams per day. People with conditions like kidney disease or high blood pressure may need to consult with their doctor to learn the right amount of daily sodium for their diet.
It is essential to focus on the sodium section because many jerkies have a high sodium content. When you read the nutrition label, make sure you are not intaking more than your body can handle. Too much sodium can lead to health complications in your future, including serious conditions like heart disease and stroke.
But sodium is not the only topic explored under vitamins and minerals. The section also lists micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Jerky is a great source of iron. Look for a high iron count when you buy beef jerky online.
Percent Daily Value
On the right side of the nutrition label, you can see numbers listed as percentages. Under “% Daily Value,” you can see how much a certain nutrient contributes to your daily diet if you take in 2,000 calories per day. The closer you are to consuming 2,000 calories a day, the more accurate they are. But they are still useful for making healthy food choices if you consume more or less than that amount.
Using the percent daily value, you can quickly decide whether or not a jerky brand will provide the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy life.
Just like learning any new skill, you will improve in your nutrition label reading abilities over time and with experience. In doing so, you will develop a greater understanding of what you are consuming. This will not only make your jerky shopping experience more informed and efficient, but it will also enhance your shopping whenever you purchase any kind of labelled food.
You should hold onto this article and refer back to it as you continue your search for a delicious jerky snack. Hopefully, this will give you more confidence in your purchasing decisions.