Reading a food label can be tricky. But it is the key step in deciding if the food is worth consuming. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always good choices but when it comes to the cereal aisle, it can be a little intimidating. First look at the serving size. Does it say half a cup or a whole cup? Can you deal with eating this amount at breakfast? If you will eat more than the serving size, remember to double or triple the fat, sugar, carbohydrates, etc to accommodate for the amount you plan to consume. Next, look at the sugar and carbohydrates. Is the sugar over 15 grams? Is the sugar more than half of the carbohydrates? If you answered yes to both of these questions then the cereal is loaded with sugar. Shortly after sugar is ingested, our body sends out a burst of insulin to cover the sugar but the sugar actually turns into fat which can cause weight gain. What happens with sugar is exactly like the effects of heroin. (Scary huh!?) It signals our dopamine receptors, the feel good feeling we get from eating sweets, and then when the sugar has gone through our system, we crave more. It is a vicious cycle and if we just cut down on the amount of sugar we eat, this cycle won’t happen. I am not saying to cut it out completely, just choose healthier foods especially when dealing with yogurts, cereals, snacks, and desserts. It is possible! Anyone can do it whether you are a sugar addict or not. Next on the nutrition label, look at the vitamins and minerals list. Does it have them? If so, great! If not, it probably is not worth consuming. Next, look at the fiber. It has been found that the average American only consumes half of the recommended amount of fiber daily. For children, it is recommended for them to eat 14g of fiber per every 1,000 calories consumed. Fiber is found in a variety of foods. Whole grain cereals, oatmeal, flax seeds, granola bars, beans, nuts, wheat breads, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber is essential to the digestive process. It helps slow down the eating process and allows us to feel full since it is not broken down until it reaches the colon. Fiber also slows down the digestion of sugars in order to help regulate our blood sugar levels and help prevent the spike as I talked about earlier. Fiber keeps our stools soft and keeps our intestine moving in order to prevent cramping, bloating, and gas associated with constipation. To see the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for fiber, please see the website at the bottom of this post. As you can see, the nutrition label provides imperative information that can assist when purchasing food items. It may seem like a lot of information, but the more food labels you read and understand, the quicker and easier it will become during future grocery shopping trips. It will become second nature as it has to me!