Facts Up Front Labels: 5 Features you need to know

When shopping for groceries do you ask yourself often, what do all those numbers on food and beverage labels mean?

If you are a regular mortal, you might feel overwhelmed when trying to figure out the labels on food and beverage packages. Many of us make our buying decisions based on the amount of calories the food has; however, not only calories are important if you are seeking for a healthier diet.

Probably you have already seen those blue, white and black labels that are displayed on the front of products. Although the position of these labels helps consumers save time when shopping for groceries, if you are a nutrition novice it is still difficult to figure out what the labels mean. For this reason, The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) have developed the Facts Up Front website (http://www.factsupfront.org/). This tool provides consumers valuable information on how to read food and beverage labels in a clear and easy-to-understand format.

Understanding the labels with the Facts Up Front interactive website is now pretty simple. All you need to know is that the Facts Up Front labels:

1. Provide information about one serving

All the icons that are included on the label don’t tell you the amount of calories and nutrients the package has, but that each serving has. Sometimes, a serving size is measured in cups, but read the label to make sure what the manufacturer has considered to be one serving.

2. Are listed by amount

On a product label, the ingredients are listed in order from greatest to least amount in the product. From left to right, if the second ingredient is saturated fat and the fourth ingredient is sugar, this means that the product has more amount of saturated fat than sugar.

3. Usually show the calories and three more nutrients

Besides the calories, most food and beverage labels positioned on the front of the package will show saturated fat, sodium, and sugar information; which you need to limit in your diet.

4. Sometimes include up to two “nutrients to encourage”

These nutrients can be potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and/or iron. These nutrients are needed to build a “nutrient-dense” diet and can only be placed on a package when a product contains 10 percent or more of the daily value per serving of the nutrient and meets the FDA requirements for a “good source” of that nutrient.

5. Include the Daily Value (DV) at the bottom of each icon

The term “% DV” is the percent of the recommended Daily Value (DV), or amount, of each nutrient you would get in a single serving of the product. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient choose foods with 5 or less % DV. If you want to consume more of a nutrient, seek foods with 20 or more % DV.

National Garlic Day: FAQs About the Cloves

No one really knows who institutionalized April 19 as the National Garlic Day, but we appreciate someone did! On this blog, we want to share with you some answers to frequently asked questions related to garlic, as well as recipe ideas with garlic that you can cook on this festivity.

What are the health benefits of garlic?

  • Garlic has a major impact on cancer prevention. Garlic has a vast amount of germanium, which is an anti-cancer agent.
  • It is good for your heart. It is well known that garlic has a positive effect on your circulatory system. As a result, consuming garlic in moderation can lower your blood pressure, decrease platelet aggregation, and lower LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Garlic fights back allergies. It is packed with quercetin, which acts like an antihistamine to fight allergies.
  • It is rich in nutrients and proteins. According to the National Garlic Day website, garlic has good amounts of vitamin A, B-1 and C and contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron.

Is it true that garlic helps you lose weight?

Probably. Although it is a fact that garlic prevents you from gaining weight, there are not too many studies that demonstrate that garlic can be a cause of weight loss. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension stated that allicin, which is a substance found in garlic, not only lowers blood pressure but also has a practical value for weight control.

Does garlic heal wounds and infections?

Yes. Since World War I, garlic has been used as a herbal medicine to treat wounded soldiers. Its antibiotic and antimicrobial properties can stop the growth of infection in a wound.

How can I neutralize the bad breath caused by eating garlic?

You can stop it by drinking milk or eating parsley. According to a 2010 study published by the Institute of Food Technologist (IFT), drinking milk while eating garlic can reduce the bad breath associated with garlic consumption. Although all types of milk work, whole milk is the most effective one. Dr. Rob Danoff from MSN Healthy Living also suggests chewing on a sprig or tow of fresh parsley to stop the bad breath.

What are some delicious garlic recipes I can try?

Cheers to a Life with Less Stress!

Since 1992, the Health Resource Network has focused its efforts on raising awareness of the causes and cures of stress. Let’s celebrate this day by relaxing and pampering yourself. You deserve it!

Stress is the reason of why so many people feel tired, unhappy, and anxious. Although it is a natural response of your body, it sometimes controls you in ways you can’t stop it. Major life changes, work overload, financial problems, and relationship conflicts are some of the causes of stress. People that let stress control them can even suffer many health problems, such as heart disemeditatiase, sleep or digestive problems, depression, and obesity.

To prevent this from happening, try the following relaxation techniques suggested by the HelpGuide website:


Breathing Meditation

Breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs. To do this, you need to:

  1. Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  2. Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
  3. Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
  4. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.


Muscle Relaxation

  1. This two-step process allows you to systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body. To do this, you need to:
  1. Breathe in and out in slow, deep breaths.
  2. Shift your attention to your right foot. And slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10 and relax your right foot.
  3. Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
  4. Shift your attention to your left foot and follow the same process.
  5. Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the muscle groups as you go.