New to reading nutrition labels? Want some practice and pointers? Don’t know what to look for? In this series, we are giving a full breakdown of how to analyze a food’s nutrition label. Today? Shurfine Unsweetened Dark Cherries.
Note: this is episode 7 in an ongoing series of label-reading practice
Each post increases in difficulty and builds off the previous
1. What Am I Eating?
The first step when reading a label is always to use your brain. Before doing any reading, it’s best to make a quick educated guess or a rough estimate of what you may find on the label.
Examples: Is it really salty? Might be high in sodium. Is it sweet? Check for sugars. Is it dense? Probably has fiber.
Making predictions like these will very quickly improve your reading skills, so you can reach a point down the road where you can estimate what’s in your food to a high degree of precision.
In this case, we are dealing with a bag of cherries. You can find them frozen in grocery stores. What kind of predictions should you be making? This one is pretty straightforward, a bit like our raisin episode. Cherries are fruit, fruit are carbs, carbs has sugar. This food is probably pretty low in the protein and fat departments.
Things like these should be running through your head before you even look at the label.
2. Check for Claims
Is there anything on the container meant to entice or warn consumers? Examples: “sugar-free,” “High in Vitamin D,” or “A good source of unsaturated fat.”
Based on these, even before reading, you can observe how it compares to other products or even other brands of the same food.
For this bottle of dressing, we can find 3 claims:
- “0mg sodium”
- “Store tightly closed in freezer at 0 degrees F”
- “90 calories”
- “Freshly frozen”
- “0g sat fat”
- “18g sugars”
- “15% DV of Vitamin C”
- “3g fiber”
- Watch out for any pits we missed (I’m paraphrasing here)
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
That’s a lot. All of this is given to us without even looking at the label. In cases like these, you can quickly and efficiently decide if a food is something you don’t if one of those claims are not up to your standards. EX: If you are trying to limit sugar intake, and you notice that these cherries are high in sugar, you don’t need to do steps 3 or 4.
3. Read the Ingredient List
Now we look at the back of the package.
See also: What’s on the Nutrition Label?
- Dark Sweet Cherries
That’s a pretty good list, I must admit.
4. Read the Label
- The bag is around 2.5 cups, and each serving of 144g (or roughly 1 cup) is 90 calories.
- As fruits tend to be, these cherries are fat and sodium-free
See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?
- There are 22g of carbs, 18 grams of which are sugar, and 3 of which are fiber
Also to be expected of fruits. Really the only thing that varies in fruits (macronutrient-wise) is the ratio of fiber to sugar. Fruits are low-fat, low protein, and high in carbs. They differ in their types of carbs.
- Lastly, there is 1g of protein, 2% of your daily Iron, Vitamin A, and Calcium, and 15% of the "Reference Daily Intake:" see post. for Vitamin C
5. The Verdict?
What do you think? Personally, I think they make for a nice snack, when used in moderation. They have a nice little dose of vitamins and minerals. Just remember the sugar that goes along with it. Fruit sugar is really the healthiest sugar in the planet, but that doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want without consequences.
Thanks for reading!