This column addresses topics related to the health of our community.
March Is National Nutrition Month
These days, it seems like we are getting diet advice from everyone. Celebrities, fitness gurus, and friends are all telling us about the latest diet plans, and there are more books about eating right and losing weight than we can count. With all this conflicting information, how can we be sure that we are eating healthfully?
For most of us, eating a healthy diet can be easy. There are a few main points to help us stay on track, even without a Ph.D in nutrition. A good place to start is by learning how to read the nutrition labels on our foods.
When you read a nutrition label, be sure to start at the top. There is important information on those first couple lines. First, check the serving size. For the sample label shown, a serving size is equal to 1/2 cup. All the information that follows is based on this 1/2 cup amount. If you ate a whole cup, you would need to double all the other information. If you ate the entire container of the sample food, it would be four servings, and 360 calories.
The next part of the label lists the nutrient breakdown of the food, and the Percent of Daily Value. The Percent of Daily Value is based on the dietary needs of an adult who is approximately 150 pounds, somewhat active and is not trying to lose weight. This means that you may need more or less of the nutrients listed to meet your nutritional goals.
So how can you use the information on labels to monitor your dietary intake? Food labels can be used to make sure that you are getting enough beneficial dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. It can also help you to limit saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium which have been found to contribute to heart disease.
It is important to remember that food labels are not tailored to your individual needs. Adults who weigh more or less than 150 pounds, are more or less active than average, or are trying to lose weight will have different caloric needs. Children and teenagers need extra nutrition to fuel their growing bodies. People with specific health concerns like high blood pressure or diabetes may have different dietary needs, and should follow the recommendations of a doctor or registered dietician.
To begin keeping track of your daily food intake, try logging what you eat in a journal or an online tracking tool for a few days. For more information on food labeling and nutrition, check out www.FDA.gov .
For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs.
Carson City Health and Human Services
WHERE: 900 East Long St., Carson City
Clinic Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday by appointment
Men's Clinic: 4-6 p.m. Mondays. Call for an appointment.
Immunization Day: 8:30-11:30 a.m.; 1-4:30 p.m. Thursdays. No appointment is necessary.
Vaccination is the best defense against the flu! CCHHS offers flu injections or nasal mist for $10.
• Cortney Bloomer and Valerie Cauhape, Carson City Health and Human Services.