Monthly Archives: August 2014

Nutrition Facts Label Overview

Nutrition Facts Label Overview

The information in the main or top section of a Nutrition Facts label can vary with each food product. It contains product-specific information (serving size, calories, and nutrient information). The bottom part contains a footnote with Daily Values (DVs) for 2000- and 2500-calorie diets. This footnote provides recommended dietary information for important nutrients, including fats, sodium, and fiber. The footnote is found only on larger packages and does not change from product to product.



Serving size

The first place to start when you look at the Nutrition Facts label is the serving size and the number of servings in the package. Serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare similar foods. They are provided in familiar units, such as cups or pieces, followed by the metric amount (eg, the number of grams). The size of the serving on the food package influences the number of calories and all the nutrient amounts listed on the top part of the label.

Pay attention to the serving size, especially how many servings are in the food package. Then ask yourself, “How many servings am I consuming?” Are you consuming one-half of a serving, one serving, or more? In the sample label, one serving equals 1cup (C). If you ate the whole package, you would eat 2 C. That doubles the calories and other nutrient numbers, including the % Daily Value as shown on the sample label.


Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of this food. Many Americans consume more calories than they need without meeting recommended intake for a number of nutrients. The calorie section of the label can help you manage your weight (ie, gain, lose, or maintain). Remember that the number of servings you consume determines the number of calories you actually eat (your portion amount).

For example, there are 250 calories in one serving. How many calories from fat are there in one serving? Answer: 110 calories. This means almost one-half of the calories in a single serving come from fat. What if you ate the content of the whole package? Then, you would consume two servings, or 500 calories, and 220 calories would come from fat.

 General guide to calories

  • 40 calories is low
  • 100 calories is moderate
  • 400 calories or more is high

This guide provides a general reference for calories when you look at a Nutrition Facts label. It is based on a 2000-calorie diet. Eating too many calories per day is linked to overweight and obesity.


The top of the nutrient section in the sample label shows you some key nutrients that impact your health. They are separated into two main groups.

Limit these nutrients

The nutrients listed first are the ones Americans generally eat in adequate amounts or even too much. Eating too much fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risk of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure.

Note: Health experts recommend that you keep your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol as low as possible, as part of a nutritionally balanced diet.

Get enough of these

Most Americans do not get enough dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron in their diets. Eating enough of these nutrients can improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions. For example, getting enough calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that results in brittle bones. Eating a diet high in dietary fiber promotes healthy bowel function. In addition, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grain products that contains dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, and that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Remember that you can use the Nutrition Facts label not only to help limit those nutrients you want to cut back on, but also to increase those nutrients you need to consume in greater amounts.

Percent Daily Value

The Percent Daily Value (% Daily Value) is based on the Daily Value recommendations for key nutrients, but only for a 2000-calorie daily diet—not 2500 calories. You, like most people, may not know how many calories you consume in a day. But you still can use the % Daily Value as a frame of reference, whether or not you consume more or less than 2000 calories. The % Daily Value helps you determine if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient.

Note: A few nutrients, such as trans fat, do not have a % Daily Value.

You do not need to know how to calculate percentages to use the % Daily Value. The label does the math for you. It helps you interpret the numbers (grams and milligrams) by putting them all on the same scale for the day (0%-100% Daily Value). The % Daily Value column does not add up vertically to 100%. Instead, each nutrient is based on 100% of the daily requirements for that nutrient for a 2000-calorie diet. This way you can tell high from low, and know which nutrients contribute a lot or a little to your daily recommended allowance.

Guide to % Daily Value

5% Daily Value or less is low, and 20% Daily Value or more is high.

This guide tells you that 5% Daily Value or less is low for all nutrients, those you want to limit (eg, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium) or for those that you want to consume in greater amounts (fiber, calcium, etc). As the guide shows, 20% Daily Value or more is high for all nutrients.

Example: The amount of Total Fat in one serving is 18% Daily Value. Is that contributing a lot or a little to your fat limit of 100% Daily Value? Refer to the guide—18% Daily Value is below the 20% Daily Value. It is not yet high, but what if you ate two servings? You would double that amount, eating 36% of your daily allowance for Total Fat. Coming from just one food, that amount leaves you with 64% of your fat allowance (100%−36%=64%) for all of the other foods you eat that day, including snacks and drinks.

Using the % Daily Value

For comparisons: The % Daily Value also makes it easy for you to make comparisons. You can compare one product or brand to a similar product. Just make sure the serving sizes are similar, especially the weight (eg, gram, milligram, ounces) of each product. It is easy to see which foods are higher or lower in nutrients, because the serving sizes are generally consistent for similar types of foods, except in a few cases such as cereals.

For nutrient-content claims: Use the % Daily Value to help you quickly distinguish one claim from another, such as “reduced fat” vs  “light” or “nonfat.” Just compare the % Daily Value for Total Fat in each food product to see which one is higher or lower in that nutrient. It is not necessaryto memorize definitions. This works when comparing all nutrient content claims (eg, less, light, low, free, more, high, etc).

For dietary trade-offs: You can use the % Daily Value to help you make dietary trade-offs with other foods throughout the day. You do not have to give up a favorite food to eat a healthy diet. When a food you like is high in fat, balance it with foods that are low in fat at other times of the day. Also pay attention to how much you eat, so that the total amount of fat for the day stays below the 100% Daily Value.

Nutrients without a % Daily Value

Trans fats, protein, and sugars: No % Daily Value is listed on the Nutrition Facts label for trans fats, protein, and sugars.

Trans fat: Experts could not provide a reference value for trans fat nor any other information that the US Food and Drug Administration believes is sufficient to establish a Daily Value or % Daily Value. Scientific reports link trans fat and saturated fat with increasing blood low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol levels. Both trans fats and saturated fats increase your risk of coronary heart disease, a leading cause of death in the United States.

Note: Health experts recommend that you keep your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol as low as possible, as part of a nutritionally balanced diet.

Protein: A % Daily Value is required on the label if a claim is made for protein, such as “high in protein.” Otherwise, unless the food is meant for use by infants or children younger than 4 years of age, it is not needed. Current scientific evidence indicates that protein intake is not a public health concern for adults and children older than 4 years of age.

Sugars: No daily reference value is available for sugars, because no recommendations are made for the total amount to eat in a day. Keep in mind, the sugars listed on the Nutrition Facts label include naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruit and milk, as well as those added to a food or drink. Check the ingredient list for specifics on added sugars.

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Iron Deficiency

Iron Deficiency

Bean and pepper salad is a vegetarian source of iron and vitamin C

By Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN

You may pump iron at the gym a few times a week, but your body pumps it continuously through the bloodstream every day. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that acts like a taxicab for oxygen and carbon dioxide. It picks up oxygen in the lungs, drives it through the bloodstream and drops it off in tissues like skin and muscles. Then, it picks up carbon dioxide and drives it back to the lungs where it’s exhaled.

Iron Deficiency

If the body doesn’t absorb its needed amount of iron, it becomes iron deficient. Symptoms appear only when iron deficiency has progressed to iron deficiency anemia, a condition in which the body’s iron stores are so low that not enough normal red blood cells can be made to carry oxygen efficiently. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause of anemia in the United States.

Symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • pale skin and fingernails
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • glossitis (inflamed tongue)

Sources of Iron

The body absorbs 2 to 3 times more iron from animal sources than from plants. Some of the best dietary sources of iron are:

  • lean beef
  • turkey
  • chicken
  • lean pork
  • fish

Although you absorb less of the iron in plants, every bite counts, and adding vitamin C to vegetarian sources of iron will enhance absorption. Some of the best plant sources of iron are:

  • beans, including pinto, kidney, soybeans and lentils
  • dark green leafy vegetables like spinach
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • enriched rice
  • whole-grain and enriched breads

High-Risk Populations

The following populations of individuals are at a higher risk for developing iron deficiency.

Women Who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding: Increased blood volume requires more iron to drive oxygen to the baby and growing reproductive organs. Consult your doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist before taking an iron supplement.

Young Children: Babies store enough iron for the first six months of life. After six months, their iron needs increase. Breast milk and iron-fortified infant formula can supply the amount of iron not met by solids.

Cow’s milk is a poor source of iron. When children drink too much milk, they crowd out other foods and may develop “milk anemia.” Two cups of milk per day is the recommended amount for toddlers.

Adolescent Girls: Their often inconsistent or restricted diets — combined with rapid growth — put adolescent girls at risk.

Women of Childbearing Age: Women with excessively heavy menstrual periods may develop iron deficiency.

How to Prevent Iron Deficiency

Eat a balanced, healthy diet that includes good sources of iron to prevent any deficiencies. Combine vegetarian sources of iron with vitamin C in the same meal. For example: a bell pepper-bean salad, spinach with lemon juice, or fortified cereal and berries.

If treatment for iron deficiency is needed, a health-care provider will assess iron status and determine the exact form of treatment — which may include changes in diet or taking supplements


Article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Let our Medical Weight Management Program help you with your weight goals. Our program includes a personal trainer, a registered dietitian, and a doctor of physical therapy.  The next program will start in August. Space is limited! Call or email today for more information.

5 steps to ease knee pain

Early everyone has experienced knee pain. Whether it’s caused by arthritis, excessive foot pronation or overuse of the muscles that protect this vulnerable joint, our knees take a knocking. In fact, knee arthritis is the single greatest cause of chronic disability among U.S. adults age 65 and older.

Here’s the good news: Most chronic knee pain is avoidable. New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that exercise and physical therapy are just as effective as surgery for relief from chronic knee pain related to arthritis. Learning to strengthen and stretch key muscles that support the knees, and other ways to protect and take care of our knees, can ultimately prolong the health of this vital body part.

1. Strengthen your butt

We know from research that knee injuries, including common Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears, can occur when large hip muscles are weak. ACL tears, which are eight times more likely in women athletes, have been shown to lead to other cartilage tears and to correlate with knee arthritis later in life.

As a society, our butt muscles are weak. When the main butt muscle (gluteus maximus) is weak, it causes the pelvis to drop and the upper thigh bone (femur) to fall inward. This imbalance creates painful downward stress on the hip, knee and ankle every time you take a step.

Hip extensions are helpful exercises to strengthen the glutes.

2. Stretch the muscles that support your knees

When butt muscles atrophy or become imbalanced because we tend to sit much of the day, the hamstrings and hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) also overwork — to compensate for the underdeveloped gluteus maximus — resulting in compressive force on the knee-joint. By stretching out these support muscles, you decrease the chance that they’ll get tight and cause muscle imbalances. So remember the complementary two-fold process: As you strengthen naturally weak muscles like the glutes, also stretch supporting muscles like the inner thigh muscles.

3. Tone your core muscles

Abdominal weakness will cause your pelvis to tilt forward, creating excessive low-back curvature and shifting the leg bones inward. You can experiment with this yourself: Over-arch your back and notice how your legs and knees want to roll in toward the midline of the body. Then flatten your back and notice how the opposite movement occurs at the legs.

Strengthening the core helps to keep your back in a neutral spine position and places the lower extremities — specifically the knees — in the best possible position for movement without joint compression.

There are so many ways to strengthen your abdominal muscles besides doing crunches. …

Consider pilates workouts; Pilates was created with a strong emphasis on improving core strength to improve the function of the entire body.

4. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight makes men five times more likely (and women four times more likely) to develop knee osteoarthritis. New research shows that a 10% decrease in weight will result in a 28% increase in knee function (such as for climbing stairs and walking). Another study found that for every 11 pounds a woman loses, there is a remarkable 50 percent decrease in the risk of knee arthritis.

Why? Fat decreases muscle strength, and excess body weight adds strain to knee joints. In fact, there’s an inverse relationship between body weight and quadriceps muscle strength: the higher your body weight, the weaker your knee muscles.

To start burning those extra calories required for weight loss without adding additional impact to the knees, try water aerobics, an elliptical trainer or cycling (making sure you have proper seat height).

5. Mind your feet

You may look great in three-inch stilettos, but keep in mind that high-heeled shoes increase the compressive force on your knee joints by 23%. Wearing heels also encourages tight calf muscles, another common cause of knee pain. A tight calf can pull the foot inward to a position called pronation, which essentially collapses the arch of the foot and causes the lower leg to roll inward, placing stress on the ankle and knee.

So embrace the flat shoe fashion trend and stretch out those calves. On the flip side, replace your workout sneakers frequently — every 300 miles, which could be three months or a year depending on your level of activity. This is a safe way to avoid wearing a shoe with poor cushioning support for your arches and joints.

Fresh, Canned or Frozen – Get the Most from Your Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh, Canned or Frozen — Get the Most from Your Fruits and Vegetables


When it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, many factors play a role in which types consumers choose, including nutritional value. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says no matter what form they take — fresh, frozen, canned or dried — fruits and vegetables are good-for-you foods that can be enjoyed at any time.

Here are ideas for getting the most from your fruits and vegetables, no matter what form they take.

Canned Fruits and Vegetables

  • Get the juice. For canned fruit, look for descriptions on the label like ‘packed in its own juices,’ ‘packed in fruit juice,’ ‘unsweetened’ or no added sugar.’ Fruits packed in juices contain less added sugar and fewer calories than fruits packed in syrup.
  • Pinch the salt. If you are cutting back on sodium, look for descriptions such as “no salt added” and “reduced sodium” on the labels of canned vegetables.
  • Savor the flavor. Use canned fruits and vegetables immediately after opening for maximum flavor and nutritional value.

Frozen Varieties

  • Forgo the fat. When buying frozen vegetables, control fat and calories by choosing plain vegetables or those made with low-fat sauces.
  • Check the label. Frozen fruits come in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties, so make sure to check the label and choose unsweetened fruit. Frozen fruit bars also make a nutritious snack, but read the label to learn if they’re made with real fruit juice.

Dried Fruits

  • Pick the plain. Dried fruit contains lots of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and folate, but keep in mind that serving sizes are smaller. Also, some dried fruits may have added sugar so read the label. If you are sensitive to sulfites, check the label of dried fruits to make sure they are not preserved with sulfite, which may trigger an allergic reaction.
  • Have a handful. Dried fruit is a great portable snack. It can also jazz up salads, pancakes, bread recipes or a bowl of cereal.

There are thousands of varieties of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables on grocery store shelves, which makes it easy to find foods that suit your tastes and fit into a healthy eating plan. For more information on developing a healthful eating plan that is right for you, contact a registered dietitian.

Article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Let our Medical Weight Management Program help you with your weight goals. Our program includes a personal trainer, a registered dietitian, and a doctor of physical therapy.  The next program will start in August. Space is limited! Call or email today for more information.

Foods for Your Lifestyle



Eating right is essential to keeping your body running at its best. Whether you’re a vegetarian, student, athlete, busy parent or a jet-setting executive, it’s important to build an eating plan with your unique lifestyle and nutritional needs in mind.

Follow these tips to eat right for your lifestyle:


Busy work days and business travel can lead to on-the-fly meals.

For desktop dining, keep single-serve packages of crackers, fruit, peanut butter, low-sodium soup or canned tuna in your desk.

Always on the go? Tuck portable, nonperishable foods in a purse, briefcase or backpack for a meal on the run. Try granola bars, peanut butter and crackers, fresh fruit, trail mix, or single-serve packages of whole-grain cereal or crackers.


Whether you are a competitive athlete or just enjoy working out, what you eat will affect your performance.

Your body needs fuel to function, so eat a light breakfast or snack before you exercise. Try low-fat yogurt, graham crackers with peanut butter, a banana or cereal with low-fat milk.

Before, during and after exercise, replace fluids with plenty of water or a sports drink, if you prefer.


The student lifestyle can be fast-paced and low-budget. Students can eat right on a budget with some savvy food shopping tips. Stock smart snacks that combine protein and carbohydrates to fuel you, such as:

  • apples with peanut butter
  • carrots and hummus
  • hardboiled eggs and fruit
  • banana and yogurt
  • almonds with low-fat cheese or whole-grain cereal

These also double as a quick grab-and-go breakfast to wake up your brain and muscles for the day’s activities.

At the cafeteria, salad bars are a great choice, just go easy on the cheese, bacon, creamy dressings and other high-calorie add-ons. Follow the MyPlate guidelines and make half your plate fruits and vegetables.


Caring for family, whether children, elderly parents or both, can be a handful. However, family meals allow parents to be role models to promote healthy eating. And, just because a meal is made quickly doesn’t mean it can’t be nutritious.

Keep things simple. Build a collection of recipes for quick and easy family favorites. Choose ingredients that you can use for more than one meal. For example, cook extra grilled chicken for chicken salad or fajitas the next day.

Ask for help. Get the kids involved making a salad, setting the table or other simple tasks.


A vegetarian diet can include just as many tasty varieties of foods as one including meat. For example, nutrient-rich beans are recommended for everyone. Enjoy vegetarian chili, a hummus-filled pita sandwich or veggie burger. Many popular items are or can be vegetarian – pasta primavera, veggie pizza and tofu-vegetable stir-fry.


Medical Wt Mngt flyer


Article from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Let our Medical Weight Management Program help you with your weight goals. Our program includes a personal trainer, a registered dietitian, and a doctor of physical therapy.  The next program will start in August. Space is limited! Call or email today for more information.

Why We Love Physical Therapy (And You Should, Too!)

1: I love to treat patients with any acute pain with any joint

2: Post operation pain is tough for anyone. The goals are to decrease the pain in the surgery site and allow more movement in the joint. We all need basic functional range of motion to go through normal daily activities.  This is another reason that physical therapy is essential.

3: Sports injuries require rehabilitation to return to practice/game time. Acute injury requires Rest Ice Compression Elevation (RICE) and managing movement with less pain. 

4: Positive attitude goes a long way for you and you certainly get a lot more from your patients as well as your co-workers if you’re exhibiting a positive attitude. We find that it’s very important and it certainly makes your treatments a lot more enjoyable and certainly makes you a more enjoyable person to work with.

Applying ice pack to injured ankle

Dr. Joseph P. Caruso MSPT, dPT, CMT, CSCS
Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC
1278 Yardville Allentown Road
Suite 3
Allentown, NJ 08501