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We all have a friend that is notorious for giving gifts that you never know what it’s going to be. You excitedly (but cautiously) tear off the paper and are always surprised by the unexpected contents. Nutrition can be the same way.

Person giving package

When food is packaged or prepped in a commercial environment, there is a package or menu that gives you the contents of what is inside. However, just like that mischievous friend, you can’t automatically trust what is inside.

While the FDA regulates food labels, there is a margin that the manufacturers have based on the actual value of the food versus what’s on the label. This margin is 20%.

If you go to a restaurant, this can be even more as the preparer isn’t going to always be weighing out the ingredients and portions.

Food on counter

What this means is for those who eat out frequently or rely on prepackaged food, you could be off in your intake 20% or more. If you’re eating an 1,800 calorie intake, this could be as much as 360 calories, which would certainly throw things off, even if you think you’re hitting your nutrition goals 100%.

I’m not saying to never eat out or use packaged food, but do so sparingly and factor in the potential overage that they could be causing. Especially if your jokester friend is buying.

Nutrition facts


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