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Use Nutrition Labels to Help Set Your Priorities

Because it's easy to feel overwhelmed, determine which information is most important to you. If weight is a problem, total calories are a priority, for example. If not, you don't need to worry about them.

"If you have high blood pressure or a family history of hypertension, zero in on sodium levels," says Goldberg. Be especially alert to the information on nutrition panels when you're shopping for a new item. "That way you can compare a variety of brands and make the best choice for your own requirements," says Goldberg.

Will label reading really make you healthier? Studies show that people who pay attention to nutrition labels do tend to eat lower-fat diets and get more fiber and iron.