How to Tell What's in Your Food in Seconds
It's great if you're in the habit of checking food labels at the grocery store. But there's an even faster way to learn about what's on your plate. Google it!
Just type in exactly what you're looking for, say calories in a banana, and the search engine will instantly deliver the result at the top of the page (a medium banana has 105 calories, in case you were wondering). While you can check nearly any food, the tool's especially helpful for researching fruits and veggies, which don't come with nutrition labels.
And Google spits out more than just calories. If you look to the right of the screen, you'll also find a digital nutrition label with more info, including the amount of fat, sodium, carbs, sugar, fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals. If you want to know about one specific nutrient in a flash—say you're diabetic and you need to keep tabs on your sugar intake—you can just search for "sugar in banana." (Same goes for "protein in quinoa" or "fiber in zucchini.") And this function works on your phone, too.
So where do these details come from? Google's food search tool relies on info from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutrient database, which contains nutritional information for more than 8,000 foods. It's a cool trick we Health editors use to find out exactly what makes superfoods so great (or some foods just plain bad for you).
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While you can adjust the quantity of food in the dropdown box, it's not perfect for all foods. For instance, when you search for calories in an avocado, you're shown calories in one cup, versus in one half or one quarter—more realistic ways of measuring the fruit. But for many foods, Google's nutrition search tool can't be beat for getting up to speed on your plate fast.