Making Sense of Nutrition Labels

Thursday, November 29, 2012

woman reading nutrition labels

Nutrition facts can be found on most any food, either on the label itself or online. For foods that are packaged, the “Nutrition Facts” section of the label will tell you the following information:

  • Serving size

  • Calories per serving

  • Fat grams per serving

  • Other nutrients contained in 1 serving 

It is important to pay special attention to serving size. The calories and fat listed on the label are for 1 serving. In order to figure out your calories and fat, you need to know if you ate the same, more, or less than the serving size on the label.

The Percent Daily Value (%DV) is a guide to the nutrients in one serving of food. For example, if the label lists 15 percent for calcium, it means that one serving provides 15 percent of the calcium you need each day.

Remember, % DV are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, but offer some good rules for everyone to follow:

  • Aim for products with ≤ 5% of fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

  • Aim for products that have ≥ 20% DV of fiber, vitamins A & C, calcium, and iron.

Source: Kacie Cook, RD and Kim Povec, RD 

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