This is a simple guide to help you read and understand those nutrition labels and make choices for you and your family to help stay healthy.
Most Nutrition Facts labels on products have the following sections:
- Serving Size: may be in cups or pieces with grams, oz. or ml given after
- Servings per Container: the number of servings each package contains
- Amount Per Serving with the following sub titles:
Calories and Calories from Fat
Total Fat, Saturated and Trans fat
Total Carbohydrates, includes dietary fiber and sugar content
Other nutrients such as vitamins, calcium and iron
The Serving Size and Servings per Container go hand in hand. For instance, if the serving size is 1 cup and the serving per container is four, it means there are four cups or servings for the entire pack.
Calories, Total Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium are nutrients you want in small amounts. Calories from Fat are the amount of fat from one serving. A range of below 40 calories is considered low, 100 is moderate while 400 is high.
The dietary fiber, vitamins, calcium and iron are nutrients you should get a lot of as they are needed for good health.
Other information on food labels gives the Percentage Daily Value and is usually the same and does not change from one product to the next. These are based on a 2,000- or 2,500-calorie diet and are the recommended intakes by public health experts for your daily intake. Generally, 5% DV (Daily Value) or less is a good percentage to stay within and 20% DV or more would be high for that nutrient.