Reading Food Labels: What's the Deal?
The deal with food labels
The Nutrition Facts Panel has several parts. You can use it to help limit
those nutrients or parts of food you want to cut back on, and also to increase
those nutrients you want to eat in greater amounts. For example, you may want
to eat less saturated fat but more calcium.
It is important to pay attention to the serving size, including how many
servings there are in the food package. Compare the serving size to how much
you actually eat. The size of the serving on the food package affects all the
nutrient amounts listed on the label. One serving of macaroni and cheese equals
one cup. If you ate the whole package, you would eat two cups. That doubles the
calories and other nutrient amounts.
Calories and calories from fat
Calories are a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of this
food. The label also tells you how many of the calories in one serving come
from fat. In this example, there are 250 calories in a serving of macaroni and
cheese. How many calories from fat are there in ONE serving? Answer: 110
calories, which means almost half come from fat. What if you ate the whole
package content? Then, you would consume two servings, or 500 calories, and 220
of those would come from fat.
% Daily Value
The % Daily Values (%DVs) are based on the Daily Value recommendations for key
nutrients for a 2,000 calorie daily diet. You may not know exactly how many
calories you consume in a day, but you can still use the %DV to help you figure
out if a serving of food is high or low in a certain nutrient. This will help
you know if the nutrients you get in a serving of food make up a lot or a
little of that nutrient for your total daily diet. (By diet, we mean all the
different foods you eat in a day.) Generally, anything 5 percent or less is low
and anything 20 percent or higher is a lot of that nutrient. Remember, if you
double your serving, you also double the percent here.