Food Labels 101

We all look at food nutrition labels to see how many calories are in that bag of chips, but what do all those other numbers and percents really mean? Well now is the time for this confusion about nutrition facts to finally be a thing of the past. Introducing: Food Labels 101.

We will start at the very top where it addresses the serving size and and number of servings per bag.  Make sure you keep this in mind when reading the rest of the label.

  • Check total calories per serving. Look at the serving size and how many servings you’re really consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the Percent Daily Value.
  • As you look down you will see “Total fat, Cholesterol, Total sodium, and Total Carbs”.  Over consumption of these nutrients is not very good for you, so these should be limited as much as possible.
  • Where it says “dietary fiber” all the way down to “niacin”, these are your good nutrients.  It’s important to make sure you get 100 percent of the fiber, vitamins and other nutrients you need each day.

The % DV section tells you the percent of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat, cholesterol or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV — 5 percent or less is low. If you want to consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber), seek foods with a higher % DV — 20 percent or more is high.

Remember that the information shown in these panels is based on 2,000 calories a day. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight. Find out your personal daily limits on My Fats Translator.

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