Inside the Numbers: Food Labels Continued
We've been writing about food labels in the past couple newsletters and why they are more important than the images and wording on the front of the packaging. The next question that needs to be answered is, "What do all these numbers mean?" Here's a graphic produced by the Food and Drug Administration that explains the numbers on the food label.
1. Serving Size
Many packaged foods contain more than one serving. You'll need to pay attention to the serving size in order to accurately calculate the nutrition for the amount you ate.
2. Amount of Calories
The key is to balance how many calories you eat with how many calories your body uses. Look for foods that give you lots of nutrients compared to the number of calories. Tip: Remember that a product that's fat-free isn't necessarily calorie-free.
3. Limit these Nutrients
Eating too much total fat (including saturated fat and trans fat), cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risk of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure. The goal is to stay below 100%DV for each of these nutrients per day.
4. Get Enough of these Nutrients
We often don't get enough dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron in our diets. Eating enough of these nutrients may improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions.
5. Percent (%) Daily Value
This section tells you whether the nutrients in one serving of food contribute a little or a lot to your total daily diet. The %DVs are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Each listed nutrient is based on 100% of the recommended amounts for that nutrient.
6. Footnote with Daily Values (%DVs)
The footnote provides information about the DVs for important nutrients, including fats, sodium and fiber. The DVs are listed for people who eat 2,000 or 2,500 calories each day. The amounts for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium are maximum amounts. That means you should try to stay below the amounts listed.