Facts & Benefits of Reading a Nutrition Label

Today’s post was written by Theresa Gilson, DTR, Dietetic Intern.

Why do people read nutrition labels? What are the main things you look for when reading a nutrition label?

When grocery shopping, it’s difficult to keep in mind all the items you need to focus on when reading a food label. Use the sample Nutrition Facts Label to learn what to look for when choosing what to eat. 

Nutrition Food Label Facts:

This graphic was created by the American Heart Association, found here.

This graphic was created by the American Heart Association, found here.

 

  • Nutrition Facts Labels are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be listed on most packaged foods and beverages.
  • The label provides detailed information about a food’s nutrient content.
  • Knowing how to read food labels is especially important if you have certain health conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • You can use the label compare two similar foods to decide what would be the healthier choice.

Nutrients to get more of:

These are very important for your health and you should aim for adequate amounts each day of these nutrients.

  • Dietary fiber
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Potassium

Nutrients to get less of:

These nutrients are important, but you should only eat them in small amounts each day. These nutrients can increase your risk of certain diseases.

  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Sugar

How do you know how much is a lot or a little of a nutrient? The % Daily Value is an easy way to check if a food is high or low in a particular nutrient. Just remember these two numbers:

  • 5% or less is low
  • 20% or more is high.

Do you have any other questions about reading Nutrition Facts Labels?

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nutrition-facts/NU00293

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/UCM275396.pdf

3 thoughts on “Facts & Benefits of Reading a Nutrition Label

  1. Kristen Scheney

    This is sweet! I like the new label personally, but I’m sure there will be plenty of people who have something to say about change haha

    Reply
    1. Austin Brooks Post author

      Thanks for your input, Kristen. I also like the new label and am disappointed that we will have to wait even longer for its roll-out.

      Reply

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