- Serving Size: Make sure that you first look at the serving size and understand that there can be more than one serving inside each package. With more servings, the higher amount of calories, fats, and other nutrients you are consuming.
- Calories: The amount of calories in each serving measures the amount of energy you get from every serving of the food you consume. With each serving you consume, the number of calories increase. Many Americans consume more calories than they need each day, leading to overweight and obesity. The General Guide to Calories states that 40 calories is low, 100 is moderate, and 400+ is high. This Guide is based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
- Nutrients: Make sure to balance the amount of nutrients you eat. You want to limit the amount of fat (saturated and trans), cholesterol and sodium you consume. Eating too much of these nutrients can increase the risk of chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer. Health experts especially recommend keeping your intake of saturated and trans fat and cholesterol as low as possible. Most Americans do not consume enough dietary fiber, vitamin A and C, calcium and iron. These nutrients can improve health and reduce the risks of some diseases.
- Percent Daily Values: The Daily Values are recommendations from public health experts based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Even if you consume more or less than 2,000 calories each day, you can use them as a reference to understand what is in your food. The percent daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie diet and is listed on the right side next to each nutrient.
- Footnote: The footnote at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts Label lists the recommendations of health experts on how much of each nutrient should be consumed daily based on a 2,000 calorie diet. If the Nutrition Facts Label is small, the full footnote does not appear, but it is otherwise the same on all food packages. The Daily Values listed next to each nutrient on the food package show the percentage of that nutrient in the food product based on the recommendations seen in the footnotes.
To learn more about the Nutrition Facts label, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website for educational videos. To learn more about what else you can do to participate in National Nutrition Month, visit eatright.org.