Understanding Nutrition Labels

Understanding Nutrition Labels

Nutrition labels are full of useful information that can help you make healthy food choices. However, nutrition labels can often be confusing and difficult to understand. Here are a few label reading tips to help you learn how to read a nutrition label and use the information more effectively.


1 -Check the Serving Size

The serving size is placed on the top of the label and often gets overlooked. The serving size tells you the size of a single serving and the total number of servings per package.

You want to make sure you’re paying attention to the serving size and how many servings are in the package. More often than not, the package is going to have more than one serving. This is important to note because if you eat more than on serving, you’re doubling the calories and the nutrients.

2 -Calories per Serving

Calories are the first thing we look at when we flip over to the nutrition label. Here you will see the total number of calories per serving and how many of those calories are from fat. Remember, you want to pay attention to not only the number of calories per serving, but how many servings you’re really consuming if you eat the entire package.

3 -Nutrients to Watch

The nutrients listed on this section are ones that Americans tend to over indulge in. Eating too many of these nutrients may increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart diseases and other chronic diseases.

4 -Get Enough of These Nutrients

Theses beneficial nutrients will help aid in your health and keep you fuller longer.

A good thing to note is that there are two different types of carbohydrates: fiber and sugar. When looking at the fiber and sugar percentages can tell you if the product is made of mostly fiber (a healthy complex carbohydrate) or sugar.

5-Quick guide to % Daily Value

The Present Daily Values tells the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving (according to the daily recommended amount). As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient, choose foods with a lower Percent Daily Value (5% or less). If you want to consume more of a nutrient, look for foods with a higher Percent Daily Value (20% or more).

Remember, the information shown in these panels is based on a 2,000 calories a day diet. Your daily caloric intake may be different depending on your age, gender, activity level, etc.  Speak to your health care provider about a daily caloric intake that fits you!

source: The American Heart Association