What is a Percent Daily Value?
According to the FDA, "Daily values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed and are used to calculate the percent Daily Value (% DV) that manufacturers include on the label."
Listing a % DV on a Nutrition Facts label makes it easier for people to put the item that they're eating or drinking in a larger daily perspective.
For example, the fact that a food has 10 grams of added sugars may not clearly illustrate how much that serving will count towards people's recommended daily total limit or minimum, but a % DV makes it perfectly clear that that serving is the same as 20% of their total daily allowance for added sugars.
What Did the Old Label Say?
Recently, the FDA approved a new Nutrition Facts label, and the % DV description is going to be updated for clarity.
The old label said "Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower based on your calorie needs." That description was followed by a chart that looks like this...
What Will the New Label Say?
The new label will get rid of the chart and instead say "The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice."
What do you think? Will that make the label easier to understand?
Here's a free handout with the basics of both the % DV and the changes to the label.
And here are even more Nutrition Facts label resources...
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.