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...
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.