Sometimes the Nutrition Facts label can be a bit overwhelming.
Yes, it's full of helpful information... but it's that very fullness that can make it hard to navigate.
Let's break down the keys to the Nutrition Facts label to make it easier to understand and use in day-to-day life.
Here's a guide to reading a food label in just 3 easy steps...
Step #1: Assess the caloric impact. To do this, focus on the serving size, the calories per serving, and the servings per container. All of these are highlighted in maroon on the sample label pictured here.
How many servings are in the whole container? Is the food calorie-dense?
Step #2: Evaluate whether the food promotes heart health. Look at the elements on the label that are highlighted in mint green. For best health, these numbers should be as low as possible.
How much trans fat does the food contain? How about cholesterol? Sodium?
Step #3: Weigh the nutrient content. The items highlighted in yellow on this page are the nutritious elements of the food. If the food is high in nutrients, it’s usually better for your health. When evaluating food labels, know that generally 5% or less of the daily value (DV) is low, while 20% or more of the DV is high.
A note about added sugars: Added sugars are sources of empty calories that don’t provide any nutritional value. They’re different than natural sugars, which are part of the food’s complete nutrient package. For best health, choose foods that are low in added sugars.
Heeeeeeeeeeere's the handout!
And here are a few additional label reading resources, just for you!
New Food Label Vinyl Banner and Banner Stand 26" X 62"
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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.