Author: Kari Johnson
Have you ever wondered how to navigate the nutrition label on your food items? Here is an easy way to highlight the important parts of a nutrition label. It will also help you determine if your portion size exceeds your daily needs in calories, fats, sodium, and sugar.
1. Start with Serving Size: Look for both the serving size and the number of servings in the package. Then you can compare if you eat only 1 serving, less, or more. If you eat 2 servings then you would double all nutrients (calories, fats, sodium, sugar, ect..).
2. Check calories per serving: It’s beneficial to cut back on calories if you are watching your weight.
3. Fats: Aim for 5% or less in saturated fats, little to no trans fats, and low total fats.
4. Sodium: Limit sodium intake. Overall intake is 2,400 mg per day
5. Fiber and Sugar: Fiber is beneficial for the body with no limit needed on packages. Added sugars, listed below total sugars, should be limited. High sugar intake can make it difficult to meet nutrient needs within your calorie requirement.
6. Protein: Eating moderate portions of protein foods such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, beans and peas, peanut butter, seeds and soy products.
7. % Daily Value: This is listed for a person consuming 2,000 calories a day. Estimated calorie amount varies per person.
1. Sodium in Your Diet: Use the Nutrition Facts Label and Reduce Your Intake. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2015. https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm315393.htm
2. Understanding Food Nutrition Labels. American Heart Association. 2015. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HeartSmartShopping/Reading-Food-Nutrition-Labels_UCM_300132_Article.jsp#.WfYTYohryUk
3. Wolfram T. The basics of the Nutrition Facts Label. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/the-basics-of-the-nutrition-facts-panel
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.