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How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label

Understanding what the Nutrition Facts Label means can help you make smart food choices that are best for your health.

how to read a label

1. Serving Size & Servings Per Container

We’re used to saying “portion” or “helping” when we talk about how much we eat.“Serving size” is the official term used on food
labels. Nutrition facts given on the food label are based on one serving. Be sure to look at the number of servings in the container.
Even small containers may have more than one serving. If you eat the whole container, then you must multiply the nutrition values
by the number of servings in the container.

2. Amount of Calories
The calories listed are for one serving of the food. Keep in mind your total daily calorie needs. “Calories from fat,” tells how many fat calories there are in one serving. Remember, a product that is fat-free isn’t necessarily calorie-free.

3. *Percent Daily Values (DV)
This section tells you how the nutrients in one serving of the food contribute to your total daily diet. Use it to choose foods that are high in the nutrients you should get more of, and low in the nutrients you should get less of.

Tip: 5% DV or less is low, 20% or more is high. You will not find a % DV for trans fat, Sugars, or Protein (refer to the bottom box for Percent Daily Values for a 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diet).

4. Limit these Nutrients
Eating too much total fat (especially saturated fat and trans fat), cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risks of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure. Limit these nutrients.

5. Get Enough of These Nutrients
Americans often don’t get enough dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Potassium in their diets.
Look for choices that have at least 1 gram of fiber.
Aim for 20–35 grams of fiber per day.

Compare the number of grams (g) of sugars to the number given for Total Carbohydrate. Unless this food has natural sugar, like that in fruit or milk, these sugars are added.

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