Tips for Understanding Nutrition Facts Label
The nutrition facts label on the food products provides information on its per-serving calories and calories from fat. The label must list the amount of total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugar and protein (all values must be mentioned in ‘grams’).
For most of these nutrients the label also shows the percentage of daily value (DV) supplied by a serving, showing how a product fits into an overall diet by comparing its nutrient content with recommended intake of those nutrients.
To help consumers make choices between similar types of food products that can be incorporated into a healthy diet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a voluntary system of providing selected nutrient information on the food label.
One should prioritize nutrient needs and compare % DV levels accordingly. For example, if a person wishes to lower the risk of osteoporosis, he/she can read the nutrition label and select a food product which contains high amount of calcium and low sodium levels. Similarly, a diabetic can select a food product with less amount of free sugar and more amount of dietary fiber.
With the help of nutrition fact label one can review the ingredient list. Ingredients are listed in order of prominence and one should pay more attention to top five ingredients which are the core ingredients of the product. Ingredients that contain sugar often end in ‘ose’. Unhealthy fats are termed as trans fat and saturated fat on the label. Also pay special attention towards the sodium content and the chemicals, preservatives and artificial colorings and flavorings used.