Understanding what the Nutrition Facts Label means can help you make smart food choices that are best for your health.
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
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
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.
The footnote clarifies how %DV are calculated; on a nutrtion label, the %DV are based on a 2,000-calorie diet; however, these values may be different for you if you have different caloric requirements based on your basel metabolic rate and activity levels.