Learning how to read and understand food labels can help you make healthier choices.
Check total calories per serving. Look at the serving size and how many servings you’re really consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the Percent Daily Value (% DV).
Limit these nutrients. Remember, you need to limit your total fat to no more than 56–78 grams a day — including no more than 16 grams of saturated fat, less than two grams of trans fat, and less than 300 mg cholesterol (for a 2,000 calorie diet).
Get enough of these nutrients. Make sure you get 100 percent of the fiber, vitamins and other nutrients you need every day.
Pay attention to the serving size listed on the nutrition facts label.
Total carbohydrates are something you will also want to look at.
1 carb = 15 grams of carbohydrate
2 carb choices = 30 grams of carbohydrate
3 carb choices = 45 grams of carbohydrates
Tip: Practice reading the food labels on foods you already have at home before you start looking in the grocery store.
In addition to the Nutrition Facts label, a lot of foods today also come with nutrient content claims provided by the manufacturer. These claims are typically featured in ads for the foods or in the promotional copy on the food packages themselves. They are strictly defined by the FDA. The chart below provides some of the most commonly used nutrient content claims, along with a detailed description of what the claim means.
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