Nutrition Labels Made Easy
Nutrition labels identify the information found on packaged foods. The legislated information on food labels, includes the Nutrition Facts table and the ingredient list as shown in the image. The nutrition facts table has a uniform appearance on all foods, which makes it easier to find and read.
Located at the top of the Nutrition Facts table is the portion size, identified by the manufacturer, and for which all of the nutrition information is given. In this case the portion is 87g (125mL/1/2 cup). Compare this portion to the amount of the food you usually eat; if you eat double the portion size you would need to double each of the numbers in the table. For example, a 1 cup (250mL) portion of this food would provide 160 calories.
The % Daily Value tells you if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in one serving of the food. If the %DV is 5 % or less the food contains only ‘a little’ of that nutrient; if the %DV is 15% or higher, the food contains ‘a lot’ of the nutrient. For example, in on this label, 8 % fibre means that one portion of this food, provides 8% of the fibre you need each day based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
In addition to a nutrition facts table, all packaged foods must also have an ingredient list. The ingredient list identifies all of the ingredients in the food in descending order. The ingredient that appears in the greatest amount will be listed first (whole wheat) and the ingredient in the least amount will be listed last (vitamins).
When reading Nutrition Labels try to choose foods with less than 5%DV fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Nutrition Labels can be used to compare similar products, to help us choose healthier options.
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Written by Hilary Rock BSc, Nutrition. Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSc, RD