Facts & Benefits of Reading a Nutrition Label

Today’s post was written by Theresa Gilson, DTR, Dietetic Intern.

Why do people read nutrition labels? What are the main things you look for when reading a nutrition label?

When grocery shopping, it’s difficult to keep in mind all the items you need to focus on when reading a food label. Use the sample Nutrition Facts Label to learn what to look for when choosing what to eat. 

Nutrition Food Label Facts:

This graphic was created by the American Heart Association, found here.

This graphic was created by the American Heart Association, found here.

 

  • Nutrition Facts Labels are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be listed on most packaged foods and beverages.
  • The label provides detailed information about a food’s nutrient content.
  • Knowing how to read food labels is especially important if you have certain health conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • You can use the label compare two similar foods to decide what would be the healthier choice.

Nutrients to get more of:

These are very important for your health and you should aim for adequate amounts each day of these nutrients.

  • Dietary fiber
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Potassium

Nutrients to get less of:

These nutrients are important, but you should only eat them in small amounts each day. These nutrients can increase your risk of certain diseases.

  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Sugar

How do you know how much is a lot or a little of a nutrient? The % Daily Value is an easy way to check if a food is high or low in a particular nutrient. Just remember these two numbers:

  • 5% or less is low
  • 20% or more is high.

Do you have any other questions about reading Nutrition Facts Labels?

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nutrition-facts/NU00293

https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/UCM275396.pdf

2 comments on “Facts & Benefits of Reading a Nutrition Label

  1. Kristen Scheney on

    This is sweet! I like the new label personally, but I’m sure there will be plenty of people who have something to say about change haha

    Reply
    • Austin Brooks on

      Thanks for your input, Kristen. I also like the new label and am disappointed that we will have to wait even longer for its roll-out.

      Reply

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