Most people don't know how to read that small black and white nutrition fact label on food packages. But there's an easy way to read it, and once you know how, it can lead to making better choices at the grocery store. Zannat Reza returned to show us how to read the label and translate the facts into serving size, calories, sodium and fat!
As of December 2005, all major food companies introduced the new nutrition label on their packaged foods.
What's on the label?
The main part of the new label is the Nutrition Facts Table, which gives you the following information: Calories and 13 nutrients: Fat, Saturated fat, Trans fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrate, Fibre, Sugars, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron.
Reading the label in five easy steps:
Step 1: Look at the serving size
Compare the serving size on the package to the amount that you eat. If you eat the serving size shown on the Nutrition Facts Table you will get the amount of calories and nutrients that are listed.
Step 2: Look at the calories
Calories tell you how much energy you get from one serving of a packaged food.
Step 3: Look at the percent Daily Value (% Daily Value)
% Daily Value puts nutrients on a scale from 0% to 100%. This scale tells you if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in one serving of a packaged food. Use this percentage to compare the nutrient content of different foods.
If a food has between 5% and 14% of a nutrient, it means that the food is a source of that nutrient.
Between 15 and 24%, means the food is a good source of a nutrient (over 30% for vitamin C)
And over 25% is an excellent source of a nutrient (over 50% for vitamin C)
Step 4: Know your good and bad nutrients
Fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron are the good nutrients to look for. While Fat, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium are the nutrients to stay away from.
You can use the Nutrition Facts to:
Compare products more easily
Find out the nutritional value of foods
Better manage special diets, such as one that is low in sodium
Increase or decrease your intake of a particular nutrient (for example, increase fibre, decrease saturated fat)