Nutrition Facts label

Illustration of Nutrition Facts label

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). http://www.fda.gov

You will find this label on most foods. Use it as a guide to find fat, sodium, and sugars in foods.

The Nutrition Facts label is one part of a food label. Other important parts include the front panel, which may tell you whether nutrients have been added (such as "calcium-fortified" on an orange juice label), and the ingredients list, which lists ingredients in descending order by weight.

The Nutrition Facts label allows you to compare similar foods or to check whether the food is a good source of a nutrient. The % Daily Value section can tell you whether a food is high or low in a particular nutrient. If you want to limit a certain nutrient (such as saturated fat or sodium), choose foods with a lower % Daily Value.

Serving sizes of similar foods are the same on all Nutrition Facts labels, to make comparing foods easier. However, Nutrition Facts serving sizes may differ from those used in the food guide pyramid. For example, 2 oz (56.7 g) of dry macaroni (the serving size on the Nutrition Facts label) equals about 1 cup of cooked pasta, which is two servings according to the food guide pyramid.

Last Updated: July 22, 2009

Author: Judy Dundas

Medical Review: Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine & David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology & Metabolism

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