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How accurate are the nutrition facts on packaged food?

Most consumers are familiar with the Nutrition Facts panel detailing the nutritional content of packaged foods. Most consumers are also familiar with the % daily value numbers listed for many nutrients. What most consumers don’t realize, however, is that these daily values were calculated only for adults, or that they were set in the 1960s and have never been updated.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) goal at that time was to help consumers avoid nutritional deficiencies. Over the last 50 years, however, such deficiencies have become uncommon, and the opposite problem has emerged. Today, the FDA’s daily values for three nutrients, vitamin A, zinc and niacin, exceed the tolerable upper intake levels for children age 8 and younger as calculated by the federal Institute of Medicine.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.