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How can I read food labels?

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Always start by looking at the serving size of the product. This is the key to all the information listed below. For example, if a cereal box states 3/4 cup is one serving then all of the information such as calories, protein, carbs, fat is assuming that you had 3/4 cup of that cereal. Should you choose to eat 1.5 cups instead, you would need to multiply all of the info by 2 to get an accurate picture. Visit eatright.org for more tips on reading food labels.
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics
The first information you want to look on the nutrition fact label is the serving size. All the data is based on this number which comes in a familiar unit such as: cups, tablespoons or pieces.

Calories and Calories from fat identifies the amount of energy or calories from one serving of the food and from fat. The recommended amount is no more than 30% of calories per day from fat.

You can easily use the percent daily value DRV to limit Nutrients such as fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. %DV tells you how much of a nutrient is in one serving of the food you are eating. A %DV of 5 % is considered low and 20 % is considered high.

For Vitamin A, C, calcium and iron you want to buy foods with a high % DV and for fats and sodium a low % DV. You can also make food trade-offs by using %DV. If eat something with a high percent daily value, you can balance it with other foods eaten later that day.

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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.