Find out more about the foods you eat and what to look for to make better decisions at the grocery store.
Start with Serving Size
Look at how much 1 serving is and how many servings the product actually contains. If the serving size is ½ cup and you eat 1 cup, you are getting double the amount of everything the nutrition label states.
Utilize the Percent Daily Values (DV)
Nutrition labels show average levels of nutrients based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The %DV shows the amount of that nutrient based on 100% of the requirement for that nutrient. Remember, this value is for the entire day, not just for a meal or snack.
High and Low Daily Value
- 5% DV or less is low – examples of foods you want less of are fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc.
- 20% DV or more is high – examples of foods you want more of are vitamins, calcium, fiber, etc.
Look at the Ingredients
If a food contains more than one ingredient it must contain an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed by abundance in weight. The largest amounts are listed first and descend on.
For more information visit: www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers
What Do Health Claims Actually Mean?
- Low calorie – less than 40 calories per serving.
- Low Cholesterol – less than 20mg of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.
- Reduced – 25% less of the specified nutrient or calories than the usual product.
- Good Source of – provides at least 10% of the DV of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.
- Calorie Free – less than 5 calories per serving.
- Fat Free/Sugar Free – Less than ½ gram of fat or sugar per serving.
- Low Sodium – Less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.
- High in – Provides 20% or more of the DV of a specified nutrient per serving.
- High Fiber – 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.
Article by Sam Ahrens, UWGB Dietetic Intern