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How to understand NUTRITIONAL FACTS label?


We all must have noticed some similar type of label on the backside of every food or beverages product. This is called Nutritional Facts Label, and it is a mandatory guideline for every food and beverage manufacturing company from the Food & Drug Administration.

This label is been given on the product so that a consumer can make an informed and healthy choice which is related to its health. This label is very informative if it is been understood correctly. Therefore, I am going to help you to make this Nutritional Facts Label understandable and easy for you.


In this page, you will understand.

  • An overview of Nutritional Facts Label

  • Serving Size

  • Calories

  • Nutrients

  • Footnote

  • % Daily Values

(Please note: The below sample image has been taken as a reference and for the explanation purpose only. Image Source: Wikipedia)

A sampple image for reference purpose only. Source: Wikipedia

An Overview

The nutritional facts label starts from the information on serving size and ends at the quick guide to the percentage of daily value (%DV).


An information which is usually provided in section 1-4 and 6 may vary according to the product. The footnote (section 5) remains the same in every product packaging as it provides the information on a recommended diet for the nutrients including fat, sodium and fiber.


Serving size

The label starts from here wherein you will get the information on serving size and the number of servings per packet. This panel is quite tricky to understand as 'serving size' means that for the consumption of one person, how much quantity you need to take. However, 'servings per container' indicates that through this packet how many people can consume.


Moreover, a special attention has to be paid on 'serving size' as it influences the calories and the nutrients label mentioned in the further sections of the label. And you should also think about the number of servings you want. According to the above sample label, if a person consumes only 1 cup (228g) of this product, then the calories and nutritional benefits will be the same according to the information below in the label. However, if a person consumes a whole packet which is equivalent to 2 cups (228g*2 = 456g), then the calories and nutrition consumed will get doubled as compared to the information provided in the label. As in usual, information on this label is provided according to the one serving of the product.


Calories


Calories refer to the total number of energy supplied by every nutritional source after the consumption of one serving of the food.

According to the above sample image, the calories which are going to be gained after the consumption of one serving is 250, and the calories from the Fat is 110. It means that near about half of the calories are coming from Fat only. Likewise, if the whole packet is been consumed which is servings for 2, then calories intake will 500 (double of 250) and calories from fat will 220 (double of 110).

As per to the general guides to calories,

40 calories are low for a body,

100 calories are considered to be moderate, and

whereas, more than 400 calories are rated as high.


Therefore, the per day consumption of too many calories is not good for the health as it can lead to an obesity and can make you overweight.


Nutrients


We all look for nutritional benefits from every consumption. Hence, through this part of the nutritional facts label, you all can understand which nutrients are you gaining for your health after the consumption of the product.

Section 3 (highlighted in yellow) comprised of those nutrients which are present in the food, but they should be avoided. According to the health experts, saturated fats, trans-fat, cholesterol and a high level of sodium should be avoided in a particular diet. As eating too much of these can lead to many chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. According to this sample label, the product has both cholesterol and sodium in high level.


Section 4 (highlighted in blue) enlists those nutrients which are considered to be healthy and good for a body. Eating of these nutrients will stimulate good health. Through this sample label, we can understand that this product contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron in their respective percentage, wherein the Calcium percentage is higher as compared to the other vital nutrients.


Footnote


Before understanding this footnote, please check the asterisk mark (*) which is following the heading of 'Percentage Daily Values'. It refers to the standard footnote at the bottom of all the nutritional facts label. This footnote specifies that an ideal diet which includes the consumption of 2000 calories should have these many nutrients in their respective percentage.

Please remember, the calorie intake may vary upon the needs of a person. It also varies according to the age, gender, height, weight and the physical activity of the person.


% Daily Values


This last section of the nutritional facts label indicates the % of daily value of the nutrients present in this food product (for one serving). In a daily diet, 5% daily value is less and 20%DV or more is high.


According to this sample label, the total fat present is 18% in one serving. So what if you consume the whole packet? The total fat percentage will get doubled, i.e., 36%, which is high as per to the % Daily Value. Whereas, the Vitamin C, which is a healthy nutrient, provides you with 2% calories in single serving and 4% DV when you consume the whole packet, which means it is less in a daily diet.

Make sure you should choose those products which have those nutrients which keep a body healthy and active.


Lastly, the nutritional facts label is good as well as important for a consumer as it helps you to make a healthy food decision. And if you comprehend it correctly, then you can maintain a healthy weight because you will make a right food choice.



Content Reference: FDA


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