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Label Reading

Check the serving size and how many servings come in a package. This is very important for watching portion size and calorie intake! If you eat more than one serving, multiply each nutrient by the number of servings you eat (for example, if you eat two servings, double the amount of all nutrients).

Check total calories per serving. Use MyFitnessPal to calculate your calorie needs and keep this in mind when reading food labels.

Know what the Percent Daily Value (%DV) means. This indicates the percent one serving of the food contains compared to the amount you should get from an entire day (based on someone who needs 2,000 calories/day). For example, the average person should get at least 25 grams of fiber per day. If a food contains 5 grams of fiber, the %DV = 20%DV.

  • A food that contains 5% DV for a nutrient is considered low in that nutrient. If you want to consume less of a nutrient (saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol) aim for foods with 5% or less %DV of these nutrients.
  •  A food that contains 20%DV or more of a nutrient is considered high in that nutrient.

 Get enough of the good nutrients. Choose foods with a high %DV of these nutrients:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Other vitamins and minerals

Limit intake of these nutrients. Choose foods with low %DV of these nutrients to follow the below guidelines (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) '

  • Total fat (no more than 56 to 78 grams)
  • Saturated fat (no more than 16 grams)
  • Trans fat (less than 2 grams)
    • When the nutrition facts label says 0g trans fats this really means it contains >0.5 grams trans fat
      1. If a food has “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredients list, it contains trans fats
      2. Cholesterol (less than 300 milligrams)
      3. Sodium (less than 2,400 milligrams)