HMC- How To Read A Food Label (10 minutes)

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How to Read A Food Label

An Overview

1) Serving Size2) Calories3) Nutrients (limit)4) Nutrients (get enough)5) Footnote6) % Daily Value

There is a quick and effective way to break down looking at a food label in 6 simple steps. Today we will go over each of these steps in detail to give you a better understanding of what exactly you are looking at when viewing a Nutrition Facts label.

1. The Serving SizeStandardizedServing size portion sizeHow many cups are in the entire package?2.5 cups

Serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare food products that are similar (i.e. cereal). They are provided both in units familiar to us, such as cups or pieces, as well as by a metric amount, such as grams.The size of the serving on the food directly correlates to the number of calories and every nutrient amount included on the label, so these measurements are only exact if you eat the serving size listed. Therefore, you must pay attention to the serving size, especially how many total servings there are in the package. Compare this to how many servings you are consuming (i.e. serving, 1 serving, or more) and adjust the calorie and nutrient counts according to the amount of food you are consuming.In the sample label, one serving of this food equals one cup. If you ate the whole package, you would eat two and a half cups. That more than doubles the calories and other nutrient numbers, including the % Daily Values as shown in the sample label.

Effects of Doubling a Serving

This is an example of a food label (different from the previous slide) and what happens when you consume double the serving. Notice each number is multiplied by two, because the serving size was 1 cup and 2 cups (double) were consumed.

If you eat cup, then you would divide each number by two. If you eat 1 cups, then you multiply each number by 1 . Calorie and nutrient measurements are directly proportional to serving size.

2. Check CaloriesWhat are calories?Remember: The amount of servings you eat (your portion size) determines the number of calories you actually consume

Using the label above, if someone eats four servings, how many Calories from Fat would they consume?40 calories from fat

Calories are a measurement of energy, and the amount listed on a food label lets you know how much energy you are getting from one serving of its product. Many Americans are consuming more calories than necessary while not meeting their recommended nutrient intakes. The calorie section of a food label can help you manage your weight, whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain weight.Serving size/Portion size and calorie consumption are directly related. (10 calories from fat x 4 servings) = 40 calories from fat

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, a general rule of thumb regarding calories is as follows:40 calories is Low. 100 calories is moderate. 400+ calories is high. These numbers can be helpful when glancing at calorie amounts on a food label.Eating too many calories per day is linked to becoming overweight or obese. Try to choose foods with a low percentage of calories coming from fat.

3. The Nutrients: How Much?LIMIT THESE:FatSaturated FatTrans FatCholesterolSodium

These nutrients, listed towards the top, are the ones Americans typically eat in adequate amounts or in overabundance. Eating too much fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, and high blood pressure.Important: Health experts recommend that you keep your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol as low as possible as part of a nutritionally balanced diet.

4. The Nutrients: How Much?GET ENOUGH OF THESE (in blue):FiberVitamin AVitamin CCalciumIron

* Remember: Nutrition Facts labels help to not only limit the nutrients you want to cut back on, but also to increase the nutrients that you need to consume in greater amounts.

Most Americans do not consume enough fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, or iron. Eating an adequate amount of these can improve your health and help reduce the risk of certain diseases and conditions. For example, calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and fiber promotes healthy bowel function.

5. Understanding the FootnoteRemains same on all labelsAmounts listed are recommendations for general publicListed amounts are called Daily Values (DV)

Is the DV for Total Fat different for a person with 2,000 calories than for a person with 2,500 calories? What about the DV for Sodium?DV for Total Fat increases with calories; Sodium remains the same.

If a food package is too small, the full footnote pictured here may not be on the label, but if it does appear, it will always be the same. This footnote does not change from product to product, as it shows dietary advice recommended for all Americans rather than advice about a specific food product.The term Less Than means that you should aim to eat less than the DV nutrient amount listed each day.Note how some DVs for nutrients change according to calorie intake while some remain the same regardless of calorie intake.

6. Quick Guide to %DV

%DV (listed in purple) based on 2,000-calorie diet5% DV or less is lowUse this for nutrients to limit20% DV or more is highUse this for nutrients to consumein greater amountsTrans fat, sugar, and protein

Not every individual is on a 2,000-calorie diet; some people consume more than 2,000 calories while some people consume less than 2,000 calories. The %DV can still be used as a reference for you to compare. (For example, if someone consumes 1,500 calories each day, what is listed as 25% DV on a food label will actually be a higher percentage for this person because he/she is consuming less total calories daily).We do not need to know how to calculate %DV because the label does the math for us.Look for LOW amounts of Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium, and look for HIGH amounts of Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and IronNote that there are no %DV listed for trans fat, sugar, and protein. It is recommended that we consume very little to no trans fat in our diet, which is why there is no recommended amount. No daily reference value has been established for sugar because no recommendations have been made for the total amount to eat in a day. Keep in mind that sugars listed on the Nutrition Facts label include both naturally-occuring sugars (like those in fruit and milk) as well as added sugars.Current scientific evidence indicates that protein intake is not a public health concern for Americans over 4 years of age and therefore does not have a %DV. The only exception is that if a product includes a claim about protein, such as high in protein, a %DV is required on this package.Just like calories and nutrient measurements are directly proportional to serving size and can be multiplied/divided according to portion amount, so can %DV. We will see an example of this on the next slide.

Putting It All TogetherCheck Your Understanding If you ate the entire package:1) How many calories would you consume?2) What %DV of calcium would you consume? 3) What % allowance of fat do you have for the rest of the day?

Answers: 1) 375 calories 2) 50% 3) 90%

1) 150 calories x 2.5 servings = 375 calories2) 20% x 2.5 servings = 50%3) 100% - (4% x 2.5 servings) = 90%

ResourcesThe Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

U.S. Food and Drug Administration