Nutrition Facts 101

The Nutrition Facts 101 NJU course can be found on the Wiki.

Some take away points:

The Nutrition Facts Label is on every packaged food and beverage item.  The label can be used as a guide to help you decide if a product is right for you:

Where to read first: check the serving size first to see how many servings are in the entire package or bottle.  A package of food usually contains more than two servings!  Multiply the serving size by each item to get totals.

Calories from fat: are only listed for ONE serving, not for the entire package.

Daily Value: the amount of a certain nutrient most people need per day.

% Daily Value: the percentage of nutrients found in one serving based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Foot-note: The food-note can be found at the bottom of most nutrition labels.  The nutrients that have the upper daily limits are the ones that have calories LESS THAN or EQUAL TO the 2,000 calorie per day value.  This means that you should eat less than or equal to that amount per day based on a 2000 calorie diet.

For example, below states that the DV for saturated fat (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) is 20 grams per day.  This amount is 100% of the DV for saturated fat.  What is the goal or dietary advice, then?  To eat less than 20 grams or 100% of the DV in this package for that day:

When you do not see a “Less than,” this means that you want to consume AT LEAST that amount per day.  For example, both women and men want to have at least 25 grams of fiber in their diets for one day.  If the product states that one serving is 50%DV for fiber, then you know you still need to eat 12.5 grams more to satisfy your DV for the day.

Label Lingo

The high point of the lecture was the “label lingo.”  Many of the claims on our food and drink packages are not necessarily accurate.  For example, stating that a product will support healthy arteries does not have a quantifiable meaning.  Stating that a product is an excellent source of whole grains, however, has legitimate meaning.

Below are some examples of the lingo we may see on labels, and what it all means!

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