Facts on Nutrition Labels | First of Three Parts
Have you ever wondered what the facts on nutrition labels are? Like most shoppers, you’ve probably looked closely at those nutri facts labels printed on product packaging.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a very useful INFOGRAPHIC on nutrition facts labels. It offers detailed information on every section of the label, defines their meaning, and carefully explains how to utilize the stated numbers on the nutrition facts.
Part I: Definition, Serving Size, Servings Per Container, Calories, Calories from Fat
Nutrition Facts Label Defined
According to the infographic, the Nutrition Facts Label on food and beverage products is a daily tool that can help us make informed choices on the food we eat. As we learn about the facts on nutrition labels, it is generally hoped that we can develop a life-long habit of eating healthy.
The Serving Size
The Serving Size is the amount of food customarily eaten at one time. All the data presented in the nutri facts label is based on one serving of food.
If we are to compare the calorie and nutrient content of different food, the FDA suggest that we look closely into the serving size. That’s because we can only have an accurate comparison of different products if they have the same serving sizes.
Servings Per Container
The Servings Per Container section shows the number of servings in the food package or container. Normally, each pack of food product is equal to one serving. But according to the FDA, it is normal for a product to contain several servings per packaging.
The FDA has a tip for us: it says that “if a food pack contains two servings and we eat the entire packet, then we already consumed twice the amount of calories and nutrients listed on the nutri facts label.”
Calories section pertains to the total number of calories (energy) from all sources in one serving. Calories comes from fat, carbohydrates, and protein.
The FDA states that as a general rule, “100 calories per serving is moderate while 400 calories per serving is considered high.”
Calories From Fat
According to the FDA Infographic, the label “Calories from Fat” does not mean additional calories from the product. It only means the “contribution of fat to the total calories count in one serving.”
We have to remember that carbohydrates and protein contain calories too. It so happens that fats contain as much as twice the number of calories per gram.
This leads us to another tip by the FDA. Products that are labeled “fat-free” does not mean it is calorie-free. There are food items that have lower or no fat content but they may have as many calories as regular food products.
Thus, it is always best to carefully check and understand the facts on nutrition labels so that we can find food products that are suitable for our health goals.
Part II of this series will give details on Percent Daily Value (% DV)
Part III will cover the Nutrients Content and Ingredients List
(This article was prepared by SwiftMind Co. for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to give health/diet/medical advice. For professional consultation on nutrition, seek the services of a medical practitioner.)
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