Using the Nutrition Facts Label to make Healthy Choices

LAST UPDATED: May 25, 2023

​​Be a smart shopper! With so many options available in the grocery store, it is hard to know which ones are the healthiest choice. Before making your food selection, take a few moments to read and compare the Nutrition Facts labels and the ingredient lists. The Nutrition Facts label can help you determine foods lowest in sodium and sugar, and those highest in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Ingredient lists are a great way to learn what is in a packaged food item. Foods and beverages that are minimally processed and contain whole-food ingredients are always the best choice. 

A Nutrition Facts label is designed to help you make informed choices about the foods you eat.  The top part of the label lists the serving size and the number of servings per container.  The serving size is not the amount you should eat, but the average amount that is usually eaten.  The serving size is provided in grams so you can easily compare one food to another, which is a key part of making informed choices.
The next section is the number of calories per one serving.  If you eat more than one serving, you are eating more of everything in that food, including calories. To know exactly how much you are eating, weigh or measure your food.

The next section lists nutrients.  The % Daily Value is based on a 2,000-calorie diet.  But a quick rule of thumb is that 5% is low and 20% is high.  Information is provided on saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol because you want to minimize your intake of those items.  Sodium and added sugars are listed because most Americans eat too much of these.  
Other nutrients - dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium - are listed because Americans don’t get the recommended amounts.  Dietary fiber, which comes only from plants, helps you feel full, supports immunity by keeping the gut biome healthy, and maintains bowel health.  

​For more information on the Nutrition Facts Label, see:

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