How To Read A Food Label

Food labels tell you what there is for nutrition in each food item you buy. It will help you buy healthier foods, and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Nutrition Facts  
Serving Size 1 cup
Servings Per Container 2
Calories 200                                                   Calories from Fat 110
Amount/Serving                                                                  %Daily Value
Total Fat 12g                                                                                18%
          Saturated Fat 4g                                                                                16%
        Trans Fat        5g                                                                                
        Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5g
        Monounsaturated Fat 9g                                                                             
Cholesterol   30mg                                                                                 10%
Sodium    50mg                                                                                 2%
Total Carbohydrate     7g                                                                                 3%
    Dietary Fiber      2g                                                                                  8%
    Total Sugars      1g
    Incl. 0g Added Sugars                                                                                  0%
Protein     5g                                                                                  6%
Vitamin A                                                                                  4%
Vitamin C                                                                                  2%
Calcium                                                                                  20%
Iron                                                                                  4%
*Percent Daily Values are based on 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Calories:                         2,000                         2,500
Total Fat    
Sat Fat
Total Carbohydrate  
Dietary Fiber                                     
Less than                        65g                         80g
Less than                       20g                          25g
Less than                       300mg                    300mg Less than                       2,400mg                2,400mg                                         300g                        375g                                         25g                          30g
Image result for food labels


1)Check the serving size, as many food items you buy will be more than 1 serving. If the food you choose has 2 servings, and you consume everything that is in the package, then you are consuming double of each item listed on the label.

2) Look at calories/serving and calories from fat/serving , as this tells you how much energy you get from the package. Least ignored. Not all calories are created equal.

3) The nutrients listed first are nutrients that are typically eaten in adequate amounts, often overconsumed in a Western diet. They are total fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

4) The next group of nutrients are not typically consumed enough, in the Western diet because of all the highly processed, convenience foods. Those are: dietary fiber, vitamin A ( which is an antioxidant), vitamin C, calcium, iron, and dietary fiber, to name a few. Some other vitamins you may see are vitamin D, vitamin E, Magnesium (which is part of over 300 reactions in the body), riboflavin, and potassium

5) The Footnote, which is on the bottom of the nutrition facts label. This shows the percent needed on a 2,000 calorie diet, and 2,500 calorie diet, according to the FDA. (3)

*In attempts to make food seem healthier, some food manufacturers decrease serving size.
*Daily needs are different, depending on your activity level
*Unsat- plant based
*Avoid non fats or low fat products as manufacturers use added sugar or salt to compensate
*Natural nutrients, but some are synthetic

-%DV of only 4 nutrients, even though the body needs many others
-Doesn’t distinguish btwn synthetic nutrients and naturally occurring nutrients
-Doesn’t distinguish between complex and simple sugars
-Doesn’t include unsaturated fat
-Doesn’t distinguish between HDL and LDL cholesterol
-Doesn’t say if the product has been genetically modified, or how it was processed or refined
-Doesn’t say if there are pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, or toxic minerals

Carbohydrates: sugar, starch, and dietary fiber

                -Sugar and starch raise you blood sugar
                -Buy foods with at least 3 to 4 grams of fiber per serving (1)
                -The most important source of fiber comes from veggies, fruits, beans, legumes, and whole-grain breads
Fat: saturated fat, polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, trans fats
                -Saturated fats: found in meats, whole-fat dairy products, baked goods
                -Polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 and omega-6; (2)found in fish, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils
                -Monounsaturated fats: omega-9; found in olive oils
                -Trans fats: found in fried foods and baked goods. Trans fats were ruled unsafe to eat by the FDA in 2015, giving companies three years to phase out. (4) Protein:
                -Comes from the Greek word “protos”, meaning first element
                -Essential for repair and growth of all living cells in the body,
                -Made from amino acids which are the “building blocks” of life (5) 


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This blog post is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical, mental health or healthcare advice.  The information presented here is not intended to diagnose, treat, heal, cure or prevent any illness, medical condition or mental or emotional condition.

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