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Food Labels

Food Label Fundamentals

How well do you understand a food label?  Use the tips below when reading the nutrition facts label and learn how to make healthier and better informed food choices. Dining Services offers nutrition facts for all of the recipes found in the dining hall at http://www.food.rutgers.edu.

Pay attention to the serving size and how many servings are included.  For example, if you ate the entire container belonging to this food label, you would have consumed double the calories and other nutrients listed.

Divide calories from fat by calories, and then multiply by 100 to find the percentage of calories coming from fat.  In one day, no more than 35% of your total daily calories should come from fat.

Health experts recommend keeping an intake of fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium as low as possible. Choose foods with no more than 20% of the Daily Value (DV) of these nutrients and look for items labeled as low fat, low sodium and low cholesterol

Aim for 20% of the Daily Value (DV) per serving or higher to reap health benefits. Be advised that although not all essential vitamins and minerals are listed, your diet should contain a variety of all nutrients. Choose foods labeled “good source”, which means they contain 10-19% of the DV for a particular nutrient.

The footnote tells you the %DVs based on a 2,000 and 2,500 Calorie diet. Keep in mind that individuals have different calorie needs based on body size, gender, age and activity level.

Your Cheat Sheet to Good Eats

 Revised by:  Jessica McKinley                                                                         Reviewed by:  Mrs. Worobey, MA, Dept. of Nutritional Sciences
References: How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm274593.htm Accessed on: November 10, 2012. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Available at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf Accessed on: November 11, 2012.

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