Learning how to read and understand Nutrition Facts labels can help you make smarter, healthier food choices. Nutrition Facts labels are required by the FDA to be displayed on most packaged food items, and can help you understand the nutritional value of the food you buy.
When reading a Nutrition Facts label, pay extra attention to:
- Serving Size: Serving size refers to the size of one portion for each packaged item. All the nutritional information on a label is calculated for one serving size of food. Pay attention to the next line—servings per container—as even small containers of food may be more than one serving. If you eat the whole package, you need to multiply each nutritional value by the number of servings per container.
- Calories: The number of calories listed on a Nutrition Facts label is the amount of calories for one serving of food. Remember to consider the actual serving size you eat to know the accurate number of calories you will consume. Think about how many calories you should be eating per day, and how each food factors into your daily calorie needs.
- % Daily Value: The percent daily values column shows you how the nutrients in one serving of food factor into your recommended daily intake. To choose healthier options, pick foods with high percentages of the nutrients you need (dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron), and low percentages of the nutrients you should eat less of (total fat, cholesterol, and sodium).
The Answers in the Aisles program aims to:
- Improve your heart health. Take a supermarket tour to discover heart-healthy food options, including foods that naturally help control blood pressure.
- Reduce your risk of diabetes. Are you one of the estimated 79 million people in the U.S. with pre-diabetes? Our in-store nutritionist can offer suggestions for healthy foods to help prevent the progression of diabetes.
- Keep you cancer healthy. Attend a “Cancer Healthy” workshop to learn about cancer-fighting foods and other community programs to reduce your risk of cancer.
This article first appeared in the April 2017 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.