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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Food

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A Key to Choosing Healthful Foods: Using the Nutrition Facts on the Food Label

NOTE: FDA is proposing to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. For more information, see Proposed Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. 


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Food Facts
 From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Available in PDF (311 KB).

También disponible en Español (Spanish) PDF (315 KB).

WATCH a video: "Don't let your food take you by surprise. Read the label!"

Reading Nutrition Label 

Have you ever read the Nutrition Facts label on food packages and wondered: serving sizes, percentages, daily values – what do they all mean? Well, you're not alone. Many consumers would like to know how to use the Nutrition Facts label more easily and effectively — and help is finally here. Use this information to make quick, informed food choices that contribute to healthy lifelong eating habits for you and your family.

 



 

Product Info and "Daily Values"

The Nutrition Facts label is divided into Two Main Areas:

 

Sections 1-5 provide product-specific information (serving size, calories, and nutrient information). These vary with each food product.

 

Section 6 is a Footnote with Daily Values (DVs). The footnote provides information about the DVs for important nutrients, including fats, sodium and fiber. The DVs are listed for people who eat 2,000 or 2,500 calories each day.

  • The amounts for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium are maximum amounts. That means you should try to stay below the amounts listed.
  • The DVs for total carbohydrate and dietary fiber daily represent the minimum amounts recommended for a 2,000-calorie diet. This means you should consume at least this amount per day for each of these nutrients.
  • The footnote is only found on larger labels, and does not change from product to product.

  

 


 

What's On the Label?

Nutrition Label divided into 6 sections: 1. Serving Size, 2. Amount of Calories, 3. Limit these Nutrients, 4. Get enough of these Nutrients, 5. Percent (%) Daily Value, 6. Footnote with Daily Values (DVs)

  1. Serving Size

    This section is the basis for determining number of calories, amount of each nutrient, and %DVs of a food. Use it to compare a serving size to how much you actually eat. Serving sizes are given in familiar units, such as cups or pieces, followed by the metric amount, e.g., number of grams.

  2. Amount of Calories

    If you want to manage your weight (lose, gain, or maintain), this section is especially helpful. The amount of calories is listed on the left side. The right side shows how many calories in one serving come from fat. In this example, there are 250 calories, 110 of which come from fat. The key is to balance how many calories you eat with how many calories your body uses. Tip: Remember that a product that's fat-free isn't necessarily calorie-free.

  3. Limit these Nutrients

    Eating too much total fat (including saturated fat and trans fat), cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risk of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure. The goal is to stay below 100%DV for each of these nutrients per day.

  4. Get Enough of these Nutrients

    Americans often don't get enough dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron in their diets. Eating enough of these nutrients may improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions.

  5. Percent (%) Daily Value

    This section tells you whether the nutrients (total fat, sodium, dietary fiber, etc.) in one serving of food contribute a little or a lot to your total daily diet.

    The %DVs are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Each listed nutrient is based on 100% of the recommended amounts for that nutrient. For example, 18% for total fat means that one serving furnishes 18% of the total amount of fat that you could eat in a day and stay within public health recommendations. Use the Quick Guide to Percent DV (%DV): 5%DV or less is low and 20%DV or more is high.

  6. Footnote with Daily Values (%DVs)

    The footnote provides information about the DVs for important nutrients, including fats, sodium and fiber. The DVs are listed for people who eat 2,000 or 2,500 calories each day.

—The amounts for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium are maximum amounts. That means you should try to stay below the amounts listed.


 

WATCH a video: "Don't let your food take you by surprise. Read the label!"