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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Food

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Around the Block Nutrition Facts at a Glance: More on Nutrients to Get Less Of

 
Around the Block Parent Sitelet
 

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Nutrients to Get Less of

Studies have shown that kids are over-consuming certain nutrients. The Percent Daily Values (% DV) on the Nutrition Facts Label shows you and your child if a serving of a food is high or low in a particular nutrient. With this information, your child is better prepared to make informed decisions about choosing foods lower in these nutrients (There is no %DV for Trans Fat and Sugars. You can still use the Nutrition Facts Label and compare the grams among products.):

  • Sodium
  • Total Fat
  • Saturated Fat
  • Trans Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sugars

Check out the Numbers to Find Foods Low in Nutrients to Get Less Of
Our bodies only need small amounts of these nutrients, and getting high amounts can lead to health problems. Using the Percent Daily Values on the Nutrition Facts Label can help your child choose foods that are lower in the nutrients to get less of.

  • 5% or less means a food is low in that nutrient
  • 20% or more means a food is high in that nutrient

By showing tweens the amount of nutrients they're consuming, the Nutrition Facts Label empowers kids to choose foods that are lower in nutrients to get less of. Consuming smaller amounts of these nutrients is an important step in establishing healthful dietary patterns.

Nutrient What Is It...Too Little Can increase
the risk of developing...
Sources...Try to GET LESS of...
SodiumSodium is a component of salt. Small amounts of sodium are needed to keep proper fluid balance and to help with the electrical transmission of signals through the nerves.High blood pressure, which increases the risks of heart disease.Many processed foods including canned soups and luncheon meats. Other foods high in sodium include pickles, olives, chips and soy sauce.Although there is no recommended amount of sodium you need, the recommended upper limit is 2,300 milligrams of sodium. Try to get less than this! Just as a frame of reference, 1 teaspoon of salt has 2,345 milligrams of sodium!
Total FatTotal Fat indicates how much fat is in a single serving of the food in the package and it's usually measured in grams. Our bodies do need fat every day. Fat is a major source of energy for the body and aids in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as carotenoids. Fat is important for proper growth, development, and maintenance of good health. Fat provides flavor, consistency, and stability — and helps you feel full. It's important to look at not only the amount of fat we eat but also to pay attention to the type of fat we eat.High intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol increases the risk of unhealthy blood lipid levels, which, in turn, may increase the risk of coronary heart disease. A high intake of fat (greater than 35% of calories) generally increases saturated fat intake and makes it more difficult to avoid consuming excess calories. A low intake of fats and oils (less than 20% of calories) increases the risk of inadequate intakes of vitamin E and of essential fatty acids and may contribute to unfavorable changes in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) blood cholesterol and triglycerid.Obvious sources like margarine, butter, and oil or the fat you can see with your eyes that surrounds a piece of meat. Fat is also in many foods, such as in salad dressings, sauces, cakes and cookies. Children older than the age of 2 should try and keep their fat intake under 35% of their total daily calories. This is the same for adults.
Saturated FatSaturated fatty acids primarily come from animal products such as meat, dairy products, and from coconut oil, palm/palm kernel oil, and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Some products made with hydrogenated vegetable oils are fried chicken and fish, cakes, pies, and cookies. In general, saturated fats are solid at room temperature.Raised blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL (or "bad") cholesterol levels. Saturated fats have been linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke.Mainly animal products such as meat, poultry, butter, whole milk, high fat cheeses, and products made from coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.Children older than the age of 2 should try and keep their saturated fat intake under 10% of their total daily calories. This is the same for adults.
Trans FatTrans fats result when vegetable oils are hydrogenated. Hydrogenated vegetable oils are usually solid at room temperature.Like saturated fats, trans fats can increase your risks for heart disease and stroke.

Many of the same foods as saturated fat, such as vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Also known as trans fatty acids, trans fat can be found naturally in some foods — such as animal-based foods like milk, milk products and meat.

 
The amount of trans fat a child consumes should be as low as possible. Although a product may contain "zero grams of trans fats" as stated on the label, it still may include a trace of trans fat, so pay attention to the ingredients list and look for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
SugarSugar is a type of a carbohydrate and is listed on the Nutrition Facts Label under total carbohydrates.Dental caries (cavities). Although sugar is a source of energy in the form of calories, foods high in sugar sometimes contain relatively few other nutrients.

Naturally occurring in such sources as fruit and milk, but these foods also contain many important nutrients for growth and development. Foods like candy, cookies, soda, and snack foods contain a lot of added sugar with very little other nutrient value.

Try to choose foods that have less added sugars; foods that are low in added sugars include fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.

 
The Nutrition Facts Label will list the total carbohydrate of a food, dietary fiber, and the amount of sugars per serving. There isn't a %DV for sugar. Instead compare the grams of sugars among similar products and try to choose the foods that have less sugar. It is also important to check the ingredient list to determine if the product contains added sugar.

Nutrition Facts Label: Sodium Nutrition Facts Label: Total Fat Nutrition Facts Label: Saturated Fat Nutrition Facts Label: Trans Fat Nutrition Facts Label: Sugar