CFSAN Constituent Update
March 5, 2012
March is National Nutrition Month, bringing healthful eating and positive nutritional choices to the forefront for Americans. With nutrition top-of-mind, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reminds you about a simple tool to help you make informed food decisions! It’s called the Nutrition Facts Label, and you can find it on all packaged foods and beverages.
The Nutrition Facts Label lets you know exactly what you’re eating and serves as your guide for comparing foods and making choices that can affect your long-term health.
Start Today … And Use It Forever!
You’re likely hearing a lot about nutrition during the month of March. But while the Nutrition Facts Label is a tool you can start using right now … the best news is that you can continue to use it every time you shop for food. The Nutrition Facts Label serves as your guide in several ways. And once you get started, you’ll see how easy “label reading” really is.
The Nutrition Facts Label shows the calories per serving. Keep in mind that 100 calories in a serving of food is moderate, and 400 calories is high. The label also lists the number of servings per container. It’s quite common for a package of food to contain more than one serving – so that means that if you eat two servings (or more) of that food, you are getting two (or more) times the number of calories and nutrients that are listed on the label.
The Nutrition Facts Label is also your tool to track nutrients. The Percent Daily Value (shown as %DV) gives you a framework for deciding if a food is high or low in a particular nutrient. This is helpful for nutrients you are trying to get more of (such as calcium and Vitamins A and C), as well as for the ones you are trying to get less of (like sodium, total fat and cholesterol). The %DV recommendations are based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet, and each listed nutrient is based on 100% of the recommended amounts for that nutrient. There is an easy rule of thumb to follow when comparing nutrients: 5% DV or less of a particular nutrient means the food is low in that nutrient, and 20% DV or more means it’s high!
Start using the Nutrition Facts Label today and you’ll be in the know about the foods you are choosing. Identify serving size, check calories per serving, and monitor nutrients – especially the ones you are trying to get less of, like sodium, total fat and cholesterol. That’s how you can compare foods and make the nutritional choices that are best for you and your family.
For more information about the Nutrition Facts Label and to obtain materials visit:
- Eating Healthier and Feeling Better Using the Nutrition Facts Label
- Food Label Helps Consumers Make Healthier Choices
- Nutrition Facts Label Programs and Materials