“You are what you eat.” If that old saying is true, then knowing the nutrient content of the packaged foods you eat is very important.
Following guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food companies put nutrition facts panels on food packages. These nutrition facts help you make informed decisions about the foods you buy. Learning how to read these labels is important.
Click on any section of the nutrition panel below to find out what each section means.
Serving SizesServing sizes have been made more realistic and also are more consistent among products in a food category.
Amount Per ServingTotal calories and calories from fat are given so you can evaluate fat content.
Daily ValueThe "% Daily Value" is the percent of the daily recommended amount for a key nutrient in a 2,000-calorie diet. You can use this to determine if a serving of food is high or low in a specific nutrient.
Total Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrate, and Protein
Total fat, carbohydrate, and protein are shown in grams. Cholesterol and sodium are shown in milligrams. The label also shows the percent of the daily amount of that nutrient in a 2,000-calorie diet. Total carbohydrates are comprised of fibers and sugars.
*NEW! In January 2006, all food packages must list trans fat (trans fatty acids) on the Nutrition Facts panel. Scientific evidence shows that consumption of trans fat increases the risk of heart disease.
Vitamins and Other NutrientsVitamins and other nutrients, like iron, are shown as percentages of the daily amount of that nutrient in a 2,000-calorie diet.
Daily ValueThe footnote at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts is important. It provides a definition of the % Daily Value. If there is room on the package, you may see a table below that definition which shows the recommended levels of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, and fiber in a 2,000-calorie and 2,500-calorie diet. The information in this table is not about a specific food. Instead, it is the recommended dietary advice for all Americans.
The food and nutrition information found in our Nutrition Center is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or substitute for consulting a licensed health professional.