The nutrition label is an important label required in most packaged food consumed in most countries, displaying what nutrients are contained in the product. Usually, labels are based on official government nutritional ranking systems. In addition, most countries also release complete nutritional guides for overall dietary education purposes. However, in the US, the Nutrition Help label, which provides basic information on food labels and which is primarily focused on dietary nutrition, does not contain any health-related information. Some companies, mainly those of the food industry, have responded to this gap by producing custom-labeled products that provide nutrition information.
Nutrient composition is important for determining the daily nutrient requirements. Commonly, one serving of a product contains one gram of carbohydrate, one gram of protein, one gram of fat, one gram of fiber, and approximately 9 calories. A nutrition label should provide comprehensive information on the content of each of these four categories, rather than providing broad estimates based on data from the US Food and Drug Administration’s Nutrient Content Data Guide. For instance, the label should provide a complete listing of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and provide an estimate of the average number of calories in a serving of food. This would be helpful for calculating energy intake and for dietary counseling.
In Canada, the Nutrition Labels and Chart Book describe dietary requirements as well as recommended daily allowance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats; however, it does not include saturated and trans fats. It only lists the carbohydrate content per serving; no nutritional data is provided for salt, cholesterol, or fiber, although it lists low and high-fat foods as well as the percentage content of saturated fat and trans fat. The US Food Pyramid Guide, one of the most used dietary reference materials, and the USDA Food Guide, another used widely by families in the US, provide more detailed information on serving sizes of foods.
The US government has established dietary guidelines based on the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) that take into consideration age, sex, and dietary habits. Nutrient labels can help people learn about the calories they need each day to maintain a healthy weight. Nutrient labels also indicate the percentage of calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrates that are each serving. For example, a nutrition label for one serving of cereal may say that one gram of carbohydrates is in one serving, but then indicate that one gram of protein is in one serving.
The percent DV or dietary equivalent is a common term used in the US. A DV is the suggested percentage of a certain nutrient from one serving. It is an easy way to compare apples to apples when it comes to a food’s value in a variety of diets. The percent DV is often shown in the nutrition label of a food or listed in the ingredient list of food.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes a chart of Current Daily Consumption (CDS) that helps consumers find out what the average amount of calories per day is for a variety of foods. The USDA also publishes Nutrition Facts panels for many grocery products. The NDFS shows how many calories are in selected beverages like soda, juice, and even tea. The Food Pyramid, which comes from the USDA, is another source of data on food consumption and nutrition. This chart compares the number of calories from different foods and varies by age for each age group. It also lists the nutrient content of the different groups of foods.
Nutrition Facts panel
The grams of fat in a single serving of a snack is listed on the Nutrition Facts panel. The number tells you how many calories are in a serving of food. The number also indicates the percentage of fat in a serving of food. Meals that are low in fat have a lower number tells us to watch our fat intake. Foods with a high number tell us that we should increase the amount of fat in our daily diet. We can also find other information on the nutrition labels such as the fiber content, protein content, and total calories of a serving of food.
The milligrams of sodium on a Nutrition Facts label tell us how much sodium is in a serving of food. The amount of sodium varies from one food item to another but usually ranges between two and five milligrams. The sodium in a single serving may also be a good indicator of the sodium content of a particular food item. A label that has a high number tells us to beware of high sodium foods while a label with a low number tells us to watch our sodium intake.