Facts and Benefits of Reading a Nutrition Label

— Written By and last updated by Cindy Nance

Why do people read nutrition labels? What are the main things you look for when reading a nutrition label? When grocery shopping, it’s difficult to keep in mind all the items you need to focus on when reading a food label. Use the Sample Nutrition Facts label at this link to learn what to look for when choosing what to eat: www.heart.org/.

Nutrition Food Label Facts:

  • Nutrition Fact labels are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be listed on most packaged foods and beverages.
  • The label provides detailed information about a food’s nutrient content.
  • Knowing how to read food labels is especially important if you have certain health conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • You can use the label to compare two similar foods to decide which would be the healthier choice.

Nutrients to get more of:

These are very important for your health and you should aim for adequate amounts each day of these nutrients: Calcium, Dietary fiber, Potassium, Vitamins A & C, and Iron.

Nutrients to get less of:

These nutrients are important, but you should only eat them in small amounts each day. These nutrients can increase your risk of certain diseases: Total fat, Saturated fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, and Sugar.

How do you know how much is a lot or a little of a nutrient? The % Daily value is an easy way to check if a food is high or low in a particular nutrient. Just remember these two numbers: .5% or less is low, 20% or more is high.

I hope I have cleared up some of the questions you may have had concerning reading food labels. This is an important part of what you purchase, how much you purchase and what you eat.

Information was provided from an article by Theresa Gilson, DTR, VDH Dietetic Intern

For more information contact Lethia Lee, EFNEP Assistant with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at 910-592-7161.

Written By

Photo of Lethia LeeLethia LeeEFNEP Educator, Extension Program Assistant (910) 592-7161 lethia_lee@ncsu.eduSampson County, North Carolina
Posted on Jul 6, 2015
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