How to Read Food Labels & the Nutrition Facts Panel for Weight Loss
Written by Diet Bites
Learning how to read food labels and applying the knowledge to your daily diet is a big step towards weight loss....
Comparisons: The %DV also makes it easy for you to make comparisons.
You can compare one product or brand to a similar product. It's easy to see which one is higher or lower in a nutrient because the serving sizes are generally consistent for similar types of foods.
Nutrient Content Claims: You can quickly distinguish one claim from another, such as "reduced fat" vs. "light" or "nonfat."
Just compare the %DVs for Total Fat in each food product to see which one is higher or lower in that nutrient--there is no need to memorize definitions. This works when comparing all nutrient content claims, e.g., less, light, low, free, more, high, etc.
Dietary Trade-Offs: You can use the %DV to help you make dietary trade-offs with other foods throughout the day.
You don't have to give up a favorite food to eat a healthy diet. When a food you like is high in fat, balance it with foods that are low in fat at other times of the day. Also, pay attention to how much you eat so that the total amount of fat for the day stays below 100%DV.
Nutrients that Have No %DV: Trans Fats, Sugars, and Protein:Note that Trans fat, Sugars and, Protein do not list a %DV on the Nutrition Facts panel.
Trans Fat: Scientific reports link trans fat (and saturated fat) with raising LDL ("bad") blood cholesterol levels, both of which increase your risk of coronary heart disease, a leading cause of death in the US.
But experts could not provide a reference value for trans fat nor any other information that FDA believes is sufficient to establish a Daily Value or %DV.
Sugars: No daily reference value has been established because no recommendations have been made for the total amount of sugars to eat in a day.
Keep in mind, the sugars listed on the Nutrition Facts panel include naturally occurring sugars (like those in fruit and milk) as well as those added to a food or drink. Check the ingredient list for specifics on added sugars.
Protein: A %DV is required to be listed if a claim is made for protein, such as "high in protein". Otherwise, unless the food is meant for use by infants and children under 4 years old, none is needed. Current scientific evidence indicates that protein intake is not a public health concern for adults and children over 4 years of age.
To limit nutrients that have no %DV, like trans fat and sugars, compare the labels of similar products and choose the food with the lowest amount. Continue Reading About Nutrition Labels