September 22, 2009
Label claims and advertising make choosing healthy products more complicated than ever. The information on the Nutrition Facts panel is both regulated and factual. The key then is to understand how to use the information on the Facts panel. The information from the nutrition facts panel can be used to evaluate a product and compare between two similar products.
% Daily Values (DV): Shows the amount of each nutrient needed daily to meet the needs of the average person when consuming a 2,000 calorie diet. Even if you eat a diet higher or lower than 2000 calories you can still use the percent daily values to evaluate a food product or compare similar food products. A simple rule called the 5-20 rule is helpful in evaluating food products. If a food has 5% DV or less, it is low in that nutrient. If a food has 20% DV or more, it is high in that nutrient. Aim to choose foods lower in fat, saturated fat, Trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Aim to choose foods with a higher percentage DV for fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Ingredient list: Items in the food product are listed by weight in descending order of predominance. The ingredient list is important in identifying food allergens and when trying to evaluate a food product when no percent daily value is available.
When no daily value is available:
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