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FROM: HEART RE: Healthy Mondays-Food Labels
8/28/2012 10:31:52 AM
To: Students, Faculty, Staff


Figuring out Food Labels

Food Labels contain a lot of information that can be overwhelming to read at once. However, reading and understanding these labels are important because they tell you about the ingredients and nutrition of the food you are eating. The black and white nutrition label is found horizontally or vertically written on the back, side, or bottom of a food package. Here are some tips on the parts of a food label and what you should pay attention to on the label.

§  Serving Size – This tells you how much food is in a serving and how many servings are in a package. This information can be very misleading. For example, a bag of cookies may contain 10 cookies, but the serving size is 2 cookies. Therefore, if you ate the whole bag you would be eating 5 servings.

§  Calories, Fat, Carbohydrates, and Protein – On a food label, the amount of these are listed in grams. It also shows the daily value percentage of fats, carbs, and protein in this food based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Since everyone has different nutritional needs, these amounts may not be exact for you, but it will give you a general idea of how the food is going to fit into your nutritional needs. For instance, if you eat a can of chicken soup for lunch you are going to intake about 1780 mg of sodium or 74% of the amount of sodium you should have a day. This section will also tell you how much fiber is in the food item.

§  Vitamins and Minerals – This section shows the percent of essential vitamins and minerals that you would get from eating this food. The FDA requires the labels to contain information on vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium; however some labels may also contain other nutrient facts.

§  Suggested Daily Requirements - This last section shows how much fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber the FDA suggests that you eat based on a 2,000 or 2,500 calorie diet.

Check out this interactive quiz!


For more information or if you have any questions, contact

Fran Fayish at or call x 5922.