Understanding nutrition information and label forms an important aspect of making the best choice for healthy dietary living, in addition to avoiding unnecessary food supplements such as added salt, saturated fats, and added sugars in addition to using the information on labels effectively. Information on packaged foods is important as it helps food having specific food preferences and allergies make the best choice (Ollberding et al., 2011). On the other hand, understanding food labels offers tips on how to keep fit, maintain a particular diet, and make the best health decisions. Although many food labels have and contain varying information, the vital information to look out for include;
First and foremost, check out for the serving information on top of the label that offers information on the number of serving for the given container. According to Ollberding et al., (2011), serving size provides information on the average consumption of the meal or food, but not the ideal intake. The amount of calories in a given serving is important as it helps consumers to understand some nutrients and calories to serve. It forms the second most important step in understanding food labels. The third phase in understanding food labels is limiting intake of saturated fats, calorie diet, and sodium. According to Ollberding et al., (2011), calorie intake should be limited to 2,000, saturated fat should be no more than 13 grams, while sodium should be restricted to 1,500 mg (Ollberding et al., 2011). The third section outlines nutrients that should form a larger component of a daily intake or serving. These include protein, calcium, fiber, vitamins, iron, and other essential nutrients required on a daily basis. The percent daily value (DV) provides information on the percentage of the outlined nutrients per serving on a regular basis. For example, a choice of less nutrients per day would require foods having a low DV percentage (Less than 5%). A higher consumption of a given nutrient would call upon the consumption of foods with a higher percent DV (Over 20%) (Ollberding et al., 2011)
Ollberding, N. J., Wolf, R. L., & Contento, I. (2011). Food label use and its relation to dietary intake among US adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 111(5), S47-S51.