Nutrition Facts Panel Overview: The nutrition label is a list of nutritents that are in a specific food with their quantities and is used to inform the consumer about what they are taking into their body. The nutrition label is important because it allows us to not only know what we're putting into our body but to also help us takese foods in moderation and allow us to avoid becoming obese.
Serving sizes: Serving sizes are one of the first things you should look at on a food label and are the recommended amount of a specified food that you should be eating standardized to make comparing food easier and simpler. Serving sizes also help consumers eat in moderation and are important in finding how much of something you're actually eating.
Calories: A calorie, also one of the first things you should look at on the food label, is a unit of food energy and measures how much energy you get from a serving of a specified food. Calories are very important because they are what fuels your body and allows you to do everyday tasks. However, excess calories must be burned off otherwise it could lead to obesity. If you took in an extra 100 calories a day, you would end up gaining a pound in 35 days because 1 pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories.
Nutrients: On the food label, the nutrients listed are Total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, and proteins. There are some nutrients that have positive impacts on your body and there are other nutrients that have negative impacts on your body when you take in excess amounts. The main nutrients that you want to limit are: Total Fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol. Taking in too much of these nutrients can increase your risk of heart disease, some cancers, and high blood pressure. Nutrients that you want to make sure you get enough of are: fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Diets that are rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains may reduce risk of heart disease due to the amount of fiber, and lack of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Percent Daily Values: Percent daily values are based off of a 2000 calorie diet and must always be on every food label. This is recommended advice for all Americans which means it will never change. The 5/20 rule uses the percent daily values to help people know whether or not the nutrient is a good source of a specific nutrient. If the percent daily value is 5% or less, it is not a very good source of that nutrient. If the percent daily value is 20% or more, it is a very good source of that nutrient. This also works with negative nutrients. If a negative nutrient such as sodium, is above 20%, then you should avoid eating that food and you should stick to servings that are closer to 5%.
Ingredients: All foods that have more than one ingredient must have an ingredients list. The ingredients with the largest concentration or amount are listed first. Ingredients lists help us know was is in the food we're eating and makes us aware of any possible allergic reactions that may occur while eating that specific product. As of January 2006, all labels also must clearly state any protein that may come from 8 major allergenic foods: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.
Food Label Claims: The FDA has strict guidelines for how nutrition terms should be used. Most common claims: Low calorie-Less than 40 calories per serving, Low cholesterol-Less than 20mg and less than or equal to 2mg of fat, High fiber-more than or equal to 5g, Low sodium-Less than 140mg, High in-20% or more of percent daily value, Reduced-25% less of specified nutrient or calories, Good source-more than or equal to 10% of percent daily value, Calorie free-Less than 5 calories, Fat/sugar free-Less than 1/2g