Know the Nutritional Labels Better

In the current world, all the people are health conscious and hence, demand to know the nutritional information about the foods they purchase from the stores. The nutrition facts label, also known as the information label is the label which helps them to understand their foods better.

Though these labels are present in all the food products in the market, their updates rarely happen. On December 2005, the major food companies introduced a new nutrition facts table with all the information on the calories and the 13 nutrients, namely, Sodium, Cholesterol, Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin A, Calcium, Fats, Trans Fats, Saturated Fats, Carbohydrates, Sugars, Protein, and Fibre.

The different sections in a Nutrition Facts Label

Basically, there are two sections in a nutrition facts label – the top section and the bottom section. The top section comprises of the product-specific information (i.e., the serving size, calories and the nutritional information) and hence, it varies with the products.

The bottom portion consists of the recommended dietary information of the important nutrients and doesn’t vary from product to product. This part contains a footnote with the Daily Values for 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets. The bottom note will be present only on larger packages.

1) The Serving Size

The serving size on the nutrition facts label contains information on the serving size and the number of servings available in the package. With this data, a person can understand how many calories and other nutrients are consumed by him in a day. He can also compare this information with the similar food items. The size of the serving also influences the calorie and the other nutritional content in the package. E.g., Serving Size – 1 Cup (330 g); Serving per Package/Container – 3.

2) Calories

This section in the nutrition facts helps a person to manage his weight. It gives the information about the energy gained from a serving of a particular food. He cancompare it with the caloric values recommended in a healthy diet.

3) Nutrients to be Limited

The nutrients which are required to be limited include Fat, Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium. Eating too much of these nutrients can make a person vulnerable to different types of chronic diseases like heart problem, cancer, high blood pressure, etc. This part of the nutrition facts label is usually yellow in colour.

4) Nutrients Essential for the Health

Usually displayed in blue colour, this part of the nutrition facts label includes Dietary Fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron. The foods rich in these nutrients help to keep the people healthy and also provides protection against the different types of diseases like osteoporosis, heart diseases, etc.

5) Percentage Daily Value

Percentage Daily Value is the footnote provided at the bottom of the nutrition facts label. This is the standardized information normally based on a 2000 calorie diet. It is the dietary advice recommended for all the people and hence, remains the same in all the types of food products. The daily value shows the level of intake of the various calories and nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy body. It shows the nutrients present in each food item on a scale of 0% to 100%. Hence, a consumer can easily compare it with the different types of products available in the store.

Miscellaneous Information on the Nutrition Facts Label

All the information in the footnote of the nutrition facts label is based on a 2000 or 2500 calorie diet. It does not mean that all the people have to consume the same amount of calories. The amount of calories required for a person varies with the age, gender, activity level, and weight.

If in the nutritional facts label the trans-fat content is displayed as 0 g, but has included “partially hydrogenated oil” in the list, it means that the trans-fat content in the given package is between 0 – 0.5 g.

Nutrition facts label is very important for a consumer. He has to be aware of both the unwanted calories and the essential nutrients available in a specific food product. It will thus, become easier for him/her to buy a healthy product if he has a proper understanding of each section of the nutrition facts label. Thanks for your time.