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Reading Food Labels

Look for the “Nutrition Facts” label on packaged foods. Reading labels is a big step toward eating healthier. The tips below help you know what to look for.

Nutrition Facts label showing where to find information on serving size, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, calories from fat, percent daily value, sodium, and dietary fiber.

  1. Serving Size
    Read this closely. This is how to measure 1 serving of the food in the package. If you eat more than 1 serving, you get more of everything on the label—including fat, cholesterol, and calories.

  2. Total Fat
    This tells you how many grams (g) of fat are in 1 serving. Fat is high in calories. A healthy goal is to have less than 25% of your daily calories come from fat.

  3. Saturated Fat
    This tells you how much saturated fat is in 1 serving. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol the most. Look for foods that have little or no saturated fat.

  4. Trans Fat
    This tells you how much trans fat is in 1 serving. Even a small amount of trans fat can harm your health. Choose foods that have no trans fat.

  5. Cholesterol
    This tells you how much cholesterol is in 1 serving. Try to eat less than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.

  6. Calories from Fat
    This number tells you how many calories from fat are in 1 serving (there are 9 calories per gram of fat). Look for foods with few calories from fat.

  7. % Daily Value
    The higher the number, the more 1 serving has of that nutrient. Look for foods that have low numbers for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

  8. Sodium
    This tells you how much sodium (salt) is in 1 serving. Choose foods with low numbers for sodium.

  9. Dietary Fiber
    This number tells you how much fiber is in 1 serving. Foods that are high in fiber can help you feel full. They can also be good for your heart and digestion. Try to get about 25 grams a day.

 

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