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Alternative namesInformation found on the labels of most packaged foods.
Based on an average portion size. Similar food products have similar serving sizes to make comparison between products easier.
Amounts per serving:
The Calories and the calories from fat are listed. These numbers will help consumers make decisions about fat intake. The list of nutrients (total fat, saturated fat , cholesterol , sodium, total carbohydrate , dietary fiber , sugars , protein ) includes those most important to the health of today's consumer. The amount, in grams (g) or milligrams (mg), per serving of these nutrients is listed to their immediate right.
Vitamins and minerals:
Only two vitamins, A and C, and two minerals, calcium and iron, are required on the food label. Food companies can voluntarily list other vitamins and minerals in the food. When vitamins or minerals are added or when a vitamin or mineral claim is made, those nutrients must be listed on the nutrition label.
Percent daily value:
The amounts of vitamins and minerals are listed as a Percent Daily Value on the nutrition label. The Percent Daily Value for vitamins and minerals gives a general idea of how much of a vitamin or mineral a serving contributes to the total daily diet. For example, if the Percent Daily Value for Vitamin C of all the foods you eat in a day adds up to 100%, your diet meets the recommendation for Vitamin C.
Food SourcesThe U. S. Government mandates food labels on most packaged foods. The label offers complete, useful and accurate nutrition information. They encourage food manufacturers to improve the quality of their products and help the consumer make healthier food choices. They provide a consistent format to help you directly compare the nutritional content of various foods. Food labels have the title "Nutrition Facts."
The Daily Values section shows how a food fits into the overall daily diet. The value of the nutrient is given in percentages. The Percent Daily Value gives the food's nutritional content based on a 2,000-calorie diet. You can use this to quickly compare foods and see how the amount of a nutrient in a serving of food fits into a 2,000-calorie diet.
For example, a food that has 13 grams of fat with a Percent Daily Value of 20% means that 13 grams of fat is 20%, or one-fifth, of the total daily fat recommended for a person who eats 2,000 calories per day.
The amounts of the first four nutrients -- total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium -- are maximum amounts. That is why the list says "less than" before the number. The amounts of total carbohydrate and dietary fiber are minimum amounts. This is exactly the same on all food labels that carry it. You can use it as a reference.
For the first time, you will see FDA approved and regulated Health claim phrases. A health claim is a food label message that describes the relationship between a food or food component, such as fat, calcium, or fiber, and a disease or health-related condition.
The government has authorized health claims for seven diet and health relationships that are backed by extensive scientific evidence.
1. Calcium and osteoporosis
2. Fiber-containing grain products, fruits, vegetables and cancer
3. Fruits, vegetables, and cancer
4. Fruits, vegetables, and grain products that contain fiber and coronary heart disease
5. Fat and cancer
6. Saturated fat and cholesterol and coronary heart disease.
7. Sodium and hypertension
An example of a valid health claim you may see on a high-fiber cereal product food label would be: "Many factors affect cancer risk; eating a diet low in fat and high in fiber may lower the risk of this disease."
For further information on specific health claims refer to the information on diet and health.
Food manufacturers are required to list ingredients in descending order by weight, from the most to the least. People with food sensitivities can obtain useful information from the ingredient list on the label.
The ingredient list will include, when appropriate:
FOODS EXEMPT FROM FOOD LABELING
Many foods do not have information on them. Some foods are exempt from food labeling. These include:
A toll-free consumer hot line of the American Dietetics Association National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics is available to answer questions on the new food Labels. They operate between 10AM and 5PM Eastern time, Monday through Friday. The number is 1-800-366-1655.
Update Date: 10/17/2003David Webner, M.D., Sports Medicine Fellow, Crozer-Keystone Family Practice Program, Springfield, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT