LAMAR, Mo. -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nutrition Facts label appears on most packaged foods and informs us how many servings are in a box or can.
"When consumers understand the food label, they can use nutrition information to make quick, informed food choices that contribute to a healthy diet," said Dr. Lydia Kaume, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Serving size varies between products and provides information on how many calories are in one serving size. A portion size is how much of that food we choose to eat at one time. "In some cases, serving sizes and portion sizes match but at all times an individual determine their portion size," said Kaume.
Calories and calories from fat tell us how much energy we get from that food.
The % Daily Value shows if a serving size of food is high or low in a nutrient. As a guideline, 5% or less is low and 20% or more is high.
Nutrients: Limiting fat, cholesterol, and sodium can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. "Select foods high in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and iron to help your body fight diseases and support healthy body functions," said Kaume.
A footnote is found only on larger packages and does not change from product to product.
The Nutrition Facts label is an important tool for keeping track of how many calories are eaten based on the number of number of serving sizes. "As a general guide, based on a 2,000 calorie diet, 40 Calories is low, 100 Calories is moderate and 400 Calories or more is high," said Kaume. "It is also important to use the label to choose healthy foods and selecting items lower in fats, salt, and sugar and higher in fiber and vitamins."