How to Read the New Nutrition Facts Tables in 6 easy steps.
How to Read the New Nutrition Facts Tables
The Nutrition Facts table is on the side of most packaged foods. It’s often found close to the ingredient listing.
The purpose of it is to help consumers make better nutrition decisions. When people can see the number of calories, carbs, sodium, etc. in food, they should be able to eat better, right?
Whether you like the Nutrition Facts table or not, let’s make sure you get the most out of it, since it’s here to stay!
Here’s my six-step crash course on reading the Nutrition Facts table.
Step 1: Serving Size
The absolute most important part of the Nutrition Facts table is to note the serving size. Manufacturers often strategically choose the serving size to make the rest of the table look good. Small serving = small calories/fat/carbs. So, it's tricky.
All the information in the table rests on the amount chosen as the serving size. And, since every manufacturer chooses their own, it’s often difficult to compare two products.
Servings per container shows the total number of serving sizes in the entire package.
Whats NEW ..... ?
~ Servings per container and serving size will now be Bigger and Bolder.
~By July 26,2018 serving sizes will be more consistent between similar foods. This will make it easier to compare foods.
~The new labels will also have more realistic serving sizes to reflect the amount that people eat in one sitting, and not be artificially small.
Let’s use an example - plain, unsalted walnuts from Costco. (see picture above)
As you can see, right under the Nutrition Facts header is the serving size. That is a ¼ cup or 30 g. This means that all the numbers underneath it are based on this amount.
FUN EXPERIMENT: Try using a measuring cup to see exactly how much of a certain food equals one serving. You may be surprised at how small it is (imagine a ¼ cup of walnuts).
* when you comparing calories, fats, carbohydrates and all other nutrients in a food be sure to to check the serving sizes so you can make an accurate comparison.
Step 2: Calories- Calories are pretty straight forward. Here, a ¼ cup (30 g) of walnuts has 200 calories. This reflects the total number of calories from all nutrients in one serving size
not the entire container.
~Calories will now be in a larger font and bolded.
~ Calories from fat on (shown on old labels)will be removed, because research shows the type of fat you consume is more important and has more impact on your body than the amount of fat consumed.
Step 3: % Daily Value
The % Daily Value (%DV) is based on the recommended daily amount of each nutrient the average adult needs. Ideally, you will get 100% DV for each nutrient every day. This is added up based on all of the foods and drinks you have throughout the day.
NOTE: Since children are smaller and have different nutritional needs if a type of food is intended solely for children under the age of 4, then those foods use a child’s average nutrition needs for the %DV.
The %DV is a guideline, not a rigid rule.
You don’t need to add all of your %DV up for everything you eat all day. Instead, think of anything 5% or less to be a little; and, anything 15-20% or more should be considered high for a serving.
NOTE: Not every nutrient has a %DV. You can see it's missing for things like cholesterol, sugar, and protein. This is because there isn't an agreed "official" %DV for that nutrient. The good news is that the new Nutrition Facts tables will include a %DV for sugar. Keep your eyes out for that.
Step 4: Middle of the table (e.g.