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Serving Up Good Nutrition with the Food Label

A Heads Up From The FDA

Under regulations from the FDA and the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the food label, found on almost all processed foods, offers more complete, useful and accurate nutrition information than ever before. Even when restricting calories and portions, you should use the Nutrition Facts panel on the food label to make sure you get all the essential nutrients for good health.

When concerned about reducing calories or controlling your weight, one of the first places you should look on the Nutrition Facts panel is the serving size and the number of servings per package, which are listed at the top. The serving size affects the calories, the amounts of each nutrient, and the percent Daily Values (%DV) for the nutrients listed on the panel.

"To be sure you know how many calories you're consuming, you need to compare what you are actually eating to the serving size on the label," says Naomi Kulakow, coordinator for education and outreach in the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. For example, if there is one cup in a serving and the package contains two servings, you need to double the calories and other nutrient numbers if you eat the whole package. Many items sold as single portions--like a 20-ounce soft drink, a 3-ounce bag of chips, and a large bagel--actually provide two or more servings.

Next: Are You Getting 100 Percent of the Nutrients You Need?

Previous: Changing Your Viewpoint Toward Sugary & Fatty Foods

Adapted from: Losing Weight: Start By Counting Calories


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