The nutrition facts label is a label required on most packaged foods in a lot of countries.
In the United States, the nutrition facts label begins with an indication of a standard serving size. It then lists calories and gives a breakdown of macronutrients, elements and vitamins contained in a food.
In most cases, serving size is different from package size. It is a good idea to compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the nutrition facts panel.
If the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.
Usually the label shows all the following 15 items: calories, calories from fat, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Other elements are shown only if they are present in a food.
The nutritional facts label also lists recommended percentage of nutrients supplied by food. The recommendation is based on a daily diet of 2,000 kilocalories.
For example, a food item with a 5% daily value of fat provides 5% of the total fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat based on the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of the United States.
These daily value recommendations date back to 1968. Because of this fact, they get a lot of criticism. A lot of food experts say that these recommendations are outdated because they do not take into consideration diet changes that have occurred since 1968.
No matter what diet you follow, a nutrition label is still a great tool that will help you estimate how many calories you will consume and what kind of calories you will get.