How well can you read a food label? I’m sure you’ve heard of Serving Size and Percent Daily Value – but can you really read the label properly?
My son and I visited the Nutrition Facts Education Campaign booth in collaboration with the Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), Health Canada, Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and we were put to the test.
The NFEC “Focus on the Facts” was created to help Canadians use the Nutrition Facts table (NFt) to make informed food choices by starting with the Serving Size and then looking at the Percent Daily Value (% DV).
By using the Serving Size and % DV in the NFt, consumers can choose foods that have more of the nutrients they want like fibre and calcium, and less of those they don’t want, like saturated and trans fats and sodium.
My son was quizzed on ten facts about the Nft, where he was taught how to read the table. For each correct answer, he was given a chip that we took over to play a “plinko” type game to win some prizes.
Here are some FACTS on Nutrition Labels:
A nutrition facts table gives you information on:
- serving size
- % DV
It also gives you information on the 13 core nutrients: including fat, saturated and trans fats, sodium, fibre, sugar, and more
Serving size is not necessarily the suggested quantity of food you should eat. The serving size tells you the quantity of food used to calculate the numbers in the nutrition facts table.
By checking a product’s serving size, you can:
- understand how much of a nutrient you are eating
- compare calories and nutrients between 2 similar packaged food products
- compare it to the amount you actually eat
You may be eating more or less than the serving size listed in the nutrition facts table. Adjust the calories and nutrients based on how much you eat.
The percent daily value (% DV) tells you if the serving size has a little or a lot of a particular nutrient.
- 5% DV or less is a little
- 15% DV or more is a lot
The information in a nutrition facts table is based on the serving size. Serving size can be found at the top of the nutrition facts table.
You can use a nutrition facts table to compare the serving size to the amount of food you actually eat.
For example, the serving size of bread in a nutrition facts table could be 1 slice. But if you eat 2 slices, you need to double the amount of calories and nutrients.
How to Use Serving Size and % Daily Value
Step 1: Start with the serving size under the header, “Nutrition Facts”.
Step 2: Use the % Daily Value to see if a Serving Size has a little or a lot of a nutrient. Less than 5% DV is considered a little, more than 15% DV is a lot.
Step 3: Compare the nutrients to find your best choice. Look for foods high in protein, fiber, vitamin A, calcium, and iron, and foods low in sugar, sodium, and trans fats.
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Learn more about reading Nutrition Facts, then visit Focus on the Facts for a chance to win a $300 grocery card! Link to
Learn more at Canada.ca/NutritionFacts!