Pay attention to the serving size, including how many servings there are in the food package, and compare it to how much YOU actually eat.
The Nutrients (#3 and 4 on sample label): Look at the top section in the sample nutrition label. Remember: You can not only use the food label to help limit those nutrients you want to cut back on, but also to increase those nutrients you want to consume in greater amounts.
This part of the Nutrition Facts panel tells you whether the nutrients (fat, sodium, fiber, etc) in a serving of food contribute a lot or a little to your total daily diet. Likewise, you should try to get enough essential nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C as well as other components such as dietary fiber (shown in blue on the chart). Example of %DV for Total Fat: If you cover up the %DVs on the sample label, can you tell if 12g of Total Fat is high or low?
Example: Look again at the amount of Total Fat in one serving listed on the sample nutrition label for macaroni and cheese.
Nutrient Content Claims: You can quickly distinguish one claim from another, such as "reduced fat" vs. Dietary Trade-Offs: You can use the %DV to help you make dietary trade-offs with other foods throughout the day. Trans Fat: Scientific reports link trans fat (and saturated fat) with raising LDL ("bad") blood cholesterol levels, both of which increase your risk of coronary heart disease, a leading cause of death in the US. Sugars: No daily reference value has been established because no recommendations have been made for the total amount of sugars to eat in a day. Protein: A %DV is required to be listed if a claim is made for protein, such as "high in protein". To limit nutrients that have no %DV, like trans fat and sugars, compare the labels of similar products and choose the food with the lowest amount. Calcium: Experts advise consumers to consume adequate amounts of calcium in their daily diet.
Example: Experts advise adolescents, especially girls, to consume 1,300mg and post-menopausal women 1,200mg of calcium daily. The important thing is to look at the %DV for calcium on the food package so you know how much one serving contributes to the total amount you need. The Footnote, or lower part of the Nutrition Facts Panel (#6 on sample label) Note the * used after the heading "%Daily Value" on the Nutrition Facts panel. The Daily Values are based on expert dietary advice about how much, or how little, of some key nutrients you should eat each day, depending on whether you eat 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. If you consume 2,500 calories per day, the Footnote shows you how your daily values would change for some nutrients but not for others. Remember: %DVs listed on the top half of the food label are based on recommendations for a 2,000 calorie diet, not a 2,500 calorie diet.
But whatever the reason, many consumers would like to know how to use this information more effectively and easily.


This footnote is only on larger packages and provides general dietary information about important nutrients. The size of the serving on the food package influences all the nutrient amounts listed on the top part of the label. For labeling purposes, FDA set 2,000 calories as the reference amount for calculating %DVs.
Try to limit your total daily intake of fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol (shown in yellow on the chart) to less than 100%DV.
Another way of asking this question is, does one serving (containing 12g of fat) contribute a lot or a little Total Fat to your daily diet? When one serving of macaroni and cheese contains 18%DV for Total Fat, that means you have 82% of your fat allowance left for all the other foods you eat that day (100%-18%=82%). But experts could not provide a reference value for trans fat nor any other information that FDA believes is sufficient to establish a Daily Value or %DV. Keep in mind, the sugars listed on the Nutrition Facts panel include naturally occurring sugars (like those in fruit and milk) as well as those added to a food or drink.
Otherwise, unless the food is meant for use by infants and children under 4 years old, none is needed.
This advice is given in milligrams (mg), but the Nutrition Facts panel only lists a %DV for calcium.
To find the %DV that corresponds with 1,300mg and 1,200mg, just divide the number of mg by 10. Remember, a food with 20%DV or more contributes a lot of calcium to your daily total, while one with 5%DV or less contributes a little. It refers to the Footnote in the lower part of the nutrition label, which tells you that "%DVs are based on recommendations for a 2,000 calorie diet". It tells you that if you eat a 2,000 calorie diet, you should eat less than 65g of fat in all the foods you eat in a day.
The Daily Values for Cholesterol (300mg) and Sodium (2,400mg sodium) remain the same no matter how many calories you eat. The following guidance is intended to make it easier for you to use nutrition labels to make quick, informed food choices that contribute to a healthy diet. Serving sizes are based on the amount of food people typically eat, which makes them realistic and easy to compare to similar foods.
Eating too much fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risk of certain chronic diseases, like heart disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure. Eating enough of these nutrients can improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions. The %DV shows you the percent (or how much) of the recommended daily amount of a nutrient is in a serving of food. It's easy to see which one is higher or lower in a nutrient because the serving sizes are generally consistent for similar types of foods.


When a food you like is high in fat, balance it with foods that are low in fat at other times of the day. Current scientific evidence indicates that protein intake is not a public health concern for adults and children over 4 years of age. For consumers to know how the calcium they consume relates to expert advice, they need to do some simple math. To convert this to milligrams, multiply by 10, which equals 300mg of calcium for the yogurt. By doing this, you will follow nutrition experts' advice to consume no more than 30 percent of your daily calories from fat. But recommended levels of intake for other nutrients do depend on how many calories you consume.
For example, getting enough calcium can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, in which bones become brittle and break as one ages (see calcium example below). It helps you interpret the numbers (grams and milligrams) by putting them all on the same scale (0-100%DV), much like a ruler. You see that 18%DV, which is below 20%DV, is not yet high, but what if you ate the whole package (two servings)? Also, pay attention to how much you eat so that the total amount of fat for the day stays below 100%DV. But the remaining information in the full footnote may not be on the package if the size of the label is too small.
Because the DV for total fat is "less than 65g," this is the same thing as saying, to keep your total fat intake for the day below 100%DV.
That doubles the calories and other nutrient numbers, including the %Daily Values as shown below (see Calories and %Daily Value for more information). This way you can tell high from low and know which nutrients contribute a lot, or a little, to your daily recommended allowance (upper or lower).
Thus, the daily target for teenage girls, 1,300mg , equals 130%DV, and the daily target for post menopausal women, 1,200mg, equals 120%DV. But you can still use the %DV as a frame of reference, whether or not you eat more or less than 2,000 calories each day.
It doesn't change from product to product, because it shows dietary advice for all Americans--it is not about a specific food product. It would leave you 64% of your fat allowance (100%-36%=64%) for all of the other foods you eat that day, snacks and drinks included.




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