How to Read Food Labels ( Nutrition Facts Table )

The main part of the label is the Nutrition Facts Table, which gives you the following information: Calories and 13 nutrients:
Fat, Saturated fat, Trans fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrate, Fibre, Sugars, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron.

A nutrition facts table gives you information on:

  • serving size : The serving size tells you the quantity of food used to calculate the numbers in the nutrition facts table.

  • calories : If you eat more calories than you need over time, you may gain weight.

  • % DV : Percent daily value. For example, a food product has 3 mg of iron. The daily value for iron is 14 mg. This means that the % DV for iron would be 21%. (3 mg ÷ 14 mg) × 100 = 21% DV

It also gives you information on the 13 core nutrients:

  • fat : There are 3 diffrent kinds of fat. Trans and too much saturated fat are not good for your health. Unsaturated fats are good for your health.

  • cholesterol : Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.

  • sodium : Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which may result in stroke and heart disease.

  • carbohydrate : Carbohydrates are important nutrients for your health. They are the body’s main source of energy (Calories). The main kinds of carbohydrates are fibre, starch and sugars.

  • fibre : Fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate found in plant foods. It is an important part of a healthy diet and plays many roles in the body.

  • sugars : Health Canada recommends a healthy eating pattern where most sugars come from fruit, vegetables and unsweetened dairy products such as plain milk or yogurt. Other sources of sugars can increase calories without benefiting our health.

  • protein : Protein is an important nutrient for your health. Proteins are part of every cell in your body and are needed to build and repair muscle, tissue, skin, nails and hair. Protein also helps build hormones and enzymes.

  • vitamin A : Vitamin A is important for your health. It plays many different roles in the body:

    1. It may help keep skin healthy.
    2. It may help keep good night vision.
    3. It is part of normal bone growth.
  • vitamin C : Vitamin C is important for your health. It plays many roles in the body:

    1. Helps the body absorb iron.
    2. Helps heal wounds.
    3. Acts as an antioxidant.
  • calcium : Calcium is a mineral that is important for your health. Calcium plays many roles in the body:

    1. Forms the structure of your bones and teeth.
    2. Helps muscles work.
  • iron : Iron is a mineral that is important for your health. Iron plays many different roles in the body:

    1. Helps produce red blood cells.
    2. Transports oxygen throughout the body.