Items on Nutrition Labels and What They Mean

For some individuals, reading the nutrition label of a food product is a cumbersome activity that is perceived to be unnecessary. However, for others, reading the nutrition label could mean life or death, or a bad day at the very least. Men and women on diets, who have allergies and who suffer from medical illnesses need to understand how to read the different sections of a nutrition label. For example, people who suffer from certain types of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis or obesity need to understand how to read a nutrition label correctly to know what they are putting into their bodies.

Nutrition labels are made up of three different sections: serving information, nutrient amounts and daily percentages. They also include a footnote with an explanation on the percentage daily values. Each section is important in its own way and should be interpreted thoroughly. Discover what each section means and the health guidelines for nutrients, such as the guidelines for dietary salt, fiber, fat, cholesterol and mineral intakes.

The Serving Section on a Colorado Nutrition Label

On the nutrition label, the first line in the serving section is the “serving size.” The serving size is the guideline used to explain nutrition values and the nutritional information on the label is based on one serving of that food item. The second line of the serving section is the “servings per container” line, which is the number of servings in the container. It is important to note that most packages have more than just one serving per package.

Serving sizes are measured in standard units to make it easier for individuals to figure out one serving of a food. Serving sizes are measured in cups, ounces or pieces with the number of grams in parenthesis behind the standard unit of measurement. It is important to remember that if a label says the serving size is one cup and the package has two servings in it, then eating the entire package, or two cups, of that food will double the nutrition information found on the label.

Calorie Information on a Colorado Nutrition Label

Calories on the nutrition label are a measure of how much energy an individual receives from one serving of a specific food. Many Coloradoans consume more calories than is necessary without meeting the recommended amount of intake for specific nutrients. The calorie section of the label is especially helpful for those who would like to gain, lose or maintain weight.

There are two important numbers in the calories section. These are calories and calories from fat. If a food item has 250 calories in a single serving and lists 110 calories from fat, then for every 250 calories of that food, 110 calories are derived from fat. If an individual were to consume 500 calories of that food item, 220 calories would come from fat. As a general guideline, 40 calories are on the lower range, 100 calories are a moderate amount per serving and 400 calories are high, per serving.

Nutrient Information on a Colorado Nutrition Label

There are two different types of nutrients on a nutrition label: nutrients that should be limited and nutrients that should be consumed more often. The nutrients that should be limited include fat, cholesterol and sodium. The nutrients that should be consumed more often include dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.

Physicians and health experts recommend individuals curb intake of trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol to avoid certain diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and hypertension. It is important to follow the guidelines for eating these nutrients by keeping track of the percentage in each serving of food consumed. Most Coloradoans tend to consume adequate to excessive amounts of these nutrients daily.

The type of nutrients many people tend not to get enough of include fiber, vitamins and minerals. Most Coloradoans do not consume enough dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron in their diets. Eating an adequate amount of these nutrients improves health and helps reduce the risk of some conditions. For example, enough calcium in an individual’s diet will reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

The Footnote on the Colorado Nutrition Label

On the nutrition label, there is an asterisk displayed after the “% Daily Value “notation. This refers to the footnote in the lower region of the label, which is informing the reader about that the percentages of the daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The information discussed here may not be on a package if the package is too small for the entire label but the statement is required on all food labels. When the footnote is visible, it will be the congruent on all food packaging. The statement does not change from product to product because it is showing the recommended daily amount for all Americans and it is not referring to the specific food product being consumed.

Inactive adults consume closer to a 2,000-calorie diet daily, so an individual who consumes this amount should consume 65 grams or less of total fat per day. A person who is more active and consumes closer to 2,500 calories per day should consume 80 grams of total fat or less per day. This gives the reader a good idea of how many grams of an important nutrient he or she should be consuming and allows him or her to compare this number to the amount in the food being consumed.