Nutrition Label Savvy
You’re sitting in lecture and your stomach is gnawing at you and telling you it’s time to refuel. But, you only have 10 minutes between classes to grab a snack to sustain you for your next two hour lecture. You hit the Hub and are overwhelmed by the multitude of options and eye-catching health claims on the packaged foods: “fat-free”, “high in fibre”, “source of calcium”, “calories reduced”, “natural”, “light”, “contains omega-3 fats”, “high protein” and many more. Now you have no idea what you want!
A fast and easy way to choose the best option on-the-go is to ignore the nutrition and health claims on the front and do a quick scan of the nutrition facts table. The nutrition facts table provides information on the calories and 13 nutrients of the food item based on the serving size. Using the nutrient facts table gives you a tool to compare different food products, learn the nutritional value of foods and also use this information to decide if you want to increase or decrease your intake of a certain nutrient. The following are five tips to use to analyze the nutrient facts table to help you make the best food choice for your needs.
5 Quick Tips:
1) Check the serving size
The serving size information allows you to know how many nutrients and calories are in a given serving size. This information is helpful for comparing products and as a baseline for the amount you may eat.
2) Check the calories
Calories tell you how much energy you will receive from a serving. This information is helpful because it can help you determine if you need more or less of a food item based on your nutrient requirements.
Check to see if the package contains more than one serving.
3) Use the % Daily Value (%DV) information.
The %DV is a scale from 0-100% which provides information of the percentage of the nutrient you are consuming based on the serving size. An easy way to use the %DV is to remember that %5 is a little and %15 is a lot of a nutrient for a single serving.
4) Aim for more fibre, vitamins, iron and calcium.
Use the %DV to quickly check if there are high amounts (more than %15 DV).
5) Aim for less calories, sodium, cholesterol and trans fats.
Use the %DV to quickly check if the values are low (less than %5 DV).
Ryerson Eats Ambassador