The food label is an important tool for understanding the nutritional value of a food. It provides information about the ingredients, the daily value (DV) of each nutrient, and any claims made by the manufacturer. Knowing how to read and interpret this information can help you make informed decisions about what you eat. The nutritional values on the food label are based on a portion of the food.
The ingredients are listed separately, usually in small print, and in descending order by weight. This means that the ingredient that weighs the most appears first and the ingredient that weighs the least appears last. This is important for people with food allergies or for parents who are wary of the effect of food colorings or preservatives on a child's behavior. It's also important to know the jargon used on food labels, as some ingredients may not be immediately recognizable.
The daily value (DV) is an approximate recommendation for the daily intake of a nutrient, developed by the FDA for use on food labels. It can tell you if a serving of food has a high or low content of a nutrient and if a portion of the food contributes a lot or little to your daily diet with each nutrient. The DV isn't as accurate as the RDA, so while it's useful for comparing food products or making quick judgments about the nutritional value of a food, it's best to use the RDA if you're looking for your individual nutritional needs. Food and beverage packaging sometimes includes terms that may try to convince the consumer that the food is healthy.
While not perfect, these statements are regulated by the FDA in an effort to ensure that they provide consumers with accurate, science-based information about foods. In summary, reading and understanding the food label can help you make informed decisions about what you eat. Knowing how to interpret the ingredients list, daily value (DV) of each nutrient, and any claims made by manufacturers can help you choose foods that are right for you.