How to read nutrition labels and make informed food choices


Understanding how to read nutrition labels is essential for making informed decisions about the food we eat. Nutrition labels provide important information about the nutrients in a particular food product, helping us make healthier choices for ourselves and our families. In this article, we will discuss how to read nutrition labels effectively and use that information to make informed food choices.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into the details on a nutrition label, it’s important to understand some key terms:

  • Calories: This indicates the amount of energy a food provides per serving.
  • Serving Size: This tells you how much of the food is considered one serving.
  • Percent Daily Value (%DV): This shows how much of each nutrient in a serving contributes to your daily recommended intake.
  • Nutrients: This section lists the amounts of specific nutrients like fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein.

Key Things to Look For

When reading a nutrition label, focus on these key things:

  • Serving Size: Make sure to check the serving size and compare it to the amount you actually eat. The rest of the information on the label is based on this serving size.
  • Calories: Pay attention to the number of calories per serving, and consider how many servings you are actually consuming.
  • Fat: Look for foods low in saturated and trans fats, and choose foods with healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
  • Cholesterol and Sodium: Limit these nutrients in your diet by choosing foods lower in these values.
  • Carbohydrates and Fiber: Choose foods high in fiber and lower in sugars for better overall health.
  • Protein: Ensure you are getting enough protein from your food choices, especially if you are physically active.

Understanding %DV

The Percent Daily Value (%DV) on a nutrition label can help you see how a food fits into your overall daily diet. Here’s a general guide:

  • 5% DV or less is low.
  • 20% DV or more is high.

Use the %DV to make quick comparisons between products and choose foods that provide more vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and less saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.


Reading nutrition labels is an important skill that can help you make healthier food choices. By understanding the information provided on a nutrition label and using it to guide your decisions, you can take control of your diet and improve your overall health.

Remember to pay attention to serving sizes, calories, fat content, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and %DV when reading nutrition labels. By making informed choices, you can maintain a balanced diet and support your wellness goals.

Start today by picking up a few food products and analyzing their nutrition labels. With practice, you’ll become more confident in reading labels and making smart choices for yourself and your family.


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