Reading Labels – Cracking the Code – Page Two

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4. The Percent Daily Value The “Percent Daily Value” (%DV)
The “Percent Daily Value” (%DV) refers to dietary needs based on a 2,000 calorie diet. It may not match the percent of nutrients in your diet and may be significantly above the needs of young children. So don’t worry too much about this number in the middle section of the label. Try to keep the total daily intake under 100% DV. On the other hand, you want to make sure your kids get enough complex carbohydrates as well as soluble and insoluble fiber.

Nutrition Facts: The Percent Daily Value

5. Get Plenty of These Nutrients Get plenty of these nutrients
This is the good stuff! Sufficient amounts of fiber enhance regularity. Calcium helps building bones and teeth and reduces the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Iron is good for the blood. Vitamins A and C are antioxidants that can decrease the risk of heart disease and help to strengthen the immune system.

You can see that food labels not only warn about potentially detrimental ingredients in your food, they also inform about the benefits. While these numbers may not be applicable for children of all ages, they do tell about the nutritional quality of the food you give to your family. Here’s another hint: To be a “good source” of a specific nutrient, the food must contain at least 10% of that nutrient in one serving.

Nutrition Facts: Get Plenty of These Nutrients

6. The Daily Values for 2,000 and 2,500 Calories The daily values for 2,000 and 2,500 calories
Daily values in this section of the Food Label are based on 2,000 and 2,500 calories. This is an average estimate and may vary based on age, gender and activity level.

Nutrition Facts: The Daily Values for 2,000 and 2,500 Calories

What’s missing?
There are a few nutrients that aren’t listed on Nutrition Facts labels. But those are still important components of a healthy diet. For example, you should consider water, B-vitamins and phytochemicals. You have to put on your own thinking cap for this last part. “The Food Guide Pyramid” is another useful tool to help you in this regard.

About ingredients
Ingredient lists work almost like recipes. They indicate what’s in the food container. All ingredients are listed in a certain order – the largest amounts come first, the smallest come last. Food manufacturers may include additional information about the sources of the ingredients used, such as the type of grains, oils, cheese cultures and spices. Also listed are chemicals for coloring and preservation that have been added.

Nutrition Facts, Ingredients List

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