Q:

How can you interpret data about nutrients in foods?

A:

Quick Answer

The first information listed on a nutrition label is the serving size. This is the amount the rest of the nutrition facts are based on, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The rest of the nutrition facts are listed as they relate to one serving.

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Full Answer

The serving size is there to help consumers compare similar foods. The serving size is listed as how much is in one serving and how many servings are in the entire package.

Calories and calories from fat tell a consumer how much energy he consumes from one serving. Foods with 40 calories or less are considered low-calorie foods, according to the FDA. Foods with 100 calories are moderate and foods with 400 calories or more are high-calorie foods. The calorie guides are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

The top section of the nutrition label also tells the consumer how many grams of fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium is in each serving. These numbers are especially important for those who are watching their intake of these items or those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

The next section of a nutrition label shows the amount of essential nutrients present in one serving of the food. This is where vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C and D show up on the food label, along with iron, calcium and potassium.

The bottom of the label must be on all foods and helps people keep their sodium, fat and saturated fat levels in check. All values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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