Looking at the nutrition information on food labels helps us to make informed food choices, compare products more easily, find out the nutritional value of foods, follow Canada’s Food Guide, and is based on Health Canada’s regulations.
A food product has 3 different areas of information including:
1. Nutrition claim or claims (nutrient and health claims),
2. Ingredient list, and
3. Nutrition Facts Table.
The main part of the Nutrition Facts Table gives you information on calories and 13 nutrients: fat, saturated fat, and trans fat; cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fibre, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
Five easy steps to read the label
Step 1: Look at the serving size
Compare the serving size on the package to the amount that you eat. If you eat the serving size shown on the Nutrition Facts Table you will get the amount of calories and nutrients that are listed.
Step 2: Look at the calories
Calories tell you how much energy you get from one serving of a packaged food.
Step 3: Look at the percent daily value (% Daily Value)
% Daily Value puts nutrients on a scale of 0% - 100%. This scale tells you if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in one serving of a packaged food. Use this percentage to compare the nutrient content of different foods.
- 5% DV or less is a little
- 15% DV or more is a lot
Step 4: Try to get more of these nutrients
- Fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium.
Step 5: Try to get less of these nutrients
- Fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol.