Decoding the Nutrition Label


All major food companies introduced the new nutrition label on their packaged foods. The main part of the new label is the Nutrition Facts Table, which gives you the following information: Calories and 13 nutrients: Fat, Saturated fat, Trans fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrate, Fibre, Sugars, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron.

  • 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
  • Step 3: Look at the per cent Daily Value (% Daily Value)
  • Step 4: Try to get more of these nutrients
  • Step 5 : Try to get less of these nutrients
Step 1: Serving size: The information on both packages refers to one burger.

Step 2: Calories: Each beef burger has 340 calories, each chicken burger had 200 calories.

Step 3: Look at the % Daily Value: Scan the numbers, and compare which burger is higher or lower in a particular nutrient.

Step 4: Nutrients you want more of: At 30%, the beef burger contains a lot of iron.

Step 5: Nutrients you want less of: The fat and saturated fat content are higher in the beef burger. However, the chicken burger has more than double the amount of sodium as the beef burger.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for an iron-rich food, the beef burger is your best bet. However, if you’re looking for a lower fat option (but much higher in sodium), then the chicken burger is the one to choose

What about nutrition claims?
Nutrition claims provide a snapshot of the amount of one specific nutrient in a food, such as fiber or fat. While nutrition claims are optional, they must meet government regulations before appearing on a package.

Here are some examples of common claims:

Source of Fibre
"Source of fiber" means the food contains at least 2 grams of fiber in the amount of food specified in the Nutrition Facts table. "High source of fiber" means at least 4 grams of fiber, and "Very high source of fiber" is at least 6 grams of fiber.

Low Fat
"Low fat" means that the food contains no more than 3 grams of fat in the amount of food specified in the Nutrition Facts table.

The claim "Cholesterol-free" means that the product has a very small amount (less than 2 mg of cholesterol in the amount of food specified in the Nutrition Facts table) and it is also low in saturated fat and trans fat.

A "sodium-free" claim means the amount of food specified in the Nutrition Facts table contains less than 5 mg of sodium.

Reduced in Calories
"Reduced in Calories" has at least 25% less energy (Calories) than the food it is being compared to? most of the time, it’s being compared to the regular version of that food

The term "light" is allowed only on foods that are either "reduced in fat" or "reduced in energy" (Calories). "Light" can also be used to describe sensory characteristics of a food, for example, light tasting or light colored.