Nutrition Labels

Nutrition Facts Label

Serving Size

  • Look at the serving size and how many servings you’re really consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the percent Daily Value (% DV).

Eat-Less-of Nutrients

Saturated Fat

  • Food sources: butter, cheese, full-fat dairy products, fat in various meats (i.e., pork, beef, chicken) and baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and pies
  • Note: the saturated
    fat in products made from coconuts or coconut oils isprocessed in the body differently than normal saturated fats and may be beneficial for our health

Trans Fat

  • Food sources: margarine, shortening, and baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and pies
  • When the Nutrition Facts panel says a food product contain “0 g” of trans fat, it means the food could contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving
  • If you eat more than one serving, you could quickly reach your daily limit of trans fat
  • “Partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list means the food contains trans fat


  • Daily recommendation is less than 300 mg
  • Found in: animal products, egg yolkeggs

Sodium (Read more here)

  • Found naturally in foods in small amounts, but high amounts are found in processed and fast foods
  • Processed food sources: deli meats, sauces, salad dressings, soups, bouillon cubes, gravies, cheese, snack food (popcorn, chips, pretzels), and pickled foods
  • Daily recommendation:  2,300 mg per day and 1,500 mg for African Americans, middle-aged and older adults, and people with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease

Eat-More-of Nutrients

  • Fiber: fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains
  • mixed nutsVitamins and minerals: best sources include real food, not fortified foods such as cereals, fiber bars, and other fortified grain products
  • Monounsaturated fats:  olives, olive oil, avocados, almonds, peanuts
  • Polyunsaturated fats: vegetable oils, seeds, nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios), canola oil, fatty fish (tuna, salmon, herring)

Ingredients List

  • Shorter the ingredient list the better
  • You want to be able to pronounce as many ingredients as possible
  • CSPI’s chemical cuisine:
  • The “best for us foods” often don’t need an ingredient list because they are fresh and only one ingredient 

Nutrition Claims

  • natural-lays-640These claims are typically featured in ads for the foods or on the food packages themselves
  • Examples: less than, natural, low fat, low sugar, etc.
  • These claims are “defined” by the FDA, but often lead to us being confused about what’s the best to eat



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