Depending on your nutrition and health goals, several parts of the food label will be particularly useful. Here are a few ways you can use the information to help you make informed food choices:
What do you need to know?
The Nutrition Facts Table is mandatory on most packaged food products with some exceptions.
The Nutrition Facts Table provides information on the serving size, calories and 13 core nutrients, such as fat, sodium and sugar.
It also provides % Daily Value, which helps you determine if the food product contains a little or a lot of a certain nutrient. In general, 5% or less is considered a little and 15% or more is considered a lot. When comparing two products, you can use the % Daily Value to see which product has more or less of a certain nutrient.
% Daily Value for nutrients is based on the highest recommended intakes for people more than two years of age (not including pregnant women) as set by Health Canada.
What do you need to do?
Compare competing products: The food label can help you choose the product that's best for you as each manufacturer uses the same Nutrition Facts Table layout.
Calorie check: Calories count — especially when you are working towards a healthy weight.
Be aware of the serving size: The amount of calories and nutrients listed on the Nutrition Facts Table refer to the labeled serving size.
Read the ingredient list: It can help with food choices — especially if you have food sensitivities or allergies and want to know if specific ingredients are in a product.