Label Reading

Healthy Eating Starts Here

Read Labels to Make Healthier Food Choices

reading nutrition labelsFood labels contain lots of information. Reading labels on packaged foods can help you to compare products and make healthier food choices.

Label reading the healthy way offers tips for making smart food choices. Nutrition information is found in three different places on food labels:

Ingredient List

The ingredient list tells you what is in the food. Ingredients are listed by weight from most to least. The first few ingredients are those in the highest amounts. In the example below of a whole grain breakfast cereal, this means that whole grain wheat than any other ingredient,

Ingredients: Whole grain wheatŸ Dark chocolate bits (sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract) Ÿ Cocoa Ÿ Mixed tocopherols (to preserve freshness)
Contains: Wheat Ÿ Soy.

Nutrition claims on foods and drinks are either: nutrient content claims or health claims.

Nutrient content claims are statements made on a food package about one nutrient such as fat, salt, sodium, or fibre. For example, 50% Less Sodium. This mean the product has 50% less sodium (salt) than the same regular item.

Health claims describe a link between what you eat and certain diseases (for example: “A healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats may reduce the risk of heart disease.”).

Nutrition Facts Table

The Nutrition Facts table gives you information on serving size, calories, and at least 12 different nutrients. Use the Nutrition Facts table to compare similar foods.

The % Daily Value (% DV) on the Nutrition Facts table can help you make healthier food choices.

Choose a lower % DV for nutrients we want less of :

  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat
  • Sodium

Choose a higher % DV for nutrients we want more of:

  • Fibre
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Example of nutrition facts table:

Labels on Supplemented Foods

Supplemented foods have added ingredients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or caffeine. They have information on the label to tell you what has been added and how to eat or drink the food safely.