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How to Read Food Labels: Part 2

Welcome to part two of how to read your food labels! As stated, reading a food label correctly is something that many people take for granted. Do you really know what all of those grams and daily intake values mean? More importantly, what do they mean for your health? Well, read on to find out all the rest you need to know to make your nutrition really count!

Dietary Fiber

Your body can’t actually digest fiber, but it’s a very important tool to keep things running –uh- smoothly. Food high in fiber helps you to also feel fuller for longer, so it’s the key to helping you feel satisfied.


Too much sugar has been linked to high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. In foods, there are two types of sugars. The first occurs naturally in foods like fruit and dairy, and the second is added sugars that are added to impact the taste of a product. Both need to be limited and it’s recommended that women get no more than 24 grams of sugar a day and men 36 grams.


Protein is a building block for your body, so it’s very important. It helps support muscle development and growth and experts agree that adults have .8 grams of protein for every pound of their body weight. Are you getting enough?

Vitamin A, C, Calcium and Iron

These vitamins and minerals are essential for your body to run properly, so make sure you check the intake of these in the foods you eat to make sure you are getting enough.

Percent Daily Value (%DV)

This is how much of the nutrients listed an average person needs in a day. 5 % DV or less is low and 20 % DV or more is high. Make sure when noting these numbers you also look at the fats, cholesterol and sodium to make sure you’re limiting them to the 5 % DV, and then look at the fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron and aim for those numbers to be above 20 % DV.


The ingredients listed in each food you purchase must be listed from most to least. So, if sugar is the second ingredient on the list, sugar is the second most used ingredient in the food.

What If There’s No Label?

Some things, like fresh produce, won’t have a nutrition label. For this, there are plenty of online resources available for you to be able to get the proper nutrition facts. Do a search online and you can find several!

Stay tuned next week for food label reading pitfalls to avoid!

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon

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