Daily Values on Food Labels

You can use the Daily Values on food labels to see if you are getting enough of the important nutrients that you need each day.

A Daily Value is the percentage of a certain nutrient that is in a serving of food. This percentage is based on an "average person" who needs 2000 calories each day to stay healthy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided that this "average person" would be someone who needs 2000 calories a day, so that as many people as possible would get the nutrients they need. You may need a little less; or you may need more of these nutrients.

You can also use the Daily Values to compare foods to see which ones will give you the best buy and best food value. If you want more fiber, you may choose a cereal that has 10% of the Daily Value for fiber instead of a cereal that has less than 1% of the Daily Value. Instead of buying a snack or soup mix that has 50% of your Daily Value for sodium, you may choose a snack or soup that has 10-20% of the Daily Value.

To find out more about smart shopping ideas for different foods, read the file "Smart Shopping Tips".

If you have more questions about reading food labels, go to "Ask the Nutritionist."

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