Label ingredient quotient

June 6, 2019


Many governments are adopting policies for consumers to understand food labels since it is identified as an important tool to tackle the increasing incidence of obesity and other chronic non-communicable diseases. Generally, nutrition labels falls into two categories, the back-of-package (BOP) and the front-of-package (FOP) labels. The BOP nutrition label informs consumers of the nutritional properties of food.

The following mentioned label-building skills are intended to make it easier for you to use nutrition labels to make quick, informed food choices contributing to a healthy diet. Here is a sample nutrition facts label you can refer to as we explain each section in detail.

Understanding how daily values relate to % DVs

For each nutrient listed, there is a DV, a %DV, and dietary advice/goal. If one follows this dietary advice, they comply with recommended upper or lower limits based on the listed nutrients of a 2,000 calorie daily diet.

Below example explains how DV relates to %DV:

Upper Limit - Eat "Less than"

  • Nutrients with "upper daily limits" are listed first on the footnote of larger labels.
  • Upper limits mean it is recommended that you stay below – eat "less than" - the Daily Value nutrient amounts listed per day. For example, the DV for “saturated fat” is 20g. This amount is 100% DV for this nutrient.
  • Goal or dietary advice: To eat "less than" 20g or 100% DV for the day.

Lower Limit - Eat "At least"

  • The DV for dietary fiber is 25g, which is 100% DV. This means it is recommended that you eat "at least" this amount of dietary fiber per day.
  • The DV for “total carbohydrate” is 300g or 100% DV. This amount is recommended for a balanced daily diet that is based on 2,000 calories but can vary, depending on your daily intake of fat and protein.

Here are some quick tips to be followed to better understand the food labels:

  • The number of servings one consumes determines the number of calories one actually eats.
  • Health experts recommend a low intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
  • Nutrition Facts label can be used not only to help limit nutrients you want to cut back on but also to increase those nutrients to be consumed in greater amounts.
  • 5% DV or less is low and 20% DV or more is high.
  • For nutrients with no %DV, like trans-fat and sugars, compare the labels of similar products and choose the food with the lowest amount.
  • Keep intake of added sugars to 10% or less of the total daily calories. If “added sugars” is not on the label, check from the ingredient list. Examples are; rown/maple sugar, corn sweetener, corn/malt syrup, honey, and molasses.
  • Drink plain water instead of sugary beverages to reduce the number of calories and added sugar you consume.