Serving Size 

Check to see if your serving is the same size as the one on the label. If you eat double the serving size listed, you need to double the nutrient and caloric values. If you eat one-half the serving size shown here, the nutrient and caloric values should be halved.


Look here to see what a serving of food adds to your daily calorie total. A person’s size and activity level help determine total calories needed per day. For example, a 138-lb active woman needs about 2,000 calories each day, while a 160-lb active women needs about 2,300 calories. Talk to your health care provider to determine the calorie intake that is right for you.

Total Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are found in foods like bread, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. They are a key element in your diet, giving you nutrients and energy. Talk to your health care provider to determine the carbohydrate intake that is right for you.

Dietary Fiber

It is important to consume fiber in your diet. Fiber (also called “roughage”) can be soluble or insoluble (unabsorbed) dietary fiber. Fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, beans, and legumes are all good sources of fiber.


Most adults get more protein than they need. Protein from animal sources contains both fat and cholesterol, so eat small servings of lean meat, fish, and poultry. Use skim or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. You also can get your protein from beans, grains, and cereals.

Vitamins & Minerals

Make it your goal to get 100% of the daily allowance of vitamins and minerals every day from the foods you eat.

Percent (%) Daily Values

Indicates how much of a specific nutrient a serving of food contains compared to a 2,000 calorie diet. A product is considered a good source of a particular nutrient if one serving provides 10% to 19% of the Daily Value and is considered high in a given nutrient if it contains 20% or more of the Daily Value. If the Daily Value is 5% or less, the food is low in that nutrient.

Daily Value Table

This table lists the U.S. recommended daily values of specific nutrients for 2,000- or 2,500-calories diets. Recommended daily intake for some nutrients (cholesterol and sodium) are lower for people with diabetes. Talk to your heath care provider to determine the daily value that is right for you.

Total Fat

Try to limit your calories from fat. Choose foods with less than 25-35% of calories derived from fat. Foods with more than 30% fat are considered high-fat. Intake of trans-fatty acids should be as low as possible.

Saturated Fat

The ADA recommends consuming than 7% of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with mono saturated and poly saturated fatty acids.


Challenge yourself to keep your cholesterol to less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. Consuming less than 200 mg per day can further help individuals at high risk of heart disease.


Too much sodium (salt) can add up to high blood pressure in some people. The USDA recommends reducing daily sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

Other Terms You May see on Packages:

Reduced- This means that the product has been nutritionally altered so that it now contains 25% less of a specific nutrient, such as fat, calories,sugar, or sodium.

Free- This means that the product contains none or almost none of the specified nutrient. For example, sugar-free foods have less than 0.5 gram of sugar per serving. However, sugar-free does not mean carbohydrate-free. Compare the total carbohydrate context of a sugar-free food with that of the standard product. If there is a big difference in carbohydrate context between the 2 foods, buy the sugar-free food.