FDA Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of National Nutrition Month with Tips for Using the Nutrition Facts Label

Mar 07, 2013, 10:00 ET from U.S. Food and Drug Administration

SILVER SPRING, Md., March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- March is National Nutrition Month, encouraging Americans to "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day." Now in its 40th year, this annual campaign offers important advice on healthful eating. To help you make informed food choices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reminds you to Read the Label!

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The Nutrition Facts Label found on all packaged foods and beverages serves as your go-to guide for choosing and comparing foods. Now in its 20th year, this handy resource lets you know exactly what you're eating and helps you make choices that can improve your long-term health.

You can use the Nutrition Facts Label every time you shop for food.  Follow these tips to get started, and you'll see how easy reading the label really is!

  • Check the serving size.  All of the nutrition information listed on the Nutrition Facts Label is based on one serving of that food. But, it's common for one package of a food to contain more than one serving.
  • Consider the calories.  If you want to manage your weight (lose, gain, or maintain), pay attention to the calories. The key is to balance how many calories you eat with how many calories your body uses. As a general rule, 400 or more calories per serving for a single food is high and 100 calories is moderate.  And remember, if a package contains two (or more) servings and you eat the entire package, you are consuming two (or more) times the number of calories and nutrients listed on the label. 
  • Choose nutrients wisely. You can also monitor your intake of specific nutrients by using the Percent Daily Value (%DV) on the Nutrition Facts Label. This is especially helpful for "nutrients to get less of" such as sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol, which can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. Follow this easy guideline when looking at nutrients on the Label: 5%DV or less of a nutrient means the food is low in that nutrient, and 20%DV or more means it's high

Start using the Nutrition Facts Label today and you'll be making informed choices about the foods you are consuming. Identify serving size, look at calories, and be aware of nutrients – especially the ones you and your family are trying to get less of.  That's how you can celebrate good nutrition every month of the year!

For more information about the Nutrition Facts Label visit:

CONTACT: FDA Office of Public Affairs: +1-301-796-4540

SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration