Because most processed foods are loaded with sugar, salt, and fat, the best food to
buy is whole unprocessed and plant-based produce that does not need a Nutrition
Facts Label (NFL). Consumers can make better choices when they consider the
NFL label and understand the meaning of the NFL food label terms.
Daily Value (DV): This is the percentage that a serving of the labeled food contributes
to a healthy diet. For example, it is recommended that in a 2000 calorie diet,
saturated fat should be limited to 20 grams, so if a portion of food had 5 grams of
saturated fat, the DV would be listed as 25%. You might want to consume less than
the DV of some nutrients. The 2015 DGAC recommended consuming a maximum
of 10% of daily calories from saturated fat. This would be 22 grams of saturated fat.
However, the American Heart Association’s recommendation is that only 5% to 6%
of daily calories should be supplied by saturated fat.
Sugar: The NFL provides a listing of total sugar and separately list the amount of
the healthy sugars found in fruits and vegetables and the amount of unhealthy added
sugars. Calories per serving: The NFL lists the calories in a serving to reflect the amounts of
food people actually eat. “Low calorie” on the label means 40 or fewer calories per
serving, “reduced calorie” means 25% fewer calories than in a same-size serving of
the original food, and “light or lite” means 33% fewer calories than in a same-size
serving of the original food.
Fat: “Reduced fat” on the label means at least 25% less fat per serving compared to
the original food; “low-fat” signifies 3 grams of fat or less per serving; “fat-free” is
0.5 grams or less fat per serving; and “trans-fat free” signifies 0.5 grams of trans fat
or less per serving.
Sodium: “Reduced sodium” means 25% less sodium than in a same-size serving of
the original food; “light in sodium or lightly salted” signifies 50% less sodium than in a same-size serving of the original food. “Low sodium” means 140 mg or less per serving; “very low sodium” means 35 mg or less per serving, and “salt/sodium free”
means less than 5 mg sodium per serving. “No salt added or unsalted” means no
salt was added in processing, but it does not mean that the product is sodium-free.
Vitamins and minerals: “Excellent source of” means the food has at least 20% of
the daily value of that vitamin or mineral per serving: “good source of” means the
food has 10-19% of the daily value; “enriched with” lists added vitamins and/or
minerals; and “fortified with” signifies adding vitamins and/or minerals that are not
in the product naturally. Consumers should be aware that while it is not likely, it is
possible to get too much of a specific dietary supplement from fortified foods.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel,