FDA Food Label: How Much of What Nutrients Do You Need?

FDA Nutrition Facts Label

If you look on the Nutrition Facts Label at the back label of any food package, you will see a listing of various nutrients. These are followed by amount found per serving along with a percentage indicating the quantity of these nutrients that should be eaten on a daily basis.

It is very important to understand that, as the footnote on most FDA labels state, the percentage is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The fact is that you may need to eat more or less than 2,000 calories per day, depending on your gender, age and lifestyle. So, don't forget to do the math and make the necessary adjustments based on your caloric consumption. It is also important to realize how easy it is to eat more than enough of certain nutrients while not eating enough of others.

The Yellow Label vs. the Blue Label

On many packages, the nutrients listed on the FDA's food labels are divided into two groups. On a full-color label, the first group is sometimes listed on a YELLOW background while the second group will be on a BLUE background.

Yellow Group - This section of the Nutrition Facts Label includes Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. Many people consume more of these than they should which can lead to serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity and certain types of cancer. For this reason, the FDA rightly notes that a person should limit the intake of these nutrients, and try to eat less than the amount suggested by FDA guidelines.

Blue Group - On the other hand, this section of the FDA's food label indicates nutrients that many people do not eat enough of. These include dietary fiber, Vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. You will want to use the information found on the blue label to make sure that you are getting enough of these nutrients in your diet on a daily basis. Instead of looking at the recommended daily intake of these nutrients as being your goal, you should look at it as being the minimum amount that you absolutely must eat on a daily basis.

In order to have a balanced diet, you need to eat enough of the right nutrients while not eating more than recommended of the wrong ones. Bear this fact in mind when reading FDA labels on the food you purchase to ensure that you use the FDA's information to help maintain a balanced diet at all times.


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