Reading Food Labels

Get the facts on saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.

Since it is mandatory that both the amount of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol in a food be listed on the Nutrition Fact Panel on the label (see the label below), it is relatively easy to keep track of your intake:

The Nutrition Fact Panel chart above provides an instant reminder of the upper limit of saturated fat and cholesterol that you should be consuming in your diet. The percent of the Daily Value that is listed on the upper portion of the food label is yet another way to gauge how much saturated fat and cholesterol are in the foods that you buy and eat.

  • If a serving of a food item provides 20 percent or more of these substances, it is considered a "high" source.

  • If it provides 5 percent or less of the Daily Value, it is considered a "low" source.

Limiting the amount of foods that are high, or provide 20 percent or more of the Daily Value, in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol will help you limit these in your diet.

 

Joan Salge Blake, M.S., R.D., L.D.N. is a nutrition professor at Boston University and a nationally known writer, lecturer, and nutrition expert.

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