When you shop for your favorite food items, do you take time to read the label? Are you aware of the nutritional information the label provides you? If not, it is about time you learn about the nutritional qualities of all the products you buy and plan a healthy diet.
In the USA, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA) requires nutrition labeling for most food and authorizes the use of nutrient content claims and approved health claims. The nutrition label should indicate approved health claims to clear up confusion. Proper nutrition label helps consumers choose more healthful diets and offers an incentive to food companies to improve the nutritional qualities of their products. In the Philippines and other countries in the Southeast Asian Region, there is no mandatory nutrition-labeling requirement for foods. However, several food manufacturers, especially the multinationals voluntarily, include nutrition information on their food products.
The Nutritional Facts portions are found at the back of food labels. It provides consumers easy-to-use nutrition information guide as follows:
- The serving size in both household and metric measures, which shows the amount of product the people actually eat.
- The amount of calories from the product is also shown.
- The amounts of nutrients and their % Daily Values (% DV) important to the health of today's consumers are also listed. The % DV shows how food fits into overall daily needs. For instance, if the percent daily value of food for fat is 25%, the remaining 75% can be obtained from other foods eaten throughout the day. These are reference amounts set by the government for daily intakes.
- The label also tells the number of calories per gram of fat, carbohydrates, and protein.
Understanding the nutrition label in the foods you buy can help you incorporate your favorite foods into a nutritious diet. Eating should be healthful and enjoyable.