Ascertaining Nutrition Facts Labels

Ascertaining Nutrition Facts Labels

The Nutrition Facts label is a helpful guide to understanding what’s in the foods you’re buying. It provides information about calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. The label also shows how much sodium (salt) is in your food and how many grams of sugar are going into your body when you eat it. Many Nutrition Facts labels on the market will be formatted in the same way as the lasagna label that has been used as an example throughout this page, but there are other formats of the label that food manufacturers are permitted to use. This final section will present two alternate formats: the dual-column label and the single-ingredient sugar label.

What is the Nutrition Facts Label?

The Nutrition Facts label is required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on most packaged foods. It’s a summary of the nutrition information for the product, including calories and fat content. The label can be found on the back of your package or on its front side; just look for “Nutrition Facts” in bold letters near or at the bottom edge of any food packaging. If you’re still not sure where it is, don’t worry our handy guide below will walk you through what each part of this important label means!


Calories are a measurement of energy. They’re used to measure the amount of energy in food. For example, if you eat 500 calories worth of carrots, then your body will burn them off as heat and use them for other processes (like moving around).

Calories come from both fat and carbohydrates, but most people get more than half their daily calorie intake from fat. Your body needs some fat to function properly it’s an important source of essential fatty acids (the “good” kind) that help keep skin soft, hair shiny, and luscious locks flowing freely down your back like an angelic waterfall, but too much can contribute to weight gain if consumed regularly over time without enough exercise or movement involved. So don’t go crazy with these guys!

Total Fat

The total fat content is the sum of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats. The total fat content is expressed as grams per serving. It should be noted that there are nine calories in one gram of fat; therefore if you multiply this value by four (since there are four calories per gram) you will get an approximation of how many calories are in your food item based on its total fat content. For example: if a product has 10g total fat per serving but only 100 calories then its percentage of daily value would be 10g/100=1%.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is a type of fat found in meat, poultry, and dairy products. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol level and may increase your risk of heart disease. Limit saturated fat to 7 percent of your total daily calories if you’re trying to reduce your risk for heart disease. For example, if you need 2,000 calories per day for weight maintenance (and this amount varies depending on how physically active you are), then no more than 140 calories should come from saturated fats each day or about 17 grams of saturated fat (1 gram = 9 calories).


Cholesterol is a type of fat found in all cells. It’s necessary for the health of your body, but it can also be harmful if you have too much. Cholesterol comes from two sources: your liver and food. Foods that contain cholesterol include eggs, meat, and dairy products (e.g., butter). Some foods don’t contain any cholesterol at all these include vegetables, fruits, and grains like rice or wheat bread that are made without eggs or milk products because those ingredients increase the amount of this substance in a food item by adding more calories per serving size than they otherwise would have had if they’d been left out altogether rather than just reduced down to zero percent content levels instead!

Learn more about the nutrition facts label

The nutrition facts label is a mandatory label that must be included in all food products in the United States. It contains information about calories, fat and other nutrients. The label also tells you how many servings are in your package, which helps you decide if it’s enough for one meal or two meals.

The first section of the nutrition facts label shows how much of each nutrient is in one serving (e.g., 100 grams) of that food product. For example, if you’re eating cereal with milk for breakfast and want to know how many calories are in each bowlful, look at this section of your cereal box’s label:

  • Calories – 210 per serving (1 cup)
  • Fat – 2 g per serving
  • Sodium – 180 mg per serving


We hope this article has helped you understand the basics of nutrition facts labels. If you want to learn more about how to use them, check out our website for more great articles! In the following Nutrition Facts label we have colored certain sections to help you focus on those areas that will be explained in detail. Note that these colored sections are not on the actual food labels of the products you purchase.  The following label-reading skills are intended to make it easier for you to use the nutrition Facts labels to make quick, informed food decisions to help you choose a healthy diet.