Health Promotion & Knowledge Management

Creating Awareness on Health Effects of Fast food

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How do I read nutrition facts label?



Sample label for macaroni and cheese

Sample label for macaroni and cheese

1) The Serving Size

  • The serving size for all foods are provided in familiar unit such as cup, and followed by metric amount (gram).
  • The serving size influences the number of calories and all the nutrient amounts.
  • For example if you eat half pack of the macaroni and cheese, you have eat one cup and take calories and other nutrient numbers, including the %Daily Values as shown in the nutrition fact. However, if you eat all of it, you eat 2 cups and double all the value of calories and nutrient.

(2) Calories


  • Calories provide a measure of energy you take from a serving of the food.
  • There is 250 calories per serving and 110 calories is contributed by fat.
  • Eating to many calories may lead to overweight and obesity.

(3) The Nutrients


  • The nutrient listed first is nutrient that people takes adequately or more than enough
  • The nutrients are fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium
  • Eating too much of these nutrients may increase risk of certain chronic disease such as heart disease, hypertension and some cancer.


  •  The nutrient listed below is usually nutrients that people often do not take enough.
  • The nutrients are dietary fiber, vitamin A and C, calcium and iron
  •  Taking adequate amount of this nutrient may help to reduce risk for several diseases. For example, taking enough calcium is important to reduce risk of getting osteoporosis.

(4) Understanding the footnote


  • This statement should be on all food label
  • The circled amount is amount of nutrients that are recommended by public health expert to be taken per day.
  • The * used after the heading “%Daily Value” on the Nutrition Facts label (See full picture of nutrition fact above )
  • It refers to footnote which tells you “%DVs is based on a 2,000 calorie diet“.
  • For example, less than 65g are total fat that people should take everyday. The macaroni and cheese have 12g of total fat. Thus the percentage daily value of total fat is 18%

(5) The percent daily value

  • The % Daily Values (%DVs) are based on the Daily Value recommendations for key nutrients but only for a 2,000 calorie daily diet
  • %DV help to determine whether a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient
  • %Dv can also be used to:
    • Compare between one product or brand with similar product of other brand
    • Manage dietary intake of each nutrient. For example in a day you can eat your favourite food of high fat value and balance it with foods from low fat value to ensure total fat intake does not exceed the daily fat value.

Nutrient without a %DV: Trans Fat, Sugar, Protein

Trans Fat:

  • Experts could not provide a reference value for trans fat
  • Health experts however recommend to keep trans fat intake as low as possible as nutritionally balanced diet


  • No daily reference value has been established for sugars because no recommendations have been made for the total amount to eat in a day


  • Current scientific evidence indicates that protein intake is not a public health concern for adults and children over 4 years of age.


For more information about how to read nutritional fact, you can go this website:

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