Nutrition Facts Label

Nutrition fact labels provide good information to help people meet their nutritional needs.  “How do you make sense of these food labels?” has been a common question asked by our patients. This is the first time many have been concerned with labels.  Learning to read these labels effectively, assists you in making more informative choices.

All packaged food products must contain the following:
• Common name of the product
• Name and address of the product’s manufacturer
• Net contents in terms of weight, measure or count
• Ingredient list and Nutrition Facts

Components of a Nutrition Facts Panel

Serving Size
Serving sizes are a standardized way to make comparisons among similar foods.  They are usually expressed in common terms like; 1 cup, 2 pieces, or 3 tsp.  It is important to notice the serving size.  For example, a serving of fruit is 1 cup, but if you eat 2 cups you will need to double the amount of nutrition content listed on the label.  Use caution.  Many products appear to be packaged as individual serving sizes, when they have more than one serving.

The amount of calories listed provides a measurement of how much energy you obtain after eating a portion of food.  It is always important to find the total calories.  Many patients are surprised to find that a fat-free product is not always low in calories.  The same is true for a sugar-free product.  On any program, you should always be aware of  your daily total caloric intake and where the calories are coming from (i.e. protein, fat, carbohydrates).

Nutrients Listed
Total fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, total carbohydrate (includes fiber and added sugar), protein, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron are required on the label.  Staying aware of your daily allowance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins is key to all programs.
• Total fat is the sum of saturated, unsaturated, and trans fatty acids.  For example, this label states, 3g Saturated Fat (unhealthy) plus 3 g of Trans fatty acid (unhealthy) equal 6g (where’s the other 6g?) from the unlisted Unsaturated Fat (healthy).  Fat: The Good and the Bad (.pdf format)  is an excellent article to explain this further.
• Carbohydrate allowance varies from patient to patient depending on what program you are on.  There are two ways to think about carbohydrates.  First, Net Carbs, these are the total cabohydrate number minus the amount of dietary fiber.  Fiber is not absorbed in the body and helps to flush extra sugar, fat and cholesterol from the body.  Using our food label, there are 31g of total carbohydrates and 0g of dietary fiber therefore; the net carbohydrates are 31g.  If , for example, the dietary fiber were 5g, the total carbohydrates would be 26g.  Carbohydrates
• Protein, an adequate amount, also varies with each patient.  The body can only process so much protein at a given time.  Too much and the extra that is left after processing turns into fat.  Too little protein and the body doesn’t have enough to rebuild cells, make muscle, or have energy.  This food label states there are 5g of protein per serving. Make sure you understand your dietary needs with our staff.  Proteins

Percent Daily Values
Percent Daily Values provide an estimate of the percentage of a nutrient from one serving in a 2000 cal. per day allowance.  Individual allowances are patient and program specific and based on personal nutritional needs.

Understanding how these components work together to give you optimum health is part of Metabolic Medical Centers’ service to you.  If there are further questions to your nutrition health, please ask any of our physicians.

Nutrition Label

Medical Weight Loss Centers

What Others Are Saying