Written By: Maya Maroto, EdD, MPH, RDN, Public Health Educator at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Get to know the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Updated Nutrition Facts label.
Making healthy dietary choices can help you feel your best and stay active. It can also help you lower your risk of developing some health conditions. But—even though there seems to be an endless supply of information out there about nutrition—it’s not always easy to know what foods are best for you.
That’s where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) updated Nutrition Facts label comes in. In its first major update in over 20 years, the FDA has updated the Nutrition Facts label on packaged food and drinks to help you compare and choose foods that are right for you—whether you are food shopping, cooking, or eating at home. Some of the changes to the label include updated serving sizes; calories in larger, bolder font; and new nutrient listings.
In celebration of National Nutrition Month® this March, we are sharing quick tips for using the updated Nutrition Facts label to make healthy decisions this month and beyond.
- Check the servings. Check the serving size when comparing calories and nutrients in different food products. The nutrition information listed on the Nutrition Facts label is based on the serving size listed. And remember—it is common for a food package or beverage to have more than one serving.
- Consider the calories. 2,000 calories a day is used as a guide for general nutrition advice. Your calorie needs may be higher or lower and vary depending on your age, sex, and physical activity level. View your personal daily calorie needs.
- Use Percent Daily Value (%DV) as a guide. The %DV shows how much a nutrient in a serving of the food contributes to a total daily diet. As a general guide: 5 percent DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low and 20 percent DV or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high.
- Review updated nutrients. The updated nutrients on the label can help you compare and choose foods that contain more of the nutrients you want to get more of and less of nutrients you may want to limit. More often, choose foods that are higher in dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium and lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
The Nutrition Facts label can help you make informed food choices that contribute to lifelong healthy eating habits. To learn more about how to make the label work for you, visit www.fda.gov/NewNutritionFactsLabel.
About the Author
Dr. Maya Maroto is a Public Health Educator at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and has a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Morgan State University, a Master of Public Health in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science from Auburn University.
ABOUT COMMON THREADS
Common Threads is a national nonprofit that provides children and families cooking and nutrition education to encourage healthy habits that contribute to wellness. We equip under-resourced communities with information to make affordable, nutritious and appealing food choices wherever they live, work, learn, and play. We know that food is rooted in culture and tradition so we promote diversity in our lessons and recipes, encouraging our participants to celebrate the world around them.