Children who have a nutritious and well-balanced diet have a lower the risk of many physical problems such as heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Food label contains much information about food, the nutritional values, ingredients, and calories counts in the food. Therefore, reading food label carefully before buying them will allow parents to make smart choices to supply enough nutrients for their children.
These are some information that commonly appears on food labels.
% Daily Value (%DV)
This information shows the portion of daily recommended nutrients the product provides, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Calories from the food mainly come from carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, and fats. Pay attention to this if you want to know how much calories you will be consuming if you eat a whole package. People should also read the DV of each nutrient served in the food, especially saturated fat, sodium, and fiber.
Serving Size and Servings Per Container
At the top of the food label, there are always an amount listing for serving size. This amount is determined by the food manufacturer and based on the amount that people generally eat. Therefore, if you eat two servings, you need to double all the nutrition information.
Calories from fat
It tells the total calories in one serving which is made by fat. Fat can produce much more energy than carbohydrate or protein. However, eating too much fat can contribute health problems, such as heart disease. Dietitians recommended that children from 1 to 3 years old should get 30%-40% of calories from fat. Every label lists fats for people, especially diabetes, to control the amount of fat in their diets.
Saturated and unsaturated fat
Saturated fats are often called “bad fats” as they raise cholesterol and contribute to heart disease. They are rich in animal products such as butter, cheese, and meats. On the other hand, unsaturated fats are often called “good fats” and available in vegetable oils, nuts, and fish. Parents whose kids suffer heart problems should check this information carefully.
Cholesterol is usually listed under the fat information. Although cholesterol is important in producing vitamin D, some hormones can cause problems if their amount in the blood is higher than normal level. High cholesterol level can increase the risk of a blockage in the blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Vitamin A is important for good eyesight and rich in orange vegetables, such as carrots and in dark green, leafy vegetables. The body uses vitamin C to build and maintain connective tissues, heal wounds, and fight infections. Because of their importance, vitamins are listed on the food labels and the amount of each vitamin per serving is usually measured in percent daily values based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Manufacturers have been required to clearly state all the ingredients on the food labels. However, if you children are allergic to any ingredients, you should know some names of some ingredients. It is because they may be listed under unfamiliar names.
Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: March 16, 2017 | Last Modified: March 16, 2017
Figuring out food labels. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/food-labels.html#. Accessed March 11, 2017.
Understanding food nutrition labels. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Understanding-Food-Nutrition-Labels_UCM_300132_Article.jsp#.WL68QFXyjIU. Accessed March 11, 2017.
Understanding food labels. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Enjoy-food/Food-shopping-for-diabetes/Understanding-food-labels/. Accessed March 11, 2017.