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Teen Health

All About Food Labels

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Ever wonder what you're really eating in that buttery snack cracker, sugary canned fruit, or slice of processed cheese? It's easy to find out. Just read the Nutrition Facts on the product's food label.

What Are the 'Nutrition Facts' on the Food Label?

The Nutrition Facts section is located on the outside of the package and is easy to read. This section of the food label gives you information about specific nutrients in the product, including:

  • Calories
  • Fats
  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Specific vitamins and minerals

Serving Size: An Important Part of Food Labels

At the top of the Nutrition Facts section, you'll see the serving size (such as 1/2 cup, five crackers, or 10 chips) and servings per container (such as two, four, six). The food label then lists the number of calories, grams of fat, grams of saturated and trans fat, etc., per serving.

These numbers are important, especially if you aim to eat a diet lower in calories and fat. For example, having five Ritz crackers at 80 calories per serving is not bad for a snack. But who eats just five crackers? If you had 15 crackers, you'd consume 240 calories -- which is probably too many, especially for teens who are trying to avoid eating excess calories.

You'll notice different units of measurement on food labels. Many of the nutrients are measured in grams or "g," while others are measured in milligrams or "mg." Some information is given in percentages (%).

 

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