The Nutrition Facts Label

   

What will I learn here?
Nutrition Facts Label Background
Nutrition Facts Label Examples
What Label Data is required?
Choosing the Serving Measurement
Choosing the Food Type


What will I learn here?

 

You will learn what these labels mean and how to select the right information from the labels for inclusion in the User Personal Database.


Nutrition Facts Label Background

 

In February of 1994, the FDA ruled that all packaged foods offered for sale in the United States were required to have a Nutrition Facts label printed somewhere on the product package. The FDA set the format standards and specified the required information. The labels do not necessarily appear on non processed foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, or raw meats. This law, proposed and enforced by the FDA, brings consistent nutritional content information to the consumer. Everyone now has access to consistent and verified nutrition data that helps in the preparation of meals, and moreover, when using certain meal planning programs like Georgia's Meal Planner, which uses some of the data contained in the Nutrition Facts label.

More on the U.S. FDA Nutrition Facts Label.


Nutrition Facts Label Examples

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 What Label Data is Required?

 

Each food item stored in the User Personal Database, requires seven data fields, five of which are contained in these labels.

The five data fields of interest on the label are:

 

Serving Size [number] plus [Serving Measurement]  (two fields total)

Protein [number] (always in grams)

Total Carbohydrates [number] (always in grams)

Total Fat [number] (always in grams]

 

All other data on the label are not needed and may be disregarded.

 

Serving Size is the standard measurement used by the nutrition laboratory when analyzing the nutrient content of that food. All data on the label is based on the Serving Size. In some cases two or more equivalent units of Serving Measurement are listed, giving the user a choice of which units to choose. Serving Size is a number followed by the Serving Measurement.

 

Serving Measurement field describes the unit of measurement used when the nutrient analysis was performed. Typical units are ounces, grams, cups, pieces,  slice, package, ml (milliliters). The description of the product. such as chicken breast, meal, cracker, nuts, or even 3 inch diameter (in describing a piece of fruit), are all legitimate units when used on the Nutrition Facts labels. 

 

Protein is the total amount of protein contained in the product per the Serving Size. Only the gram value has significance in the meal planner. The Meal Planner does not use the percent Daily Values number. Since the number is always expressed in grams, there is no need to enter any associated units with this value. Grams is understood as the explicit unit and The Meal Planner bases all calculations on grams

.

Total Carbohydrates (or Carbs) is the total amount of carbohydrates contained in the product per the Serving Size. Only the total gram value has significance in the Meal Planner. The Meal Planner does not use the percent Daily Values or the breakdown dietary fibers or sugars values. All carbs are considered in The Meal Planner calculations, without consideration of the type. Since the number is always in grams, then grams is understood as the explicit unit and The Meal Planner bases all calculations on grams.

 

Total Fat is the total amount of fat contained in the product per the Serving Size. Only the total gram value has significance in the Meal Planner. The Meal Planner does not use the percent Daily Values or the breakdown fat values. All fats are considered in The Meal Planner calculations regardless of the type. Since the number is always in grams, then grams is understood as the explicit unit and The Meal Planner bases all calculations on grams.


 Choosing the Serving Measurement

 

When the Serving Measurement is given in two or more units, choose the one that makes the most sense for inclusion in the User Personal Database. Decide which to choose by how you might measure the food. For instance, if the Serving Size is by weight and also by cup measure, the general rule is use cups. It is normally easier to measure food with cup measures than to place foods on a scale. When the unit is listed in weight or product description, the general rule is use the product description. The honey roasted peanut, label (9), lists the serving measurement in ounces, grams and pieces. You would therefore use "pieces" unless you have a very good food scale and would rather weigh out a serving of peanuts, then you might enter the weight. You can also choose both or all if you prefer for entry into the User Personal Database. in which case you would make multiple entries for the same food.

 

The TV Dinner, label (2), the measurement is "Meal." Since this is the only measurement unit, enter "Meal" into the User Database.

 

The packaged potatoes, label (6), is a unique case, but one that is obvious. The label shows the serving unit as "pkgd" and "cup prepared." The obvious choice is "cup prepared" since the unprepared product would not be consumed.

 

The BLUE column in the table below summarizes appropriate data fields for the above labels. The data in the cells would be entered into the User Database.


Choosing the Food Type

 

Food Type is not a listed requirement on the Nutrition Facts label. You may enter any name that properly describes the food. The data is recalled by The Meal Planner using the first letter in the Food Type description. Proper naming of foods is important so they can be recalled by the letter keys. It is suggested storing Food Type names by the most significant descriptive term first, followed by the lesser descriptive terms separated by commas. You may also include brand names with the item. Appropriately chosen Food Type names for the sample labels appear in RED in the chart below. Use these examples as guides when choosing names for your personal food database entries.

Food type Serving Size Serving Protein Carbs Fats
Measurement
Beans, Green, canned, French Style, Green Giant 1/2 cup 1 4 0
Steak, County Fried, TV Dinner, Banquet 1 meal 15 37 11
Snack Food,  Cheetos Crunchy, Frito Lay 1 package 3 29 8
Crackers, Soda, Saltines 5 crackers 1 11 2
Soup, Broccoli, Cream of, Campbell's 1/2 cup 2 12 1
Potatoes, Au Gratin, packaged, General Mills 2/3 cup, prepared 2 21 1.5
Bread, Whole Grain, Wheat, Stoneman's Mill 1 piece 3 15 2.5
Yogurt, Whole milk French Vanilla, Stonyfield Farm 1 cup 8 36 8
Nuts, Peanuts, Honey Roasted, Planter's 39 pieces 7 8 12

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