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Clover Leaf Tuna, Salmon & Sardines 'Trace My Catch'!

Be a label expert Part 2: Nutrition Facts Table

A nutrition facts table provides you with information about calories and at least 13 other core nutrients that your body would obtain by consuming that food.

ACTIVITY BYTES

Each stage of life has a level of activity that’s appropriate – find yours here.

The amounts declared are based on a “reference amount” of the food, shown near the top or left of the table.

For many of these nutrients, the information is provided in both absolute amounts and Percent Daily Value.

TAKE 5! 5-Part Label Check:

1. Review the Reference Amount:

The reference amount of food stated in the nutrition facts table is NOT necessarily a recommended serving size and may not correspond to the Canada Food Guide’s definition of one serving. Reference amounts are actually joint Health Canada and industry agreed-to standard sizes. For example, for all packaged and boxed crackers in Canada the standard reference amount is 20g. This allows people to easily and accurately compare nutrition information for all varieties of boxed crackers against one another. It is important to compare the reference amount on the label to the amount you are going to eat. This is especially important if you are trying to lose weight since portion sizes are very critical for managing calorie balance for weight loss.

2. Understand the Percent Daily Value (% DV):

The Percent Daily Value (% Daily Value or % DV) helps you determine if the reference amount of a food is high or low in a nutrient. You can use % DV as a benchmark to estimate approximately how much of a nutrient the average person needs and to consider whether or not your individual needs are higher or lower.

A label listing 5% DV or less of a nutrient would represent a low source of that nutrient.

A label listing 20% DV or higher of a nutrient would represent a high source of that nutrient.

For example – a food that has a 25% DV of fat would mean the food is a relatively high source of fat. A food that has a 4% DV of iron would mean the food is a relatively low source of iron.

Clover Leaf Seafoods is proud to support the Nutrition Facts Education Campaign, a collaboration of Health Canada and Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC).

The initiative is a broad-based campaign launched in October 2010 to help Canadians better understand and use the Nutrition Facts table (NFT), particularly the % Daily Value, on pre-packaged food to make informed food choices.

3. Check Calories:

When looking at the calories ask yourself “how does the reference amount compare to what I would actually eat?” This is especially important if you are trying to lose weight since portion sizes are very critical for managing calorie balance for weight loss. % DV for calories is very rarely declared on a nutrition facts table because caloric needs vary so greatly from person to person. However, if it is declared it is based on a 2000 calorie diet … which is about right for a moderately active woman, teenage girl, and sedentary man. However, if for example you are an athletic male or conversely a sedentary woman, your individual needs could be significantly different. The key is to remember that the % DV gives you a benchmark if a food is low or high in calories.

4. Get LESS of These Nutrients:

In general, healthcare professionals recommend eating less fat, cholesterol, and sodium since they are linked to issues such as heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure. Since trans fats and saturated fat have a negative impact on heart health try to keep these fats as low as possible.

5. Get MORE of These Nutrients:

Since many people don’t get enough dietary fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C, healthcare professionals recommend choosing foods that are higher sources of these nutrients. Fiber is important for a healthy digestive system, and calcium is important for keeping your bones strong. Iron is an important mineral that many people – particularly females – don’t get enough of. Iron is needed to build red blood cells which transport oxygen in the body. Vitamin A and Vitamin C are necessary to keep us healthy and protect against chronic diseases.

Looking for More Information?

Visit our article Be a Label Expert (Part 1) - Anatomy of a Label and Be a Label Expert (Part 3) - Nutrition Claims.

Dietitians of Canada www.dietitians.ca

Health Canada www.healthcanada.gc.ca/nutritionlabelling

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/labelingnutrition/ucm2006828.htm