Reading the nutrition facts on the label can help you make healthy food choices.

Serving size
  • Compare the serving size on the package to the amount that you eat.
% Daily Value (% DV)
  • This tells you if there is a little or a lot of nutrient in one serving. Compare similar products. Choose foods with a lower per cent DV of fat and a higher per cent DV of fibre.
Fat
  • Choose foods with lower fat content.
  • Choose foods with little or no saturated fat.
  • Choose foods with no trans fat.
Sodium
  • The percent Daily Value is based on the maximum intake of 2,300 mg per day.
  • Aim for foods that are less than five per cent of the Daily Value of sodium.
  • Foods with 15 per cent or more Daily Value of sodium are considered high.
  • Try to avoid foods with 400 mg of sodium or more per serving.
Carbohydrate
  • The amount listed is for the serving size given. Are you eating more, less, or the same amount? Compare your serving size to figure out the amount of carbohydrate you are eating.
  • The total amount of carbohydrate in grams is listed first. This number includes starch, sugars and fibre. (Starch is not listed separately.)
  • Fibre does not raise blood glucose and should be subtracted from the total carbohydrate (ie. 36 g carbohydrate – 6 g fibre = 30 g available carbohydrate).
Fibre
  • Choose foods high in fibre.
  • Aim for 25 g or more of fibre per day.

Label language

Sodium

  • Sodium-free/salt-free:  less than five milligrams mg sodium per serving
  • Very low sodium: 35 milligrams sodium or less per serving
  • Low sodium: 140 milligrams sodium or less per serving
  • Reduced sodium/less sodium: At least 25 per cent less sodium than the regular version
  • Light in sodium: 50 per cent less sodium than the regular version
  • Unsalted/no salt added: No salt added during processing (this is not a sodium-free food)

Fat

  • Fat-free: < 0.5 grams per serving
  • Low in saturated fat: Two grams or less per serving and 15 per cent or less of calories from saturated fat
  • Low fat: Three grams or less per serving
  • Reduced fat: At least 25 pre cent less fat than the regular version
  • Light in fat: At least 25% less fat than the food to which it is compared

Read the ingredient list on food packages

Avoid foods containing these fats:

  • Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, shortening
  • Tropical fats such as coconut, palm or palm kernel

For more information on food labels, visit Health Canada.