Education.com

# Deciphering Food Labels (page 3)

### Percent Daily Values

Percent daily values are listed in the right-hand column in percentages, and they tell how much of a certain nutrient a person will get from eating one serving of that food. If a serving of a food has 18% iron, then that food is providing 18% of your daily iron needs based on 2,000 calories per day.

Percent daily value is most useful for determining whether a food is high or low in certain nutrients. If a food has 5% or less of a nutrient, it is considered to be low in that nutrient. A food is considered a good source of a nutrient if the percentage is between 10%-19%. If the food has 20% or more of the percent daily value, it is considered high in that nutrient.

The information on food labels is based on an average diet of 2,000 calories per day, but the actual number of calories and nutrients that kids need will vary according to their age, weight, gender, and level of physical activity. (For more guidance, check out the USDA's MyPlate.)

So use food labels as a guide to determine whether a food is generally nutritious, but don't worry so much about calculating the nutrients down to the exact ounce as long as your kids are healthy. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.

### Total Fat

This number indicates how much fat is in a single serving of food and it's usually measured in grams. Although eating too much fat can lead to obesity and related health problems, our bodies do need some fat every day.

Fats are an important source of energy — they contain twice as much energy per gram as carbohydrate or protein. Fats provide insulation and cushioning for the skin, bones, and internal organs. Fat also carries and helps store certain vitamins (A, D, E, and K).

But because eating too much fat can contribute to health problems, including heart disease, adults and kids over 4 years old should have about 30% of their daily calorie intake come from fat. Kids 1 to 3 years old should get 30%-40% of calories from fat.

### Saturated Fat and Trans Fat

The amount of saturated fat appears beneath total fat. The FDA also requires food-makers to list trans fats separately on the label.

Saturated fats and trans fats are often called "bad fats" because they raise cholesterol and increase a person's risk for developing heart disease. Both saturated and trans fats are solid at room temperature (picture them clogging up arteries!).

Saturated fat usually comes from animal products like butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, and meats. Trans fats are naturally found in these foods, too. But they're also in vegetable oils that have been specially treated, or hydrogenated, to be solid at room temperature — the fats in stick margarine and shortening, for example. Some cookies, crackers, fried foods, snack foods, and processed foods also contain trans fats.

Saturated fats should account for less than 10% of the calories that kids eat each day, and the amount of trans fat that they consume should be as low as possible (less than 1% of total calories).

150 Characters allowed

### Related Questions

#### Q:

See More Questions

### Today on Education.com

#### WORKBOOKS

May Workbooks are Here!

#### WE'VE GOT A GREAT ROUND-UP OF ACTIVITIES PERFECT FOR LONG WEEKENDS, STAYCATIONS, VACATIONS ... OR JUST SOME GOOD OLD-FASHIONED FUN!

Get Outside! 10 Playful Activities