When it comes to grocery shopping, reading labels and comparing products is key to making healthy food choices. According to the Ipsos Reid survey, half of Canadians always or very often read the nutrition label on a food before purchasing. Only 11% rarely or never read labels. However, many consumers who read nutrition labels find them very confusing and often overlook important information such as the nutrition facts table and serving size.
Find yourself overwhelmed by the nutrition label on your food item?
*Tip: Check the percentages! Nutrition labels work best when you use them to compare products.
Once you understand how to read nutrition labels shopping for healthier foods becomes a little easier. The nutrition facts table has information on the calories and nutrients in a specific serving size of food (i.e. 1 cup or 30 grams). Always check the serving size and compare it to how much of that food you actually eat.
The % Daily Value (%DV) on the nutrition facts table is an easy way to determine if a food has “a little” or “a lot” of a nutrient. For example, 5% DV or less is a little of any nutrient, and 15% DV or more is a lot for any nutrient. You can use the % DV to compare 2 food items and make better choices. Choose foods that have more vitamins, minerals and fibre and less fat (especially saturated), sodium and sugar. On the right is a nutrition fact label for yogurt.