Have You Ever wondered what does all the information mentioned in the nutritional information panel on the food products mean? In this blog, we will explain each and every line item mentioned in the nutritional information panel.
The nutritional information panel is mandatory as per the respective food regulatory authorities of every country across the globe. This is to make sure that the consumers are aware about the food products that they are eating and accordingly make changes in their diets as suitable to their bodies. Also, it makes sure that the companies are not claiming anything that is not actually true about nutrition of a particular food product.
A sample nutritional information label is shown below. This is from a packet of camel milk powder.
The topmost things in any nutritional label are the serving size and the number of servings in the packet.
Serving size means the size/portion of the food item that is generally consumed in one go. In this label of camel milk powder, serving size is mentioned as 20 gms. It means 20 gms of camel milk powder is generally consumed at a time.
Number of servings means how many servings can be made from the particular packet of the food products. In this label, there are 10 servings mentioned on the packet. It means you can consume camel milk powder 10 times if you follow the exact mentioned serving size.
Please note that the values mentioned in the serving panel are neither suggested nor recommended by any brand but only a general indication on how people consume the particular product.
Amount per serving indicates that values mentioned in the label is only for one serving and not the entire pack. So to calculate the values for the entire pack, we will need to multiply these values by the number of servings mentioned. For e.g. camel milk contains 4.2 gms of protein in one serving of 20 gms. Hence in this packet , protein content is 4.2 multiplied by 10 servings = 42 gms.
Calories : Calories mean the amount of energy that the consumer will get from one serving of the product. Here, camel milk powder contains 98 calories in one serving of 20 gms. Hence, you will get 98 calories when you consume one serving of camel milk powder. Calories requirement is different for different people. Generally, it is assumed that a person needs 2000 calories in a day but it depends on a lot of factors such as weight, height, physical exercise etc.
Now coming to %DV of nutrients. This percentage describes the amount of particular nutrition that one serving of the food product provides to the consumer for the required and recommended nutrition for a full day. For example in camel milk powder, protein’s %DV is mentioned as 8%. It means, one serving of camel milk powder will provide 8% of the total protein requirement per day of a person. Two servings will provide 16% of the total requirement.
The entire nutrition label is made with an assumption that a person needs either 2000 calories or 2500 calories in a day. In this label of camel milk powder, it has been assumed that a person needs 2000 calories in a day. It is mentioned on the bottom of the panel.
How to use this nutrition label to improve your diet ?
There are some nutrients that a person needs to consume more in order to lead a healthy life and there are some that may be harmful to the person.
Some nutrients that are useful for a healthy life are proteins, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin D etc. So we should look for higher values of these nutrients in the food product. Some nutrients that we should reduce from our diet are saturated fats, added sugar, bad cholesterol etc.
All of this depends from person to person but this is a general recommendation suited for most. Required quantity of nutrients in the diet are dependent on a lot of factors as mentioned earlier. Example – A diabetic person should avoid consuming food products that have added sugars in them. People having weak bones should include high calcium food items in their diet such as camel milk powder.