The U.S. FDA has just launched their Nutrition Facts Label Online tool to help consumers better understand and interpret information on nutrition facts labels.
The nutrition facts label can be found on all packaged food and drink products. These labels provide the consumer with information regarding the typical serving size, calories, and percent daily value of nutrients. It enables consumers to learn more about their food’s nutritional value and to compare foods to make healthier choices. However, many consumers do not fully understand the components of the nutritional facts label in order to make these informed choices. To increase general understanding of the nutrition facts label, the U.S. FDA has just launched their Nutrition Facts Label Online tool that provides consumers with detailed information on specific nutrients and how they impact their daily diet.
The Nutrition Facts Label Online tool is very easy to use. Moving the cursor over the large nutrition facts label allows the user to explore and the click on the key components of the label to see additional information. For example, when the user clicks on ‘Calories’, information will appear to explain what the ‘Calories’ label refers to (the total number of calories or ‘energy’), tips on the recommended number of calories per serving, and a link to the full nutrition label fact sheet. When clicking on ‘Total Fat’, general information on fats can be found, including what it is, where it is found, what it does, health facts, and action steps for monitoring fat in your diet. Action tips are also highlighted throughout the tool, advising the user as to whether a particular nutrient is something to get “more of” or “less of”. The online tool also includes tips on using the ingredient list, a nutrition glossary with common terms, helpful links, and downloadable fact sheets.
The FDA’s Nutrition Facts Label Online tool is a great resource for any consumer to use to improve their understanding of the nutrition facts label, and can be bookmarked for reference at any time. It is also an effective teaching tool that can be used by dietitians, health professionals, and educators to help others, including children, to understand and use the nutrition facts label to make healthier choices.
Written By: Fiona Wong, PhD