Skip to main content

By Anne Hogan

What is the Nutrition Facts Label?

The Nutrition Facts label is on all packaged foods in the US. Its primary purpose is to inform consumers of the nutrients contained in each food item. While it may seem like a lot of information, this label is a valuable tool to help you choose the best foods for your diet (CDC, 2021). Some of the basic parts of the label are listed below:

  • Serving Size:

     This is located at the very top of the label and tells you how much food is in a typical serving (Serving Size, 2022).

    • Note: There may be more than one serving in the container! See the “Servings per Container” measurement located just above the Serving Size to tell you how many servings are in the package.
  • Calories:

     This tells you how much energy the food in the package provides. Individual needs may vary depending on your age, activity level, and health conditions (Calories, 2022).

  • Percent Daily Values (% DV):

     Located on the far-right side of each row, the %DV tells you how much each nutrient provided will contribute to your overall daily calorie needs.

    • Note:

       %DV is based on a 2000 Calorie diet. You may need more or less than 2000 Calories each day depending on your age, body composition, and overall lifestyle!

For more information on these components, visit the links provided in each section and visit the official FDA website.

Nutrients on the Nutrition Facts Label:

The Nutrition Facts label also tells you the amount of each major nutrient in the package. According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020), it is generally good to limit the following*:

  • Saturated Fat (this is a type of fat listed under “Total Fat”)
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Added Sugars (listed under Carbohydrates)

Nutrients that are typically more beneficial include:

  • Fiber (listed under Carbohydrates)
  • Protein
  • Vitamins and Minerals (the remaining nutrients listed after Protein)

The amounts of each nutrient and the %DV are listed next to each one and can help you determine how much you are consuming in each serving. 

*Your personal nutrition requirements may vary depending on your lifestyle and health status. Please consult your medical provider with any questions regarding your specific needs.


The Nutrition Facts label is an excellent guide when determining which foods are most beneficial for your health. It tells you the amount of food in every package and the amount of nutrients in every serving of food. Knowing how to read the Nutrition Facts label will allow you to understand exactly what is in your food and will ultimately help you meet your nutritional needs.

  1. Calories on the New Nutrition Facts Label: What’s in a number?, (2022, February 25). U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA). Retrieved October 17, 2022, from
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), (2021, May 25). Learn How the Nutrition Facts Label Can Help You Improve Your Health. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from
  3.  Serving Size on the New Nutrition Facts Label, (2022, February 25). U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA). Retrieved October 17, 2022, from
  4. The lows and highs of percent daily value on the new nutrition facts label, (2022, February 25). U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA). Retrieved October 17, 2022, from
  5. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), (2020). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Ed. Retrieved from

Anne Hogan is a Graduate Student of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Image by Kampus Production from Pexels