The Nutrition Facts Label packs a lot of information into a small table. This post will focus on the %DV. For a more thorough overview of the Nutrition Facts label, click here.
The %DV is an abbreviation for Percent of Daily Value. For almost all nutrients, there’s a %DV. It’s based on a 2,000 calories per day intake. While you may not know how many calories you consume in a day, you can still use the %DV as a frame of reference.
- A sedentary female (19-30 years) needs 1,800-2,000 calories/day
- An active female (19-30 years) needs about 2,400 calories/day
- A sedentary male (19-30 years) needs 2,400-2,600 calories/day
- An active male (19-30 years) needs about 3,000 calories/day
Quick % Daily Value Guide
5%DV or less is low 20%DV or more is high
Ideally, choose products that are low (5%DV or less) in:
- Total fat
- Saturated fat
- Trans fat
Choose products that are high (20%DV or more) in:
- Dietary fiber
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Some nutrients, like trans fat and sugars, don’t have a %DV. Limit these nutrients by comparing labels of similar products and choosing the item with the lowest amount.
How the %DV helps you
It makes comparing two similar products simple. Make sure the serving sizes are similar, especially the weight (grams, milligrams, ounces) for each product. Once that’s done, you can compare the two products and choose the one that contains the largest amount of desirable nutrients and the least amount of the undesirable nutrients.
It makes it easy to watch what you’ve eaten throughout the day. If you have something with a high %DV of fat at breakfast, you can make an educated choice and choose a food with a lower %DV of fat at lunch.
If you’re concerned about your intake of sugars, make sure that added sugars are not listed as one of the first few ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order of their weight.
Other names for added sugars include: corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey, and maple syrup.