Finding out about the food you eat — Nutrition tips from AboutKidsHealth

This is a guest post submitted by AboutKidsHealth.

To mark Nutrition Month, AboutKidsHealth is sharing tips on how to read nutrition labels to help you find out about the food you eat and make informed choices for healthy living.

By law, most packaged foods in Canada must be labelled with a Nutrition Facts table with the following information.

  • Serving size

  • Calories

  • Percent daily values (% DV)

  • 13 major nutrients: fat; saturated and trans fats; cholesterol; sodium; carbohydrates; sugars; fibre; protein; vitamins A and C; calcium; and iron

The label also includes the ingredient list, which must list all the ingredients in a food by weight, starting with the ingredient that weighs the most. Allergy information must be included as part of the ingredient list or on a “Contains” or “May contain” list. You may also find nutrition and health claims, like low fat, on a label. Foods must meet certain standards before manufacturers can make these claims.

All of this information is based on a serving size (a specific amount of food). If you eat the serving size shown on the label, you can be sure that you will get the amount of nutrients and calories listed. Remember to always compare the serving size to the amount of food you actually eat.

Learn more about how you can use this information to better judge the nutritional value of foods and manage special diets in “Nutrition labels: Finding out about the food you eat”.

AboutKidsHealth is SickKids' health education website, which offers more than 3,500 articles, illustrations and videos on a range of paediatric health topics. For more information on nutrition and other health topics, visit aboutkidshealth.ca