How to Read Nutrition Labels

Woman reading a nutrition label
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If you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, you may be starting to look at nutrition labels. But with all of the information on them, reading these labels can be tricky. How do you know what’s healthy and what’s not? The labels show how much fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are in a serving of food, so you can make an informed choice about what to eat. Here’s how to read nutrition labels and what facts to focus on.

Serving Size

When reading a nutrition label, you’ll first need to know the food’s serving size, which is usually in cups or pieces. You’ll also want to know the number of grams and serving in the package. This is a good way to know how much you should eat of the given food.


Calories are a measure of how much energy you’ll get from a serving of food. While it’s common to first look at calories when determining if you want to eat a food, it shouldn’t be the most important factor when choosing foods. Calories provide very little information about how healthy foods are.


On the label you’ll find macro and micronutrients, including fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, added sugars, total sugars, protein, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium. You’ll also see Daily Value (%DV), which is the percentage form of a specific nutrient in one serving of the food. This will tell you if a food is high or low in a nutrient.