The Nutrition Facts Label: Your Tool for a Healthy Heart

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February is American Heart Month, and the US Food and Drug Administration has a simple tool to help you achieve a heart-healthy lifestyle!  It's called the Nutrition Facts Label, and you can find it on all packaged foods and beverages.

The Nutrition Facts Label lets you know exactly what you're eating and helps you track the various nutrients you are getting from the foods you eat.  What's more, it serves as your overall guide for comparing foods and making choices that can affect your long-term health.

 

Using the Percent Daily Value to Limit Certain Nutrients

 

To help reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, you can use the Percent Daily Value (PDV) information provided on the Nutrition Facts Label.  The PDV gives you a framework for deciding if a food is high or low in a nutrient – including the ones you are trying to limit.

 

The PDVs are based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet, and each listed nutrient is based on 100 percent of the recommended amounts for that nutrient. As a quick guide, 5 percent DV or less is low, and 20 percent DV or more is high!

 

So, when comparing foods, choose the food with the lower PDV of sodium, total fat, and cholesterol.  And remember, the guidelines for sodium, total fat, and cholesterol are maximum amounts. To promote heart health, the goal is to stay below 100 percent of the Daily Value for these nutrients each day. 

 

For more information visit: fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm199058.htm