(1) The first section of a nutrition label covers the servings. The first line describes how much of something equates to one serving. All of the information on the rest of the label reflects this serving.
The next line describes how many servings are in the package you have. In the label posted above, if you eat the whole package (8 rolls), you’d need to multiply sections (2) through (9) by 8 to reflect how much food you’ve eaten. This means if you eat the whole bag, you’ve eaten:
Amount Per Serving
Section (2) on our nutrition label describes the number of calories in each serving. Going back up to section (1), one roll is a single serving, so each roll is 100 calories.
(3) Describes how many calories come from fat.
Often times small packaged snacks display 100 calories, but contain multiple servings for the whole package. It’s important to check the amount of servings per package, to make sure you’re not eating 5 servings by accident.
How are calories calculated?
A calorie is a unit of measurement for energy. Only three sections on our nutrition label count towards calories (these are called substrates). They are fat (4), carbs (7) and protein (8). For every gram of each of these, the amount of calories they’re worth are:
Since fiber can’t be digested, it doesn’t count as calories; so we can just subtract that from the total number of carbohydrates.
In section (2) the numbers are usually rounded slightly. For example, if you calculate the calories for each substrate and add them together, you’ll get a total of 93 calories. You’ll also see that since there’s only 1 gram of fat on our nutrition label, the calories from fat (section 3) come out to 9.
This slight rounding is fine, because the only way to 100% accurately measure calories is by burning the food and measuring the heat it gives off. More on this *here*, for those who are interested. Nutrition labels are accurate enough, and there’s never really a reason to do these calculations.
However, knowing this information will help guide you when you go to the store to buy food. For example, if you’re shopping for high protein food, and 50% of the calories are coming from fat, depending on your dietary needs, you might want a different choice.
Cholesterol (5) and Sodium (6)
Vitamins and Minerals
Section (9) explains the breakdown of vitamins and minerals per serving. These percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie diet as explained in section (10). You’ll notice different foods have different vitamin and mineral compositions, and processed foods usually have the least amount of vitamins and minerals, unless they’re fortified.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA)
Personal training clients typically require more protein to help them tone up faster.
You can read more on how the RDA came to be, *here*.