Food label challenge: Nutrition Facts

Personal Training in Columbia - K.O.R.E. Wellness

We will start our look into Nutrition Labeling by looking at the “Nutrition Facts” box.

There is a lot of important information located here including:

  1. Serving size,

  2. Macronutrient amounts

  3. Calories per serving

  4. Micronutrient breakdowns, and

  5. Percent daily value.  

We will start with number 1 on the picture, serving size.  

This is fairly self explanatory, however what can be deceiving is what the measurements mean in real life.  For our example we are looking at an Apple Pie Bulletproof Bar that we sell at the gym. The serving size is one bar, and this is the label for the box, so the serving per container is 12 bars.  When you look at the amount of something specific in a food, say saturated fat, remember that is per serving.

If you are looking at a bag of chips that may only have 8 grams of fat per serving, that serving is only 19 chips, with 14 servings per bag!

Next is number 2, the macronutrient breakdown shows the grams of fat, carbohydrate, and protein in one serving size.

It also breaks down carbs and fat into their subcategories such as saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats, and dietary fiber, sugars, etc.

The total amounts of the macronutrients are actually then the numbers that are used to calculate the total calories per serving, number 3.

Every gram of carbs, fat, and protein has a standard amount of calories, or energy, in each.  Carbs and protein each have 4 calories per each gram, and fat has 9 calories per each gram. (You can see how high fat foods can quickly get into high calorie ranges! )

Below the macronutrients are the micronutrients, number 4.

Listed here are vitamins and minerals, that are either naturally present in the food, or added by the manufacturer. This can be important for someone who is trying to get more Vitamin D or C to help with immunity, or someone who needs more potassium and magnesium as electrolytes.  

So then what exactly do all these numbers really mean for you and your diet? That was intended to be explained better by adding the % Daily Value, number 5, listed next to these nutrients.

The Daily Value is the recommended amount of that particular nutrient that you should consume every day. Therefore, the percent daily value listed on nutrition labels is the percent of the DV that one serving contains. As it sounds, these %DV’s could be very helpful. However, there are some flaws to this system you need to be aware of.  

  1. These Daily Values were first established almost 30 years ago, in 1990.  

  2. They were based on other numbers that were established even before that!

  3. They are all based on a 2000 calorie diet.  

  4. At KORE, we have an InBody machine that can accurately tell you your Basal Metabolic rate.  The average of KORE women is about 1300-1500, and KORE men 1500-1800. Unless you are active for your entire day, and not sitting behind a desk, then you simply do not need 2000 calories per day.  (If you would like to learn more about BMR, or have yours measured, please ask a trainer!)

Knowledge is power, and can help you figure out a lot about not only your amount of intake but the breakdown of what you’re actually taking in.  There is a lot of information on these labels that can be confusing or misleading. Take some time to look at the labels of the food at your house to start to gain a better understanding of what is in the foods you’re eating and HOW MUCH an actual serving it!  As always, if you have questions, bring it to KORE and we’ll be happy to help!





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