The AICR Guide to the. Nutrition Facts Label. Nutrition Facts. Serving Size 1 cup (228g) Servings Per Container 2

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1 The AICR Guide to the Nutrition Facts Label Nutrition Facts Serving Size 1 cup (228g) Servings Per Container 2 Amount Per Serving Calories 250 Calories from Fat 110 % Daily Value* Total Fat 12g 18% Saturated Fat 3g 15% Trans Fat 1.5g Cholesterol 30mg 10% Sodium 470mg 20% Total Carbohydrate 31g 10% Dietary Fiber 0g 0% Sugars 5g Protein 5g Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 2% Calcium 20% Iron 4% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs: Calories 2,000 2,500 Total Fat Less than 65g 80g Sat Fat Less than 20g 25g Cholesterol Less than 300mg 300mg Sodium Less than 2,400mg 2,400mg Total Carbohydrate 300g 375g Dietary Fiber 25g 30g

2 The nutrition facts label on the cover is for a particular brand of macaroni and cheese. It would normally appear on the back of the package. The numbers and percentages on it are significant. They tell you whether this brand of macaroni and cheese is a good food choice for you as part of your overall diet on any given day. This leaflet talks about what the numbers on the label mean. It shows you how to compare numbers on a single label and then how to compare corresponding numbers between labels. These comparisons enable you to make informed food choices for better health. 1 Serving Size 1 cup (228g) Don t skip line 1. It is the first thing you should check. It tells you the size of one serving. Compare it immediately to line 2, which tells you how many servings of that size are in the package or container. The other numbers on the label lines 4 through 18 refer to one serving only. If you actually eat 2 or 3 servings at one time, you should multiply each of those numbers by 2 or 3. In our example, one serving of macaroni and cheese equals one cup. There are, however, two servings in this package. If you eat the contents of the whole package at one meal, you should multiply each of the numbers between lines 4 and 18 by 2 to get an accurate picture of what you are consuming Calories 250 Calories from Fat 110 Calories 2,000 2,500 Line 4 tells you how many calories are in one serving of the labeled food. The point of comparison, 2,000 calories per day, is found in line 19. Line 4 of the macaroni and cheese label indicates 250 calories in one serving. That is a little more than 1 10 of a total daily intake of 2,000 calories. One serving leaves room on the plate for some other items. Two servings plus other items may push the meal beyond an appropriate number of calories for one of your day s three meals plus snacks. Note: The 2,000-calorie diet relates to an averagesize, active person. At line 19, the label also offers information on a 2,500 calorie per day diet for a larger, active person. In fact, your calorie intake may be higher or lower than either of these scales. If so, you may want to make mental adjustments when considering the numbers on each line. The limits and goals cited in this brochure relate to a diet of 2,000 calories per day. The limits and goals may be lower for a diet with fewer than 2,000 calories.

3 4 Calories 250 Calories from Fat Total Fat 12g 18% Line 4 lists calories that come from fat rather than from carbohydrate or protein. This number can be compared with the total number of calories in one serving, which is listed on the same line. For example, line 4 of our macaroni and cheese label indicates that one serving contains 110 calories from fat and a total of 250 calories. That means that almost half (44 percent) of the calories in this item are from fat. Registered dietitians recommend that most people aim for no more than percent of a day s intake of calories that come from fat. That does not mean that every item eaten during the day should have less than percent of calories from fat. But if you choose to eat even one serving of this brand of macaroni and cheese, it would be a good idea to choose items lower in fat to accompany it and for other meals. See pages 3-5 for other ways the Nutrition Facts label helps you assess fat content. 20 Total Fat Less than 65g Line 6 refers to the sum of different fats included in one serving of the labeled item. Total fat can be compared first with the recommended limit for a day s consumption of fat in line 20. For example, line 20 of the macaroni and cheese label tells us that the recommended limit for total fat consumption is less than 65 grams. Line 6 indicates that there are 12 grams of fat in one serving. So the total fat in this possible food choice is just under 1 5 of the daily total. In fact, the label tells us the actual percentage is 18 percent. When examining percentages on the Nutrition Facts label, 20 percent is considered high and 5 percent, low. There may be a packaged macaroni and cheese or another packaged food choice that has a lower percentage of fat. You can compare that 18 percent with the corresponding figure for total fat for the same serving size on other labels. 2 3

4 7 Saturated Fat 3g 15% 21 Sat Fat Less than 20g Saturated fat can raise your cholesterol level. Line 7 tells you how much of this fat is in one serving of a labeled item. Compare that figure with the limit listed in line 21. For example, line 21 on the macaroni and cheese label indicates less than 20 grams is the recommended daily limit for saturated fat. One serving contains 3 grams, which isn't terrible but is not good either. Remember, 20 percent is considered high and 5 percent, low. The label gives you the exact percentage, which is 15 percent. Always look for the product with the lowest level of saturated fat. You can compare the 3 grams or 15 percent with the corresponding figures for saturated fat on other labels. Note: Trans fat also raises cholesterol levels. So the harmful effect of saturated fat is compounded by the presence of trans fat in the same product. See the next page. 8 Trans Fat 1.5g Beginning in 2006, food manufacturers were required to offer information on trans fat on the Nutrition Facts label. The only fact required is the number of grams present in a single serving. No limit has been set for trans fat. So there is no point of comparison on the label. However, trans fat acts like saturated fat. It raises your bad cholesterol level. You can therefore add the number for trans fat to the number for saturated fat. Then compare the total to the limit for saturated fat in line 21. For example, add the 1.5 grams of trans fat on our macaroni and cheese label to the 3 grams of saturated fat. The total is 4.5 grams or roughly 1 5 or 20 percent of the recommended limit of less than 20 grams for saturated fat. The presence of 1.5 grams of trans fat in this food item raises the level of undesirable fat to a high level. Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible. 4 5

5 9 Cholesterol 30mg 10% 22 Cholesterol Less than 300mg Line 9 tells you how much cholesterol there is in a labeled item. Compare this number to the recommended limit for cholesterol in line 22. In our example, the label indicates 30 milligrams of cholesterol in this macaroni and cheese. The recommended limit for cholesterol is less than 300 milligrams. That means this product has 1 10 of the daily limit. In fact, the label gives you the 10 percent figure. Now compare that 30 milligrams with the amount of cholesterol in the same serving size of similar products. Try to find one that has less cholesterol per serving. Registered dietitians advise us to choose foods that keep consumption of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol as low as possible. 10 Sodium 470mg 20% 23 Sodium Less than 2,400mg Line 10 indicates how much sodium there is in a single serving of a labeled product. Compare that number with the recommended limit in line 23. The macaroni and cheese label indicates the presence of 470 milligrams in one serving. The limit listed in line 23 is less than 2,400 milligrams per day. So one serving contains roughly 1 5 or 20 percent of the daily limit. Remember, 5 percent is considered low and 20 percent is considered high. Now make the second comparison. Look at the label on a similar product to find out if the amount of sodium for the same serving size is lower. Note: The Institute of Medicine and USDA Dietary Guidelines recently lowered the recommended limit on sodium to 2,300 milligrams. Some people may be advised to consume substantially less (as low as 1,500 mg) for blood pressure control. 6 7

6 11 Total Carbohydrate 31g 10% 24 Total Carbohydrate 300g Line 11 includes all added and natural carbohydrates in a single serving of the labeled item. This figure can be compared with the recommended daily total for carbohydrate in line 24. The figure in line 24 is 300 grams. Note that the phrase less than does not appear. This is a recommended total to achieve. Carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans should make up the bulk of your diet. Compare the amount of carbohydrates in the macaroni and cheese label (31 grams) with the total recommended in line 24 (300 grams). That s 1 10 or 10 percent. There is room for vegetables at this meal. Note: Diabetic patients should consult with a registered dietitian or their physician to determine an appropriate carbohydrate intake. 12 Dietary Fiber 0g 0% 25 Dietary Fiber 25g Line 12 tells you the amount of dietary fiber in one serving of the labeled item. Compare that figure with the recommended amount listed in line 25. Note that the phrase less than does not precede this recommendation. That means that 25 grams is a goal to achieve. Line 12 on the macaroni and cheese label indicates there is 0 fiber in one serving. This food choice won t help you reach that 25 grams a day for good health. You could add a variety of fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains to your plate and use whole-wheat macaroni to boost fiber content. 8 9

7 13 Sugars 5g There is no recommended limit (or goal) for sugar consumption offered on the Nutrition Facts label. To get an idea of how much sugar a serving of this product contains, you have to look beyond the information offered on the label. For example, in line 13 our macaroni and cheese label indicates 5 grams of sugar in a single serving. There are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. So this item is fairly low in sugar barely more than a single teaspoon. Furthermore, much of it is probably naturally occurring sugar. On the other hand, many soft drinks contain as many as 32 grams of sugar, which equals 8 teaspoons of sugar added to the product. Another way of assessing the sugar level in a serving of the same product is to examine the list of ingredients, which is usually found beneath the Nutrition Facts label. If terms like sugar, honey, corn syrup, fructose, maltose or dextrose are listed, sugar has been added to the product. If any or several of those terms appear near the top of the list, a lot of sugar has been added. Added sugar adds calories without any nutritional value. Registered dietitians advise us to keep our consumption of added sugars as low as possible. 14 Protein 5g Line 14 lists the amount of protein in a labeled item. As with sugar, the label offers no figure with which to compare this number. Protein is high in meats, dairy and dry beans. Most Americans get more than enough. In the macaroni and cheese label, line 14 shows 5 grams of protein. That s not a lot. But most people eating a typical American diet would make up the difference during the course of three meals. Note: People who have recently chosen a vegetarian diet may need to refer to this line. They should try to consume 50 grams of protein per day. One serving of this packaged macaroni and cheese would provide only 5 grams or 1 10 of the recommended total

8 15 Vitamin A 4% 16 Vitamin C 2% 17 Calcium 20% 18 Iron 4% Lines 15 through 18 list some of the vitamins and minerals that may be present in a labeled food. Manufacturers are required to list Vitamins A and C and the minerals calcium and iron. Others may be listed if a food is fortified with them, a claim is made about them, or the manufacturer chooses to do so. In this part of the label, the information that allows a significant comparison is lacking, but the comparison has been made for you. For example, in line 15 of our macaroni and cheese label, the amount of Vitamin A is described as 4 percent. That means one serving contains 4 percent of the amount recommended for daily intake by the Food and Nutrition Board. Lines 15 through 18 tell us that one serving of this macaroni and cheese is not a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C or iron. But it does provide 1 5 of the amount of calcium recommended for daily intake. Conclusion By comparing numbers on the Nutrition Facts label, you should be able to decide if the labeled food item is a good choice for you. In our example, the label discloses that this macaroni and cheese has a high percentage of calories from fat and is high in the combination of saturated fat and trans fat that can raise your bad cholesterol level. It is also high in sodium. On the other hand, it is low in important vitamins and contains no fiber at all. In other words, it is high where it should be low and low where it should be high. Its only virtue is the presence of 20 percent of the calcium recommended for daily intake. Does this assessment mean that you should never eat this brand of macaroni and cheese? Your first option is to choose another product. But if you do choose this item, AICR recommends limiting yourself to a single serving and balancing it with vegetables, fruits or beans, as well as choosing lower fat dishes during the rest of the day for lower cancer risk. Note: It's always more complicated than you think. The percentages in lines do allow you to compare the level of vitamins or minerals in different products. But they do not represent an accurate percentage of the recommended amount for daily consumption. They don't reflect nutrition recommendations developed since 1968 recommendations that are based on more recent research. 12

9 AICR Guidelines for Cancer Prevention The choices you make about food, physical activity and weight management can reduce your chances of developing cancer. choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat be physically active every day in any way for 30 minutes or more aim to be a healthy weight throughout life always remember do not smoke or chew tobacco. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters cancer prevention and survivorship through healthy diets, physical activity and body weight. About one-third of the most common cancers could be prevented this way. By raising awareness of this message, we hope that many thousands of lives will be saved. The education and research programs of AICR are funded almost entirely by donations from the public. We fund cutting edge cancer research and help people make choices that reduce their chances of developing cancer. We are part of a global network of charities that are committed to preventing cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research 1759 R St., NW P.O. Box Washington, DC or visit The American Institute for Cancer Research is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International. E2A-NF

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