- If you eat more than the amount of food specified in the Nutrition Facts table, you will also be consuming more Calories than what is listed. Portion sizes influence the number of Calories consumed. For example, if the Nutrition Facts table has information based on 1 waffle and you eat 2 waffles, you will need to double the Calories and the amount of nutrients listed in order to calculate what your intake would actually be.
Your caloric needs vary, depending on your age, body size, gender, activity level and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- The amount of fat listed in the Nutrition Facts table includes saturated fat, trans fat and all other fatty acids present in the food.
Choose lower-fat foods, including leaner meats, lower-fat milk products and foods prepared with little or no fat. By making these lower-fat choices more often, you will lower your intake of total fat, including saturated and trans fats.
Saturated and Trans Fats
- Most Canadians should reduce their intake of saturated and trans fats because they increase the risk for heart disease.
- Saturated fat and trans fat have been shown to raise blood LDL-cholesterol levels (a bad fat in the blood). Elevated LDL-cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.
- Unlike saturated fat, trans fat also reduces blood HDL-cholesterol (a good fat in the blood). Reduced HDL-cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.
- Saturated fat and trans fat have one combined % Daily Value in the Nutrition Facts table because both types of fat have negative effects on blood cholesterol levels.
A healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats may reduce the risk of heart disease.
- The % Daily Value for cholesterol is optional, so it may or may not be in the Nutrition Facts table. Whether or not the % Daily Value is displayed, the amount of cholesterol will be listed in milligrams.
- Most Canadians get more salt than they need. It's best to limit your sodium intake.
- Most sodium comes from sodium chloride better known as table salt or sea salt.
- Salt is a common ingredient in processed and prepared foods, such as canned soups and processed meats.
- Sodium, without chloride, may also be added to foods through additives such as disodium phosphate, sodium nitrate, or sodium gluconate.
A healthy diet containing foods high in potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke and heart disease.
- There are different types of carbohydrates:
- Starch such as in pasta and rice.
- Fibre such as whole grain products (like whole grain bread, high fibre cereals), legumes (e.g., dried peas, beans and lentils), vegetables and fruit.
- Sugars such as sucrose, glucose, fructose and dextrose.
- In the Nutrition Facts table, the total amount of carbohydrate is listed for the specified amount of food. This total amount includes starch, fibre and sugars.
- Sources of fibre include whole grain and bran products (e.g., whole wheat, brown rice, whole rye, hulled barley, wheat bran, oats), vegetables, fruit and legumes (e.g., dried peas, beans and lentils).
- Sugars occur naturally in foods, such as those found in milk, fruit and vegetables. Sugars are also added to foods in many forms: sugar or sucrose, brown sugar, glucose, fructose, dextrose, liquid invert sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup and corn syrup.
- Added sugars contribute mainly Calories and taste and have no significant nutritional advantages.
- There is no % Daily Value for sugars because there is no generally accepted target recommendation for the healthy population.
- Sugars may promote dental caries.
People with lower caloric needs may not need to consume extra Calories from sugars.
- Protein is found in a variety of foods such as meat, poultry, fish, legumes (e.g., dried peas, beans and lentils), nuts, milk products and grain products.
- There is no % Daily Value for protein because protein intake is generally adequate for Canadians who consume a mixed diet.
- Vitamin A is based on a recommended daily intake. In the Nutrition Facts table, vitamin A is listed only as a % Daily Value, which makes it easier for consumers to understand the relative amount of this nutrient present in a food product.
- Vitamin C is based on a recommended daily intake. In the Nutrition Facts table, vitamin C is listed only as a % Daily Value, which makes it easier for consumers to understand the relative amount of this nutrient present in a food product.
- Calcium is based on a recommended daily intake. In the Nutrition Facts table, calcium is listed only as a % Daily Value, which makes it easier for consumers to understand the relative amount of this nutrient present in a food product.
A healthy diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D, and regular physical activity, help to achieve strong bones and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Iron is based on a recommended daily intake. In the Nutrition Facts table, iron is listed only as a % Daily Value, which makes it easier for consumers to understand the relative amount of this nutrient present in a food product.