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Read the Food Label To Choose Foods Lower in Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, and Cholesterol

Download Read the Food Label To Choose Foods Lower in Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, and Cholesterol pdf document (39k) handout.

Food labels tell you what you need to know about choosing foods that are lower in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Here's a food label for a carton of whole milk. The label tells you:

  • Amount Per Serving
    The nutrient amounts on the label are for one serving. So, if you have more than one serving, you need to add the corresponding nutrient amounts. For example, if you drink 2 cups of whole milk, you are drinking two servings. You would need to double the amount of calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
  • Nutrients
    Here are the amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in one serving. These amounts are given in grams (g) or milligrams (mg).
  • Serving Size and Number of Servings
    The serving size is 8 fluid ounces (1 cup). There are eight servings in this carton.
  • Percent Daily Value
    The Percent Daily Value helps you compare products. Choose products with the lowest Percent Daily Value for saturated fat and cholesterol. If you have high blood cholesterol, you should eat less saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. A doctor or registered dietitian can help you with this. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Choice Is Yours—Compare!

Which one would you choose? Except for calories and saturated fat, fat-free milk has all the nutrients of whole milk, including the calcium. That makes fat-free milk a better choice! Read food labels, and choose products to keep your heart strong.

  • Whole Milk
    One cup of whole milk has 25 percent of the Daily Value of saturated fat. This is one-fourth of the total amount of saturated fat that you should have in 1 day. This is too much!
  • Fat-Free Milk
    One cup of fat-free milk has no saturated fat. You can learn a lot from a food label.

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Information on this page is taken from the English print version of “Your Heart, Your Life, A Community Health Worker's Manual.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH Publication No. 08-3674, Originally Printed 1999, Revised May 2008.

Last Updated March 2012

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