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Food Labels, Nutrition Facts &
%DV (Percent Daily Value)

  1. Where can I find a dietitian who works with food labeling in food manufacturing for my business? Answer
  2. Are manufacturer's nutrition facts labls for cooked or uncooked weight? Answer
  3. On the new food labels, it lists the amount of carbohydrates. If the food is cut in half, does that mean the amount of carbohydrate will be cut in half? Answer
  4. How would I determine the fat content of a serving of cheese with 7% milk fat? Answer
  5. I am looking for the definition of sodium erythobate. I have heard that it is a euphemism for worms. Answer
  6. I want to know if what I eat satisfies the RDA, but I don't know how to accurately calculate it. Answer
  7. I am confused over the flour ingredient on the ingredient list of various breads. Answer
  8. Are cereals with 100% of the RDA better than cereals with only 25% of the RDA? Answer
  9. What exactly is the Daily Value? Answer

Where can I find a dietitian who works with food labeling in food manufacturing for my business?

The Dietitians in Business and Communications dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics specializes in creating food labels for food manufacturers, sanitation and quality control training. You can find a dietitian at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Include your state and select food labeling specialty.

Are the manufacturer's nutrition facts labels for cooked or uncooked weight? Last night I cooked a 40 ounce Pork Tenderloin (Salsa Pork Tenderloin). My wife and I ate about 1/3 of it that night. The next day I took the rest of it to work to eat (I was going to be there a while). I weighed it at work and it weighed 16 oz. That would mean that the whole tenderloin cooked weighed 24 ounce.

My question is: when the nutrition facts describe a 4oz portion, do they mean a 4 ounce uncooked /2.4 ounce cooked portion or a 6.67 ounce uncooked / 4 ounce cooked portion?

The Nutrition Facts should say whether or not the nutrition information is for cooked or uncooked by the printed serving size and number of servings. However, this is not required on meat which is governed by USDA, but may be required on marinated meat such as the pork tenderloin you purchased. If it doesn't have serving size and number of servings, you can still cut the cooked pork tenderloin in the number of servings as determined by the weight of the package which is required.

Meat can lose 25% of the raw weight when cooked, but tenderloin is a very lean piece of meat and would not lose a lot of fat weight. If you overcook a piece of meat, it will be drier and therefore contain less water. Muscle (yours and the pigs) is about 70% water. Usually 4 ounces of raw hamburger ends up to be 3 ounces cooked. If you are going to eat a steak, a tenderloin would be the leanest steak you could eat rather than a T-bone, porterhouse or sirloin.

If other ingredients are required in the preparation of a packaged food, the manufacturer may list the prepared and unprepared nutritional data like dry cereal and dry cereal with 1 cup of skim milk.

So if you started out with 40 ounces raw, it should weight at least 30 ounces cooked. A reasonable portion of meat is 3 - 4 ounces at one meal depending on the size of the person. So you should cut the pork tenderloin into around 8 to 10 pieces. That portion you took to work should have lasted for 4 or 5 meals. Were you going to be at work for 2 1/2 days?

On the new food labels, it lists the amount of carbohydrates per food serving. If the food serving is cut in half, does that mean the amount of carbohydrate will be cut in half as well?

The amount of carbohydrates listed on the Nutrition Facts food label on food packages is the amount of carbohydrates in one serving of food as specified on this same label. So if you eat half a serving, you get half the carbohydrates as well as half all the other nutrients.

I wondered if you could answer a question that I have in regards to skim milk cheddar cheese. I recently purchased a block of skim milk cheese rated at 7% milk fat. How would I determine the fat content of a serving of this cheese, as it had no nutritional label? Thanks for any advice you can give.

Seven percent milk fat doesn't tell you how many grams of fat is in 1 ounce of this cheese. So 7% of 1 ounce is 2.1 grams of fat in 1 ounce.

Whole milk is 5% milk fat, but this doesn't mean that 5% of the calories in whole milk are fat. It means 5% by gram weight is fat not calories. One percent milk has 2.5 grams of fat in 1 cup that weighs 237 grams. Those same 2.5 grams of fat though equals 20% of the calories found in 1 cup of 1% milk.

If the cheese you bought is labeled skim milk cheddar cheese, it should be made with skim milk. It doesn't sound like you have an ingredient listing to check that out. So how did you learn it was rated at 7% milk fat? I would suggest next time you are at the store where you purchased the cheese to ask them if they have nutritional information or a label you can have.

All food sold in the US is required to have a Nutrition Facts food label. If you purchased this cheese from a delicatessen in a store, it may not be labeled though.

I'm looking for the definition of sodium erythobate. It appears in hot dogs, bacon, etc. I have heard that sodium erythobate is a euphemism for worms. Please confirm or deny this. I was wondering what exactly sodium erythobate is. I had heard that it is salted earthworms, is this true?

Thank you sincerely.

Sodium eruthorbate a man-made form of vitamin C which is made in a laboratory from sugar and is an antioxidant. It functions to control color and flavor loss that happens when food is exposed to air. In meat curing, it speeds up nitrites while maintaining the color. In fact, adding sodium eruthorbate allows food manufacturers to reduce the amount of nitrites used in food processing. Nitrites are there to prevent food poisoning from fresh meat and the addition of sodium eruthorbate reduces the amount of nitrites needed. It is used cured meats, not fresh and is occasionally used in beverages, baked goods and potato salad.

I look at Nutrition Facts on food labels as often as I can to see what nutrients I am getting from what I eat, but they give such limited information. It's so hard to tell if I am actually getting the Recommended Dietary Allowances throughout the day. I want to know if what I eat satisfies the RDA, but I don't know how to accurately calculate it. I've tried, but it's just too tedious trying to keep track of everything I eat by looking at food labels. Is there a better way?

The problem with just paying attention to food labels is that there may be only two vitamins and two minerals on the Nutrition Facts label. Yet there are Recommended Dietary Allowances for 11 vitamins and 7 minerals.

Since the food labels were revised in May 1994, the Food and Drug Administration requires less vitamin and mineral information on food labels unless the package makes a health claim like "reduced fat" or "good source of fiber". This decision was made because of the decrease in deficiency diseases in the United States. However, nutrition research now focuses on the health benefits from getting an adequate amount of certain nutrients. Most people are aware of the benefit of calcium, vitamin D and fluoride in preventing osteoporosis or the role of calcium and potassium in high blood pressure.

Yes, there are two other ways that I know. Both require that you write down everything that you eat or drink during a day. Don't forget to write down all the supplements that you take too.

A registered dietitian could analyze your food records for you. They use nutrition science principles to do the analysis and then generate reports that compare how you eat to your personal RDA. A dietitian could even include any supplements you may take. Charts and graphs make it real clear which vitamins and minerals you eat enough of and which you are lacking. They even provide a list of foods that are good sources of the nutrients you are lacking.

The other choice is to buy nutritional analysis software and enter all your recipes and everything your eat. It depends on how much time you have which would be a good choice for you.

I am somewhat confused over the "flour" ingredient component on the ingredient list of various breads. One will say "wheat flour", another says "enriched flour (wheat)", another "enriched flour (flour)", another "stone ground wheat flour", etc. How's a regular (fiber-pun intended!) person supposed to assess the relative value of these statements?

Can you give some direction on the merits of each, particularly as it applies to whole wheat, stone ground wheat, cracked wheat, etc.? Thanks for your interest.

The ingredient listing on food labels contains the raw ingredients in decreasing order used in the manufacture of that particular food. Typically the type of flour describes the milling process (how the grain was ground into a flour) i.e. was the bran (outer coating) and / or the germ (oil portion) included AND any treatment applied after milling i.e. enrichment (add vitamins and minerals lost during processing) or bleaching (natural aging of flour during storage or achieved with chemicals that oxidize the yellow pigment and improve the baking quality of the flour).

The following wheat flours do not include red durum or semolina, which contains bran specs from durum and both are used in the manufacture of pasta. Nor are soft wheat flours included, which are used in the manufacture of cakes, cookies and pastries. Bread flours are made from hard wheat, which contains more gluten (protein) and provides structure to bread.

Wheat Flour is made by grinding wheat and typically does not contain the bran or germ.

Enriched Flour (wheat) is wheat flour (no bran or germ) that has been enriched with thiamin, riboflavin and niacin and may include Vitamin D, iron and calcium that are lost during flour processing.

Enriched Flour (flour) is the same as the above except that the source of the grain is not identified. Other grains such as rye, oats, barley or soybeans can be used in the making of this flour.

Stone Ground Wheat Flour describes how the wheat grain was milled. Again since the word "whole" is not included and this flour does not contain the bran or germ of the wheat grain. Similar to wheat flour other than how the grain was milled.

Grinding the entire wheat grain makes whole Wheat Flour, including the bran and germ. Other ingredients may be included such as malted wheat, wheat flour and barley flour. It is also called graham flour and entire wheat flour.

Cracked Wheat is made by cracking the wheat grain into angular pieces and is similar to whole-wheat flour in composition, but the flour has coarse flecks of brown rather than a uniform size particle.

The choice that consumers have is whether or not they want "white" bread or "whole" wheat bread. White bread contains very little fiber, but is usually enriched. Whole wheat bread contains some fiber and how much depends on whether or not some white flour has been added as well. I usually recommend that persons choose bread that has whole-wheat flour as the first ingredient with no white flour added. If a person needs to eat a low fiber diet then they should choose bread with white flour as the first ingredient with no whole-wheat flour added.

The food label will contain the nutritional content of 1 slice of bread, which you can use to compare between various breads. You may find that white bread is higher in thiamin, riboflavin and niacin because of enrichment. Whole wheat bread will be higher in fiber and other trace minerals, which may or may not be listed on the label since they are not required by FDA.

Hope this straightens out the confusion over flours on food labels of bread.

Some cold cereals have 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of nutrients. Are they better than cereals with only 25% of the RDA?

Cold cereals that have 100% of the Daily Value usually contain two vitamins and two minerals. Vitamins A and C, calcium and iron are the nutrients listed in the nutrition information on package labels.

Cereal companies have fortified their product with added vitamins and minerals. Cereal can be a good source of thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, but not usually the others. To fortify means, adding nutrients into a food that you would not usually find in that food, especially at those levels. Fortification does sell to the consuming public who perceives that their diet is deficient and eating a food with 100% of the Daily Value can make up that deficit.

The question you should ask yourself is: should one food supply 100% of your Daily Value for four nutrients and supply all those nutrients in one meal? For the person who eats three meals a day with a variety of foods from My Plate Food Guide (meat, milk, bread, fruits, vegetables and fats), the answer is no. You don't need a cereal with 100% of the Daily Value for four nutrients. However, for the person who eats one or two meals per day with few food choices or has a limited food budget, yes, a fortified cereal is a wise choice.

A government subsidized food program called WIC (women, infants and children), allows iron-fortified cereals to be purchased with WIC coupons. The goal of the WIC program is to decrease iron deficiency anemia in the most at risk population, pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and children under the age of five. So iron fortified cereals make sense for this group.

Another question you should ask yourself is: does the fortification of the cereal justify the sugar coating? On cold cereal packages, look for the sugar content listed with Total Carbohydrates. Cereals with less than eight grams of sugar (two teaspoons) are all right if they have fruit in them. Cereals without fruit should have less than four grams of sugar per serving (one teaspoon). In making cereal choices look at the whole package. Choose a cold cereal that is not sugar coated, even if they do have 100% of the Daily Value.

What exactly is the Daily Value? I can't understand all the information on food labels.

The Daily Value (DV) for each nutrient is listed for persons who eat 2,000 to 2,500 calories each day. The values are the same as the USRDA values previously found on labels and were based on the 1968 RDA's. The highest nutrient requirement in 1968 for any age group for each nutrient determined the USRDA (Daily Value). The Daily Values were established by the Food and Drug Administration for the purpose of labeling foods with the nutrients per serving. The nutritional information is now required on all labels since May 1994.

The nutritional information is listed per serving. The serving sizes were standardized for each type of food and for single serving containers like carbonated beverages. Serving size, number of servings per container, calories and calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugar and protein appear at the top of the nutritional information. Below that, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron are listed per serving, as a percent of the Daily Value. The 1968 RDA's are the basis for the Nutrition Facts label information. The standard for these nutrients is set at the highest RDA value for any person regardless of age or sex. Usually these values are for the adult male, except the recommended amount for iron is the adult female which is higher. So if a food claims to provide 10% of the Daily Value for iron, it must contain 1.8 milligrams of iron (10% of 18 milligrams is 1.8 milligrams) per serving.

Additional information about other nutrients may be found on food label but other nutrients are not required unless a nutritional claim is made. Remember, if a food has some nutritional claims, you will find it on the label.

You, the consumer can use the Nutrition Facts label to determine the nutritional impact of using or not using a food. You can directly compare the nutritional information between similar products because the nutritional information is listed per serving which are now standardized. Pay attention to the serving size. It may not be the size portion you eat.

Remember also, that one food should not necessarily provide all the nutrients you need in a day. More is not better when is comes to going over 100% of your RDA. Your body's first need is for energy from calories. Your diet should be composed of a variety of meats, milks, breads, fruits, vegetables and fats.

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