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The % Daily Value is a guide to help you make informed choices about the food you eat. Daily intakes are based on an average adult diet and can help you understand what’s in your food and how it fits within your balanced diet.
Where Can I Find % Daily Values?
The % Daily Value is found on the nutrition facts table of most food products.
What does the % Daily Value Tell Me?
The % Daily Value tells you if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in a food and can be used as a benchmark to figure out if you need more or less of a nutrient according to your requirements.
The % Daily Value is based on a scale from 0% to 100% according to the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamins and minerals. For example, if a food contains 300 mg of calcium, and the average Daily Value for an adult for calcium is 1000 mg per day, then this food provides you with 30% of your day’s total intake.
The % Daily Value translates all your daily requirements into a single, easy-to-track measurement and is a helpful tool when you want to lower your intake of certain nutrients, like sodium, and increase others, like fibre.
According to Health Canada, the % Daily Values is calculated for carbohydrates, total fat , saturated and trans fats based on a 2,000 Calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
There are no % Daily Values for sugar or protein. Health Canada recommends that no more than 25% of total energy should come from added sugars. The amount of sugar on a nutrition facts table is based on both added and naturally containing sugars. Protein requirements are based on a person’s bodyweight. For a healthy adult you can calculate your protein needs by multiplying your bodyweight in kilograms by 0.8.
Why Do We Use % Daily Values?
The nutrition facts table is a simple way to learn more about the nutrients in the food and beverages we eat. They also help put the food into perspective of a daily diet by listing the percentage each nutrient contributes to your Daily Intake. A balanced diet rich in a variety of healthy foods help allow you to reach your recommended intake of nutrients each day.
Being aware of % Daily Values on a nutrition facts table is a useful way to compare different products and help you choose the product most suited to your daily intake needs. This will help you and your family to select a wide variety of foods and achieve a healthy balanced diet.
Ref: Heart and Stroke Foundation website, 2008; Health Canada Nutrition Fact for Educators, 2008.