Thursday, February 13, 2014

Understanding the Nutrition Fact Label: Is Serving Size the Same as Portion Size?

Dr. Lydia Kaume, nutrition and health education specialist
Headquartered in Barton County
Tel: (417) 682-3579

LAMAR, Mo. -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nutrition Facts label appears on most packaged foods and informs us how many servings are in a box or can.

“When consumers understand the food label, they can use nutrition information to make quick, informed food choices that contribute to a healthy diet,” said Dr. Lydia Kaume, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Serving size varies between products and provides information on how many calories are in one serving size. A portion size is how much of that food we choose to eat at one time. “In some cases, serving sizes and portion sizes match but at all times an individual determine their portion size,” said Kaume.

Calories and calories from fat tell us how much energy we get from that food.

The % Daily Value shows if a serving size of food is high or low in a nutrient. As a guideline, 5% or less is low and 20% or more is high

Nutrients: Limiting fat, cholesterol, and sodium can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. “Select foods high in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and iron to help your body fight diseases and support healthy body functions,” said Kaume.

A footnote is found only on larger packages and does not change from product to product.

The Nutrition Facts label is an important tool for keeping track of how many calories are eaten based on the number of number of serving sizes. “As a general guide, based on a 2,000 calorie diet, 40 Calories is low, 100 Calories is moderate and 400 Calories or more is high,” said Kaume. “It is also important to use the label to choose healthy foods and selecting items lower in fats, salt, and sugar and higher in fiber and vitamins.”

For more information on nutrition, go online to or contact one of the nutrition and health specialists working in the Ozarks: Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Cammie Younger in Texas County, (417) 967-4545.

For 100 years, MU Extension has engaged Missourians in relevant programs based on University of Missouri research. The year 2014 marks the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which formalized the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service, a national network whose purpose is to extend university-based knowledge beyond the campus.

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything. More information on this topic is available online at


Post a Comment

Let us know how you have been helped by this article or what you have learned from this story.

<< Home