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Decode the % Daily Value

mother and babyDo you find the nutrition label difficult to understand? Look no further than the % Daily Value (% DV)!

The % DV can help you and your family make informed food choices, helping you to understand what’s in your food and how it can fit into healthy, balanced eating for every family member.


Here are some facts and helpful tips to using the % DV:

1. Where Can You Find the % DV?
The % DV can be found on the Nutrition Facts Table on food packages.

2. What Does the % DV Tell You?
The % DV tells you if there is “a little” or “a lot” of a nutrient in a specific amount of food. As a general rule of thumb, 5% or less is “a little” for any nutrient and 15% or more is “a lot” for any nutrient.

3. Choose a Food Using the % DV.
To make a nutritious food choice, you may want to choose a food that has less sodium, fat and saturated and trans fat and has more vitamins, minerals and fibre.

4. Compare Foods to Make a Nutritious Choice.
You can compare similar types of food products by looking at the serving size of food (in weight or volume) on the Nutrition Facts Table – when comparing, both products’ serving sizes should be close in weight or volume. Then, read the % DVs and compare both products by checking which product has “a little” or “a lot” of a nutrient. By comparing two products, you can make a better choice for you.

5. Practice!
Practice makes perfect! Try using Healthy Canadians’ Interactive Tools to practice how to use the % DV and how to compare different food products.

1. Healthy Canadians. The Percent Daily Value (%). May 2013. [Cited November 20,2013].
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