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The Nutrition Facts Label and PCOS


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current guideThe Nutrition Facts Label and PCOS  

What is the Nutrition Facts label?

The Nutrition Facts label explains what nutrients (components of food your body needs to grow and stay healthy) and how much of those nutrients are found in one serving of the food. It's located on the outside of most food packages, but isn't on most fresh foods (such as fruits and vegetables or meats). The Nutrition Facts label can help you make choices about the food you eat.


What will every Nutrition Facts label have on it?

Every label will have the following items listed:

Other nutrients can also be put on the Nutrition Facts label if the company that makes the food wants them to be. Some of the other nutrients that can be put on the label include other types of fat (like polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat) and other vitamins and minerals. Within the next few years the Nutrition Facts label will be changing. Some proposed updates include making single-serving foods one serving (for example a bottle of soda that in the past may have been listed as two or more servings), including Vitamin D and potassium, and listing added sugars so that you can tell how much sugar occurs naturally in a food and how much has been added.


What should I look for on the Nutrition Facts label?

The first thing you should look at is the serving size. The amount of each nutrient on the label is what's found in one serving of that food, not necessarily in the whole container. If you don’t know what one serving size is, you won’t know the amount of each nutrient you're actually getting. For example, a large bag of microwave popcorn has three servings in it. It's okay to eat more than one serving at a time, but it's important to know that if you eat the whole bag, you’d be getting three times what's listed on the label. Portion control is an important part of healthy eating for PCOS, so keep the serving size in mind.


Do I need to read every Nutrition Facts label?

No. You don’t need to keep track of every nutrient you are eating. Just take a look at Nutrition Facts labels once in a while to help you make healthy choices and choose foods that will give your body the nutrition it needs. For example, if you don’t drink much milk, you should read Nutrition Facts labels to help you find other foods that are high in calcium. You can also use the Nutrition Facts label to compare two different foods. For example, if you are deciding between two different kinds of breads, reading the Nutrition Facts labels can help you make the healthier choice. Consider choosing the bread that has the highest amount of fiber.


The “Percent Daily Value” on a Nutrition Facts label is based on a 2000-calorie diet. Should I be eating 2000 calories?

It is possible that a 2000-calorie diet may be right for you, but many adolescents need more than 2000 calories as they grow in height, build bones, build muscles, and stay active. The 2000–calorie diet is just an estimate and is used to help calculate the Percent (%) Daily Value to be used as a reference that is near to accurate for the greatest amount of people.


What does a Nutrition Facts label look like?

Below you’ll find a sample Nutrition Facts label with a description of the items that you’ll find listed there.


Nutrition Facts Label



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Written and reviewed by the CYWH Staff at Boston Children's Hospital


Updated: 4/18/2014

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