Using the %Daily Value (%DV) Column on a Food Label
(FSIS) By using the %Daily Values, you can easily determine whether a food contributes a lot or a little of a particular nutrient. And you can compare different foods with no need to do any calculations. A high percentage means the food contains a lot of a nutrient and a low percentage means it contains a little.
Look to see whether the nutrients most of us need more of (such as total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals) have high percentages. Look to see whether the nutrients most of us need to limit (such as fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and — for some people — sodium) have low percentages.
The goal is to choose foods that together give you close to 100 percent of each nutrient for a day, or average about 100 percent a day over a few days, depending on the nutrient.
For example, if your goal is 2,000 calories, your total fat intake would be no more than 65 grams, the upper limit recommended for a 2,000 calorie daily diet. If the food you’re preparing has 16 grams of fat per serving and shows the %Daily Value for total fat per serving at 25 percent, then you know that all the other foods you eat that day should total 75 percent or less of the Daily Value for total fat (or 49 grams of fat).
You can use the %Daily Value column to easily compare one product to another. If you want to lower the fat in your diet, you can compare products and select the ones with the lower %. You can also use the %Daily Value to make dietary trade-offs with other foods throughout the day. This means you don’t have to deprive yourself of a favorite food that might be high in fat, if you watch what else you eat the rest of the day.