How to Read Nutrition Labels

If you’re tracking your food by counting calories and/or macronutrients, or if you’re simply increasing awareness of your nutrition intake, knowing how to read the nutrition label is an extremely useful skill to have. It gives you the information you need to understand what your nutrition intake consists of in a more detailed perspective. 

What’s included in a nutrition label?

Below is an example of a nutrition label. We will break it down by section.

  • Number of servings and serving size: The number of servings in a container/package corresponds to the total amount. For example, in the example above ⅔ cup (55g) of the food is 1 serving, and the full container has 8 servings. The total package is 1840 calories (230 calories * 8 servings).

    • Tip 1: When looking at a serving size, aim to weigh out the food in grams/ounces versus cups/tablespoons for increased accuracy. If you weigh it out in ounces, the conversion is 28g per 1 oz. Total grams in 4oz = 4oz x 28g/oz = 112g

    • Tip 2: Always look at the serving size. Some foods may present the macronutrients/calories as a single serving (such as a single serving cookie) but upon further inspection, there may be multiple servings resulting in higher calorie/macros than originally expected. 

  • Calories: The calorie number represents the calories per serving. The calorie value is representative of the energy provided per serving. The more calories you intake, the more energy you’re fueling your body with, BUT remember, the energy that is not expended will be stored as fat; this is why it is important to balance your calorie intake with your caloric expenditure. 


  • Macronutrients: Fat, Carb, and Protein: The fats, carbs, and proteins are listed in the next section. The number next to each is the amount of grams per serving. 

    • A blog with more details about macros can be found here: . In summary…

      • Fats = 9 calories per gram

      • Carbs = 4 calories per gram

      • Protein = 4 calories per gram

    • You can calculate the total calories per serving by using the macro content…

      • For example, in the label above:

        • 8 g fat * 9 calorie/gram = 72 calories

        • 37 g carb * 4 calorie/gram = 148 calories

        • 3 g protein * 4 calorie/gram = 12 calories

        • Total calories per serving = 72 + 148 + 12 = 232 calories

      • Notice that the label states 230 calories per serving but the math shows 232. Nutrition labels tend to round down.

  • Other: You’ll find other important pieces of information beyond the calories and macronutrients. Nutrition labels also include information on saturated fat, trans fat, dietary fiber, added sugars, and other nutrients like potassium, sodium, etc. 

    • Dietary fiber is important and often neglected. Get enough fiber per day. Below are some recommendations:

      • Women should aim for at least 30 to 35 grams of fiber per day.

      • Men should aim for at least 40 to 45 grams of fiber per day.

      • If you don’t get enough fiber, you may experience the following:

        • Cardiovascular diseases and high blood fats – fiber helps bind and eliminate blood cholesterol/fat

        • GI disorders, cancers and poor bowel function – fiber helps keep the GI tract clean and can ease constipation and diverticular disease

        • Diabetes – fiber controls blood sugar, insulin and body fat

        • Excess body fat – fiber contributes to satiety and dilutes energy density The goal is to get

    • Aim to keep saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugar to a minimum

    • Don’t neglect the micronutrients (potassium, calcium, vitamin D, iron, etc). Just because you’re reaching your macros and calorie intake goal, does not mean you should neglect the nutrient density of your foods. Aim for whole foods and minimize processed foods  as much as you can. 

We have a lot of nutrition blogs that we will list below. If you’re interested in one-on-one nutrition coaching, please feel free to reach out using the button below!

Nutrition blogs: