On the food label, it lists “calories” and “calories from fat.” Do you add these two together to get the total calories?
I can see how doing math, especially on an empty stomach, could deaden your appetite. Luckily, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designed the Nutrition Fact Panel on the food label so that the bulk of the math is already done for you. All you need to do is digest the information.
The “calories per serving” that is listed on the food label is just that: the total amount of calories in one serving size of the food item. For example, look at this label of macaroni and cheese:
It lists a cup as a serving and says that there are 250 calories in a serving. The label also states that there are “110 calories from fat.” This means that of the 250 calories in a one-cup serving of mac & cheese, 110 of them, or about half of them, are coming from fat.
Now, before you start rejecting or accepting foods based solely on their fat content, keep in mind that you want to look at your diet as a whole, not just by one food item. In fact, if you scan down a little lower on the food label, you’ll see that the food label makes an attempt to show you how to do that. It shows you how a serving of this food can fit within your daily fat intake goal. It does this by not only listing the grams of fat per serving (in this case, it is 12 grams), but it translates those grams into a percentage of the daily value (DV) – the daily diet goals based on a reference 2,000-calorie diet. The DV for fat for a person consuming 2,000 calories is less than 65 grams. (Your daily calorie needs may be higher or lower than 2,000 calories, but these figures give you a ballpark estimate.)
For instance, while the mac & cheese provides 12 grams of fat in a serving, these 12 grams are only about 18 percent of the DV for fat (65 grams) allotted for the day. If you have two servings of mac & cheese, you’re eating into 36 percent of the DV for fat. So if you’re a mac & cheese lover, you can enjoy it, but balance it with other lower fat foods during the day so that your overall intake for the day is within a healthy range.