Does The Nutrition Facts Label Encourage Consumption Of Meat And Dairy?

Here is the NIH’s definition of Daily Value (DV). The DVs form the foundation of the Nutrition Facts label.

“A DV is often, but not always, similar to one’s RDA or AI for that nutrient. DVs were developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers determine the level of various nutrients in a standard serving of food in relation to their approximate requirement for it.”

The DVs are a method the government uses to influence or perhaps correct the public’s view of healthful eating.  Here they are (for a 2000 calorie diet):


For macronutrients, the Daily Values work out to:

Fat: 30% of total calories
Saturated fat: 9%
Carbohydrate: 60%
Protein: 10%

NutritionFactsLabelNewThe %DV on the Nutrition Facts label is based on a diet that contains 30% fat, 60% carb, and 10% protein. If a food contained, as in this label, 8 grams of fat, the label would say 12% of DV, or 12% of the 65 grams of fat a person would ideally? eat in a day.

However, if 20% fat was ideal, then that 8 grams of fat would work out to 18% of the DV. If 15% fat was the ideal, that 8 grams would work out to 24% of the DV.

You can see that a food will appear either high-in-fat or low-in-fat when the DV, which is invisible to the label-reader, is changed. That 12% on the label to the right is actually 24% for a person following a low-fat diet.

A diet that gets 30% of its calories from fat, 9% from saturated fat, 300 mg of cholesterol, and 400 IU vitamin D (the DVs for those nutrients) is likely a diet that includes meat and dairy food. The %DVs on the Nutrition Facts label appear to encourage consumption of meat and dairy.  (The new line item for calcium will also do this, since people equate dairy food and calcium.) Who sets the DVs? The government, with the aid of industry.

2 thoughts on “Does The Nutrition Facts Label Encourage Consumption Of Meat And Dairy?

  1. Bix Post author

    It is very difficult to eat 30% of your calories from fat when you are eating a whole food, plant-based diet … a diet that focuses on vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds.


  2. RB

    A problem with the DV is it doesn’t state whether it is a maximum or minimum. For fat, especially saturated fat, and cholesterol it should be a maximum. For vitamin C, it should most likely be a minimum. But too much of any nutrient probably isn’t good either. A DV range would be better.



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