Friday, September 20, 2013

The Value in “Daily Value Percentages”

Hey guys, there’s something that I never really paid attention to before that really came to my attention when I did the sodium article. There’s something on almost every label you’ll see that says “Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.” Where did 2000 calories even COME From?

According to Marion Nestle, a writer on Food, “They proposed 2,000 calories as:
  • consistent with widely used food plans
  • close to the calorie requirements for postmenopausal women, the population group most prone to weight gain
  • a reasonably rounded-down value from 2,350 calories
  • easier to use than 2,350 and, therefore, a better tool for nutrition education
Whether a rounding down of nearly 20 percent is reasonable or not, the FDA ultimately viewed these arguments as persuasive.”

So what is needed for kids? Well ages 1-3 can look at 1,200-1,400 calories per day. Kids that are 4-6 are looking at 1,500-1,750 calories. Kids that are 7-9 are looking at 1,700-1,950. Yet on some kids’ foods we still see the nutrition labeled related to 2,000 calories a day. (

So that’s calories, but what really got to me was the Sodium Percentages that I was looking at. An adult is supposed to eat 2,300 mg of Sodium per day. Let’s take the Pepperoni Pizza Lunchables as an example. The nutrition facts say that it has 760mg of Sodium and that is 32% of your daily value. Now let me remind you, as I showed on my sodium article, kids should be eating between 1,000-1,500 milligrams of sodium a day. Let’s do a little math. 760 mg is in fact 33% of 2300 mg, THE ADULT SERVING FOR SODIUM, NOT THE KIDS. So for a kid, even if you’re healthily eating 2,000 calories, that doesn’t mean the sodium level is 32% of the daily value you should be enjoying.

Let’s go up to the higher end of the age spectrum 9-18 at 1,500 mgs of Sodium. 760 milligrams is FIFTY PERCENT OF THAT DAILY VALUE!!!!!! Just because they may eat 2,000 calories a day does NOT mean that the other daily values are accurate for a child’s needs and yet Lunchables, who are geared at children, are putting forward the ADULT SIZE FOR SODIUM. Not to make a pun, but we all need to read the daily values with a grain of salt.

College Kid  1

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