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Brigham and Women's Hospital is open and seeing patients. All scheduled appointments and procedures will happen as planned on Monday, July 22.

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Nutrition Basics

Analyzing the Nutrition Facts Label

Some of the most important facts on the label are:

Serving size

Serving size is based on the amount most commonly eaten.

Servings per container

Refers to the number of servings included in the package. This package contains one serving of fish and chips.


Represents the number of calories in one single serving. If you eat two servings, multiply the number of calories by two. For those trying to lose weight, pay close attention to the number of calories per serving, and how many servings you are eating.

Total fat

The amount of fat included in each serving (in grams).

Saturated fat

To reduce the risk of heart disease, try to keep saturated fat low. Select items that contain no or small amounts of saturated fat (less than 4 grams per serving for an entree).

Trans fats

Trans fats increase the risk for heart disease and should be avoided. Select items that contain zero trans fat. You need to also read the Ingredients. If you see "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil/shortening" in the list of ingredients, then the product contains some trans fats.

Dietary Fiber

Most people should eat more fiber. Studies show an increased risk for heart disease when diets are low in fiber.



Over 50 30 grams

Under 50 38 grams


Over 50 21 grams

Under 50 25 grams


Healthy diets do not have much added sugar. Distinguished from natural sugars, such as lactose found in milk and fructose found in fruits, added sugars are those incorporated into foods and beverages during production. Major sources include candy, soft drinks, fruit drinks, and sweets. Names of added sugar in the ingredients include: dextrose, molasses, honey, maltodextrin and agave. Try to choose products that have no or only small amounts of sugars that have been added. (4 grams per serving)


Many people need to limit their sodium intake. Try to choose foods that contain less than 400mg per serving.

Total carbohydrate

If you have diabetes it is important to control carbohydrate. 15 grams of carbohydrate = 1 exchange. Eat appropriate serving sizes of foods that are high in total carbohydrate (>35 grams per serving). For example, a portion of rice is the size of your fist.

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