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Question: What should I look at first on the Nutrition Facts panel? 

Answer:  The first thing you should pay attention to on the Nutrition Facts panel (the black and white panel on the side or back of an item) is the serving size. The Nutrition Facts panel represents a breakdown of the nutrition of an item for a specific serving. In some cases, the Nutrition Facts panel may display more than one column showing nutrition facts if you consumer the entire package. Often, the Nutrition Facts panel represents the entire package or bottle. 

Serving sizes are determined by the Food and Drug Administration and represent standard serving sizes of what people normally eat or drink. These are broken down into unit measurements by grams or ounces. For example, a serving size of some crackers may be four crackers if the crackers are large and 11 crackers if they are small. There are also standard or reference amounts for different items, for example, a standard 8-ounce beverage. If your beverage comes in a container that is larger than 8 ounces it may indicate multiple servings in the container or it may list the Nutrition Facts based on the entire container.  

Bottom line: Be sure and check your serving size first. This is not a recommendation of how much to eat, but it represents what is considered a typical serving size. It tells you a lot of information about what is in that serving. 

For more information, visit https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/food-serving-sizes-get-reality-check

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