Here are some definitions of the more important items on the label.
SERVING SIZE: A serving size is based on the amount a person can typically eat and is usually described as either "pieces" or "cups."
SERVINGS PER CONTAINER: Some foods contain more than one serving in a package. The Nutrition Facts Label focuses on the calories and nutrients of one serving. So even though an UNCLE BEN'S® Rice Product may feed three, only the single serving size (1 cup cooked) is measured.
CALORIES & CALORIES FROM FAT: Calories represent the amount of energy you can get from a serving of a particular food item. The label also tells you how much of the calories indicated come from the total fat count of the product.
NUTRIENTS: Separated into two groups, the nutrients listed first (fat, cholesterol, and sodium) are the ones many people are concerned about in their daily diet. Eating too much fat, cholesterol and sodium can increase your risk of chronic disease, heart disease, cancer or high blood pressure.
FAT: Fat content is broken down into "total fat", "saturated fat" and “trans fat” grams. This is important information when you are trying to stick to a low-fat diet. Don't just look at the total fat, because this includes many fats that are essential for good health. Saturated fat and trans fat, on the other hand, are the fats you want to limit.
TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES: This item is also broken down into two components: "dietary fiber" and "sugars." Products containing high amounts of dietary fiber can boost your overall health. Sugars, however, should be consumed in moderation.
PROTEIN: A good source of protein is important to your health. Look at this item to determine the amount of protein a food product contains.
VITAMINS: Vitamins A and C are listed because many Americans don't get enough of these important substances. Check your food label to make sure you consume adequate amounts of these vitamins.
CALCIUM: A product containing ample amounts of calcium—a crucial nutrient—can help maintain bone health.
IRON: Low iron can cause some health problems and conditions, including chronic headaches, fatigue and anemia. Iron is particularly important for women and vegetarians.
FOLATE: This nutrient helps support a healthy heart. And since it helps prevent neural tube defects in babies, it's also beneficial for women who are (or who are trying to become) pregnant. Many UNCLE BEN'S® Rice Products are an excellent source of folate.
THIAMIN: Thiamin (vitamin B1) helps body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. Essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system, Thiamin is found in enriched rice, breads, cereals, pasta, lean meats, fish, dried beans, peas and soybeans. Thiamin is naturally found in whole grains.
Guidance on How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Panel on Food Labels, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, June 2000.
Nutrition Guidelines: Breakfast and Nutrition, Food Insight, July/August 1990.