Use this interactive guide to the Nutrition Facts label to help understand what you're eating so that you can make healthier choices. By Mayo Clinic Staff

The Nutrition Facts label is required by the Food and Drug Administration on most packaged foods and beverages. The Nutrition Facts label provides detailed information about a food's nutrient content, such as the amount of fat, sodium and fiber it has.

Knowing how to read food labels is especially important if you have health conditions, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and need to follow a special diet. It also makes it easier to compare similar foods to see which is a healthier choice. The more practice you get reading food labels, the better you can become in using them as a tool to plan your healthy, balanced diet.

For help decoding Nutrition Facts labels, move your mouse over this sample label to see what the numbers mean.

July 26, 2012