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nutrition definitions

Terms to Know

The Nutrition Facts label on packaged food can be important in learning to balance your diet. The more you understand about what you eat, the better decisions you will make.

Serving Size

​The amount of food on which Nutrition Facts are based; may not be the total amount of food in the package​


​Unit of measure that expresses the amount of energy in food; used by the body as “fuel” to perform functions such as breathing, blood circulation and physical activity


​An energy-dense dietary substance providing essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body; transports fat-soluble vitamins, regulates blood cholesterol levels and provides energy when needed


​Any of a group of organic compounds that includes sugars and starches found in breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables; changed to glucose during digestion and stored to be used for energy when needed


​A group of complex molecules that are fundamental components of all living cells; major component of all body tissue; necessary for muscular growth and cellular repair

Fiber (Dietary Fiber)

​Non-digestible carbohydrates found in whole grain foods, fruits, vegetables and legumes


​A component of salt (sodium chloride)


​A mineral needed to maintain bone health; found in dairy products


​Pennington Biomedical Research Center, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Weight-Control Information Network​

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