Please clarify the percent fat content on food nutriiton labels.


1) My wife and I have recently switched from 1% to skim milk. What is the recommended type of milk for our two children, ages 8 and 9?

2) Please clarify the % fat content on food nutrition labels. I understand that a general guideline for gauging fat intake is no more than 30% of your daily calorie intake. What do the % fat content labels indicate? Should your total from the labels be 30% for a day’s consumption or are they already accounting for the 30% recommendation, allowing the total from label information to be 100%?

1) There are varying milk recommendations for children under the age of 10. Generally speaking 2%, 1% or skim milk is acceptable and which milk depends on the energy needs of the child. If the child is underweight, then offer whole milk, if normal weight offer 2% or 1% if overweight offer skim milk.

The 1995 USDA Dietary Guidelines are available on the Net and recommend less than 30% calories from fat for children over the age of 5. Fat content in children’s diet can be gradually reduced between the ages of 2 and 5 to reach the goal of 30% calories from fat. The biggest concern is that children consume enough calories so that their bodies and brains grow at a normal rate. I am disturbed by childcare givers who put children (less than 10 years of age) on low fat, calorie restricted diets.

2) Unfortunately, the percent fat content on the new food label is based on 2,000 calories with 65 grams of fat for everyone. So the percent fat is based on what percent of the 65 grams (100%) does this food contribute per serving. If you need 2,000 calories, you could add up the fat percents and stop eating foods containing fat when you reach 100% assuming you need 2,000 calories a day.

Use the grams of fat instead to calculate your daily fat intake. Take the total calories you need, multiply by 30% and divide by 9 to get your fat gram goal. For example, if you need 1500 calories per day, multiply by 30% to get 450 fat calories, divide by 9 to get 50 grams of fat. This would be your individual daily fat goal.