The serving size relates to how much of a food should be eaten as a realistic portion. Ideally this information should be appropriate for the target market and based on dietary guideline recommendations. However it is worth checking to see if the number of servings per package has been manipulated to change the nutrition information per serve.
Energy requirements vary based on metabolic rate, activity, age height and weight. The percentage daily intake guide is based on an average adult diet of 8700KJ. You may require more or less energy than this; a good indication is whether you are maintaining the same weight. If your weight is increasing over time you have a positive energy balance and may need to exercise more or consume less energy. If you have a negative energy balance you may need more energy to sustain your level of activity.
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It is recommended that 10 to 20 percent of your daily energy comes from protein. Daily intake of protein is 50g for a diet based on an 8700KJ. Males, the elderly and pregnant and lactating women have higher protein needs. Foods that are a good source of protein contain 10g or more per serve.
A daily diet should include 30 percent of your energy from fat or 70g for an 8700KJ diet. Foods low in total fat have less than 3g per 100g (less than 1.5g/100g for fluid). Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are both good choices for fat.
Saturated fats are mainly found in animal based foods as well as palm and coconut oil. Of your total energy intake less than 10 percent should be from saturated fat or less than 24g per day for an 8700KJ diet. Foods that are low in saturated fat have less than 1.5g per 100g (less than 0.75g per 100g for fluid).
Most of your energy should come from carbohydrate (preferably wholegrain sources). For an 8700KJ diet around 310g per day or up to 60 percent of total energy intake.
The maximum intake of sugar for an 8700KJ diet should be 90g per day. Low sugar foods contain less than 5g/100g.
Fibre is sometimes included on a nutrition information panel. For an 8700KJ diet, fibre intake should be around 30g per day. Young children (under eight years) require less fibre as they have greater energy needs and fibre is related to feeling full. Foods high in fibre contain more than 4g per 100g or at least 3g per serve.
Sodium is a component of salt. Many processed foods are high in sodium. Foods low in sodium contain less than 120mg per 100g. The maximum intake for an 8700KJ diet should be 2300mg per day.
All reference amounts are in accordance with Food Standards Australia New Zealand's Food Standards Code and recommend dietary in takes from Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand.
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