Carbohydrates

Learn to make healthier food choices by using the Nutrition Facts table on prepackaged foods. Carbohydrates are found in the Nutrition Facts table.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are important nutrients for your health. They are the body's main source of energy (Calories). The main kinds of carbohydrates are fibre, starch and sugars.

Did you know?

The amount of carbohydrates in the Nutrition Facts table includes fibre, starch and sugars. Fibre and sugars must be listed under carbohydrates. Starch is optional, which means that a food manufacturer can list it if they want to.

Where can you find carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are found in many foods. For example:

  • Fibre is found in beans, bran, fruit, lentils, nuts and seeds, vegetables, whole grains
  • Starch is found in beans, bread, cereal, pasta, potato, rice, vegetables and any foods made with flour
  • Sugars are found in fruit, juice, milk and some vegetables and are added to many prepackaged foods such as baked goods, candy, ice cream and soft drinks

How can you make a healthier choice?

  • Choose foods with more fibre and less added sugars. Read the ingredient list to find added sugars.
  • Use the % Daily Value (% DV) in the Nutrition Facts table.
  • Remember: 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients.
  • Fibre is a nutrient you may want more of.

Helpful hints at the grocery store:

  • Always look at the Nutrition Facts table to choose and compare foods.
  • Choose whole grain products more often.
  • Buy enough vegetables and fruit to have with all of your meals and snacks.
  • Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.
  • Try meat alternatives like beans and lentils.

How is the % DV for carbohydrates calculated?

The Daily Value used in nutrition labelling is based on 300 g of carbohydrate for a 2000 calorie reference diet.

For example, if the Nutrition Facts table shows 15 g of carbohydrate, the product would have a % Daily Value for carbohydrate of 5%.
(15 g ÷ 300 g) × 100 = 5 %.

Remember: 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients.

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