Percent daily value

Important notice: The information on this web page is under review.

The percent daily value (% DV) found in a nutrition facts table can help you make informed food choices. Learn how to use % DV to choose healthier foods.

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Here is a good guide: % Daily Value, 5% is a little, 15% is a lot

About percent daily value

The % DV is found on the right-hand side of a nutrition facts table. It is a guide to help you make informed food choices. It shows you if the serving size has a little or a lot of a nutrient:

  • 5% DV or less is a little
  • 15% DV or more is a lot

This applies to all nutrients with a % DV.

The % DV is not meant to track the total amount of nutrients you have had for the day. This is because some of the foods you eat do not have a nutrition facts table, such as:

  • fresh vegetables and fruit
  • raw meat and poultry (except when it is ground)
  • raw seafood

The % DV for the following nutrients must be listed in the nutrition facts table:

Listing the % DV for cholesterol is optional.

Some other vitamins and minerals that do not have to be listed in the nutrition facts table include:

  • folate
  • magnesium
  • niacin
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • riboflavin
  • selenium
  • thiamine
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin B6
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • zinc

However, when they are listed in the nutrition facts table, the amount is included as a % DV.

How to use percent daily value

Use % DV to compare 2 different food products to help you make an informed food choice.

You can use % DV to choose products that are higher in the nutrients you may want more of:

  • fibre
  • vitamin A
  • calcium
  • iron

You can also choose products that are lower in the nutrients you may want less of:

  • saturated and trans fats
  • sodium

How percent daily value is calculated

Many of the nutrient amounts in the nutrition facts table are shown using % DV.

The current daily values in Canada are based on 2 sets of values. These include the:

  1. recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamins and minerals
  2. reference standards for:
    • fat
    • saturated and trans fats
    • cholesterol
    • carbohydrate
    • fibre
    • potassium
    • sodium

The % DV for a nutrient is calculated by:

  • dividing the amount of a nutrient in a serving size by its daily value, then
  • multiplying that number by 100

For example, a food product has 3 mg of iron. The daily value for iron is 14 mg. This means that the % DV for iron would be 21%.

If you would like to do your own calculation, use the equation below to help you.

(3 mg ÷ 14 mg) × 100 = 21% DV

Daily values are as followed in the chart below:
Nutrient Daily Value (DV)
Fat 65 g
Saturated and trans fats 20 g
Cholesterol 300 mg
Sodium 2400 mg
Carbohydrate 300 g
Fibre 25 g
Sugars no DV
Protein no DV
Vitamin A 1000 RE
Vitamin C 60 mg
Calcium 1100 mg
Iron 14 mg
Note: RE = retinol equivalents

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