How to Calculate % of Daily Value on Food Labels

People often say they want to eat healthier. One of the first steps to take is examining nutritional value prior to purchasing foods. Food labels include most relevant information, including calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate content. Vitamin and mineral levels are also included. These numbers do not mean much unless you know how much of these nutrients you should be eating daily. The percent of daily value provides this context. Percent of daily value is included for many nutrients but not all.

A basic calculator can help to calculate the percent of daily value for specific nutrients. Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Step 1

Find the nutrient amount on the food label.

Step 2

Look up the total daily recommended amount in the USDA Dietary Guidelines.

Step 3

Divide the nutrient amount by the total daily recommended value.

Step 4

Multiply by 100.

Things You'll Need

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines

  • Food label

  • Calculator


To find your specific dietary needs, consult a doctor or registered nutritionist.


The USDA dietary guidelines are based on a 2,000-calorie diet for the general population. Specific dietary needs vary based on age, gender, activity level, health risks and conditions.

references & resources
Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.