How to Figure Out Percentages for Nutrition

Daily values for 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets are listed on food labels.

Daily values for 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets are listed on food labels.

A food label contains information about the product's serving size, number of servings per package, amount per serving and percent daily value. Ever wonder how the percent daily value is calculated? The daily values are set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for an average 2,000-calorie diet based on either nutrient intake recommendations or the healthy daily maximum intake of a nutrient such as cholesterol, fat and sodium.

Items you will need

  • Calculator
  • Food Label

Step 1

Locate a nutrient on the food label. For example, grams of total fat will be listed first under the amount of calories per serving.

Step 2

Divide the gram amount by the daily value for that particular nutrient. The daily values for select nutrients are located at the bottom of the food label. Using a food label for chocolate ice cream, a ½-cup serving contains 7 grams of total fat. Divide 7 grams by 65 grams which is the daily value for total fat. The result is 0.11.

Step 3

Multiply the result by 100 to get the percent daily value. For the fat in a serving of chocolate ice cream, multiply 0.11 by 100 to get 11 percent. Consuming ½ cup of chocolate ice cream gives you 11 percent of your healthy daily maximum for total fat intake.


  • The percent daily value for protein will only be listed on a food label if a protein claim is made by the product or if the product is for infants and children.

About the Author

Heather Colleran is a registered dietitian and a board certified specialist in sports dietetics. She earned her Ph.D. in human nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is a certified strength-and-conditioning coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Colleran has contributed to the “Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics” and “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.”

Photo Credits

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