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Are there additional nutritional benefits to fruits and vegetables not found on the nutrition label?

Food labels list nutrient values for several key nutrients. These include the calories, serving size, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, fiber, sugar, protein, vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium and iron. On top of this some manufactures break down the total fat into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as fiber into soluble and insoluble fiber. There are over 25 different vitamins and minerals, essential to health, available in foods. Therefore, the food label does not include a detailed nutrient analysis of each food. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals and many other beneficial compounds beneficial to health which would make their food labels exceptionally large if they were to list them all. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates the labeling requirements for foods under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and its amendments. Food labeling is required for most prepared foods, such as breads, cereals, canned and frozen foods, snacks, desserts, drinks, etc. Nutrition labeling for raw produce (fruits and vegetables) and fish is voluntary. The nutrients that are displayed on the food labels are those that are required to be reported by the FDA. Some manufactures choose to advertise foods that are good sources of certain nutrients as well. Learn how to read a food label and see what nutrients your fruits and vegetables are high in, in our nutrient database.
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  1. Absolutely! There are thousands of phytonutrients found in fresh, vine-ripened raw fruits & veggies. The best news is that our bodies know exactly what to do with them too. When given the proper nutrients, our bodies can repair themselves. Prevention is key and “Grandma” was right when she said “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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