Reading Food Labels for Calcium Content


The calcium content of food varies widely depending upon growing conditions (fruits, vegetables and legumes), brand and the amount of calcium added to fortified foods. Reading the food label is an easy way to find out how much calcium is in one serving of food. It can help you choose foods that contain the calcium you need.

The food label does not list calcium in milligrams (mg). Instead, the label lists % Daily Value (%DV) for calcium in each serving. 100% of the DV for calcium is equal to 1000 mg of calcium per day.

How do I read a food label for calcium?

There are many foods that you can eat to get the calcium you need each day. Reading food labels for calcium is easy:

1. Find the serving size
2. Find the % Calcium per serving
3. Drop the %
4. Add a zero

For example, see the nutrition facts on the label to the right:

1. Serving size: 1 cup
2. Calcium: 30%
3. Drop % 30
4. Add 0 300

The calcium content is 300 mg in a one cup serving.

What do calcium claims on food labels mean?

Many food packages include a claim about the calcium content. Understanding these claims on the label will help you select calcium rich foods.

For more guidance on how to understand and use the nutrition facts panel on food labels, see: U.S. Food and Drug Administration.