Understanding Food Labels

Do your regular food products positively or negatively impact your health?

The first step on your path to healthy eating is knowing what goes into your body. A great way to achieve this is reading food labels. 10-seconds glance and you’re equipped to make an informed decision especially when you know what to look out for.

5 things to look out for when handling a product:

1. Ingredients
On food labels, Ingredients are always presented in descending order of weight.

Example: In the soda pictured above, carbonated water is present in the largest amount, followed by sugar, with the least amount of ingredient being the sweeteners Acesulfame-K & sacralose.
Note: If a product doesn’t declare its ingredients, it is safer not to make a purchase.

2. Allergen declaration
Allergens are usually declared in bold fonts on the ingredients list and sometimes written out separately, just below ingredients.
Make sure to take a look at this if you have any known allergies. You wouldn’t want to end up with a rash or a swollen face.

3.  Nutrition fact
The importance of reading a product’s nutrition fact cannot be overemphasized.
While your ingredients list do not tell exactly how much of an ingredient is in a product, this information  can easily be deduced from the product’s nutrition fact.

Note, you’ll need to know the weight of the product to correctly determine its nutrition value.

How to read nutrition facts
Let’s pick energy

Energy: The recommended energy intake is 2000kcal per day.
10cl soda = 36kcal = (36/2000) x 100 = 1.8% daily recommended intake
25cl soda = 90kcal = (90/2000) x 100 = 4.5% = ~5% daily recommended intake
33cl soda (total weight of soda) = 118.8kcal = (118.8/2000) x 100 = 5.9% = ~6% of your daily recommended intake

Easy, right?

Next is Carbohydrates which could  includes complex carbohydrates & free sugars

25cl = 22g sugar
33cl = ?

Ans = 29g sugar

4. Serving size
Should the product be consumed all at once? Is the product for multiple servings?
Usually serving size are a great pointer to avoid abusing the products quantity-wise.

5. Shelf life
Ever ate or drank a product only to realise later that it is past its shelf life?

Some products may express their shelf life as ‘best before’ while others use the term ‘use by’

What do these terms mean?
Best before – product is still safe to consume however quality (such as texture, flavour, nutrient) has been reduced

Use by – product is considered unsafe for consumption and should be thrown away.

So there you go! 5 things to look out for in a product.

While this may be time consuming at first, in no time a quick glance at the product will be all you need to make the right decision.

Was this of help to you? Leave us a comment below. We’ll love to hear from you.

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