15 Jan

One of the first things we do when we start being more conscious about what we eat is start reading the Food Labels on food’s packages. We read food labels and we instantly think that we are doing the right thing and we know what we are doing, but the reality is that we don’t. We don’t even understand half of the names of the ingredients that are in the list and neither know what’s the right percentage for each Macronutrient (Carbs, fats and protein) or Micronutrient (Vitamins & minerals). Hilarious, right? 

The next time you go to the supermarket and read the Food Labels of a product you won’t wonder anymore what’s everything about because fortunately you read this article. 

I want to make it simple to understand for you, because when I started searching about Nutrition Facts and Food Labels everything was so confusing and complex. 

First of all, you need to know that all ingredients contained in a product should be named in the Food Label. However, a lot of brands and businesses lie about the percentages or amounts of the ingredients, because it’s much easier to cheat with small numbers than with names. So, be careful with the brands you get your products from and try to know their reputation and business history.  

Let’s begin breaking down the Food Labels  

1. Serving size 

This is the first thing that appears in the Nutrition Facts. Products always have a serving size, for example 30g for one person. If the package says that the total amount of product is 120g means that it has 4 servings. Use the column that usually says Per Serve to know the calories and nutrients in one serve.

 2. Per 100g 

This area of the label will only tell you the amount of calories and nutrients that are in 100g. For example if the overall product content is 300g, you should know that you need to multiply the calories given for 100g by 3.

3. Calories 

If you are buying a snack, it should be around 200 calories/830 Kilojoules or less per serve, never higher, to fit in the healthy standards. 

4. Total fat 

To consider a product healthy, the total fat should be less than 5g per 100g. For cheeses, for example, are ok when are less than 10g of fat per 100g. Trans fat are dangerous, so try to avoid foods that contain it. 

5. Sugar and carbs 

Carbs are composed of fibre (complex carbs) and sugar (simple carbs). Therefore try to choose healthy products with less than 6g of sugar and higher than 4g of fibre. You can subtract the amount of fibre from the amount of carbs and it will give you the net carbs. Always choose a product with more fibre than sugar!

 6. Fibre 

More than 4g per serve 

7. Sodium 

We all should be careful with sodium. Sodium, sugar and wheat flour (the three whites) are dangerous in high amounts. Make sure the grams of sodium are less than 200mg per 100g of product. 

8. Protein 

A good amount of protein is between 10-20g per serve. 

Ingredients’ list 

The first three ingredients in this list are the main ingredients of the product. If the first thee ingredients are sugar, wheat flour, salt, fats, let me tell you that you should run away! Remember, if you don’t understand more than one of the names in the ingredients’ list you shouldn’t be consuming the product, because nobody needs those crazy chemicals in their bodies, right? 

After you have read this article I know you will be a master of the Food Nutritional Labels and you won’t get confused anymore reading ingredients in the supermarket! 

To know more about Food Labels visit https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/eating-well/how-understand-food-labels 

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