Food labels

Ever looked at food labels and wondered what they mean? Today I will be telling you what to look for, and how the traffic coding works. On every product label it tells you the nutritional information. These include calories, carbs, protein, fats, sugars and salt. They sometimes also have a column that tells you the percentage […]

Ever looked at food labels and wondered what they mean?

Today I will be telling you what to look for, and how the traffic coding works.

On every product label it tells you the nutritional information. These include calories, carbs, protein, fats, sugars and salt. They sometimes also have a column that tells you the percentage that value is against the GDA (guideline daily amount).  However these percentages tend to confuse some people and they can be unclear. Those GDA are also not based on your specific nutritional needs more of a general guide.

Sometimes on the front of the packet you will see a nutritional table with colours. This is a system for indicating the quantities of each based on whether they are high (red), medium (orange) or low (green).

The tables are great visual aids to quickly decipher the nutritional info for the product. You can then choose to find a similar product with more desirable green values if needed.

You can see from the tables below how the coding works.

(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_light_rating_system)

Curtesy of Wikipedia

 

This is is much easier to understand than the GDA (guideline daily amount) on the back of products.

You can easily see if a product has a lot of red values it is not a good choice for your health. This should help you to make better decisions when shopping.

Many people do not look at these labels and you could be eating better if you do. Would you be less inclined to buy a product that had red values all the way across? I know I would.

Take a look at the below for example. If I eat vegetables I expect them to be low in fat and save my fat allowance for treats, good fats and the lean meats. If I don’t have time to cut everything up I may buy a stir fry pack. From these nutritional labels which one would you choose?

 

Mushroom stir fry 1
Mushroom stir fry 2
Mushroom stir fry 2 label

 

You can see from mushroom stir fry 1 there is an orange value for the fat and yet mushroom stir fry 2 there is non. Therefore the right choice is mushroom stir fry 2.

Lets go deeper and see if you noticed mushroom stir fry 1 was for 80g of the 320g packet. Meaning those values double or quadruple depending how much of it you ate.

The mushroom stir fry 2 however was for 130g (half the pack) so the values between the two are further away than the first glimpse might have you believe.

Be aware of this when looking at the nutritional values, some say per 100g, others half or quarter a pack etc. Know how much you use, and what your consuming.

mushroom stir fry 1 for half a pack

108caloroes, 8.6g fat, of which 1.2 saturates, <1g sugars.

mushroom stir fry 2 half a pack 

64calories, 2.2g fat and 0.3 saturates, 4.4g sugars.

You save 44calories and 6.4grams of fat, 0.9g saturated fat BUT more sugars! The second stir fry will be better for those on a low fat diet but lower fat products tend to have more sugars to make them taste better. Too much sugar (just like too much of anything) can lead to weight gain.

Least if you know how many fats calories and sugars you are allowed on a day you can use this knowledge to make the right decision for you.

If you don’t know how much you should be eating I can help you, and you can Contact me for any help.

I hope you will now be able to look at the food your buying and eating with a little more knowledge of what’s better for you. Small changes can lead to bigger results, so be sure to make healthier decisions from now on.

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