Most health conscience people read food labels. Why? Because they want to? Not usually. It’s because they understand they are making choices about what food to put in their body and they want the best that they can. Reading labels is very important and empowers you to make positive food choices that will affect your health.
We have been presenting talks recently on how to read food labels, and thought we’d give you a sneak peak of what we talk about, and also what is in our guide to help make it easy for you.
If you only look at a products nutritional panel to determine your choice you are missing out on the bigger picture of what it is you are actually eating. Although in saying that, you are still making an informed choice and probably a better one than if you had not looked at all.
We believe one of the biggest considerations when choosing a packaged food product is the additives that are added. Mostly these have no nutritional benefit and it is not easy or quick to work out which product is better based on the additives listed. (Just try looking at our product comparisons for example, and these ones are easier at least as we’ve colour coded them!)
Over 300 food additives are permitted in Australia of which at least 30 are known or suspected carcinogens.
Food additives have been associated with a range of food intolerance symptoms including asthma, behavioural disorders, gastric irritation, headaches, learning difficulties and skin rashes. These symptoms become more evident as greater quantities are consumed. Children are more susceptible because additives are added with consideration toward adult daily intakes and body weight and not that of smaller developing children.
You can take charge of your health
If you have dietary restrictions (particularly in relation to a food allergen) please also check labels for other names indicating soy, dairy, and gluten.
You might find it helpful to check out our list of additives to avoid available on our website and take these shopping with you so that you can compare additives first, then the nutritional panel.
It’s never too late to start being mindful of the food you put into your body. The fuel that gives it energy to do what it’s supposed to do.
Learning how to read food labels is essential for making healthy food choices.
Our best tips for reading Nutritional Information Panels, always look at the ‘per 100g’
- Fat – Look for products with less than 10 grams of fat per 100g. If the product contains nuts it will have more fat as nuts contain large amounts of good unsaturated fats.
- Sugar – A product with less than 10 grams of sugar per 100g is ideal. If a product contains fruit allow up to 25 grams of sugar per 100g. Just be aware that this is 5 teaspoons of sugar (and the recommended daily maximum for most adults according to the World Health Organisation is 11 teaspoons a day).
- Fibre – 30 grams of fibre is required each day. Compare products and choose the high fibre product. If a product contains 3-6 grams of fibre per 100 grams then this is considered a high fibre product.
- Salt – Try to choose ‘low salt’ or ‘reduced salt’ products where possible. Try to restrict your consumption of foods with more than 600mg of sodium per serve. Look for products with less than 300mg per 100g.
This is just touching on the surface of reading labels and why you will be doing yourself a favour to spend the time learning how. There is much more information in our guide which you can download today. And after a short time you’ll find yourself a pro at reading labels!
Want to read a few less labels?
And you can get a FREE copy of our Trusted Trolley Better Treats for Birthdays and Celebrations here.