What Food Labels Really Mean And Nutrition Labels.
Nutrition labels are often displayed as a panel or grid on the back or side of the packaging.
This type of label includes information on energy (kJ/kcal), fat, saturates (saturated fat), carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt.
It may also provide additional information on certain nutrients, such as fibre. All nutrition information is provided per 100 grams and sometimes per portion.
How do I know if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt?
There are guidelines to tell you if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar or not.
High: more than 17.5g of fat per 100g
Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g
High: more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g
Low: 1.5g of saturated fat or less per 100g
High: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g
Low: 5g of total sugars or less per 100g
High: more than 1.5g of salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low: 0.3g of salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)
For example, if you're trying to cut down on saturated fat, eat fewer foods that have more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g.
Some nutrition labels on the back or side of packaging also provide information about reference intakes.
Nutrition labels on the front of packaging like this one below.
Most of the big supermarkets and many food manufacturers also display nutritional information on the front of pre-packed food.
This is very useful when you want to compare different food products at a glance.
Front-of-pack labels usually give a quick guide to the most important factors we need to at least glance over.
Which are the salt, fat, sugar content.
These labels provide information on the number of grams of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt, and the amount of energy (in kJ and kcal) in a serving or portion of the food.
But be aware that the manufacturer's idea of a portion may be different from yours.
Some front-of-pack nutrition labels also provide information about reference intakes.
What The Food Labels Really Mean
Added vitamins One-dimensional factory versions of natural vitamins found in whole foods: ascorbic acid (man-made vitamin C) is usually synthesised from the fermentation of GM corn, while artificial vitamin E is commonly derived from petrol.Soluble fibre A healthier-sounding term for modified starch, which is widely used to reduce the quantity of more nutritious ingredients in processed foods, and keep down manufacturers’ costs.‘Natural’ colourings
The only difference between these and artificial ones is that they start with pigments that occur in nature. Otherwise, they are made using the same highly chemical industrial processes, including extraction using harsh solvents. Artificial ‘diet” sweeteners Several large-scale studies have found a correlation between artificial sweetener consumption and weight gain. Accumulating evidence suggests that they may also increase our risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Enzymes Used to make bread stay soft longer; injected into low-value livestock before slaughter, to tenderise their meat; and used in fruit juice processing to create a cloudier, more natural appearance.‘Packaged in a protective atmosphere’ Food that has been “gassed” in modified air to extend its shelf life. It delays what food manufacturers call “warmed-over flavour”, an off-taste that occurs in factory food.Beef/pork/poultry protein
Collagen extracted from butchered carcasses, processed into a powder and added to low-grade meats. It adds bounce, increases the protein content on the nutrition label and, combined with water, is a substitute for meat.
Washed and ready-to-eat salads “Cleaned” by sloshing around in tap water dosed with chlorine, often with powdered or liquid fruit acids to inhibit bacterial growth. The same tank of treated water is often used for 8 hours at a time.
‘Pure’ vegetable oil Industrially refined, bleached, deodorised oils. Food processors often add chemicals to extend their “fry life”.‘Natural’ flavourings Even the flavour industry concedes that “there isn’t much difference in the chemical compositions of natural and artificial flavourings”.
They are made using the same physical, enzymatic, and microbiological processes.
We eat alot of it, so we should know alot more about it.