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Nutrition labels made easy

Last Updated: 20 January 2019

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Nutrition labels made easy

Food labels can be confusing. Misleading packaging and serving sizes make it hard to know which option is the healthiest choice. Here we breakdown the nutrition label to make healthy eating easier. 

Ideally, all nutritional information on food products would be the same, so that we do not get confused with different styles of labelling. Unfortunately this is not the case!

 

Serving sizes

Serving sizes can be extremely misleading. A whole bag or pack of a particular food item might include two servings, however the nutritional information on the front is only for one serving. Serving sizes can often be unrealistic. For example, the standard 30g serving size on boxes of cereal is a classic example. A 30g serving barely fills half a bowl, which is not what most people have. Milk is not always taken into account in cereal food labels either further making nutrition information ambiguous.

 

% Daily intakes

Some food packaging provide daily intakes percentages. These offer some guidance, but do not make it simple. These are based on a ‘average adult’ usually not taking into consideration gender, age or any other factors that change the amount of a nutrient required. Also, are you noting going to jot down percentages of everything you eat in a day? Chances are you’re not - it’s just not practical!

 

So what should you do?

The best way to understand and compare different products is to look at the nutrition ‘per 100g’ rather than the ‘per serve’ amount. This makes it a lot simpler to identify foods that are high or low in a particular nutrient.

 

As a basic guide use the following:

 

 

Low

High

Salt

<0.3g/100g          

>1.5g/100g

Sugar

<5g/100g

>22.5g/100g

Fat

<3g/100g

>17.5g/100g

Saturated Fat

<1.5g/100g

>5g/100g

 

Ingredient list

Another quick and easy way to check to ensure you are making a healthy food choice is to take a look at the ingredient list. Ingredients are listed in order of the most prevalent ingredient, to the least. Check to see if the first few ingredients are high in saturated fat, salt or added sugars.

 

Understanding food labels takes time. Make life easier for yourself and look at the nutritional values per 100g in order to find out whether you should eat the food or not. Depending on what your healthy eating goals are, using the above table as a general guide will help you get started.

 

As a very general healthy eating rule, consume foods that are low in saturated fat, salt and sugar. If a food contains high amounts of these, then avoid them. If it contains a medium amount of these nutrients, eat in moderation. But remember to pay attention to serving sizes!

 

 

Written by Perri Simon
SiSU Wellness Nutritionist

 

 
Source: 
https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/eating-well/how-understand-food-labels

Categories:
Nutrition
Weight loss
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