Our nutritionist Dani takes us through why she believes it is important to be able to read food labels correctly. Reading food labels can be confusing, especially when you’re rushing through the grocery store trying to remember everything you need. But being able to read a food label, I believe is important and so helpful when you’re starting your health journey.
SO HERE ARE MY TIPS FOR YOU:
Number 1: Look at the ingredient list
The ingredients listed are in descending order from the main ingredient used in the product onwards. Therefore, the first ingredient listed is what is used to make the majority of the product. For example, if you look at some yogurt ingredient lists you may find sugar as one of the first few ingredients, you’ll know it is far from its natural form with a tone of added sugar.
Number 2: Sugar Content
Most of the time the best rule to follow to avoid products listing sugar as one of the main ingredients (first three/four on ingredient list). Don’t be fooled, you’ll also find sugar listed as one of the first few ingredients in savory foods.
Number 3: Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame)
These are creeping into more and more foods and becoming more popular due to their low calories. But these nasties are terrible for your health. Some common forms of artificial sweeteners you may see are aspartame, glucose, sucralose and syrups, commonly found in low fat and sugar free products. You may also see them as numbers such as 950, 951 or 955 (aspartame or sucralose). Most artificial sweeteners and additives cannot be metabolized correctly, therefore they end up being stored in the liver or brain causing havoc with moods, digestion and hormones.
Number 4: Fat Content
When looking at fat content in a product always check the saturated/trans fat quantities as these are the bad ones you need to look out for. However, be careful with products stating low fat or no fat. These products will generally contain more sugar or artificial sweeteners and preservatives to make them taste better.
Number 5: Sodium/Salt Content
There is a lot of salt hidden in breads, snack packs, instant soups and noodles. The recommended daily intake for sodium is equal to about 1 teaspoon of salt per day. So, when checking sodium content in products look for about 250mg - 300mg of salt/sodium per 100g. If it has 400mg or more, its best to stay clear.
The team at The Friendlies Chemist are the authors of this news feed.