Corporate Massage

Corporate Massage

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Choosing the right foods, Food labels explained

Food labelling Descriptions:
Most pre-packed foods have a nutrition label on the back or side of the packaging.
These labels usually include information on energy in kilojoules (kJ) or kilocalories (kcal), usually referred to as calories. They also include information on protein, carbohydrate and fat. They may provide additional information on saturated fat, sugars, sodium and salt. All nutrition information is provided per 100 grams and sometimes per portion of the food.
Supermarkets and food manufacturers now highlight the energy, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt content on the front of the packaging, alongside the reference intake for each of these.

You can use nutrition labels to help you choose a more balanced diet. For a balanced diet:
·         cut down on fat (especially saturated fat), salt and added sugars
·         base your meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, pasta and rice, choosing wholegrain where possible
·         eat lots of fruit and vegetables – aim for at least five portions of a variety every day
·         include some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish,pulses and milk and dairy foods


Nutrition labels on the back or side of packaging
Nutrition labels are often displayed as a panel or grid on the back or side of packaging. 

This type of label usually includes information on energy (kJ/kcal), protein, carbohydrate and fat. It may also provide additional information on saturated fat, sugars, sodium, salt and fibre. All nutrition information is provided per 100 grams and sometimes per portion of the food.

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 or sugar, or not. These are:
Total fat
High: more than 17.5g of fat per 100g
Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g
Saturated fat
High: more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g 
Low: 1.5g of saturated fat or less per 100g 
Sugars
High: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g 
Low: 5g of total sugars or less per 100g
Salt
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)

Nutrition labels on the front of packaging

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, such as the label in the above image, usually give a quick guide to:
·         energy
·         fat content
·         saturated fat content
·         sugar content
·         salt 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. Be aware, however, that the manufacturer's idea of a portion may be different from yours.

 

Reference intake (RI)

Nutrition labels can also provide information on how a particular food or drink product fits into your daily diet.  Reference intakes are guidelines about the approximate amount of particular nutrients and energy required for a healthy diet. Because individual requirements for energy and nutrients are different for all people, RIs are not intended as targets. Instead they are intended to give a useful indication of how a particular nutrient or amount of energy fits into your daily diet.
Information on the RI and the contribution a nutrient makes towards a RI (expressed as a percentage) can usually be found on the back or side of packaging. The percentage RI can also sometimes be repeated on the front of the pack. 


For example, the label above shows that each pie will provide you with 19.2 grams of sugars, which represents 21% of your RI for sugars. In other words, this pack contains about a fifth of an adult's RI of sugars.
Unless otherwise specified on the packaging, the percentage RI values are based on an average-sized woman doing an average amount of physical activity. This is to reduce the risk of people with lower energy requirements eating too much, as well as to simplify the labelling process.

 

Reference intakes for energy, total fat, saturates, sugars and salt 

·         Energy: 8,400kJ/2,000kcal
·         Total fat: 70g
·         Saturates: 20g
·         Sugars: 90g
·         Salt: 6g

Red, amber and green colour-coding

Some front-of-pack nutrition labels use red, amber and green colour-coding.

Colour-coded nutritional information, as shown in the image above, tells you at a glance if the food has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt.
·         red means high
·         amber means medium
·         green means low
In short, the more green(s) on the label, the healthier the choice.
If you buy a food that has all or mostly green(s) on the label, you know straight away that it's a healthier choice. Amber means neither high nor low, so you can eat foods with all or mostly amber(s) on the label most of the time. But any red(s) on the label means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugars and these are the foods we should cut down on. Try to eat these foods less often and in small amounts.

 

Ingredients list

Most pre-packed food products also have a list of ingredients on the packaging or on an attached label. The ingredients list can also help you work out how healthy the product is.

Ingredients are listed in order of weight, so the main ingredients in the packaged food always come first. That means that if the first few ingredients are high-fat ingredients, such as cream, butter or oil, then the food in question is a high-fat food.

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