Practical tips for reading a food label

Practical tips for reading a food label

Including mainly unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruit, and whole grains in your diet is the best way to ensure healthy eating. In the modern world, however, people buy processed foods on a daily basis. Have you had a look at the food label? Reading the food label or at least checking the list of ingredients may guide you towards healthier eating—that is if you know what to look for.

5 practical tips for reading food labels
  1. Serving size: Unfortunately, the size you buy is not necessarily the portion size you should consume. A practical example is fruit juice, which is often sold in 300ml–500ml bottles. Have a look at the label: the recommended serving size is 125ml–250ml. This means that you should only drink half the bottle of juice or buy a 200ml box instead to help you control the portion size.
  2. Avoid added sugars: Other than pure sugar, sugar contains no nutrients and is high in energy. A high sugar intake may prevent you from eating healthy foods, lead to weight gain, and affect your body’s ability to maintain stable blood sugar.

A roll of sweets contains about 60 grams of sugar. Divide this total by 4 to see how many teaspoons of sugar you are consuming. 60/4 = 15 teaspoons of sugar.

You may think twice before you eat the whole roll or packet of sweets.

3. Have a look at the fat content. A meal should not consist of more than 10 grams of fat.


4. Fats: the good, the bad, and the worst fats to consume: Look for items that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, low in saturated fat, and free of trans fats.


5. Watch your salt intake. The total sodium content is often stated instead of the salt content. A practical way to know if you are overdoing the salt intake is to compare the sodium content to the calories per serving. For example, a food portion consists of 250 calories, which means that the sodium content should be 250mg or less.

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