Reading the food label is one of the most important things you can do to see if a food is healthy or not. But it can be confusing as there is so much information on there. This article gives you 4 quick tips on how to understand the food label so that you know exactly what you are eating.
Don't believe everything that is written on the front
Some manufacturer's will put labels on the front of their product so that it sounds healthier than it is. For example you may see 'low fat', 'fat free', 'gluten free', 'low calorie' or 'wholegrain' written on the front of a packet. While these labels mean a food may be healthier, you should always check the information on the back.
Read the ingredients
All food should have an ingredients list. On this list ingredients are listed in order of how much there is in the food. This means that the first ingredient is the one that has been used the most in the product. If there are lots of ingredients (more than 3 lines) then you know that the food has had a lot of processing. Also look at the first 3 ingredients. If any of these are sugar, hydrogenated fat or refined flour then then it is not likely that the food is very healthy.
Read the nutritional information
This tells you how many calories, carbs, fat and protein is in the food. The information is normally listed as the amount in 100g of the food and also the amount in 1 serving of the food (the amount of servings in the packet you are buying should be listed as well). Companies sometimes use a very small serving size so a product sounds like it has less calories than it really does.
How much should be in my food?
Once you know the portion size of the food you can then look at the amount of nutrients that it contains. As I said in the last point you need to see the amount of calories, carbs, protein and fat. If you know how much you should be eating in a day then you can see if the product contains too much of anything. But also look at the amount of sugars in the product (this will be under the carbs label). If most of the carbs in the product are from sugars then that isn't good. Finally check how much fibre is in the food as many people do not get enough in their diet and this is very important to keep your digestion healthy.
Reading the food label is one of the most important things you can do to see if a food is healthy or not. Hopefully this article has helped you all to understand a bit better what is written on these labels and what it actually means.