How to read a food products label
We often get tempted by the labels which say fat free or low sodium or low cholesterol etc. but many of us do not know what is the meaning of these very attractive labels is. It is important to understand the labels in order to pick the best food for you.
- Fortified, enriched, added- Nutritionally modified food products which contain a particular nutrient that is at least 10% more than the Daily Value.
- More- A food product which contains any particular nutrient that is at least 10% more than the daily value.
- Light- A food products which says Light on something could mean various things.
- A nutritionally altered food product which contains ½ the fat or 1/3 lesser calories.
- Sodium content of a low calorie or low fat food has been reduced by 50%
- Describes any food properties as texture and color; label must explain which.
- Less- Food product contains 25% less of a nutrient or of calories, whether altered or not.
- Reduced- A nutritionally modified food product which contains 25% less of a nutrient or of calories contained in the regular product.
- High- A food package which say “High on xyz” means that food contains 20% or more of the daily value of a particular nutrient in a serving.
- Lean- Lean concludes to less than 10 grams of fat, less than 4 grams saturated fat and less than 95 mg cholesterol, per 100 grams serving.
- Low calorie- A food product which is being promoted as low calorie, means that it contains 40 or less calories in 1 serving.
- Low cholesterol- A food package which says low cholesterol means it has less than 20 mg of cholesterol per serving.
- Low sodium- This means the food package has less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.
- Very low sodium- This means that the food product has less than 35 mg of sodium per serving.
- Low fat- This means that one serving of this food product contains 3 grams or less fat.
- Low saturated fat- per serving 1 gram or less fat.
- Free- Fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar and calorie. The food product contains no amount or only minor amount of one or more of above mention components.
Reading the food products label-
Reading a food product’s label sometimes looks overwhelming and kind of complicated but it is not. You should have a good understanding of the points mention on the labels so that you always buy what is good for you.
- Serving Size- If you look at the label carefully you will see the serving size mention on it. It will tell you what should be the size of per serving.
- Serving per container- Serving per containers decodes to total serving in that food package/container.
- Calories- Calorie information per serving. You may also find calorie from fat mention separately. Remember that calorie count is mention as per one serving.
- %Daily Value- This may confuse you, but if you look closely at the bottom of the label you will find this “percent daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.” % Daily Value is a standard set by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ,which every food product manufacturer has to follow. The nutrients value which is listed is as per this standard.
Write is Fitness Expert & Certified Nutritionist
Director: GFFI Fitness Academy (INDIA)