Understanding food labels can assist us in making healthier food decisions, such as identifying ingredients, serving sizes and any claims associated with them as well as the optimal use-by dates.
Check the ingredients list for added sugars – such as syrup, invert sugar, cane sugar or molasses – which could include syrup, invert sugar or cane sugar.
What is a food label?
Food labels provide essential product details. In the US, they are overseen by both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), with many offering nutrition information including calories and nutrients that enable consumers to make more healthy decisions.
As well as nutritional data, many food labels provide other important details, including storage and preparation instructions, ingredients used in manufacturing process, country of origin information and health claims. Some even show an expiration or use by date on their label.
Food labels should contain food with mostly whole or natural ingredients, with refined grains or excess sugar avoided if possible. Furthermore, be wary of front label claims which might tempt you into purchasing unhealthy foods – studies indicate adding health claims can influence purchasing patterns (1).
What is a nutrition label?
Nutrition labels are required on most packaged food and drinks. They contain vital nutrition information about the product such as calories, fats, saturated fats, sugars and salt levels; protein, fibre and vitamins/mineral amounts as well as reference intakes of calcium iron and vitamin D. Some labels even provide reference intakes of these nutrients! Receipt Rolls in jeddah
To facilitate easier comparisons, the Nutrition Facts label features standardised serving sizes (measured in cups or pieces rather than according to manufacturer recommendations) that will enable you to more quickly compare similar products. It also serves to distinguish between naturally occurring sugars like lactose found in milk and added sugars commonly found in processed food and beverages.
What is a health claim?
Health claims represent the relationship between foods and a reduced risk of disease or health-related conditions, and their reduced consumption. They can take the form of words, symbols (such as hearts) or images; only qualified and authorized claims can appear on food labels.
Structure/function health claims identify how a nutrient or ingredient affects body structures or functions without making reference to diseases; for instance calcium helps build healthy bones. Structure/function claims must also include a disclaimer on their product labels; while Nutrient Content claims refer to levels of nutrients present in food products and must meet specific nutrient profiling scoring criteria.
What is a serving size?
A serving size refers to a specific, standardized amount of food (for instance 1 cup or two slices) found on the nutrition facts label and must be provided by food manufacturers in order to meet legal obligations as well as determine recommended daily amounts for nutrients present in that particular food product.
An effective way of ensuring you’re eating in moderation is using measuring cups and spoons to accurately portion out food and drink, but if this isn’t an option, try to avoid eating straight out of the package, which could result in larger servings.