How to Read Nutrition Labels

How to Read Nutrition Labels

Overwhelmed by all those hard-to-pronounce words on the ingredient list? You’re not alone. When deciding if that low fat protein bar that has words like healthy and organic on the packet first have a look at the Nutrition Label. Because the world of food companies are making it harder and harder to tell what is good for you.

Nutrition Claims and there real meanings.

  • Low Fat: this food must have 3g of fat or less per 100g, but look at the label because it may be high in sugar instead
  • Fat Free: this food must have 0.15g fat or less per 100g food
  • Lite or Light: always check the nutrition information label on these foods because lite may mean the food is lite in colour or taste, or something else and not lite in salt, fat or sugar
  • No Added Sugar: this food has no ‘added’ sugar but may still be high in sugar so check your label
  • Low Joule or Diet: this food is either low in sugar and/or fat and is may be artificially sweetened
  • No Added Salt: this food has no ‘added’ salt but may still be high in salt so check the label for the salt content
  • Salt Reduced: this food has 25% less salt than a similar product. Lower salt is good but the food may still be high in salt so check the label
  • Low Salt or Low Sodium: this food must have less than 120mg sodium per 100g and is a good choice

Usally the first thing people look for on labels is the calorie count, Don’t put it down if you think its high because a higher-calorie food might be worth eating if it also contains lots of nutrients. Read the whole label first.


If most of the fat content comes from healthy unsaturated fat, you’re good to go. If the fat is mainly saturated and/or the product has any trans fat, put it back on the shelf. Trans fat has been shown to increase levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol while decreasing levels of “good” HDL cholesterol—a double health whammy.
Don’t be fooled by a label that lists 0 grams (g) trans fat. Because of a labeling loophole, a product can contain up to 0.5g trans fat per serving and say it has none. Check the ingredient list: If it includes partially hydrogenated oil, then there is trans fat in there. Shortening is another source of trans fat.


Excess sodium can raise blood pressure, which increases heart disease risk, and it may be a sign of a more highly processed (read: not so good for you) food, Kaufman says.

We set the cutoff for the HealthMust-Eat List at 805 milligrams (mg) per serving—about a third of the recommended daily limit for sodium (2,300 mg).


Look for at least 3g per serving in any product that contains grains, including bread, crackers, pasta and even some soups. other wise its not worth the calories


This number doesn’t distinguish between naturally occurring sugars (like lactose in milk or fructose in fruit) and added sugar (like high-fructose corn syrup or brown rice syrup). A better move: Look at the ingredients for sources of added sugar (see next slide).

Look for the words sugar, as in palm sugar or invert sugar; sweetener, as in corn sweetener; or syrup, as in brown rice syrup or malt syrup. Also watch for words ending in ose, like fructose or glucose.

If sugar is one of the first three ingredients, don’t bring it home. Ingredients are ordered by volume, so the higher up on the list an ingredient is, the more of it a product contains. This is an easy way to spot foods that include a lot of added sugar. (Naturally occurring sugar won’t be listed here.)

Have a look at the photo below for a quick summary

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 5.41.06 pm


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