Understanding packaged food nutrition labels is a good way to become a smart shopper and improve your pantry hygiene. It is a simple, yet very effective tool to help you make healthy food choices.
Packaged foods can have several labels printed or stuck on them, including front-of-package (FOP), best-by and use-by dates, nutrition facts, list of ingredients, a vegetarian/non-vegetarian declaration, allergy warnings, weight of the contents, etc.
Look for and understand the key features of nutrition facts label, and the ingredients label to become a savvy shopper.
Key elements of the nutrition facts label include:
Serving Size and Calories which are bolded and are in larger font
The amount of “Added Sugars” specified underneath Total Sugars
Total Calories, and the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber
Here’s what’s important about the ingredients label:
Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight, i.e. the first ingredient listed is always present in the largest amount. This information is useful when comparing products.
Fats, sugars and salt are sometimes listed by the less commonly known variants of their names. For example: sugars are also referred to as liquid glucose, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, castor sugar, while salt is also referred to as sodium, etc.
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