Interpreting Nutritional Labels
If you learn how to read nutritional labels you’ll never be fooled about foods health claims and be able to decide for yourself if a food is healthy or not.
Firstly check ingredients- the first ingredients are the ones that there are a lot of so if sugar or sodium are the first ingredient then there will be a lot of that in the food.
On every Australian food label there should be a 100g measurement and a serving size measurement.
Often a serving size measurement can be misleading for example 1 serving size of bread is often 2 pieces, but a serving size of Large Cherry Ripe can list 12 serves in one large bar.
A serving size of cereal is 40g but that is rarely how much an actual portion is most adults would have at least 80g.
When it comes to estimating how much sugar, fat, salt or protein is in food it is always the best to go off the 100g size.
Here is an idea about the most common health concerning nutrients.
Limit per 100g Low Moderate High
Sugar- Below 5g Between 5and 15g Above 15g
Sodium Less than 120g Between 120g-400g Above 400g
Saturated Fat Less than 3g Between 3g-10g Above 11g
Sugar– while sugar tastes amazing and we are hardwired to like it, too much is bad for you. Sugar converts to energy everyone knows that but what many don’t know is that it converts to saturated fat stores if unused. Sugar adds more to weight gain than fat most of the time.
Carbohydrates and Sugar – Not all carbohydrates are sugar our vegetables and fruits are high in carbohydrate but not all of it is sugar.
Some carbohydrates like starches (potato) or grains don’t taste like sugar but they act the same in your body. For example pastry has the same effect as a lolly or candy bar they both increase your blood sugar to the same rate and cause an insulin spike which can lead to diabetes.
What you are looking to include are complex carbohydrates (veg, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds) and reduce simple carbohydrates (pasta, bread, sugary snacks).
Sodium – We actually need sodium to survive, however too much can be devastating on your health. It is long noted that too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure but sodium has also been found to contribute to deteriorating lung health.
Saturated fat – Is the fat that has contributed to as “bad” the reason for this is it is the fat which can clog arteries causing high cholesterol or LDL fats and can clog arteries.
Trans fats– These fats act like saturated fats but they are man-made not naturally occurring. And add to the VLDL portion of cholesterol. These are unhealthy and more likely to clog arteries than other fats.
Monounsaturated Fats– these are your omega 6 fats and are considered healthy fats they help to clean the arteries and move saturated and Trans fats to the liver for elimination.
Polyunsaturated Fats– are the healthiest fats these are your omega 3 fats not only do they help to clean the arteries and move saturated and Trans fats to the liver for elimination. Omega 3 fats are also anti-inflammatory and are one of the most protective foods against cardiovascular disease.
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