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How to read food labels?

By my daily sugar

Nutrition labels provide a wealth of information about what is in the foods you eat, which can help you to make healthier food choices.

When you are reading a food label, pay attention to the following points:

SERVING SIZE:

A serving size is a standardised amount of a food or drink listed on the Nutrition label. This is important because the nutrient label lists you how much of each nutrient is contained in one serving. Note that most packages contain more than one serving.

For example: A chips packet might mention as 4 servings and provide the nutrition information for each serving. You might indulge in over-eating if you consume the entire packing considering that it is only   1 serving.

Calorie Count: 

It gives you information about the energy content. This indicates the number of calories present per serving. So select foods based on your energy requirement. For example, if you want to lose weight than you should consider low-calorie foods.

Remember that if your daily calorie requirement is 1500 calories then you should count your calories to ensure that you do not indulge in overeating.

Saturated Fat:

Saturated fat is an unhealthy type of fat that can raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (bad) cholesterol. Choose foods with less saturated fat – foods with 1 gram or less per serving are considered low in saturated fat.

Trans Fat:

Trans fat is an unhealthy type of fat that can raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (bad) cholesterol and reduce high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (good) cholesterol. Look for 0 g of trans fat on food labels and avoid foods that contain hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated fats.

Sodium:

  • High-sodium foods include canned foods, luncheon meats, processed foods, and many condiments
  • Low-sodium products have less than 140 mg of sodium per serving

If you have high blood pressure, it is especially important that you choose low-sodium products.

Total Carbohydrate:

This is the combined total grams of the different types of carbohydrate. Carbs raise blood sugar more than protein or fat.

  • One carb serving is equal to 15 g of carbohydrate - Both starch and sugar are included in the total grams of carbohydrate.

Protein:

For most people with diabetes, the amount of protein you need is the same as for people without diabetes. Proteins are found in:

  • Beef and pork
  • Poultry
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Plant-based proteins, like beans, nuts, and tofu

Try to get the protein you need from low-fat sources like lean meats, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and vegetarian protein sources like tofu.

 

% Daily Value or % RDA

This figure shows what percentage of a nutrient is found per serving. Daily value (DV) is hinged on a 2000 - calorie diet for a healthy adult. Like, if the label mentions 20% for iron, it means that single serving will provide you 20 per cent of the iron you need to consume daily. Along with this, %DV only gives information whether the food is a good or bad source of nutrients that it contains.

Some of the food products represent their nutrient content as daily value while some show as per cent RDA. % RDA  is the Recommended Dietary Allowances which refers to the quantity of nutrient and calorie intake per day which is considered essential for maintaining good health.

Pay attention to food claims:

FSSAI is ensuring that food companies abide by the guideline laid down by them before making any claim about the food item.

The guideline for some of the common food claims are:

Nutrient/ component

Claim

Conditions

Energy/Calorie

Low

· Not more than 40 kcal per 100 g for solids

· 20 kcal per 100 ml for liquids

Free

· Not more than 4 kcal per 100 ml for liquids.

Fat

Low

· Not more than 3 g of fat per 100 g for solids or 1.5 g of fat per 100ml for liquids.

Free

· Not more than 0.5 g of fat per 100 g for solids or 100 ml for liquids.

Sugars

Low

· The product contains not more than 5 g of sugars per 100 g for solids or 2.5 g of sugars per 100 ml for liquids.

Free

· The product contains not more than 0.5 g of sugars per 100 g for solids or 100 ml for liquids.

Trans fat

Free

· The food contains less than 0.2g trans fat per 100 g or 100ml of food

Sodium free

Low

· Product contains not more than 0.12 g of sodium per 100 g for solids or 100 ml for liquids.

Very Low

· Product contains not more than 0.04 g of sodium per 100 g for solids or 100 ml for liquids.

Sodium Free

· Product contains not more than 0.005g of sodium per 100 g for solids or 100 ml for liquids.

 

Reading food labels is a good way to understand the amount and type of nutrients that you are consuming, and it can help you to make healthier food choices.

 

Tags: diabetes, type 2 diabetes, diet, food label, nutrition information

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