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Decoding Food Labels

Decoding Food Labels
Priscilla Peck

To get off to the right start, banish the Monday blues with a sensible diet plan. 

Credit: www.nourishingresults.com

Credit: www.nourishingresults.com

If you are like most of us, you probably do your supermarket shopping with a list, and an eye out for promos. Besides the basics – eggs, bread, rice – you will need ingredients for particular recipes and you will top off your trolley with treats for yourself – ice cream, biscuits, beverages… And let’s be honest, who bothers looking at labels when you can’t make head or tail of the breakdown in small print?

Since our Health Promotion Board reminds us that the label is the key to eating right, we suggest you spend a little time decoding the label, so you don’t end up with empty calories that are mouth satisfying but not beneficial.  

Don’t worry. You won’t need to spend a lot of time lingering in the aisles with a magnifying glass. There are just two main aspects of a food label to observe:

  1. Nutrition Facts
  2. Ingredients

1. Nutrition Facts

Credit: www.nutritiondata.com

Credit: www.nutritiondata.com

First, read the serving size at the top. This tells you how much you should take per day. 

Second, the desirable nutrients are: protein and fibre. The fibre content should be at least 4 grams or more to be sufficient. 

It is also important to avoid the unhealthy stuff like cholesterol and trans fats which clog up the arteries. Trans fats are known to contain bad cholesterol, increasing the risk of coronary heart diseases, which are the world’s leading cause of death. And where you do find trans fats? In many baked and fried goods, so keep an eye out when buying cookies and snacks. Trans fats make food taste better and last longer on supermarket shelves and that’s why they continue to be used. However, ice cream lovers, fret not. Natural trans fats are healthy, and these are found in  good quality ice cream.

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