Take a closer look at your food labels
Grocery shopping is a modern necessity – but do you really know what all the fine print means?
Do you know the difference between a calorie and a kilojoule? Is 99% fat free really fat free? How is fat quantified anyway?
Find out what your food labels actually mean now and make the right nutritional choices for you, your family and your lifestyle.
Let’s chew the fat, sugar…
Low in fat or low fat
Who doesn’t love promises of great tastes and no gains? Low fat or low in fat foods and liquids are required to offer the taster no more than three grams of fat per 100 grams. Drinks and juices can get away with a minute 1.5 grams of fat per 100 millilitres.
Reduced fat or less fat
To be clear, reduced fat is not a free pass to chow down on all you can eat. While the fat content has been wound back for one reason or another, remember your reduced selections must not contain more than 75 per cent of the total fat content of the same quantity of the reference food. Translation? Not your healthiest option.
Food must have less than 0.15 per cent fat to qualify as fat-free. If you’re drawn to a yoghurt based on its fat-free claims, remember the following rule… a 97 per cent fat free yoghurt still has three per cent fat. That’s three per cent that you don’t need. Often, food manufacturers utilise this diversionary tactic to drag your eyes away from the sugar content – find a lolly that claims to be both fat-free and sugar-free and we’ll write a review.
Low sugar or low in sugar
Even if your aisle selections are low in sugar, any consistent amount of the sweet stuff will play havoc with your health. To earn the low sugar status, a product must contain less than five grams of sugar per 100 grams to pass muster, or 2.5 grams per 100 millilitres.
A little about cholesterol and salt…
Low cholesterol or low in cholesterol
You’ve probably heard about the horrors of high cholesterol thanks to awesome groups like the Heart Foundation. High cholesterol is no joke, if left untreated, the fatty build-up in your blood can lead to heart disease and heart attack – is a burger a day really worth repetitive visits to the doctors office, hospital or emergency ward? To keep your body healthy, stick to low in fat foods with less than twenty milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams. It is possible to create delicious, heart happy meals on a fat and cholesterol conscious diet – in the coming weeks, we’ll show you how.
Reduced salt or sodium
You know the lashings of salt and pepper you sprayed over your fish and chips, mashed potato, steak and sundry? They’re probably the stopper in your weight management regime. Put down the salt shaker and appreciate the natural tastes and tones of your favourite foods without the additives. Why? Fluids love sodium - they can’t resist the pull of its personality, leading to bloating and puffiness, despite how hard you’ve been working out.
Salty dishes also lead to thirst, and do you really quench the tickle with a sip of water? Probably not. Juice, soda and cordials are all packed with kilojoules. To keep your body in check, look for foods containing no more than 75% of whole content of the food and no more than 600 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams.
Low in salt
Have we established the overall badness of salt? Reduced is great, it really is, but if you’re committed to really changing your diet, opt for low in salt foods and don’t add any of your own. Low in salt simply means the product contains less than 120 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams.
Want to know more about the facts on food? Become a qualified Nutrition Advisor with our Diploma of Nutrition (Non-Clinical Advisor). Call 1300 61 61 80 to find out more!
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