What is a food label?
Packaged food contains a label on it which states the nutritional information or facts about the food ingredients and items used in the product, this is a food label. It also includes the serving size, number of calories per serving etc. It helps us in choosing the food item based on the nutritional information mentioned on it.
Importance of reading a food label
- Food labels help us to choose and compare the food items wisely as per their ingredients and contents such as amount of sugar, fats, cholesterol, protein, vitamin etc per serving of food.
- It helps to compare products as per their nutrient content and helps us in choosing the best product.
- If we have food intolerance and allergy to a particular item, reading a food label helps us in omitting it from our food list e.g. peanuts, gluten, dairy products etc.
- Reading the ingredients on the food labels helps us to cut down on unwanted saturated fats, salt, sugar etc helping us in staying healthy. E.g. in case of high pressure, food items with high amounts of sodium should be avoided.
- The nutritional information behind a food packet helps us in procuring our daily nutritional requirements such as fiber, vitamins etc, similarly it also helps us to keep a tab on our calorie intake. Double the serving basically means double the calories and fat.
- Food items low in trans fat and saturated fat should be preferred over others, as they keep the heart healthy and safe.
Misleading food labels
It is extremely important to read and understand food labels, which in turn help us in choosing the right packaged foods.
- E.g:1- High fructose syrup on a food pack basically means sugar content of the product, instead of mentioning total calories contained in the entire food packet, one serving calories are mentioned, the sodium saturated fatty acid content may be similar in a normal and fat free product both.
- E.g:2- Calories, Fats, Sodium and fiber content in wheat noodles as well as refined floor noodles are similar. Just choosing wheat noodles will not make your choice healthier.
Reading a food label is important as it helps us in knowing what we are consuming and helps us to be fit and healthy in the long run. Know what you eat. Read Label, choose wise, eat healthy and stay fit.