Understanding Food Labels

Making healthy food choices

Healthy eating shouldn’t be about depriving yourself of food. In fact, the key to eating healthy successfully is by choosing the right food to eat. Looking at nutritional labels is part and parcel of that. Yes, the nutrition information labels are placed on food items for a reason. Sadly, there are still a large percentage of people who do not understand these nutritional values.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) states that the Nutrition Facts Label is a useful tool to help consumers make informed food choices that may greatly affect their health.
Similarly, the FSA released a directive on how food retailers should label their food items to include the Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA). This directive according to Claire Hughes, resident Nutritionist of Marks & Spencer, is one way to help educate consumers about healthy eating and having a healthy diet. This is a way for them to make informed decisions about what they are going to eat. She further says that it has become a commitment for the retail giant to provide their consumers a wide variety of healthy food choices through their properly labelled food items. This is why it is of high importance that food labels are checked prior to eating.

Guideline Daily Amounts

Guideline Daily Amounts

Here is a quick information guide to understanding nutrition fact labels:

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1. Serving Size
This is the key to much of the information provided on the nutrition label. This tells you how many servings there are in a package and how much each serving is. Take note that each value given for calories, sodium, and fiber is based on one serving. So, if you are to eat two servings – you have to double the calories and nutrients (both the good and the bad). Remember, there are several food items that are packed with more than one serving.
2. Caloric Content
This is where you will find how many calories the food has. To reiterate, the caloric content provided is good for one serving of the food. You should also take note of the calories from fat as this should be taken into account when computing for your GDA.
3. Percent Daily Values (%DV)
This is the part where you find the information on how many nutrients per serving contributes to your total daily diet. You can use this when choosing the food that has a higher percentage of good nutrients. The daily values are computed based on a 2,000-calorie diet. But, you also need to factor in the level of physical activity that you do.

Guideline Daily Amounts image source.

Understanding nutrition fact labels image source.

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21 Responses to Understanding Food Labels

  1. Thank you for this! Food labels should NOT be so challenging to understand!

  2. Joanna says:

    This is a great post and just another reason you are receiving the Sunshine Blogger Award on my blog today!! Check it out here: http://foodgurly.com/2014/02/27/sunshine-blogger-award/ Congratulations!! Thank you for all the hard work you do here on Bunny Kitchen!! :)

  3. I am more interested in nutrients-per-calorie :) wish they would add that! Although…. less processed food the better. If it doesn’t come in a packet there is no need for a label :) Nice post.

  4. Very informative. Thanks!

  5. What a helpful post, Poppy – you present it concisely!

  6. leggypeggy says:

    Excellent information. I’m a committed label reader, and this is great for those who don’t have the hang of it yet. Thanks, and thanks also for stopping by and liking my blog.

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