Food Labels:- Make Informed Food Choice…
...Food labels provide us with nutrition information and facts about the product to aid us make healthy food choice.
Scrutinizing labels carefully is very important if you want to make healthier, safer and more informed food choices. Some foods are healthier than others and food labels help’s us to compare which healthy food fits us. They give info of what’s inside the pack…
In case you don’t know how to interpret product labels…with all their pretty pictures, fancy symbols or product name embedded on them… they can be very confusing. A product written ‘high in vitamins’ does not mean the product is healthy. There is much to consider in the small print…it tells all the details and make sure you read and understand it.
Avoid this common mistake…comparing prices. I know it’s very tempting or easy to over look prices but please… take your time to know products.
When you get influenced by the cost of products and forget all about your health, then, you will be very unfair to your family’s health and your health. Mostly, very cheap thing are not that healthy and if you get used to them…while ignoring to read food labels to get quality healthy foods…then, you’ll be exposing your family and yourself to many health problems. I think you have heard this saying…“cheep is expensive” and after all, why limit healthy eating to your family?
A Healthy Food Label Has…
Name of the product
Make sure the name that describes the food product is clearly visible and readable to prevent picking the wrong product. But be careful not to be misled by some “empty” tempting words meant lure like…best…pure… natural… finest…fresh…high quality… they are all just used to make the food product more appealing to you. Look down the label for more details to justify their claim
Also the name of the manufacturer, their contact addresses and country of origin…has to be clearly shown.
This portion shows you the quantities of various nutrients contained per food serve.
This portion contains nutrientional value of the product like it shows quantity… of fat present and type…proteins…carbohydrates…dietary fiber…it also shows food calories list.
Most of the manufacturers claim that their food products are healthy but the food label does not support their claim.
They tend to use reversed confusing phrases like for example… 93% fat free and yet there is 7% fat present - that’s not low? Or a term like…‘light’ doesn’t necessarily imply that the product is low in fat or energy. The term ‘light’ may refer to the taste, colour or texture of the product. They must state clearly in the food label what makes the food light.
A healthy food label lists all ingredients, additives present in the product in a descending order by weight and should be written in plain English. Examine fat and sugar section carefully to make sure they are within optimal health range if they are your biggest health concern.
Another important section is food additives list. Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance their taste and appearance. All food additives must be used in the lowest possible amount that will achieve their purpose only…as some of them have been blamed for causing allergy reaction to some people like kidney failure, cancer among other health issues.
Food additives are listed according to their class, which is followed by their chemical name and they should be approved by Food Standard Agency.
‘Best before’ and ‘use - by’
This term ‘Best before’ and ‘use - by’ dates are two different things…and foods with a shelf life of less than two years must have them.
The ‘best before’ date refers to the quality of food product to remain in its good quality until the specified date if stored in room temperature. Foods kept past the ‘Best before’ date will not necessarily mean they are harmful. Despite they may have lost their taste and same nutritional value, they may still be safe to eat.
In contrast, ‘use - by’ date - indicate that the food product is no longer safe to consume after the specified date and should not be eaten or sold due to healthy and safety reasons. It’s compulsory for products which are highly perishable like fish, meat and dairy products to have ‘use-by’ date.
Some manufacturers don’t put the product expiry date on food label…they may put it either on the lid or at the bottom of the product or some other place. So look carefully to see that vital date, it might save your health.
To be sure you don’t buy counterfeit products, look for the mark of mark of quality from your government food agency…that satisfies that the product meets all health requirements and is good for human consumption. When it comes to health matter…there are no short cuts.