What do food labels actually mean?

Wed 30 Aug 2017

You've joined Derby Arena and now you’re trying to watch what you eat. This can prove most challenging! Here’s food labels explained.

Low Fat:
For a food product to be advertised as ‘low fat’ in the UK it requires less than 3 grams of fat per 100 grams of solid food product, or 1.5 grams of fat per 100ml for liquids.

Then there’s FAT FREE 0.5 grams per serving. The trouble with fat free is that is that food can be advertised as this yet there can be added sugars salt and food thickening products, not necessary lowering the calorie content of the food.

REDUCED FAT at 25% less fat than regular versions of the products. Any high fat foods that have been reduced in fat have been heavily processed in order to do so. 

Tips for buying fat free or fat foods

The good fats

Monounsaturated fats (like canola and olive oils) are those that have been found to lower the LDL "bad cholesterol" in the bloodstream and raise the amount of HDL "good cholesterol." HDL appears to actually clear the "bad" types of cholesterol from the blood.

Polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish such as tuna and salmon help lower LDL cholesterol.

The bad fats

Those don't include saturated fats, which are found in animal products (beef, pork, butter, and other full-fat dairy products), or artificial trans fats, found in partially hydrogenated oils. (Palm, soy and vegetable oils)

No added sugar or sweeteners

No added sugar or sweeteners does not mean that a food has a low number of sugars or sweeteners it just means that nothing extra has been added. Always check the nutritional label to see how much sugar a food contains. For example a Rebina drink can say ‘no added sugar’ yet still contain 26 grams per serving.

Breaking down the label

Any foods higher than 125Kcal per 100g are considered energy dense foods; try to limit the number of food higher than this in your diet and you can’t go wrong!

Sugars try to stay away from foods that contain more than 22.5 grams of sugar per 100 gram.

Remember not all foods suppliers have signed up to use the  green amber and red warning systems to the nutritional label so always check to see if macronutrients are high or low .