Making healthy choices of food for you and your family to ensure a good health is no longer so easy since food no longer exists in simpler forms as it used to be. Wide variety of mix and match of grains, edible oils, pulses are daily being introduced to boggle the mind of the end consumers and its obvious for them to get confused. In such a scenario, they either end up buying endlessly or wrong products. So they have to be knowledgeable shopper and here lies the role of reading food labels. Detailed discussion on importance of food label have been laid down below.
Food labels exactly tells us what does the packet contains and exactly in what amount. So we need to check the following things on the food labels to make a correct decision-
Ingredient list: The ingredient list contains the weight of the contents in a descending order. So the content with highest weight contribution to the product is listed at the top while with the least one at the bottom. This will assist you in deciding whether it is right for you or not.
Servings and Calories: To keep a check on your consumption amount, you need to see the serving size and be decisive in limiting your consumption amount. Each serving is listed with the number of calories associated with it. So this means if you are having two servings, you are consuming double the calories.
Total fat, saturated fat and unsaturated fat content: For healthier eating, aim for low saturated and Trans fat content food. Both of them raises the cholesterol level and should be avoided since leads to heart complications. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat both are listed against total fat cumulatively. They are preferred since they are good fats. Hydrogenated oils are better to be avoided.
Sugar and sodium content: Too much of both of these are hazardous. So food, with low content of sugar and sodium should be preferred. Different names of sugar are noted on food items like sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, barley malt. The best way to choose is to compare the sugar gram with carbohydrate content and the lower it is, the better it is. WHO has recommended for sugar less than 36gm/day and 2300 milligrams of sodium per day to avoid the conditions of high blood pressure.
Fibre and protein content: Fiber is must for everyone since it aids in proper digestion. The protein content of diet basically depends on the individual requirement, hence can choose accordingly.
The label contains other information if the food is gluten-free or contains any kind of food allergen and useful especially for those who have a sensitivity to this type of products.
Overall one should consider choosing food with higher nutrients like vitamins, minerals, calcium and iron. Another takeaway is to choose products with a short list of ingredients since they are wholesome with natural goodness.