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Understanding Food Labels

Understanding Food Labels

Food labels are a really talked about subject and can sometimes be quite confusing to understand. They are also our greatest tool when deciding on whether a food is a healthier option. At Spark we cover an entire session on reading food labels but we wanted to give you a quick taster about how to read them and what they mean.

The best route with a food label is to keep it simple, which is why we follow the ‘High Five’ rule. This rule means that we go to the nutrition panel on any given food, find the sugar section and check if it has less than 5g of sugar per 100g, to which we then high five if it does! Did you know that children between the ages of four and 10 consume 51.2% of their sugar from snacks like biscuits, cakes and fizzy drinks? Well, this is why we always read the label. 

We also focus on fat, and for this we aim for 3g or less per 100g. The reason we do it is because fats contain a lot of energy! More energy than any other nutrient, so we have to make sure it’s eaten in moderation. 

Ingredients are also a really important part of food labelling. The foods on the ingredients list are in order of weight, so the food at the beginning is what there is the most of in the product. For example, in sausages, if meat is not the first ingredient on the list, you may want to look at an alternative product. The same goes for foods like fruit yoghurts, if the sugar is second to the milk, then it probably doesn’t have much fruit! When you next pick up a food at the supermarket, see how many types of sugars and syrups you can find, we recommend the cereal aisle! 

For a short video on food labels, head on over to the Change4life website

If you are allergic to some foods then the food labels have to show this on their food packaging. This will include things such as nuts, egg, fish etc.

For a bit more information about food labels and why they are important, click here

We hope you found this information useful, and if you would like to learn more about food labels and other healthy lifestyle topics, send us a message through the website and we can get in touch! 

The Spark Team!