What to Look for on Food Labels
Use by you need to eat by this date, but Best before is just a recommended date.
Traffic light system on packaging. Look for sugars, fats especially saturated fats & salt. Red is high, Amber is ok in moderation, green is good to go.
Try comparing 2 brands in shops. Use the ‘per 100g’ to compare as the portion information may not represent the portion you would normally eat so this can be misleading.
Ingredients list. The biggest ingredient is listed first. Look out for sugars and saturated fats at the top of the list. The last ingredients listed may be very minimal eg look out for vitamins and minerals at the end of the list as they may be miniscule.
Alternative names for sugar. Honey, syrup, nectar, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, anything ending in ‘ose’ such as fructose, glucose, dextrose and maltose.
Beware of reduced-fat claims/ reduced sugar claims. They may just be a smaller portion and not the healthiest. Low fat can mean extra sugar and low sugar can mean extra fat. Low fat cheese can still be high in fat, it’s just low compared to other cheese.
Beware of hidden sugar. Eg. low fat yoghurts, fruit juices made from concentrate, condiments (tom ketchup), alcohol, ready meals. Cereal Bars can be very deceptive, these figures are per 100g and traffic system coded:
|Sugar Content in g||Fat Content in g|
|Wispa chocolate bar||52.5||34|
Your guide to high and low levels
|High Levels. More than …
|Low levels. Less than…
|Salt (sometimes called sodium)||1.5 g (or 0.6g sodium)||0.3g (or 0.1g sodium)|
Recommended Sugar Levels
|Age Group||Maximum recommended|
|4 – 7||19g||Or 5 teaspoons|
|7 – 10||24g||Or 6 teaspoons|
|11 + adults||30g||Or 7 teaspoons|