How to Read Nutritional Panels: Empowering Your Food Choices
Find yourself getting caught up with the mumbo jumbo on nutritional labels? Fear not, Go Natural’s got you covered!
Why is it important to understand?
Nutritional labelling shows the key nutrients that influence your health. These labels can help you find products that contain more of the nutrients you want and less of those you may want to limit. Therefore, nutritional labels can be used to support your dietary needs and inform your product choices.
Read below to follow our easy step-by-step guide on how we read important information on Nutritional information.
Nut Delight Bar Nutritional Information:
List of Ingredients
All packaged food products have an ingredient list on their label, which is useful for knowing exactly what you are buying. Did you know that the ingredients are listed in order of prominence? For example, if sugar is closer to the top of the list, then you know the product contains a larger amount of said ingredient.
It’s very important to understand where your food comes from. It’s easy to say, hey, that’s got lower calories and a lower sugar count, so that must be the healthiest option!”- but that’s not always the case. For example, some natural sugars are sourced from fruit, such as strawberries, where artificial sweeteners, including sugar alcohols like maltitol, can have negative side effects, such as a laxative effect when consumed in excess.
Front of Pack Labelling
Another type of food label you might have seen before is the Health Star Rating.
This is a front-of-pack labelling system that rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged foods. Health Star Ratings are calculated using strict guidelines. The system works by weighing up all the good stuff like fibre, protein, fruit, veg, nuts and legumes against the not so good stuff like sugar, salt and saturated fat. From there, the entire nutritional profile of the product is given an overall rating, ranging from 0.5 to 5 stars.
It's a quick and easy way for you to compare the nutritional profile of similar packaged foods and help you make more informed and healthier choices. However, understanding how to read a nutritional panel and health star rating system is not enough. Making healthier eating choices starts with a simple yet powerful concept: knowing what you're eating and distinguishing between "sometimes foods" and "everyday foods."
Being mindful of the nutritional content and ingredients in our meals empowers us to make informed decisions that benefit our well-being. Everyday foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, provide essential nutrients and nourish our bodies. On the other hand, sometimes foods, like sugary snacks, processed treats, and indulgent desserts, can be enjoyed occasionally but are best consumed in moderation. By understanding the distinction and embracing a balanced approach, we can savor the joy of occasional treats while prioritizing the nourishment our bodies need for a healthier, happier life.
The Health Star Rating system is voluntary and applies only to specific products.
The more stars you see, the healthier the choice. To learn more, visit www.healthstarrating.gov.au.