How Food And Nutrition Labels Work In The UK

Luxe delves into the reasoning and importance of nutrition labels...
Nutrition Labels

Ever wondered why every packaged food is labelled with its nutrition level? Its primary purpose is to give you an analysis of the amount of added fats, carbohydrates, salt, proteins and sugar levels. They have energy mentioned in kilojoules and is mainly referred to as calories.

It is vital to check the back of your packaged food to understand its constituents and aim to have a balanced diet.

This will help you have a comprehensive insight as to what you’re about to consume which can be very useful in managing a diet – both personal preference and medically and help to avoid common problems such as hair loss or low energy levels.


How to consume a balanced diet?

To be the ultimate boss of your body, you need to take control. A simple step in taking control could be to fully understand how you’re fuelling your body. The following tips will help you ensure you’re eating a well balanced and nourishing diet.

– Take your meals in five smaller portions of fruits and vegetables instead of consuming two big portions

– Go for higher fibre content wherever possible. Plan your meals based on rice, bread or potatoes

– Choose dairy products low in sugar or fat. You may go for dairy alternatives such as soya

– Include beans, fish, pulses and eggs in your meal plans. Aim to consume at least two portions of seafood every week

– Go for unsaturated spreads and oils, and try to consume them in smaller portions

– Include a lot of fluids in your daily intake


What do food labels indicate?

You can find nutrition labels on the back or side of any packaged food product. They indicate the number of fats, sugars, proteins, saturated fats, carbohydrates and salt.

They may also have additional information on the fibre content of the product, while some may also indicate reference intake. All this data is labelled per 100 grams. In addition, there are particular guidelines to know if the product contains too much of a specific nutrient.

Total fat per 100g

Low: 3g or less
High: more than 17.5g

Saturated fat per 100g

Low: 1.5g or less
High: more than 5g

Sugars per 100g

Low: 5g or less
High: more than 22.5g

Salt per 100g

Low: 0.3g or less / 0.1g sodium
High: more than 1.5g / 0.6g sodium

You can use this information to your advantage, for instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, go for foods with lower fat and sugar levels.


What do food labels on the front indicate?

There has been a considerable rise in the trend of mentioning the food labels on the front of the packaging. It proves very helpful in comparing a number of products at a single glance.

The front nutrition label indicates salt, sugar, fat, saturated fat and energy. In addition, these labels include information regarding the nutrients per serving portion of the food product.

It is crucial to bear in mind that the manufacturer’s serving portion might contrast to yours. Each person will have individual needs and goals, so it’s important to keep this in mind and not get too hung up on the labels. Additionally, you might also find reference intake on the front of some packaged foods.


Reference intake

With the help of mentioned recommended intake level, you can have a better idea of what goes well with your particular diet plan. Basically, they are approximate amounts of food nutrients needed for a balanced and healthy diet conforming to all kinds of meal plans. What’s recommended on the label won’t always match up with your goals, but it can be used as a guideline for you to follow.


What does the colour coding on the packaging indicate?

Some manufacturers indicate nutrients in colour codes such as red, green and amber as a captivating marketing strategy. This makes it super easy to judge a food’s contents at a single glance.

– Red indicates high

– Amber indicates medium

– Green indicates low

This essentially means that the more green content on the packaging, the healthier the food is seemed to be. Red means the contents such as fat, carbs, or sugar levels are high and amber indicates moderation – neither high nor low.

It’s important to be aware that just because a food is labelled red, this doesn’t mean it’s ‘bad’ for you. There are no good and bad foods, there are highly nutritious foods and foods with a lack of nutrition.


The bottom line

Food labels are extremely useful if you like to be in control of your diet. It’s important you look at the numbers and not just the colours. Use the labels to your advantage as an easy tool to reach your macros.

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