Reading Food Labels
Food labels are written to give us a greater sense of comfort about choosing the product. However, we need to question these claims in the context of our knowledge of food energy and nutrition.
Fat Content Claims
The following are a list of the types of fat content claims you will find on food labels. These claims all appeal to our fear of consuming fat.
|Fat-free||0.5 grams of fat per serving|
|Low-fat||3 grams or less total fat per 100 gram serving. This may appear on the packages as “97% or more fat-free” or “3% (or less) fat”|
|Reduced-fat||Product has 25% less fat than the same regular brand|
|Light||Product has 50% less fat than the same regular brand|
|Low saturated fat||2 grams or less per serving|
|Low cholesterol||20 milligrams of less per serving and low in saturated fat|
Calorie Content Claims
|Calorie-free||Fewer than 5 calories per serving|
|Calorie-reduced||50% or fewer calories compared with regular version|
|Low-calorie||40 calories or less per serving|
CAUTIONS – These claims encourage us to buy the products bearing them when we are attempting to limit our calorie intake to a healthy level. Remember, a normal serving of lower-calorie foods must be eaten to decrease the number of calories eaten. This may seem simple and obvious, but many people will overeat foods when they believe that they are low-calorie. In fact, they will often eat much more of those foods than they normally would and increase the number of calories eaten above the amount of the regular calorie version.
Beware of nutrient content claims because they are sometimes related to a serving size much smaller than what a person would normally eat.
FACT – Sugar Limits
The USDA recommends consuming less than 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of sugar per day (about 1 can of pop/soda). Choose food products with less than 15 grams of sugars per serving (the lower the better). Remember, that eating more than a serving means that more sugar is being eaten. Also, limit adding additional sugar to foods. Each teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams.
|Percentage of recommended daily limit on added sugar (40 grams, 10 teaspoons)|
|1 can of pop/soda||100%|
|1 cup regular ice cream||60%|
|1 cup sweetened yoghurt||70%|
|1 cup sweet breakfast cereal||30%|
|1 candy bar||60%|
Thank you to: www.skfamilyknowledgegroup.ca
Taken from the SickKids publication, Get a Healthy Weight for Your Child: A Parent’s Guide to Better Eating and Exercise, Dr. Brian McCrindle, (Cardiologist), (Robert Rose Inc.).