The information that is found on the packaging of all the food you buy is filled with useful information. Sometimes, however, companies will use specific tags or buzzwords to market their products and make you think you’re making a healthy choice, when really you’re being misled if you don’t know exactly what they mean.
Nutrition Label: these are useful because they tell you the amounts of vitamins and nutrients in your food. Be sure to look at the serving size and the number of servings in the entire package. This will tell you exactly how much to eat to adhere to the nutritional information and avoid over-eating. Also, look at the total calories per serving and the Daily Values (DV) percentages. Remember that these percentages are based on a 2,000 calories per day diet plan. If it’s your goal to eat less or more this this number, make sure you adjust the percentages accordingly.
Packaging Buzzwords: we’ve all seen the “low calorie!” or “good source of fiber!” messages all over our food’s packaging. Here’s what they really mean:
- “Low calorie” = 40 calories or less per serving.
- “Reduced ___ “= at least 25% less of the specific nutrient or calories than the original product.
- “Good source of ___” = it provides 10-19% or more of the daily value of a specific
- vitamin or nutrient per serving.
- “Low sodium” = 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.
- “High in ___” = it has 20% or more of the DV of a specific nutrient per serving.
- “Organic”: means that the food contains at least 95% of organically produced ingredients.
- “Natural” = a product that contains no artificial ingredients or added colours.
- “Light” = the product contains fewer calories or less fat than the original product.
- “Low-fat” = the product has 3 g of fat or less per serving.