Labels Guiding Choices; Take Care When Purchasing Packaged Food

Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia), November 16, 2010 | Go to article overview

Labels Guiding Choices; Take Care When Purchasing Packaged Food


Byline: Miranda Cashin

WITH more than 20,000 items stocked in our supermarkets and confusing packaging that screams claims of a20% less fata, alow GIa or alow cholesterola, making healthy choices can be a bewildering minefield.

Knowing how to decipher the nutritional information contained in food labels is the key to making healthy choices and being aware of what is in the food that we consume.

Dietitian and exercise physiologist Gabrielle Oliphant said the important thing when reading food labels was to look beyond the big print and the marketing claims.

"Products make big marketing claims, but you've got to look at what's actually in the products," she said.

She said consumers needed to be aware of the healthy range and levels of fat, sugar, salt and fibre and to look at these levels in the products to be bought.

"In terms of fat, you want to look for products with less than 10% fat, Gabrielle said.

"For salt, you want to aim for less than 120mg per 100g and less than 10g of sugar per serve is a good level."

However, she said if consumers only looked at one thing, then energy was the most important.

"I tell my clients to compare the kilojoules with a slice of bread which is about 300kj," she said.

Gabrielle said she found that often people were surprised by the number of kilojoules in their favourite foods and how quickly their total kilojoule count could add up.

She advised that 300-400kj was a good snack size.

She said another important aspect to look at was the ingredients list. …

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