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How to Read Food Labels

Looking to make more informed choices at the grocery store?

Learning to read food labels is an excellent way to start! Check out the diagram below to get the basic info on the main parts of a food label and what information it can tell you.



But how do I know what I should be looking for on the food label when choosing food at the store?


See table below:

CHOOSE...

TRY TO LIMIT...

​1. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals [3]. This can include almost any type of food as there are dozens of different vitamins and minerals your body needs to survive, however, no one food is going to provide all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Check the labels on the food you’re buying and purchase a variety of different foods each week.

1. Foods high in saturated and trans fats: [2]. Saturated fat is found in foods like red meat, whole fat dairy products (milk and cheese), and processed foods [6]. Trans fat is found in processed foods like cakes, biscuits, and microwave meals [7]. Choose lean meats like fish or chicken breast or plant-based protein sources to limit saturated fat intake and eat processed food in moderation. Eggs, fish, and nuts are all great sources of healthy fats.

2. Foods rich in protein [9]:

These include lean meats, poultry, tofu, legumes, fish, and dairy products. Choose plant sources of protein more often.Foods that are high in fiber [8]. Fiber helps with digestion and is also linked with reduced risk of obesity and heart disease. It can be found in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and whole grains.

2. Foods that are high in added sugar[2]: These include processed foods, soft drinks, candy, and desserts. Purchase these foods in moderation and choose some fruit instead if you’re looking for something sweet.


Resources:

  1. NHS UK. (2019, October). What should my daily intake of calories be? Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/food-and-diet/what-should-my-daily-intake-of-calories-be/#:~:text=An ideal daily intake of,women and 2,500 for men

  2. Healthy eating recommendations. (2019, December 23). Retrieved from https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendations/make-it-a-habit-to-eat-vegetables-fruit-whole-grains-and-protein-foods/choosing-foods-with-healthy-fats/

  3. FDA. (2020). Interactive Nutrition Facts Label. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/interactivenutritionfactslabel/vitamins.cfm

  4. IMAGE SOURCE: Chai, C. (2016, May 23). This is what new nutrition labels look like in the US. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/2716390/this-is-what-new-nutrition-labels-look-like-in-the-us/

  5. Saturated, Unsaturated, and Trans Fats. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/node/5664

  6. Trans fat: Double trouble for your heart. (2020, February 13). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114

  7. Healthy eating recommendations. (2019, December 04). Retrieved from https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendations/make-it-a-habit-to-eat-vegetables-fruit-whole-grains-and-protein-foods/eat-protein-foods/

  8. How much fiber is found in common foods? (2018, November 17). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/high-fiber-foods/art-20050948

  9. Healthy eating recommendations. (2019, December 17). Retrieved from https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendations/

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