How to read a food label?
Most food packages in the grocery store will include a food label featuring the nutritional information of that product.
Canadian food labels feature the following six components: the Nutrition Facts Table, specific amount of food, % Daily Value, calories and core nutrients, nutrition claims and list of ingredients.
The Nutrition Facts Table can be used to compare products more easily by identifying the nutritional value of foods. It can also help manage special diets, or increase or decrease your intake of particular nutrients.
The nutritional information included in the Nutrition Facts Table is proportional to a specific amount of food, which can be indicated with phrases such as, a slice or one egg, followed by the metric measurement. Household units like millilitres, cups, tablespoons, or a fraction or unit of food, followed by the metric measure, are also used.
The % Daily Value will tell you the quantities of particular nutrients in a food product and can be used to make food comparisons – an important part of creating a well-balanced diet!
Nutrition claims can be used to make informed food choices and often include statements like: source of fibre, cholesterol-free, low fat, sodium-free, reduced in calories, or light. For more information on Nutrition Labelling, including what kinds of claims can be made on products, please visit Health Canada’s website.
The list of ingredients outlines all of the ingredients in a food product by weight in descending order. It can be very useful to people who want to avoid or confirm the presence of certain ingredients in the food they buy. The ingredients of the greatest amount in a particular food will be listed first.
The importance of reading a food label
Knowing how to properly read food labels is extremely important because they provide you with the nutritional information you need to know in order to make informed decisions. The ability to compare products and determine their respective nutritional values is an essential component in securing a well-balanced diet. The Nutrition Facts Table and ingredient lists are important elements to the foods we eat.