How you read a nutrition label: this is what you have to set yourself to make a healthy purchase
A healthy diet begins in the shopping cart : a mantra that we repeat every day. But how can we know what is most appropriate when filling our shopping cart? Many times the information that comes to us from the media can be contradictory and can mislead us. Also the “healthy” claims of some products or the seals of scientific societies can confuse us.
Faced with this, the best we can do is become informed consumers: the more nutritional training we have, the easier it will be to opt for healthy products in our purchase. And the first step is to learn to read the nutritional information of the products : in the following video we explain how to read the nutritional label and the list of ingredients of the different processed products to make a healthier purchase. Inside video!
We know, because we have already said many times, that the best option when making the purchase is to go to the market : there we can find quality raw materials (food instead of processed products), seasonal and proximity (something that at the same time it benefits our pocket, since they are usually cheaper foods).
But we are also aware that not everyone always has the time or the possibility of going to a market to buy: in the case that we buy at the supermarket, where most of the lines are dedicated to processed products, the most important is that we know how to read the nutritional information of the products so we can choose which one we will buy in an informed way.
What do you have to look at in a nutrition label?
The nutritional label of a product gives us information about its composition, both per serving and per 100 grams of it. In this nutritional label we find the amount of macronutrients and micronutrients that the product contains and its caloric intake , in addition to the percentage that it contributes to our total daily intake.
Through the nutritional label we can know what is the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats contained in that product in particular. Comparing these three quantities we can see if a product is high in fat or protein , for example.
Some of the things in which it is worthwhile to look at the nutritional label: on the one hand, below the amount of carbohydrates, there is also the amount of sugars contained in the product . This gives us an idea of the total contribution of sugars, but we do not know if it is sugars naturally present in the ingredients that make it up or if they are added : to know this, we will have to go to the list of ingredients.
On the other hand, the nutrition label has recently also informed us of the amount of saturated fats that can be found in the product in question.
The nutritional label can be very helpful when comparing the composition of two different products and see what we are left: we can assess which of the two contains less sugar or fat of better quality, and so choose one or the other .
How do you read the list of ingredients?
The list of ingredients , which we often overlook by looking only at the nutritional label, gives us a lot of valuable information about the composition of the product we have in our hands. Personally, I think it’s even more interesting and much clearer than the nutrition label .
The first thing we need to know is that the ingredients that appear in the list have a certain order: those that have a greater presence in the product appear at the beginning . Thus, the first ingredient that we see in the list is the one that contains the largest amount. If we are trying to eat in a healthy way and the first ingredient we find is sugar or a refined flour, we can look for a better alternative.
The list of ingredients is enlightening when it comes to knowing if that product contains added sugars ( which may appear under the different names of sugar ) or if it contains low quality vegetable fats ( which also have different names ). These data do not have to appear on the nutrition label, but in the list of ingredients.
It is also interesting in the case that we have some type of allergy or food intolerance , since there we can find all the ingredients that make up the product and a special section for allergens.
Being informed consumers is the best way to make a healthy purchase : get used to reading the nutritional information of processed products that enter your home to make intelligent choices.