Introduction to Food Labels

Learning to read food labels is the best way to educate yourself on what ingredients make up the product you may be buying. It can help you compare the nutritional value between products and help you make informed choices when purchasing food products.


An important question is to learn to tell how much sugar, salt or fat exist in a product. Refer to the nutritional information panel on the package under "Total Sugars", "Total Fat" and "Sodium" to tell how much sugar, fat or salt is in a product.


But the first place to start is to look for the serving size and the number of servings in the package. Many packaged products contain more than a single serving. Consumers need to compare the serving size on the label with how much they will actually eat and adjust their calculations accordingly.



You should also look out for the ingredients list. All packaged foods must list all ingredients on the label in descending order by proportion of weight. If you are concerned about sugar intake, make sure that added sugars are not listed as one of the first few ingredients. Other names for added sugars include: corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey and maple syrup. One can also check for additives like artificial colouring and preservatives.

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