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Did someone say fat free, sugar free, gluten free, taste free?

How many times have you come home with a bag full of food goodies, bought based on the plethora of health claims or super food powers splashed across the front?

Walking through a supermarket is a marketing show ground, where the uneducated individual is a sitting duck for the food industries tricks and cunningness. But you don’t have to be a pawn to their craftiness, and rely on them to make your food choices. Knowledge is power. By learning how to properly read a food label, you will be able to make informed healthy choices on your own.

Any one looking to lose weight? Accurately reading a food label is a great way to help you loose weight. It gives you the control to choose foods wisely, weighing up all the pros and cons, and making the final decision. Is it really ‘calorie worthy’?

At Transform we have put together some top tips to help you navigate your way through the supermarket isles. First port of call is to look at the nutrition information panel. This is usually found on the back or side of a food product.

1. Watch out for the serving size

The serving size of a product is determined by the food manufacturer and can be significantly different to the ‘serve’ or amount you actually serve yourself. Always ask yourself, how many servings am I consuming of this product?

2. Comparing products

When comparing products look at per 100g column, as the serving size (as mentioned above) is determined by each individual food manufacturer and can be quite variable between products.

3. Ingredient list

Below are some of the key nutrients to look out for, and general values to aim for when comparing products. It is important to remember these values are only a guide, as some products are naturally going to be higher in fat or sugar than others.

  • Total calorie content, this one is important especially if you are looking to lose weight.
  • Total fat content; aim to have <5g per 100g
  • Saturated fat content; aim to have < 3g per 100g
  • Sugar content; aim to have <10g per 100g
  • Sodium content; aim to have 120mg per 200g

The ingredient list can really give you an insight into what the product really is about. The order of ingredients are listed in the descending order of the amount found in the product. So a great general rule of thumb is to check the first three ingredients. If sugar or salt are in the top three it is probably not the best choice.

Now that you are equipped and up skilled, it is time to release you back into the marketing wild, also more commonly know as the super market. Happy shopping!