Home » Health » Can you read nutritional labels? – EFE Health

Can you read nutritional labels? – EFE Health

Do you understand nutrition tables? Do you buy without knowing what you consume? The new episode of the podcast “A gust amb la terra” tells us how to interpret the information we find on the labels of packaged products.

Taking care of our food is a growing concern, finding the sustainability and the Health the pillars on which this restlessness rests. But ignorance is often an obstacle: Do you get lost when you go to the supermarket? You don’t understand them nutritional labels?

In the new episode of the podcast “Agust amb la terra”, Noelia López, Nestlé nutritionist, dives into this field to teach us how to make conscious and informed decisions. Because, while it’s important not to obsess, checking the labels of the packaged products we buy should be a routine.

Why are packaged products labeled?

“Nutritional tables are the means of communication between food manufacturers and consumers,” the expert points out.

The labeling has the function of informing about the content of the products offered. This is a mandatory specification by law (although there are exceptions) and includes data such as:

  • The nutritional contribution: What energy value does it have? What does it bring?
  • origin: Where does the product come from?
  • conservation: How should you store it? Refrigerated, at room temperature or frozen?
  • Ingredients: What has been added to it?
  • allergens: Are there traces of nuts? milk? soy?

Considering these factors will be crucial, especially for those who have one intolerance or allergy food

How do you decide what information is included in the product?

Did you know that there is a regulation that regulates exactly what must appear on the labeling? Even font size guidelines are given!

This is how Noelia López explains it, indicating that the goal is, among other things, for all sellers to stipulate the true content of their products. It is clear that the information will depend on the type of product, the method of sale or its presentation.

“The idea is that we can access it without it being complicated to find or read it”, says the nutritionist.

In the nutritional labels we find…

Knowing this, we must take into account what we can find on the nutritional labels found on the back of the different packages. Because logically, to make a conscious decision, we must first know:

nutritional labels-supermarket
EPA/Qilai Shen

Name of the product

Do you know what you are buying?

This is the question answered by this mandatory and descriptive mention. A cheese? A juice? A nectar? The name of the product helps us to get out of doubt in this regard.

List of ingredients

A list of ingredients is another mandatory piece of information on a product label.

As consumers we are more likely to read this list, but what we generally don’t know is that they follow a specific order and there is a reason behind it all.

The list of ingredients is based on the proportion where it is in the food: that is, the higher it is on the list, the more it has. This is of great help to know, especially when we do not have the specific percentages of each of the components.

Featured ingredients

And those ingredients in capitals, bold or capitals and bold? Which are?

When we find certain words that stand out over others, we must know what it is about allergens. In total there is 14 different and you must always check them in case of intolerance or allergy. And count! you can find traces of any allergen, no matter how little it is related to the product itself.

May contain traces of…

This is due to the cross contamination. Because even if it happens unintentionally and hygienic measures are strictly followed, there is always the possibility that something will escape during the production of the food. Moreover, a vegan food can even have traces of egg and milk!

Nutritional table

On the other hand, the nutritional table is another piece of information found on labels. Here is the contribution of the food, the amount of nutrients per 100 grams of food.

In other words, the proportions of total and saturated fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, salt, energy value…

Sometimes in the nutritional tables we find subcategories like

“…from which sugars”

In this case, it is total sugars, those added as another ingredient to the food itself. And we must know that we naturally find sugars in food. For example, in the case of milk, we discover a very well-known name… la lactose.

“per serving”

On other occasions, we distinguish one second columnparallel to the one previously referred to, in which the proportion per portion is determined, however redundant it may be.

And it is that normally the nutritional table we find a value that refers to the consumption of 100 grams/ml of the product. But what if the amount corresponding to a portion is different?

Even if it is not always listed (as it is not mandatory) it is easier for the consumer to study what to buy and what not when guided by the nutritional values ​​based on an individual portion.

But in short, everything must appear, following a specific order and complying with the requirements stipulated by the legislation. Although, if the space is small, we can find the information in a linear way.

Which foods are exempt?

The Nestlé expert explains that not all foods are required to carry these specifications on their nutritional labels.

There are some cases where nutrition labels are not a requirement!

the exceptions are counted:

  • products not packaged.
  • Unprocessed or cured.
  • with a single ingredient.
    • Like water, salt, spices.
  • Those, who for their sizethey do not have the necessary space for it to appear (like the individual butters).

The only thing left is to incorporate what has been learned into our shopping routine.

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