At first glance
you would be forgiven for thinking that some food labels are written
if a foreign language, Energy per serving, fat per 100g, sodium
as a %age of RDA. What do they all mean?
Energy is measured
in calories (kcal) and is shown on the label as kcal per 100g of
the product. It may also be shown as kcal per pack or kcal per serving.
eating more calories than you "need" leads to weight gain.
Women need approximately 2000 calories per day and men need 2500.
Fat is usually
shown as fat per 100g of the product and as with energy (and most
other categories on the page) it may also be shown per serving and/or
Food with 20g of fat per 100g of the product could generally be
considered to be high in fat, whilst anything below 3g of fat per
100f is considered to be low in fat.
for fat intake state that men should have no more than 90g of fat
per day, and women 70g
may also be shown on labels in addition to fat (see above). Saturated
fat is known to raise levels of bad cholestorol in the blood and
you should attempt to cut back on saturated fat.
3g of saturated
fat per 100g of the product is high, 1g per 100g is good.
Men should aim
to intake no more than 30g of saturated fat per day, women 20g
The amount of
sugar in a product is not always given. If this is the case look
for where "sugar" appears in the ingredients list. The
nearer the beginning of the list it is the more sugar the product
contains. And be aware that sucrose, glucose syrup, golden syrup,
maple syrup, treacle, invert sugar, honey, dextrose and maltose
are all added sugar.
10g of sugar
per 100g is a lot, 2g is a little.
Men should have
no more that 34g of sugar per day, women 28g
in foods come from added sodium chloride, otherwise known as salt.
Most of us are aware that we should cut our salt intake because
it can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of a stroke and
0.5g or more
of sodium per 100g is a lot, 0.1g per 100g is a little
Men should take
no more than 2.5g of salt per day, and this is the same for women.
Fibre is needed
for the digestive system. 3g or more per 100g is good, 0.5g per
100g is considered very little fibre.
Men and women
should try to take more than 18g of fibre per day.
to ensure growth and repair of body cells. At present there are
no official figures on the amount of protein that is considered
to be a little or a lot per 100g.
Women need 45g
of protein per day and men should look to intake 56g.
Warning : Eating
too much protein can damage the kidneys so try not to exceed 100g
of protein per day.