By Ashby Sanford
In Australia, it is a requirement that packaged food and drinks are labelled following the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
Interpreting food labels can be complex and challenging, especially when we do not fully understand how to read them and what our nutrient targets are. It is also particularly important to understand nutrition information panels when choosing foods with health claims so that you can make an educated judgment on whether the food is in fact a quality option for your health.
The following tools are designed to help you make educated food choices with ease, making shopping for healthy food an uncomplicated and more enjoyable process.
Firstly, identify whether the food fits into one of the five food groups that is encouraged to be eaten daily, or whether the food is considered a discretionary food, which is advised to be eaten occasionally in smaller quantities.
Make use of the Eat for Health Food Label example, taking notice of the suggested target per 100g, as shown below:
Use the 100g (or 100ml if the product is liquid) column on the nutrition information panel of each product when comparing food products. You can compare the products by percentage. For example, if product one has 20g of fat per 100g, the product contains 20% fat. If the product you are comparing it to, product two, has 15g of fat per 100g, the product contains 15% fat, meaning that product two is lower in fat than product one. You can do this for all food products as it is a requirement that all packaged food products list the information in both a per-serve and 100g column.
See below a quick reference guide for you to take shopping with you.
For more information about the Australian Dietary Guidelines, and suggested nutrient targets, see the link below.
Other Educational resources