All the ingredients used for your food will have a positive or negative impact on your health. Therefore, you must pay close attention to the nutritional labels of the foods you buy, especially those that you know are highly processed before they are sold. Therefore, it is essential that you learn to correctly read the labels that include all foods.
However, most cases include the technical and scientific components of each composition, which makes it more complex for them to be read well. For you to begin to understand it, you need to know how each tag is composed and the interpretation they have.
What is food labeling for?
The labeling of foods and different beverages is the place where all the relevant information about their composition is detailed. Here you will find its name, ingredients and the table with the nutritional value. Likewise, it indicates the number of portions that you will enjoy of the total content and the different applications that it can have in daily life .
Some international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the WHO are part of those that promote the nutritional labeling of products. You will even find important information from the Codex Alimentarius commission.
What should the label of a food product include?
As for the information that you must have on food labels, there are: the energy value, the amount of fat that the product contains, saturated fats, carbohydrates, proteins, sugars and salt.
Likewise, it is usually completed with the amount of some substances such as: polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyalcohols, starch, dietary fiber and any vitamin and mineral it contains.
All the information must be indicated per 100 grams or milligrams of product, you can also find it by portions or units .
The nutritional information label is regulated by law, because it is essential that users be informed of what they are consuming in each product. However, the information is divided into mandatory and nutritional, in the first case it is essential that you can see:
- The detailed list of all the ingredients it has.
- The sales name of the product.
- If any, the degree of alcohol in beverages containing a graduation greater than 1.2% by volume.
- Show the specific amount of ingredients or category of ingredients that are displayed in the list, letters or drawing of the container.
- The special conditions it needs to be preserved and used.
- Show expiration date.
- How it should be used , this only applies when it is for a specific purpose and care must be taken not to ingest more than indicated.
- The lot number.
- The identification of the company that makes it , the name, denomination of the manufacturer or packaging, the company name and address.
On the other hand, food labeling in Spain must contain nutritional information from Tuesday, December 13, 2016, at least it is necessary to show the energy value and the amounts of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, sugars and salt it contains.
With the mission of facilitating the comparison of similar foods from different manufacturer or distributor brands, from the date indicated above, the labeling will also include each of the information in 100 grams or 100 milliliters. This obligation derives from the community standard on food labeling, Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011.
Similarly, the values can be expressed per unit or portions of consumption to make it easier for you to understand the amount you require. The only condition in this sense is that the portion of consumption that is used is expressed quantitatively on the label. Likewise, you will have to indicate the number of portions that the container contains in total.
On the other hand, the letter of the nutritional information needs to have a single size, it must be equal to or greater than 1.2 mm and presented in table format, except in cases where the available space of the label does not allow it , in which case can be presented linearly.
Interpretation of nutritional labeling
It is essential that you know how to interpret the nutritional labels of foods so that you better understand what you are consuming and the daily portions that you should have. The key for you to avoid health problems due to contraindicated products is that you always inform yourself of what you are eating or drinking. For this reason, at Laboratorio Calitec we have an advisory service for all companies that require professional guidance on issues of legislation and requirements that your product must have in the market.
Before buying a product, this is the first thing you should check, so you will know the amount of food on which the nutritional information is provided. That is, a greater consumption of it would give you more calories than you would like.
The ones you will find in the nutritional table tell you the amount you will get for each portion, but there is also a section where the total amount of the product in question is indicated. In this way, you can compare it with similar options and choose the ones that provide you with more nutrients and fewer calories.
calories from fat
At this point, you will find the proportion of calories provided by fat, which means that if the value is close to the total calories, it determines that it is a food rich in fat or vice versa. You will find a clear example in olive, soy or sunflower oil.
cholesterol and sodium
In both cases, it is recommended that you look for options that provide less cholesterol and salt, in the case of sodium, it is best to have a value of less than 140 mg.
The values will show you the amount and source of the carbohydrate, here you should look mostly at the amount of fiber it contains. Those that provide less than 2.5 grams cannot be called healthy , nor could they be part of the fiber-rich options.
Finally, if you need to consume certain essential vitamins due to a deficiency, you must know the amount that each food you will consume has. There’s nothing too complex here, just make sure they’re worth something enough for each serving.