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What's on your food label?

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What's on your food label?

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Grocery Shopping

31 January 2017

A healthy diet starts from selecting the right foods. However if you don’t know what you’re looking for, reading food labels can be like cracking a secret code. This blog will give you some simple tools to unravel the food label message.

Package graphics and health claims

Don’t be persuaded by package graphics and health claims; ‘50% less fat’, ‘supports healthy cholesterol levels’ or ‘low carb’. Although these marketing tactics are now required to meet legislative requirements, one statement does not give a clear indication of all the ingredients included.

Health Star Rating System

We all know grocery shopping can be time consuming, especially if you’re trying to make informed choices. The Health Star Rating (HSR) is a voluntary system that provides a star rating on the front of the package. It’s simple, the more stars the healthier the product (when comparing similar products).

Nutrition information section

The nutrition information section illustrates important information about the ingredients. How to understand food labels, published by the Australian Government, offers some essential tips related to reading the nutrition information section. You can compare similar packaged foods to choose a product with the least saturated fat, salt (sodium), added sugars and kilojoules. To compare foods use the 100g column; to know how much you should eat, use the per serve column.

Want to learn more?

USC offers healthy eating resources on campus:

Do you compare products when you are shopping? What do you look for? 

The first three people to comment on this blog receive a "how to understand food labels" banner pen.

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