Understanding Food Labels – Part 1


Understanding food labels is important because they provide the nutritional value of all the components and ingredients of the items we buy. This week we spoke about what is on the label and why calories count. 

Typically, the following categories will be covered:

  • Serving size – meaning is it one or more portions
  • Total number of calories
  • Cholesterol
  • Fats
  • Sodium
  • Total carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Vitamin or other nutrient content (if any)

The nutrient quantities generally apply to a single serving, but some items will have double columns that state the categories per serving as well as for the entire product.

 This is important if you are wanting to watch your calorie intake because you could easily consume more than your ideal calorie quota without realizing it. Calories are important because they tell us how much energy is in each serving. Each person has a specific calorie requirement per day based on their age, gender, height, weight, and activity levels. If we consume more calories than we require we will gain weight, whereas if we stick within our calorie requirements, we will be able to maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight if it’s necessary.

Ingredients we ideally want to eat moderately include sodium, saturated and trans fats, and carbohydrates (sugars) because these can lead to inflammation, weight gain, and many chronic health conditions.

When we eat these foods regularly and in high quantities, we increase our risk for high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

In the next podcast we will discuss sugars in more detail as well as food additives.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 17 August 2023 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am.