What’s on our food labels – Part 1


Food labels are crucial sources of information that provide us with details about the nutritional content, ingredients, and other important aspects of the packaged food products that we may choose to eat.

This week we looked at what the nutrition facts panel may include as well as the ingredients list, serving size and calories and macronutrients of the product.

Nutritional facts panel: This is a standardized part of food packaging that provides information about the serving size, calories, and nutrient content of the food product. It typically includes details such as total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Ingredients list: The ingredients list on a food label is usually listed in descending order by weight. This means that the first ingredient listed is the most prominent by weight in the product. Ingredients to watch out for include artificial additives, preservatives, high levels of sugar or sodium, and trans fats.

Serving size: Pay attention to the serving size listed on the label, as all other information on the label is based on this serving size. 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. Sometimes, the serving size listed may be smaller than what you typically consume, so be mindful of portion sizes.

Calories and Macronutrients: The calorie count on the label tells you how much energy you can expect to get from a serving of the food. 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.

In part 2 we will continue the conversation around calories and macronutrients, but will also look at the percentage daily value, additives and allergen information.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 28 March 2024 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am.