Have you ever stood in the supermarket aisle squinting at the fine print on packaged foods trying to decipher whether they’re healthy or not? I do this all the time and still can’t quite get it right. It is not just time consuming, totally confusing and frustrating, but it almost takes a degree in nutrition to understand the actual nutritional value of a food product.
To add to the confusion a lot of the food products make claims as to how healthy the foods are, with labelling such as: high in fibre, low fat, no added sugar, 100% natural, lite, 98% fat free and the list goes on. However as I discovered not all of these claims are necessarily healthy or good for us. No wonder we are all confused!
The nutrition information panels on food products are there to provide information on the average amount of energy (in kilojoules), protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars and sodium (salt) in the food, as well as any other claim that requires nutrition information. It shows this information as the average amount per serve and per 100g (or 100mL if liquid) of the food.
Now I don’t know about you but I don’t actually know what a 100g of food looks like. If you said it was a ½ cup or a cup then I would know exactly what they’re talking about. So this is the first hurdle of calculating the nutritional value of a particular food product, trying to picture the size of the serving.
The second problem is, do I know what the recommended healthy range amounts are for protein, fat, carbohydrates, sugar or sodium? No I don’t unless I have done my research ahead of time and then have to remember what these amounts are – which is a bit of a challenge for my mature aged brain!
However Kilojoules I understand! That is because like a lot of other women I have been preoccupied for my entire lifetime with the amount of energy that goes into my body to try and keep within a healthy weight range. But is low Kilojoule necessarily good for me? You can understand my confusion!
Good news! I have been noticing recently that a lot of packaged foods display a round-shaped, Health Star Rating image on the front of the pack where you can see it clearly and also read it without requiring glasses. The Health Star Rating is an initiative implemented by the government to try to help consumers make healthier choices when buying packaged foods.
Under the system, packaged foods are given a star rating out of 5 stars based on their nutritional profile. The higher star rating, the better.
In addition to the stars, nutrient content of the food may be shown directly below or to the side of the rating that shows the quantity of nutrients.
Once I noticed these lovely little stars on some of my favourite food purchases, I started to understand the nutritional value of foods I eat more effectively and as a consequence I have been making some healthier food choices.
Prior to this I was purchasing Muesli or Granola for breakfast with high sugar and fat content. I was also not making healthy food choices when it came to food items like bread, snacks and yoghurts, some of which are particularly high in sugar.
At present the Health Star Rating system is voluntary and will only appear on packaged food products at the discretion of food manufacturers and retailers (such as supermarkets). But I think this system is so beneficial, it would be wonderful to see it on all packages.
Article Source: All information for the Health Star Rating system was sourced from the Health Star Rating government website.
This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset. The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy Shade is a 50 something year old who is married with 2 children who has spent most of her life being a housewife, mother and working as an Accounts Administrator in the public school system. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Her friends would describe her as being a 'have a chat' with an outgoing personality and zest for life. Kathy also has a great love of shopping and is known for her bargain hunting prowess!