How to read food labelling

I'm new hear and trying to understand food labels. I understand how to use food labels. I understand the colour coding and the percentages , but I'm not sure if I'm reading them right. For example the fats and salt in some gravies and sauces are "high" ,but the colour coding is 3 greens and an orange for a 50 ml serving. Does that mean if I stick to the serving it is generally ok ? What is the best way to read all this stuff to make sure something is ok ?


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6 Replies

  • Get the Change4Life app and you can scan the barcode for full nutritional info. I don't use the colour coding at all, I believe they are misleading. As a diabetic I check the total carb count, the colour codes only show added sugar levels. Some things are measured in grams, some in ml, it's confusing.

  • Ah that means i'll need one of those SMART phones doesn't it ?

  • Yes :)

  • This is my third attempt at replying - not sure what is happening with my computer keyboard!

    The category of "high" will be on a per 100g/100ml basis. You will realise that a portion can be much less than that quantity. So green or amber colour coding on a portion can be because the quantity consumed would be small in relation to the total daily allowance for that constituent part.

    Don't know whether that makes sense.

    What you need to consider is how the item's contribution will affect your total daily intake.

  • I think i know what you mean. There's an article somewhere on NHSDIRECT that explains what is low and high for a 100g quantity. I'm assuming the colours on the front our for the entire mean, so if i eat things which only have yellow and green thing in them i should be all right. And i'm assuming its that simple, until anyone tells me different. The only other thing i noticd is what it contributes to my daily recommended daily intake as a percentage. So if that's no more than 33% i should be ok. Fortunately in my position i just need to go for Low fat and sugar, they've not mentioned anything about salt or carbs yet. My doctors practice isnt too good at this so i'm starting to flounder with little knowledge at the moment. Thanks for the advice.

  • Well I've just had a very nice Italian meal called chicken arrabbiata, ready , but nice. The label says it counts as one of my 5 a day and reading the little panel on the front that says what is in the meal I have 3 green lights and one yellow, which to me means its ok. The percentages are all under 33% which to me says its not too much for a meal. Even the salt is 28% which is ok to me. So I think for my information, I will stick with the traffic lights on the front. Good luck to everyone else.

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