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Label Reading 101 - Remember 10, 10, 5!

Navigating your way around all the claims on food packaging can be a bit mind boggling, let alone trying to make sense of the numbers on the Nutrition Information Panel. Let's keep it easy and remember 10, 10, 5!

Before we cover what we mean by 10, 10, 5, let’s first discuss the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP), (health and nutrition claims we will look at next time). The table below is the typical format for an NIP label we would find on the back of our food packaging.

 

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Servings per package:

Serving size: 

 

Quantity per serving

Quantity per 100g (or 100ml)

Energy

kJ (Cal)

kJ (Cal)

Protein

g

g

Fat, total

  • saturated

g

g

g

Carbohydrate

  • sugars 

g

g  

Fibre

g

g

Sodium

mg (mmol)

mg (mmol)

 

NIP’s have two main columns of information, the per serve column and the per 100g column.  The per serve column is related to the serving size listed at the top of the NIP.  This suggested serving may be more or less than what you would usually have.  When looking at the NIP, use the per 100g column to compare products.  Different food manufacturers’ often use different serving sizes between similar types of products so the easiest way to ensure we are comparing apples with apples is to use the 100g column.

 

So what do we mean by 10, 10, 5!?

Using the per 100g column of the NIP, try to choose foods that fit the criteria represented by these three numbers, 10, 10 and 5, which means:

10 -  Less than 10g of fat per 100g of food

10 -  Less than 10g of sugar per 100g of food

 5  -  At least 5g of fibre per 100g of food  

 

I haven’t included sodium (or salt) above but it is a nutrient to be mindful of and you want to try to keep this as low as you can.  

Whether a food ticks all 3 boxes will depend on the food you’re looking at.  For example, a yoghurt doesn’t contain fibre therefore you won’t be finding one that has more than 5g of fibre, however, you can try to find one that ticks the boxes for fat and sugar.  If you were looking at cereal or a muesli bar, this is where you can definitely try to find one that meets everything.

The next thing to look at is the ingredient list.  Ingredient lists are usually found close to the NIP and they have to be listed in order of descending quantity.  So, the first ingredient listed is present in the largest amount and the ones right at the bottom, in the smallest amounts.  It can also be helpful to see the particular sources of nutrients, for example, sugars.  Has the sugar come from naturally occurring sugar such as honey or dried fruit or is it simply added sugar?  

Try and compare some products next time you’re deciding what to buy and see how your preferred foods stack up.

 

- Sarah

Label reading 10, 10, 5!