10.03: Importance of Food Labels
Food labels are a legal requirement, and they are important for many reasons. They help consumers make informed choices about the food they buy, help them to store and use it safely and allows people to plan when they will consume it – all of which help to reduce food wastage.
10.04 Dietary Advice
Since 2016, it has been a legal requirement for food production companies to display nutritional information on the back of all pre-packaged food. As well as ensure you fulfill your legal responsibilities, nutritional information can help consumers to lead healthier, longer lives.
Customers are more invested than ever before in nutritional information, especially as the number of food-related diseases and health problems are on the rise. Therefore, many people opt for more nutritious alternatives and should be made aware of the nutrition and dietary information of all food items they purchase.
Eating a diet high in saturated fat, salt and sugar can result in several health problems. These problems include the following:
1. High Blood Pressure
A diet high in saturated fat and salt can lead to high blood pressure. Therefore, it is important that you label salt and saturated fats on your products to help your consumers eat a healthy, balanced diet. This is especially important for those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and need to consciously avoid certain foods to reduce their salt and fat intake.
Eating a diet high in calories, sugar and saturated fats and not exercising enough can lead to obesity. Between 1993 and 2015, cases of obesity rose by 15%. Therefore, it is vital that consumers have the option to monitor nutrition values and their intake.
3. Heart Disease
Heart disease occurs when a person’s arteries are clogged by a build-up of fatty deposits on the artery walls. This can result in a blood clot and, if the blood clots block an artery to the heart, can lead to a heart attack. Heart disease can have serious consequences and an unhealthy diet is directly involved in several of the risk factors.
Other reasons why consumers may require nutrition/dietary information include:
Personal or religious belief. Some people choose not to eat certain products. Therefore, they should be able to easily identify any ingredients they would rather avoid.
Specific dietary requirements. People might experience uncomfortable or potentially harmful side effects if they consume a product they are intolerant or allergic to.
Medical conditions. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, require individuals to know the specific content of certain food component
People with food allergies can suffer potentially serious consequences if they consume foods they are allergic to, so they must be very cautious about the foods they eat. If someone accidentally ingests food they are allergic to, it can cause an allergic reaction and, in some cases, be severe and life-threatening.
Labeling where your product comes from can be extremely important to consumers. Many people opt for local producers so they can support their local farmers and reduce their carbon footprint.
Additionally, there are many other ethical and political motivations that may result in someone opting for one product over another. For example, someone might select to buy fair trade, organic or free-range. Therefore, it is important that you correctly label the origin of your produce so that consumers can be sure of where their food comes from.
Production details might include information on whether the food is:
Many people are invested in how their food is prepared. Whether it be for religious, cultural, or ethical reasons, including information about the production methods of your product can help users make informed decisions about which products they would like to consume.
1. Serving Information
(#1 on sample label)
When looking at the Nutrition Facts label, first take a look at the number of servings in the package (servings per container) and the serving size. Serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare similar foods; they are provided in familiar units, such as cups or pieces, followed by the metric amount, e.g., the number of grams (g). The serving size reflects the amount that people typically eat or drink. It is not a recommendation of how much you should eat or drink.
It is important to realize that all the nutrient amounts shown on the label, including the number of calories, refer to the size of the serving. Pay attention to the serving size, especially how many servings there are in the food package. For example, you might ask yourself if you are consuming ½ serving, 1 serving, or more. In the sample label, one serving of lasagna equals 1 cup. If you ate two cups, you would be consuming two servings. That is two times the calories and nutrients shown in the sample label, so you would need to double the nutrient and calorie amounts, as well as the %DVs, to see what you are getting in two servings.
(#2 on sample label)
Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of this food. In the example, there are 280 calories in one serving of lasagna. What if you ate the entire package? Then, you would consume 4 servings, or 1,120 calories.
To achieve or maintain a healthy body weight, balance the number of calories you eat and drink with the number of calories your body uses. 2,000 calories a day is used as a general guide for nutrition advice. Your calorie needs may be higher or lower and vary depending on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. Learn your estimated calorie needs at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/resources/MyPlatePlan.
*Remember: The number of servings you consume determines the number of calories you actually eat. Eating too many calories per day is linked to overweight and obesity.
(#3 on sample label)
Look at section 3 in the sample label. It shows you some key nutrients that impact your health. You can use the label to support your personal dietary needs – look for foods that contain more of the nutrients you want to get more of and less of the nutrients you may want to limit.
Nutrients to get less of: Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Added Sugars.
Saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars are nutrients listed on the label that may be associated with adverse health effects – and Americans generally consume too much of them, according to the recommended limits for these nutrients. They are identified as nutrients to get less of. Eating too much saturated fat and sodium, for example, is associated with an increased risk of developing some health conditions, like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Consuming too much added sugars can make it hard to meet important nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits.
What are Added Sugars and How are they Different from Total Sugars?
Total Sugars on the Nutrition Facts label includes sugars naturally present in many nutritious foods and beverages, such as sugar in milk and fruit as well as any added sugars that may be present in the product. No Daily Reference Value has been established for total sugars because no recommendation has been made for the total amount to eat in a day.
Added Sugars on the Nutrition Facts label include sugars that are added during the processing of foods (such as sucrose or dextrose), foods packaged as sweeteners (such as table sugar), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. Diets high in calories from added sugars can make it difficult to meet daily recommended levels of important nutrients while staying within calorie limits.
Note: Having the word “includes” before Added Sugars on the label indicates that Added Sugars are included in the number of grams of Total Sugars in the product.
*For example, a container of yogurt with added sweeteners, might list:
This means that the product has 7 grams of Added Sugars and 8 grams of naturally occurring sugars – for a total of 15 grams of sugar.
Nutrients to get more of: Dietary Fiber, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium.
Dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron ad potassium are nutrients on the label that Americans generally do not get the recommended amount of. They are identified as nutrients to get more of. Eating a diet high in dietary fiber can increase the frequency of bowel movements, lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and reduce calorie intake. Diets higher in vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium can reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, anemia, and high blood pressure.
*Remember: You can use the label to support your personal dietary needs—choose foods that contain more of the nutrients you want to get more of and less of the nutrients you may want to limit.
4. The Percent Daily Value (%DV)
(#4 on sample label)
The % Daily Value (%DV) is the percentage of the Daily Value for each nutrient in a serving of the food. The Daily Values are reference amounts (expressed in grams, milligrams, or micrograms) of nutrients to consume or not to exceed each day.
The %DV shows how much a nutrient in a serving of a food contributes to a total daily diet.
The %DV helps you determine if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient.
Do you need to know how to calculate percentages to use the %DV? No, because the label (the %DV) does the math for you! It helps you interpret the nutrient numbers (grams, milligrams, or micrograms) by putting them all on the same scale for the day (0-100%DV). The %DV column does not add up vertically to 100%. Instead, the %DV is the percentage of the Daily Value for each nutrient in a serving of the food. It can tell you if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient and whether a serving of the food contributes a lot, or a little, to your daily diet for each nutrient.
*Note: some nutrients on the Nutrition Facts label, like total sugars and trans fat, do not have a %DV – they will be discussed later.
General Guide to %DV
5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low
20% DV or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high
More often, choose foods that are:
Higher in %DV for Dietary Fiber, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium
Lower in %DV for Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Added Sugars
*Example: Look at the amount of sodium in one serving listed on the sample nutrition label. Is %DV of 37% contributing a lot or a little to your diet? Check the General Guide to %DV. This product contains 37% DV for sodium, which shows that this is a HIGH sodium product (it has more than 20% DV for sodium). If you consumed 2 servings, that would provide 74% of the DV for sodium – nearly three-quarters of an entire day’s worth of sodium.
Compare Foods: Use %DV to compare food products (remember to make sure the serving size is the same) and more often choose products that are higher in nutrients you want to get more of and lower in nutrients you want to get less of.
Understand Nutrient Content Claims: Use %DV to help distinguish one claim from another, such as "light,” “low,” and “reduced.” Simply compare %DVs in each food product to see which one is higher or lower in a particular nutrient. There is no need to memorize definitions.
Dietary Trade-Offs: You can use the %DV to help you make dietary trade-offs with other foods throughout the day. You don't have to give up a favorite food to eat a healthy diet. When a food you like is high in saturated fat, balance it with foods that are low in saturated fat at other times of the day. Also, pay attention to how much you eat during the entire day, so that the total amount of saturated fat, as well as other nutrients you want to limit, stays below 100%DV.
10.06: Review/Critical Thinking
Please complete the following questions. It is important that you use full sentences and present the questions and answers when you submit your work.
Go to the Assessment area in the course to complete the assignment Review and Critical Thinking and submit the work as a file attachment.
The answers to the Review and Critical Thinking Questions are worth 10 points.
10.07: Non-Cooking Assignment #10
You are to download and complete the following worksheet:
For this assignment, you will fill out/complete the PDF. You will then save to your computer. Once complete, please Submit the attachment in the Assessments area.
10.08: Module 10 Quiz
Before you take the quiz for this unit take a moment to review what you have learned.
When you feel that you are ready to complete the Module 10 Quiz, Basic Nutrition click HERE.