Nutritionist Lucy Hyland

Reading labels

May 17, 2023
Posted by Lucy

Often get confused when reading labels? How do you know if the amount on the label is high or low? Here are so general guides:

How do I know if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt?

There are guidelines to tell you if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar or not. These are:

Total fat
High: more than 20g of fat per 100g
Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g

Saturated fat
High: more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g
Low: 1.5g of saturated fat or less per 100g

High: more than 12.5g of added sugars per 100g
Low: 5g of total sugars or less per 100g

High: more than 1.5g of salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low: 0.3g of salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)

Some food products in supermarkets now have traffic light colours which tell you, at a glance, if the food you’re looking at has high, medium or low amounts of fat (especially saturated fat), salt and added sugars per 100g.

You might also see the number of grams of fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars in what the manufacturer or retailer suggests as a ‘serving’ of the food.

If you see a red light on the front of the pack, you know the food is high in something we should be trying to cut down on. It’s fine to have the food occasionally, or as a treat, but try to keep an eye on how often you choose these foods, or try eating them in smaller amounts.

If you see amber, you know the food isn’t high or low in the nutrient, so this is an OK choice most of the time, but you might want to go for green for that nutrient some of the time.

Green means the food is low in salt, saturated fat, fat or sugars. The more green lights, the healthier the choice.

There is a growing number of products with traffic light colours to help you make your choice. This scheme is being used by an increasing number of supermarkets, next time you go shopping try looking for these symbols.


2 thoughts on “Reading labels

  • Noodles, Totally Tipperary & Food Allergies | Foodie Roundup #25 | Any Given Food | A Food Blog by Ken McGuire says:

    […] Reading Labels via Food For Living […]

  • […] READ YOUR LABELS. If you are buying processed foods, read the label and check for the levels of salt, oils/fat and sugar in the product as all of these are closely linked to your overall health. Choose products that have under 3g of fat per 100g, under 0.3g of salt per 100g and under 5g of sugar per 100g as much as possible.… For more general information, read here. […]

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