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Healthy Wednesday - HOW TO READ FOOD LABELS? part 2


We learned from the previous article that what is written on the packaging of products is important and it is worth paying attention to it, especially when we talk about developing the right eating habits, fighting for our health. Let us remind you that the order of the listed ingredients is not accidental. They are listed in descending order, and the less reading the better. This is also an argument in favor of looking at product labels, because we will not waste much time if we look at its composition before putting the packaging into the basket. One glance will allow us to judge whether the list of ingredients is long and whether the product is worth paying attention to. We also warned against insidious sugar, which is hidden under many names and added by producers almost everywhere. We also explained why it is much better to prepare fruit yoghurt by mixing natural yoghurt with fruit than by buying ready-made fruit yoghurt. Let's not fall for the large, colorful, beautifully drawn fruit on the labels, because in fact they may not be there at all. What other valuable information can labels provide us with?

Although we do not always read everything that is written on the products in detail, almost everyone is looking for information about the expiry date. Regardless of whether we buy something "for now" or we make larger purchases for a few days, and sometimes even weeks, we need to know the expiry date. Two concepts that appear on the labels are worth explaining here. The first is the term "use by ...", which means that the product is unfit for consumption after a certain date. This mainly applies to milk and dairy products, as well as meat products such as sausages. The second statement, related to the expiry date, is "best before ..." or "best before ...". This minimum use-by date tells us that after this date, we can consume the product, but its taste may be reduced. Most often it concerns cereal products such as: rice, porridge, pasta. If you plan to shop for a few days, a valuable tip is to choose items that are further placed on shelves or placed in refrigerators. It seems obvious that the products are arranged on the basis of the expiry date, but many people in a hurry reach for the closest set of milk or yoghurt, and then at home it turns out that the product should be eaten by tomorrow.

There is a lot of information, signs and pictures on the colored labels. If we plan to cook or bake a dish according to a strict recipe, it will be important for us to provide information, e.g. about the weight of the product. In the case of people allergic to a specific ingredient, we will look for the presence of allergens. Our attention may also be drawn to the table with a detailed analysis of nutrients and other additives. Based on this, we will know if the product we have chosen is the main source of protein, fat or carbohydrates. Among fats, there will be additionally specified saturated fats and trans fats, which may be called "partially hardened fats" and we should be careful about these. We should also avoid products that have a high sodium content. If there is more than 150-200 mg of sodium per serving of the product, we should consider buying it, as it will contribute to an increase in blood pressure. Let's not forget that sodium, as well as sugar, is added to most food products, therefore it is easy to accumulate these substances in the human diet, which of course has an impact on our health. When analyzing the composition, we should also be guided by the content of fiber, which has pro-health properties and which we have already written about many times. If a serving contains a minimum of 2 g, it is a product worth buying. More and more often, vitamins and minerals valuable for our body are also added to food, which is good to pay attention to.

Regardless of whether we read the product descriptions carefully or just quickly look at one specific piece of information, we are certainly taking an important step in creating another healthy habit. We already know what to look for, which products to avoid and which to put in the basket more often. Let's not be deceived by producers, let's make conscious choices and take care of our health.