Nutrition labels and what to look out for!

Added August 27, 2018 in

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Nutrition labels are everywhere now, but do you know what to look out for?

Nutrition labels helps you as a consumer to make informed decisions about what you are eating, the nutrition content in your food purchases and may lead to you opting for some healthier alternatives.

There is so much information on a food label, from allergens, ingredient lists and nutritional content, you would be forgiven for getting confused or just giving up and buying the tastiest looking option.

At Hugh Maguire’s we have added a new FitFood range to our already extensive product selection. We have included the nutritional content for each food to this range, for your benefit. Our aim is to provide full transparency of what is in our products whilst helping you make informed choices about what you feed your family. This is particularly important for our FitFood range, as you know exactly what you are getting and there are no hidden fats or sugars… Full Transparency!

Here is a summary of what to look out for on these labels and what each heading means:

Macronutrients/Macros

These are our main sources of energy and are comprised of carbohydrates, proteins in fats. We all need a healthy balance of each of these macronutrients for good health.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred energy source. But what is the Total Carbohydrate that you see on the labels?

Carbohydrates are made up of sugars, starches, fibre and sugar alcohols. On most labels, you will find sugars and dietary Fibre listed as sources.

Sugars are both those naturally found in foods and those that have been added to foods for taste, texture and preservation.

Dietary fibre is made up of sugar molecules that aren’t readily digested. Fibre important for our health as it can help promote intestinal regularity and aid in digestion.

When reading labels, foods containing dietary fibre, natural containing sugars (those found in dairy, fruits and vegetable) and other vitamins and minerals are considered nutrient dense. Where possible, avoid added sugars in foods. It is recommended that <10% of our energy comes from added sugars.

Fats

Fats are an important part of a healthy diet. They are essential for the absorption of vitamins and minerals, building cells, and muscle movement.

Total Fat… What is it?

Fat is found in both plant and animal foods and there are two types of fat: Saturated and Unsaturated.

Saturated fat is found in animal products mainly. We need saturated fats for energy. Saturated fats have been shown to raise cholesterol. However, they raise the good cholesterol HDL too, which is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. There is conflicting information out there on saturated fats, but what’s important to take home is foods like meat, dairy nuts and oils containing saturated fats are nutrient dense foods and are needed as part of healthy diet.

Unsaturated fats – mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are found mainly in plant foods. These fats exert beneficial effects on heart health. That are found mainly in oily fish, nuts, seeds, oils and avocados.

Trans fats are hydrogenated fats found predominantly in processed foods to increase their shelf life. These fats have detrimental effects on heart health and should only make up <1% of our energy intake.

Protein

Protein is essential for good health. It provides the building blocks of the body, and not just for muscle, bone, skin and hair. Protein is used primarily for growth, health, and body maintenance.

All your hormones, antibodies, and other important substances are composed of protein. Protein is not used to fuel the body unless necessary.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. You get different sources of amino acids from foods. You need a variety of amino acids for your body to function properly.

Meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans and soy are all good sources of protein. Our Turkey burgers, Venison burgers, Burrito bowl, and Meatza are all sources of protein to get in your diet.

Sodium/Salt

As we know salt can be damaging for our heart health. When looking at labels it can be confusing at some labels list sodium and not salt.

To convert the sodium to salt you need to multiply the sodium X 2.5.

For example, if there is 1g of sodium per 100g of a product, there is 2.5g of salt in the product. 1g X 2.5 = 2.5

Sodium x2.5 = Salt

You should aim to eat no more than 6g of salt per day. High salt is found in processed meals/ ready meals, fast food and canteen/restaurant food.

At Hugh Maguire’s we have the Salt amount listed on our label for your convenience.

We hope this helps and if you have any topics you would like covered or have any questions, send me a message filling the form below and an email to marketing@hmbutchers.com!

Chat soon, MJ

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