Comment lire les étiquettes des aliments pour faire des choix éclairés?

Is reading nutritional information a challenge for you Are you in the habit of analyzing it before buying food products More and more people are taking the time to learn about what they are eating, with reason. Here is an article that can certainly help you make informed choices in the aisles of grocery storeses:

Food labeling helps consumers make informed food choices by providing them with different nutritional information, such as the Nutrition Facts table, ingredient list and nutrition claims.

The Nutrition Facts Table

The Nutrition Facts table provides information on the number of calories and the amount of 13 nutrients (fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron) for a given serving. The amount of nutrients is expressed in micrograms, milligrams, grams and/or as a percentage of the daily value (%DV).

The % DV helps determine if a serving of food contains a little or a lot of a nutrient. If the %DV is 5% or less it is a little and if the %DV is 15% or more it is a lot. So, for the nutrients whose consumption we want to reduce, such as saturated fats, trans fats, sugars and sodium, we favor products where their % DV is 5% or less. For the nutrients whose consumption we want to increase, such as fibres, proteins, vitamins (A, C) and minerals (calcium, iron), we favor products where their % DV is 15% or more.

The Nutrition Facts table therefore makes it easier to compare two similar products (be sure to compare the same serving size), to obtain information on the amount of calories and nutrients of a packaged product, to know if a product contains a little or a lot of a nutrient and to make choices adapted to a particular diet (ex: diet for diabetes, low sodium diet, etc.) (see articles:Type II Diabetes andHigh blood pressure: how to control it and the DASH diet)

The list of ingredients

The list of ingredients mentions all the ingredients that go into the composition of a product in descending order of weight. In other words, the ingredient present in the greatest quantity appears at the beginning of the list and the ingredient present in the least quantity is placed at the end of the list.

So we limit products whose first ingredients are sugar, salt or fat.

It is also recommended to favor products with a short list of ingredients.

Finally, the list of ingredients also indicates the presence of the main allergens, sources of gluten and sulphites, which must be mentioned at the end of the list. (See our beautiful selectionGluten free)

Nutrition claims

Nutrition claims are messages that may appear on the packaging of certain food products. There are two main types of claims: nutrition claims (e.g. good source of calcium, cholesterol-free, etc.) and health claims (e.g. a healthy diet low in saturated fat and in trans fats can reduce the risk of heart disease, oat fiber helps lower cholesterol, etc.). Nutrition claims are regulated by Health Canada and their presence on food product packaging is optional.tative.

At last,the presence of a nutritional claim on the packaging of a product does not mean that it is definitely healthier than a product that does not present a claim on its packaging. To make informed food choices, it is important to use all the nutrition information provided on a product's packaging and not rely solely on nutrition claims.

In summary, we favor products that have a high percentage of the daily value for the nutrients whose consumption we want to increase and a low percentage for those whose consumption we want to decrease. Then, it is also recommended to favor products with a short list of ingredients and those that present ingredients whose consumption you want to increase at the top of the list.

We hope this information will help you make more informed choices!


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Article written by:

Marie-Noël Marsan, Nutritionist


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Pierrette Caron

Pierrette Caron

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