nutrition information panel- what does it mean?

7 Sep

Do you normally check out the nutrition info of the food you buy? Or, let me put it this way, have you ever gone shopping with someone who always tediously look at the little panel at the back of every food packaging? Hmm! For some people (and I can’t blame them), it could be very annoying to have every food packaging being checked and analyzed. When I go for groceries shopping with a friend of mine, he always complaint because I spent too much time looking at those tiny panels! LOL. I’m such a nerdie 🙂

BUT. BUT. BUT. It’s actually worthwhile to be able to read and understand that panel, because you will know what the food actually consists of. Especially if you follow a specific diet, which requires you to be familiar with a particular nutrient, such as carbohydrate reading for diabetics, and sodium for hypertensive. And to be honest, it feels good to be able to know and interpret (and tell people!) those numbers 😛 Trust me, regardless of your health status, this simple skill could be very handy! Therefore, I decided to share my knowledge with you (so then you can read and understand, too :))

First thing first. There are two basic rule of thumbs.Number one: serve size is the recommended amount of food you can have. It is not a standard size, so you have to bear in mind that every food company has different serve size. In the left column, you can see the nutrient contained per serve of food. If you eat more or less than the serve size, your nutrient intake has to be adjusted accordingly. Number two: per 100g column (usually the right column of the panel), which consists of nutrient in 100g of food. This column is used to compare one food with another. For example, if you want to compare the same food from different brand. You will then use per 100g column to see the comparison.Let’s use this nutrition information panel above as an example!

1) servings per package:3 means that there are 3 serves in that package of food you buy OR that 1 package of food is for 3 people/3 seating. serving size: 150g simply indicates that there is 150g of food in each serve.

2) quantity per serving indicates the amount of nutrients in 1 serve. For example, there is 608kJ of energy and 4.2g of protein in 1 serve. In the right column, quantity per 100g indicates the amount of nutrients in 100g of food. In this case, there is 405kJ of energy and 2.8g of protein in 100g of food. Remember, per serve is the recommended amount of food for you to have while per 100g is used to compare with another food or brand.

So, what do you think? Next time you go to the supermarket, you should give it a go reading the nutrition information panel (NIP)!

It could be difficult in the beginning, but just like every thing else, it will come with practice. Don’t quit trying but challenge yourself every time you have a go. I promise you will be an expert in no time!

Let me know if you have any questions or are still confused!

Happy NIP-reading everyone 🙂

References:

2011. Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) [Online]. Available: http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/consumers/food-labels/label-facts/nutrition-labelling/#Nutrition-Information-Panel-%28NIP%29 [Accessed 06 September 2011].

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