How much of the nutritional information on your food packaging do you actually understand, and do you pay attention to it?
In many countries including South Africa it is a legal requirement not only to list the ingredients in a food product but also the nutritional information. Understanding the nutritional information on your food packaging will enable to you to make informed decisions regarding your physical and mental health.
One you understand the impact various ingredients have on your body you will be able to manage your health and weight more effectively.
Dieticians and nutritionists have spent years determining what the body needs to remain healthy, maintain weight and develop at the required pace.
Although time has taught us a lot and scientific progress introduced us to the concept of nutrition there is indeed truth to that bit of old school wisdom about eating your fruit and vegetables and not eating too many sweet treats.
The ideal diet
The information on the packaging of your food should be an indication of the impact it will have on your dietary requirements and balance
Energy – Measured in calories or kilojoules, this is an indicator of how much energy a portion will provide you with.
Protein – Your portion of protein should be sufficient enough to provide you with sustained energy and help to build bones and muscle tissue.
Fat – Fat is in fact quite necessary in a balanced diets as it aids lubrication and certain fats fuel the brain. Fat can be broken down into a number of sub-categories amongst which are the beneficial fats such as the omega group and those that when taken in excess can lead to artery blockage and health issues.
Dietary Fibre – Fibre is an important component if every meal as it helps to create bulk and aids in digestion and cleansing the body of toxins.
Vitamins – Necessary for maintaining good health but not manufactured in sufficient quantities by the body, so vitamins need to be taken in the form of supplements or as naturally occurring in foodstuffs.
Minerals – Chemical elements that are required by the body. There are over 20 of these minerals required by the body for optimal functioning.
It is not always possible to pick up something fresh to eat, so reading labels and informing yourself on what you are putting into your body are the next best thing.