How to read food labels
Don't be misled by labelling tricks. The terms used are often misleading. For example, the term 'light' or 'lite' doesn't necessarily mean that the product is low in fat or calories.
The claims 'no cholesterol', 'low cholesterol' or 'cholesterol free' on foods derived from plants, like margarine and oil, are meaningless because all plant foods contain virtually no cholesterol in their natural form.
To be considered a low-fat food, low-fat solid foods must contain less than 3 grams of fat per 100 gram serve; low-fat liquid foods must contain less than 1.5 grams of fat per 100ml.
Although this sounds healthier, the product may still have just as much fat as a fried product. Check the nutrition information panel to be sure.
Reduced fat does not mean the product is low in fat, but that the product has at least a 25 percent reduction compared to the manufacturer's normal product of that type.
The key nutrients on the nutrition information panel includes energy (kilojoules, kj or calories), total and saturated fat, total carbohydrate and sugars and Glycaemic Index (GI), dietary fibre (only needs to be listed when claims are made) and sodium.
Food additives are chemicals that perform a variety of functions, such as keeping food fresh or enhance its colour, flavour or texture.