Here are the top five things you should be looking out for on nutritional labels:
- Serving size
Serving size helps you evaluate the rest of the information on the label. Knowing the serving size can keep you from overindulging in the not-so-good stuff and also make sure you get enough of the good stuff.
- When the label says: ‘No added sugar/unsweetened’
‘No added sugar’ doesn’t mean that the food will have a low sugar content. It may contain ingredients, such as concentrated fruit juices, that have a naturally high sugar content, which is just as bad for your oral health. It may also contain artificial sweeteners. ‘No added sugar’ doesn’t always mean low-kilojoule. Added starch can bump up the kilojoule count. Plus, manufacturers often replace sugar with artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, such as lactitol, sorbitol and xylitol, says dietician, Jo Travers.
- Is it really light/lite?
This legally has to be 25% lower in at least one typical value (for instance, fat or sugar) than standard products. Look at the nutritional label on the back of the item for the full picture. A ‘light’ product could contain 25% less fat, but still have the same number of kilojoules as a standard version of the product, explains Jo.
- 100% natural
These products don’t contain any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and have zero synthetic ingredients. The product won’t have been pasteurised, bleached or hydrogenated, but it may have been smoked, baked or distilled, says Jo.
- Free from
‘Free from’ claims don’t always mean what you might expect. It depends on the process and the product. Gluten- and wheat-free foods almost always inevitably contain slight traces as sometimes it is either impossible or prohibitively expensive to remove all traces, says Owen Frisby of the SA Association for Food Science and Technology.
Why you should be using Robertsons herbs and spices…
Robertsons recently embarked on a journey to ensure clean label credentials for their new spices. These clean label spices are non-irradiated (they are now steam sterilised), GMO-free and contain no added MSG.
Robertsons herbs and spices are no longer irradiated. Instead, they use steam sterilisation to clean herbs and spices, ensuring freshness and hygiene for consumers to use. This process of cleaning herbs and spices makes them safe to consume, without altering the taste.
GMO, genetically modified organism, refers to plants, animals or other organisms whose genetic material has been changed in ways that do not occur naturally. All pure herbs and spices are GMO-free by nature and now the Robertsons seasoning blends also have no ingredients of GMO origin.
No added MSG
Glutamate is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid that is mimicked in some products by using added MSG (monosodium glutamate). The new Robertsons herbs and spices are still full of the flavour that the brand is best known for, but they now contain no added MSG.