Understanding Food Labels

It is important to understand the amount of sugar, fat and protein in your food. Typically, this information can found on the labels on each product.


A basic guideline is as follows:

Foods containing sugar with levels less than 5g per 100g are generally classified as low levels, foods containing 15g or more per 100g are generally classified as containing high levels of sugar.

Sugar is also named on packaging as: Sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, maltose, hydrolysed starch, malt extract, brown sugar, honey, invert sugar, fructose, mannitol, molasses amongst others.

To get a better understanding, in 330ml of cola (a standard size) there is approximately 33g of sugar. For reference one teaspoon of sugar added to your morning tea or coffee is approximately 4g of sugar. So drinking one cola of 330ml is equivalent to the total recommended amount of daily sugar intake in the UK. The recommended amount of daily sugar intake in the UK is 30g.


The recommended amount of fat consumption per day is 20-35% of the calories you eat. A quick and easy example to understand the amount of fat in a product would be as follows:

If on packaging is it written 12g of fat this is typically 18% of your daily amount. Underneath the 12g of fat would be an example of saturated fat and example of this could be 3g, this would equate to 15% of your daily recommended intake.


The daily amount of protein intake is very important. Protein is used in every cell in your body and is used to repair and build tissues. It is also used to make hormones, enzymes, skin, muscles and blood.

A quick calculation to estimate how much protein you need a day is simple. Body weight in kg times 0.8g per kg of body weight. According to guidelines this means that an example of an average adult weighing 75kg would need approximately 60g of protein per day to sustain his or her body.

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