In her Dataroom column for Corriere della Sera , journalist Milena Gabanelli explains why it is important to know how to read nutritional labels, which have been mandatory in Europe since 2011 for all packaged foods.
I give you 5.
The nutritional label by law must report the nutritional values of the food, i.e. its share of calories, carbohydrates (including simple sugars and fibers or with separate wording for fibers), proteins and fats.
Prior to 2011, the addition of nutrition labels was optional for the manufacturer. Instead, it has never been optional to provide the ingredients on the list, starting with the primary ingredient, that is, the one that is present in the product in a higher percentage.
According to the article, an alarming fact emerges: few people read nutritional labels, that is 22% of the Italian population. These are mostly people with higher educational qualifications and a large part of them are women.
Finally, few people pay attention to the list of ingredients of what they buy.
An error? Yes, and very serious.
NUTRITION LABELS: 5 REASONS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO READ THEM.
- Nutrition labels are important for a reason, which isn’t just calories . It also serves to know, for example, how many simple sugars and how many fats a certain product has. For example, we may find that Greek fruit yogurt “hides” almost 2 and a half tablespoons of sugar and less protein than white yogurt. That many cookies we love have a lot more fat than we imagine.
- Alongside the nutritional values, the list of ingredients is essential.
Reading the ingredients reveals whether a bread is wholemeal because it is made from wholemeal flour or with added bran. If there are artificial flavors. If there are emulsifiers, that is, added fats.
If there are additives that can cause intestinal problems.
- The ingredient list is also a way to evaluate how a food is produced .
For example, many cold cuts in trays contain starches. Some cheeses may contain carrageenan, egg white. Many ice creams may contain palm or canola oil.
- Reading the labels allows us to understand in what proportion there are certain ingredients.
If I buy a jam and the first ingredient is sugar, it means that the sugar is present in doses greater than 50% on the fruit. Or if I buy a hazelnut or chocolate cream and the first ingredient is oil, the second sugar, the third milk powder, it means that the concentration of cocoa or hazelnuts is low.
- If you don’t have time to read the labels, go natural.
A person can say: I don’t have time, I don’t understand certain acronyms, certain ingredients. It’s right! Then don’t buy that product. If there is a voice you don’t understand, how do you think you can eat it? What do you trust based on?
Think about it.