Make food labels clear!


How often do you use food labels when you are in the shops? How easy do you find them to use? Do you know what to look out for when you want to make healthier choices?

There have been a couple of items in the news this past week about food labels.

The first was about a new barcode technology that is going to be used in the UK which will help those who are visually impaired to be able to access information about food. By using a phone to scan the code, which is detectable from a greater distance than QR codes and doesn’t need to be framed or focussed, the user can find out ingredients and health and safety information about the product. This will help those who are partially sighted make healthier decisions about what they buy and eat. However making this information more accessible may not happen overnight, for the moment it is only breakfast cereal where we will eventually find these labels.

The second story was about a call for alcoholic drinks to have calorie information on the label. Currently the law states the labels only need to tell us the strength of the drink as well as it’s volume and any allergens. Nutritional information, ingredients and health risks do not need to be shown. Most labels don’t show the UK alcohol guidelines and recent research showed that most people didn’t know how many calories are in alcoholic drinks or what the current guidance is. Having more information on these labels will help us make healthier choices and decisions about what and how much we drink.

The current guidance is that we shouldn’t have more than 14 units of alcohol a week to keep our risk of ill health from alcohol low.  This should be spread out over a few days rather than saved up to have over one or two days. We are also advised to have at least a couple of alcohol free days a week.  But do you know what 14 units looks like? Have you considered how many calories are in your drinks?

Fourteen units is equivalent to:

6 pints of 4% beer (and is around 1090 calories)

6 x 175ml of 13% wine (around 950 calories) or

12 x 275 ml bottles of alcopops (around 2050 calories)

You can find out more on the Drinkaware website.

Being more aware of how many units and calories are in our drinks is really important because they can have an impact on our health and our weight.

If you would like advice and support on how to reach and maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, become more physically active, quit smoking and live a healthier lifestyle you can sign up with Live Well Stay Well. Click the register button to find out more.

Make food labels clear!