Read food labels for nutritional info, please!
BY FALON FOLKES
Observer employees reporter
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
JAMAICANS have been urged to pay eager consideration to the contents of meals that they’re consuming and have been reminded to learn the nutritional details on food labels.
“It’s important for you to know what the food contents are; if something is high in salt or [has] no salt, and what is the expiration date,” stated Dr Suzanne Soares-Wynter, medical nutritionist on the Caribbean Institute for Health Research, The University of the West Indies, Mona.
Dr Soares-Wynter, who was visitor speaker at yesterday’s launch of Heart Month 2018 by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica on the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, stated food sources are additionally necessary as a result of shoppers have to know the standard of what they eat.
Jamaicans, added the medical nutritionist, aren’t as healthy as some consider. “Every one in two persons is overweight. Every one in four persons will be obese. We are very inactive, and, in spite of all the fruits and vegetables around us, only one per cent is eating the required amount of servings of fruits per day.”
A contributory issue to the poor health of some Jamaicans, she stated, is the quantity of processed meals that folks eat, “which puts us at risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases”.
The physician defined that the packaging of processed meals is often engaging however deceptive. “You see beverages with pretty nice fruits on the front, but when you look at the ingredients there is no trace of actual fruit, “she said. “This is where food labels come in.”
she reiterated that folks ought to pay shut consideration to sodium and fats content material.
“Sodium occurs naturally in most foods. Even fruits and vegetables have some amount of sodium. We need sodium in our diet, but the problem is it is used as a flavour-enhancer or preservative in packaged food. So when you have canned beans and it’s stored in brine, simply rinsing it off can get rid of some of that sodium,” the nutritionist defined.
“WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends that we should be having less than two grammes of sodium and that’s equivalent to about a teaspoon of salt. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you season meat and add jerk seasoning, salt, soy sauce, and powder seasoning it will add up,” she suggested.
She added that a low-sodium food regimen reduces the danger of hypertension, heart problems, fluid retention, bloating, kidney illness, and complications.
She additionally had a warning concerning the consumption of fat.
“When we eat saturated fats and trans-fats, these are what we call the solid fats. These fats tend to clog our arteries,” she stated, stating that totally different fat on the labels might add as much as 30 per cent in high-fat food.
Dr Soares-Wynter warned shoppers to watch out for health claims that come on packaged meals. “Companies will put terms like sugar-free, high in fibre, low-fat, good source of calcium, no salt, no sugar added, etc,” she famous.
She beneficial that buyers verify the labels to see if components mirror what’s on the packaging. For occasion, the packaging can say no salt, however the nutritional information state that the merchandise incorporates 160mg of sodium.
Another strategy to know the content material of food, she stated, is to take a look at the elements listed. She identified that the components are listed in descending order by weight. This signifies that the primary merchandise has probably the most quantity within the food. She extremely recommends that buyers learn labels and examine gadgets earlier than selecting what to buy.
Heart Month begins on February 1. The theme for this yr is ‘Healthy Nutrition: Know Your Labels’.