Nutrition labels represent product transparency and help consumers Choose foods that are suitable for your diet, pathology, and health conditions.
Ministry of Health has just issued a draft circular guiding nutrition labeling for food. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health proposes that by January 1, 2025, products produced by manual methods must have nutritional labels according to regulations.
What is a food nutrition label?
Processed foods are packaged and listed with specific nutritional ingredients, but not everyone knows this important information.
Nutritionist Nguyen Thu Ha (Saigon South International General Hospital) said that the nutrition label mentions the parameters of each type such as energy; protein (protein); carbohydrates (carbohydrates); total sugar (total sugar/total sugar); fat (fat); saturated fat (saturated fat); sodium salt (sodium).
Depending on the diet and health status, each person can calculate the above parameters, there is a choice food suitable, used in sufficient quantity to provide enough energy for the body and minimize the risk of causing health problems.
Nutrition label on a dairy product
Why do foods need nutrition labels?
Doctor Nguyen Thu Ha shared, Vietnam is facing an increasing burden of chronic non-communicable diseases, mainly heart-related diseaes, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer. In particular, an unhealthy diet, including choosing foods with unknown ingredients and nutritional value, is one of the important risk factors for these chronic diseases.
“Nutritional labeling to announce the transparency of nutritional ingredients helps consumers understand the composition of food, calculate the energy of each product to choose suitable and healthy food.” Dr. Ha shared.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lam Vinh Nien, Dean of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, said that in many countries above worldFood labeling is an essential part of the food industry. Food labeling helps consumers decide and choose foods that meet their needs and meal plan.
Published nutrition labels in marinade products
How to read food labels?
According to Dr. Ha, when buying food, it is necessary to pay attention to reading the parameters on the food label because it is directly related to the user’s health. Specifically:
Ration: A serving is a prescribed portion (or a serving), containing a certain amount of kcal. Attention should be paid to the serving size on the package because the way to calculate kcal per serving is to help users know the amount of kcal when consumed, to avoid consuming too much causing weight gain. For example, a bag of chips contains 150 kcal/30 gram serving, but the whole 90 gram bag is 3 servings, which means 450 kcal.
Energy: Calculated in kcal. The kcal information on food packaging shows how much energy the user has taken from the food. Regarding the kcal levels in food: 40 kcal is low, 100 kcal is medium and 400 kcal is high. If you consume too much energy each day compared to the energy expenditure by exercise, it will increase the risk of overweight, obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases.
Pay attention to the parameters of protein, carbohydrates, fat, saturated fat and especially sodium salt. A diet low in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium can help reduce your risk of chronic non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Because saturated fats and trans fats have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol.
Trans fat: Attention consumers always check this part of the ingredients. This ingredient is often found in industrially processed products, fast foods, fried foods, and processed foods.
Doctor Ha noted that with cholesterol, we should only eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day and if we have cardiovascular disease, we should eat less than 200 milligrams. Eating too much sugar will provide a lot of energy, but lack of other nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals, make nutritional imbalances.
In addition, high sodium salt levels can lead to increased blood pressure, so eat less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day and if you have heart disease, eat less than 2,000 milligrams per day.