In recent years, the diversity of packaged foods has increased for healthy food consumption. Shopping at large markets in the city life with intensive working hours is accepted by everyone as the right and easy way. Well, in the markets where we visit bakery, butcher and greengrocery sections, can we go towards the packaged food shelves with inner peace? Which packaged foods should we consume? Are there diet products with reduced calorie? Or are we being persuaded to it?
Let’s start with what we know first: Datesand approvals on packages
We, as nutritionists and dietitians, believe that we have convinced everyone to buy the products that are approved by “Turkish Standards Institute”, “Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock” and “Ministry of Health” with “best before date”. When buying a product, best before date must be controlled first in order to avoid any food poisoning.
What’s on the front cover of the packaging?
On the front cover of the packaged products, one can see colorful and big written attention-grabbing phrases as “enriched product”, “light product”, “high fiber product” and “diabetic product”.
Enriched Product: this term, which was first used for European and American products, is used in our country mostly for milk, fruit juices, bread and cereals. It shows that the vitamin-mineral amount of the product is increased during packaging or producing.
Light Product: the most confusing group of products, should we consume it or not?
Dietary products are accepted as low-calorie products by people on diet. Although it seems to give us unlimited consumption right, light products mean that 25- 30% of the product calorie is reduced or fat is reduced by 50%. So there is no so much calorie difference with normal products. Also almost sugar, salt and carbohydrate contents are the same. In light products mostly fat energy is reduced.
High-fiber Product: the products, on which there is written “high-fiber”, unfortunately do not protect us and our digestive system so easily. Products that meet 20% of 25-30 g fiber content recommended to be taken daily can be considered as “high-fiber” products.
Diabetic Product: this is a group of products that is produced specially for patients with diabetes. Sweeteners are used instead of refined sugar. They are also considered as products with high fat content since the reduced sugar taste is alternated with increased fat content.
What about the back of the packaging we never read?
Food label shows carbohydrate, protein, fat, unsaturated fat, sugar, vitamins and minerals and fiber content of food. It helps us to make right decision while buying a product. This table, which is usually indicated on the back of the package, shows the nutritional values of the product for 100 g. We can make calculation ourselves by reading the weight of the product we buy.
The result of the studies: Calorie calculation and food label reading helps people to reduce the calories consumed during the day.
Ingredients: It is the part that shows all the nutrients a product contains. It is the second most important part that shows the additives content of the product you will get and helps deciding.
In addition, the storage and storage conditions of the product, the place of production and the portion amount are also on the back of the package.
The points that help to decide the consuming of a product:
ALLERGENIC: warns people who are allergic to hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, eggs and soybean, not to consume the product.
INCLUDES GLUTEN: gluten, a type of protein found in wheat and cereals, should be indicated, because it causes digestion and absorption problems in some people, especially celiac.
INCLUDES LACTOSE: lactose, mostly found in milk and dairy products, which may cause discomfort such as bloating, gas, diarrhea in some people, should be indicated on the label.