Food labels are an important part of keeping healthy and well informed. Accuracy is now demanded by the Food and drug administration. It is important to learn how to properly read the label; it is not as simple as it seems. Some of the ingredients are hard to decipher. Having a specific purpose in mind such as gluten free, salt free, allergies, contains nuts, will help in keeping you on track. When in doubt about some ingredient, call the company. Most often a telephone number is listed. Your call will be welcomed.
Mostly we read labels to see what ingredients are listed. This is important in special diets. Gluten-free will be written on the package or can in larger letters and apart from the Nutrition Facts and Ingredient section. Ingredients in bag of sesame and seaweed rice chips (Lundberg) are as follows:
Ingredients: Brown rice, brown rice flour, organic masa corn flour, white rice flour, safflower or sunflower oil, organic sesame seeds, dried seaweed flakes, evaporated cane juice, salt, torula yeast, dehydrated garlic, yeast extract, sesame oil, dehydrated onion, honey powder, cultured whey (contains milk), paprika, ginger, cayenne pepper, citric acid, trilcalcium phosphate (anti-caking agent); steam distilled oil of ginger; natural caramel color. The serving size will be listed first, then calories, then calories from fat. (On a bag of gluten free rice chips – gluten-free – will be written on the package.)
Fat is the next in order and the amount will be given in percentage of daily as well as amount in one serving. This bag of chips – serving size – about ten chips -has 7 grams of fat which amounts to 11% of a daily need for fat. There is 0 Trans fat which is good. Had that been listed, since that is a bad fat, I would not have bought this item. Likewise Cholesterol is 0mg.
Next listed is Sodium – salt – listed as 90 milligrams and 4% of daily the daily requirement. Total Carbohydrates in these ten chips are 18 grams which supplies 6 % of the daily recommended amount by dietary departments. Fiber is listed under this category and here has less than 1 gram. This supplies 3% of the daily required amount. There are 0 sugars.
Proteins are listed next. There is two grams and no daily percentage is given. The vitamins: Vitamin A0%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 0%; Iron 0%. Moving on down and reading underneath the nutrition facts this: “This product contains 11% organic ingredients”. Following that extensive list of ingredients the company that produces the product and the country of origin.
Why is it important to read the labels even though we are not allergic to milk, peanuts, have no gluten intolerance, and have no particular salt or sugar restrictions – to our knowledge? There will be other directions such as heating and cooking precautions, how to open the package successfully, hints that peanut or milk or wheat products – while not listed as an ingredient – was processed in the same plant.
Much of the information is printed in very small print and therefore carrying a small magnifying glass in your pocket while grocery shopping is often a help. Don’t expect much help from employees since they are courteous and helpful to show where to find the item, but when it comes to what is inside that box, can or bag, you are on your own.