Current Date:October 19, 2021

Traffic Lights Nutritional Labelling

The traffic lights are a mechanism that we are all familiar with! The idea behind using this system as nutrition labelling was to simplify making healthier choices. Products use green, amber or red labels on the packaging. At a glance, you can know which food has low, medium or high amounts of fat, sugars and salt. This works because everyone identifies with the concept of green=good, red=bad. However, this can also lead to people avoiding certain foods that they think are worse despite the actual health benefits to their consumption. For example, meat would be red for fat, despite it being a very good source of protein. It is important to remember that traffic light nutrition labelling is additional information about food items that make up a meal. Therefore, simply avoiding any ‘red’ foods is not a requirement if the rest of the food you consume along with it is healthy and balanced. Sugar is the star ingredient consumers are worried about. The colour label for sugar is based on the total sugar content in a 100 ml serving of the product which is often much less than a single serving. It is also good to remember that sugars include all monosaccharides and disaccharides but the effect these have on your body sugar levels are varied.Some sugars can have a low Glycemic Index which doesn’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Thus, a red label with Low Glycemic sugars can be misleading. The key to almost everything is moderation, even foods that are green or orange should not be consumed in excessive amounts.

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