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Are You Reading Food Labels?

Labels Padega India: A Health Revolution in the Making

5 minute read, Written By: Momly

Food labels play a significant role in helping one make informed decisions especially when buying packaged foods. Labels Padhega India is a health initiative that has taken social media by storm. Revant Himansingka who goes by the social media handle FoodPharmer, has made companies replace the harmful ingredients in some of their famous foods with healthy food substitutes. Take the example of Lays, a flagship product of Pepsico rewrote its age-old history that was tightly tied with palm oil since its inception and reduced the percentage of it in its make.

Revant’s health movement is an eye-opener for many of us, especially new parents who are buying baby formulas and other health mixes directly from the market. There are reports of high sugar content in health drinks like the most sought-after Horlicks and Bournvita. With this initiative, he urges everyone to read nutrition labels and rally around unhealthy food scams to make healthy food choices with informed purchases.


Navigating through Food Labels: How to be Label-Smart?

  • Check the ingredients count – Read the ingredient list and opt for the foods which have lower ingredient counts. If the product list is classified into too many ingredients, then it’s safe to consume because of its low additives count and vice-versa. A safe food label will have 2 or 3 wholesome foods in its ingredient list.

  • Nutritional value – The nutritional value is mentioned against the ingredients to help you assess the total nutritional value of each ingredient in proportion to the serving size. This is one of the important aspects of the food label we look for. The nutrient content will guide you to fill the nutrient gaps if any. You can also assess whether you are meeting your daily needs by checking the daily value per cent. A lot of foods display the daily value per cent in their products.

  • Serving Size – Serving size is the food/drink you get after the entire preparation. The calorific content and nutritional value are as per the serving size mentioned. For example, 100 calories per serving. Through this, we can exactly calculate the nutrition intake for any product and tweak the servings accordingly. Also serving sizes differ according to food brands.

  • Look for Additives and Added Sugars – Additives, artificial colours and preservatives are quite common in processed packaged foods to extend the products’ shelf life. Often, they protect the products from getting rotten and spoilt but they pose risks and harm in the long run. A significant measure of salt and sugar are added to these products. Some of the names in place of added sugars and sweeteners are glucose, fructose, sucrose, aspartame, sucralose, stevia etc. Although Aspartame is used in various sweet foods, it is linked with various side effects like headaches, mood shifts, digestive issues and allergic reactions like rash etc. Another food that appears on many labels is Amylose. Also called cornstarch, it is used as a thickening agent in soups, sauces baked goods and to coat fried foods and is a substitute for flour. However, it can lead to digestive issues, and is not diabetes friendly due to a high glycemic index.

  • Facts on Fats – High intake of fats varieties like saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol can increase the risk of obesity, hypertension and heart diseases. Select foods which have a lower content of these risky foods. Instead choose foods that are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and proteins. There are three types of fats – Saturated, Unsaturated and Trans fats. Trans fats come from partially hydrogenated oils. Mostly found in processed foods, they significantly raise LDL cholesterol increasing the risk of heart disease.

  • Stay away from Allergens – Food Allergens like peanuts, eggs, and soybeans are allergens and many are sensitive to these products resulting in allergic reactions.

Revant’s health movement is a call to action for all of us to read food labels and achieve health outcomes with healthier food options. By prioritising labels over blind purchases, we can bring a food revolution that engages with the right brands and products and creates a healthier version of ourselves.

Talk to Momly Nutritional Experts to know more about food labels in baby foods.

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