As part of its current push to help Jamaicans to make healthier food choices, the Ministry of Health (MOH) encourages reading and understanding food labels, particularly the nutrition facts. Doing so can help you follow a healthy diet and make it easier to select the most wholesome foods. Below is a guide to making the most of nutrition facts labels on the packages of food products.
The labels detail serving information, nutrient content, and recommended daily values.
1. Serving Information
This section states the size or amount of the product that constitutes one serving. It also shows the number of servings contained in the package.
Also specified is the number of calories in each serving. A calorie is the unit of measurement for the energy in food. Therefore, the calorie count shows how much energy is contained in each serving and, by extension, in the entire food product.
2. Nutrient Content
The Nutrition Content section highlights the types of nutrients in each serving.
Excessive intake of some, such as fat, sugar and sodium, can lead to obesity and chronic diseases like hypertension, heart disease and some cancers.
The more beneficial nutrients in the product are next on the list and they can be consumed in larger amounts. These nutrients can help reduce the risk of certain diseases. They are:
• Dietary fibres
3. Recommended Daily Values
The section ends with a nutrition guide. It gives information about the universal standard of recommended daily intakes of the listed nutrients and calories. These are generally the average recommendations for adults, except if the product is made specifically for another age group.
For more information, contact the:
Ministry of Health
10-16 Grenada Way
Telephone: (876) 633-8172, (876) 633-7771