You can eat healthy food only if you buy healthy food! But for us Indians, it is not very easy! This is partly
There has been very little regulation of food industry till recent past, therefore food manufacturers did not provide relevant information. But the situation is changing fast! FSSAI has put in place guidelines for food makers detailing the information they need to provide in food nutrition labels
It is up to us consumers to use this information now!
Manufacturers list the ingredients in descending order of % of total weight or volume. Also, the names of some ingredients are important to know . Thus looking at the ingredient list, you can check whether the ‘healthy’ claim is true or false:
International guidelines such as the US ones, mandate that ” a ‘good source’ or ‘high quality source’ claim may be made when a food contains 10-19%or > 20% of the RDI or DRV respectively. So, try to look at the ‘rich source’ claims with this lens before buying!
This information is optional, so it may or may not be there on the food label. But when it is there, this is the most crucial information for ‘healthy snacking’. A good thumb rule will be to make mental note of serving sizes, such that
The package, label or the advertisement of edible oils and fats should not use the expressions “Super-Refined”, “Extra-Refined”, “Micro-Refined”, “Double-Refined”, Ultra-Refined”, “Anti-Cholesterol”, “Cholesterol Fighter”, “Soothing to Heart”, “Cholesterol Friendly”, “Saturated Fat Free” . Because these expressions are an exaggeration/misrepresentation of quality of the product. In fact, ALL vegetable oils are cholesterol free! Similarly cold pressed oil is superior to refined oils, so double refined etc. are not better oils
Any food product which is likely to give a false impression to the consumer that the product contains fruit (but does not contain the specified amount of fruit), shall be clearly marked on the label as ‘ADDED (NAME OF THE FRUIT) FLAVOUR’. IN fact many ‘fruit juices’ such as Real or Tropicana have one line which says ‘fruit juice based drink’ on the packet. These are laden with sugar! Only REal Active and Tropicana 100% are pure fruit juices
This information should help you do your food shopping in a healthy way. Once you practice it, you and your family will be eating much healthier!
CHECK OUT: Our references for recommendations on diet