Have you ever found yourself frowning at a food label, not sure what it means, when all you’re trying to do is to make a healthy choice? You’re not alone.

Research from Queensland Health reveals consumers are struggling to read and understand food labels, sometimes mistaking unhealthy foods for something that’s good for them.

Fat, sugar and salt are the main offenders, with all three often listed under different names, making it difficult for shoppers to know what’s really in their food.

Queensland Heath nutritionist Mathew Dick says many Queenslanders don’t know how many kilojoules they should be consuming each day, and have trouble understanding food nutrition information correctly.

“Food products can be misleading when they are marketed as low fat or diet,” Mr Dick said.

“This may well be the case, however the product may still be high in sugar or salt.

“Being able to read and understand the nutrition panel can help you make healthy food choices. Generally, if the first three ingredients listed are fat, sugar or salt, it’s best to consider finding another product.

“A great place to start is understanding the building blocks of food, and calculating the energy your body needs every day.”

What you need to know – ingredients by their other names

Fat

Beef fat, butter, cream, coconut, coconut oil, copha, hydrogenated oils, margarine, milk solids, palm oil, vegetable oil, dripping, lard, oil and sour cream.

Sugar

Brown sugar, concentrated fruit juice corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, golden syrup, sucrose, honey, lactose, maltose, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar and sucrose.

Salt

Baking powder, celery salt, garlic salt, glutamate, mineral salts, monosodium glutamate, MSG, rock salt, sea salt, sodium, sodium bicarbonate and stock.

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