Health Canada is implementing new food labeling guidelines that requires prepackaged food that are high in saturated fats, sugars, and sodium to highlight this information on the front of the packages.  Food companies will be required to include front-of-packaging labels that indicates the product is “high-in” either saturated fat, sugar, and/or sodium.  This labeling will complement the more detailed Nutritional Facts.  These new regulations will not take effect until January 2026 but you do not need to wait to be more informed on nutritional information about the food you buy.

Here are some tips on reading the nutritional value labels to help make healthier decisions.

Check the serving size:

To better understand how many calories, protein, carbs, and fat your consuming the first thing to look at is the serving size.  We often eat significantly more than the recommended serving size resulting in consuming more calories, sodium and fat than we intended.

Sugar Content:

When looking at the sugar content (listed in grams of sugar), keep in mind that naturally occurring sugars (lactose in dairy and fructose in fruit) and added sugars are included as one measure.  That make it impossible to sort out what is strictly added sugar for many products.  You can assume that if the product does not contain dairy or fruit then all sugars are added.  Keep in mind that four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon.

Daily value (DV) percentages:

These DV measurements are useful to get a sense of your daily intake of various nutrients.  You need to understand your serving size as you might need to double the DV if you are eating double the recommended serving size.

Read the ingredient list:

Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight.  The first ingredients are the main ingredients of the product.  It is what the product contains the most of.  Ideally choose products that list whole foods first.