Using Nutrition Labels

The new Nutrition Labelling Scheme, which came into effect on 1 July 2010, helps you make healthier choice of food when doing grocery shopping. Most of the prepackaged food will have nutrition labels, and claims such as “low fat” and “high fibre” can only be used if they meet certain requirements.

What are the benefits of reading nutrition labels?

  • Understand the nutritional content of food and help assess your calorie and nutrient intake;
  • Compare nutritional content among different foods to make healthier choices;
  • Tailor-made your food choice to your dietary needs, such as maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood cholesterol and blood pressure, etc.

How do I use a nutrition label?

  1. Take note of the reference amount so that you can understand other figures in the nutrition label. It is expressed in “per 100 g/mL”, “per serving” or “per package”.
  2. Read the energy and nutrient content. On the nutrition label, you can find the following “1+7” items.
    • Energy: It tells you how much energy, expressed in kilocalories (kcal) or kilojoules (kJ), you get by eating the reference amount of food.
    • Total fat, saturated fat, trans fat and sugars: You should cut down their intake to maintain heart health and healthy body weight.
    • Sodium: Too much sodium (or “salt” as we generally call it) may add up to high blood pressure.
    • Protein and Carbohydrates: Eat the appropriate amount to maintain a balanced diet.
    • Other Nutrients: Besides the above seven nutrients, you may also find other nutrients on the label. You should get enough of some, including dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins, and avoid getting too much of others, such as cholesterol.
  3. Then you can calculate the energy and nutrients you get from the food, or compare the nutritional content between products.

What do those nutrition claims mean?

Nutrition claims on food products are now regulated by law. Here are some examples of the requirements to be met by nutrition claims.

  • High calcium: containing not less than 240 mg of calcium per 100 g of solid food; not less than 120 mg per 100 mL of calcium of liquid food
  • Low fat: containing not more than 3 g of fat per 100 g of solid food; not more than 1.5 g of fat per 100 mL of liquid food
  • Sugars free: containing not more than 0.5 mg of sugars per 100g/mL of food
  • Extra dietary fibre: at least 25% more dietary fibre when compared with a similar food

For more details on nutrition claims, you can refer to the link below.

Understanding Nutrition Claims booklet (pdf file)

How do I learn more about nutrition labels and their uses?

You can learn more about nutrition labels, including information for trade and consumers from the link below. In the Information for Consumers section, you can also find some useful resources on how to use nutrition labels such as feature articles, frequently asked questions, booklets, etc.

More on nutrition labels

You can also make use of our Nutrition Label Widget to calculate energy and nutrient intake from the food products you bought, as well as making comparisons among products.

Assess Nutrition Label Widget
Last review date: January 2011