How to Read Nutrition Labels

by team nuut

Tips to de code and interpret a nutritional panel

Do you sometimes find food labels confusing or misleading? You're not alone! Navigating all the information on nutrition labels can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, we've got your back.

We’re sharing out tips to help you decipher food labels. Our goal is to help you distinguish between misleading junk and genuinely healthy options.

Recognising the nutritional value of the foods we eat is crucial for making informed dietary decisions. These choices can play a significant role in weight management, disease prevention, and sustaining adequate energy levels.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into the art of understanding nutrition labels, empowering you to make wiser, healthier food choices. Let's break it down step by step.

Serving Size

When it comes to decoding nutrition labels, let's start with the basics: serving size. This little nugget tells you the portion size the nutrient info is all about. But hold your fork! What you think is a single serving might not match reality.

One serving could mean only half a can of soda, nibbling on just a quarter of a cookie, or half a chocolate bar. Yep, even a lone biscuit could qualify. Sneaky, right? Manufacturers play this game to make us think we're consuming less sugar and fewer calories than we actually are.

So, before you dive into that bag of chips, compare the serving size to what you're really planning to munch on. Trust us, it's a portion of knowledge worth savouring.


When glancing at the "Calories" or “kJ” section on a nutrition label, you're essentially peeking into the energy content of the food. Think of it as your body's fuel gauge.

We all need energy for our everyday hustle, whether it's crushing it at the gym or simply going about our day-to-day tasks. The food and drink we devour provide us with the oomph needed to keep those wheels turning.

But here's the catch: always aim to check the measurements per 100g. Why? Well, it's a sneaky way companies try to pull the wool over our eyes. They might boast about numerous servings per item to downplay the calories. But in reality, like we discussed earlier, those servings could be as tiny as a mouse nibble. So, be smart and always keep an eye out for the big picture, not just the bite-size servings they want you to focus on.


Macronutrients aka Macros are the MVPs of our diet, the nutrients our bodies need in large amounts.

Total Fat

This section tells you all about the fats in your food – saturated, trans, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Keep an eye on saturated and trans fats, they're the ones that could throw your health off track.

Saturated fats are the ones you'll find in eggs, meat, and dairy. While they're common in everyday foods, too much can spell trouble for your health. Keep your saturated fat intake in check by opting for low-fat dairy and lean cuts of meat. Trans fats, on the other hand, are the ones you want to steer clear of – think cakes, pastries, and fried foods. These bad boys up your risk of heart-related issues.

Now, onto the good stuff – Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats. These fats are the heroes of the fat world, working to lower your blood cholesterol and keep your body in tip-top shape. Look out for them in olive oil, avocado, and other healthy sources.


Is measured in milligrams. High cholesterol might be of concern for some, so it's worth giving this number a once-over.


This one's measured in milligrams too. Watch out for high sodium levels, they could send your blood pressure soaring. 

Total Carbohydrates

This section breaks down the carbs into total carbs, dietary fibre, and sugars. Fibre? Good stuff. Added sugars? Not so much. 


It's sneaky, it's sweet, and it's everywhere. But how much is too much? We'd recommend sticking to less than 10-15 grams of sugar per day – that's roughly 2-3 teaspoons. Keep in mind, one teaspoon of sugar clocks in at about 4 grams. Australian guidelines suggest capping added sugars at 6-8 teaspoons daily, which translates to 16-32 grams. But here's the kicker: that doesn't include the natural sugars found in fruits and veggies. So, when scanning those nutrition labels, keep your eyes peeled for sneaky aliases like sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, fructose, cane sugar, and fruit juice concentrate – they're all just fancy names for SUGAR.


Listed in grams, protein is your body's BFF. It's vital for everything from hormone and enzyme production to muscle building and repair.

So, next time you eyeball a nutrition label, take a quick scan of these macronutrients – they're the real game-changers in your diet.


The unsung heroes of nutrition labels! While they may be small in quantity, their impact is mighty. Micronutrients encompass essential vitamins and minerals vital for overall health and well-being. Keep your peepers peeled for these gems on the nutritional panel, where you'll find percentages based on a daily reference intake, usually set at 2,000 calories. Shoot for 100% or more of essential nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, and iron to keep your body singing and dancing with joy! And guess what? nuut plant-based protein powders are packed with these micronutrients, ensuring you get your daily dose of goodness with every sip.

Percentage Daily Value

Let's talk about the % DV – your trusty guide to understanding how a serving of food fits into your daily nutrient intake. It's like your personal nutrition compass, helping you navigate the vast sea of dietary choices. Based on a daily intake of 2,000 calories, this handy percentage value can be adjusted to match your specific calorie needs. As a rule of thumb, aim for 5% or less for low, and 20% or more for high, in terms of daily value. It's like hitting the jackpot when you find a food item with a high % DV – you know you're getting a hefty dose of essential nutrients in one delicious package!

Allergen Information

A critical component of any food label, especially for those with food allergies.

Manufacturers usually list common allergens like peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, milk, eggs, and fish, providing essential guidance for individuals with specific dietary restrictions. By checking the allergen information on food labels, you can ensure the safety of your meals and snacks, making informed choices that align with your health needs and preferences.

Nutrient Claims

Those catchy phrases like "low fat," "high fibre," or "good source of protein" that often adorn food packaging. These claims are regulated by authorities and offer a quick glimpse into a product's nutritional profile.

However, it's essential to view them in the broader context of the product. For instance, a yogurt labelled "fat-free" might contain high levels of artificial sugars. Does that still make it a healthy choice? It depends on your personal dietary goals and preferences.

So, while nutrient claims can be helpful, it's crucial to consider them alongside other factors when making food choices.

Ingredient List

This often-overlooked section on food packaging holds vital clues about what we're about to consume. Typically found below the nutrition information label, ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, meaning the ingredients that weigh the most come first.

Now, here's where things get interesting. Within this list, keep an eye out for additives, colours, artificial sweeteners, or fillers. These sneaky ingredients are often added to enhance flavour, appearance, texture, or shelf life.

Emulsifiers, colours, preservatives, thickeners, and vegetable gums are just a few examples.

While most additives are safe in small quantities and have been approved by governing bodies like the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards, some individuals may have sensitivities.

In Australia, the use of food additives is closely regulated by FSANZ. At nuut, we take pride in adding no artificial additives to our products to ensure our products mix easily and offer a delightful consumption experience. If there's any doubt about an ingredient's safety, it simply doesn't make the cut.

Health Star Rating

This little guide is often found on the front of food packages. It's like a GPS for your grocery shopping, offering an overall rating of the food's healthiness in the form of stars. The more stars, the healthier the choice.

But that's not all – the HSR also provides specific nutrient and energy information to help you make informed decisions. This includes details about the energy content, as well as levels of saturated fat, sodium (salt), and sugars.

Think of it as your personal nutrition navigator, especially handy when comparing similar food products like packaged breakfast cereals. So, next time you're strolling down the grocery aisle, keep an eye out for those stars – they just might lead you to healthier choices tailored to your needs.

In conclusion, understanding how to read nutrition labels empowers you to make more informed choices about the foods you consume. By deciphering the information on these labels, you gain valuable insights into the nutritional content of your food, helping you better align your choices with your personal dietary goals and preferences. Education around nutrition labels equips you with the tools to navigate the aisles of the grocery store with confidence, ensuring that every item you select contributes to your overall health and well-being.