Energy on Food Labels

Energy information is listed on the food panel and this is important for you if you’re health conscious. Different kinds of foods based on protein, fats and carbohydrates provide your body with energy, which is required to function. Energy enables you perform your daily activities. In this regard, a lower energy food usually indicates that the food is low in fat or sugar. This also means that this food is relatively a better choice for people in most cases.


The back label in food packages contain information regarding a food or drink that are compulsory and that gives details about nutritional composition, the ingredients, known allergens, ‘use-by’ or ‘best before’ dates and also the weight of a product. And if there is an optional front label system then it is used to check at a glance how healthy the food product is. Through this system, you can understand how many calories are there in that food or drink. The color code is used to show if this food is low (green) or medium (amber) or high (red) in terms of saturated fat, salt and sugar. This information also shows you how those portions of that food contribute to the standard Reference Intake (RI) of a healthy adult.


You can select food products properly and get necessary information on energy and other contents if you can read the label like an expert:

  1. For average adult person, there is Reference Intake (RI) percentages that are given per portion. You need to check how much of that, food pack counts as a portion. This will help you avoid consuming extra calories, sugar, and fat than required.
  2. Usually, you should go for green, sometimes amber, and red as a treat when you are going to select a food product with traffic light labels.
  3. Remember that blood glucose levels are raised by carbohydrates intake. But front side food labels don’t include the amount of carbohydrate. In those cases, you need to check back label for the total carbohydrate. Back label mentions carbohydrates from starchy food to sugars.
  4. The information that is mentioned on traffic lights regarding sugar, does not differentiate between natural sugar sources (or fructose) and artificial/added sugar sources (sucrose or glucose). If the ingredients list contains syrup, cane sugar, molasses or terms ending in ‘ose’ within the top position, then this suggests that the food contains more added sugar. In this case you should choose an alternative food if can find. You also need to be careful about the portion you eat.
  5. When choosing between two fiber products chose the one that has more fiber. You’ll find information on the fiber content on back label of food pack. We should consume more fiber as part of the daily diet.
  6. You’ve to compare between the portion sizes defined by the manufacturer and decided by yourself. The portion sizes may differ in this case. You can reduce your portions to lose weight or keep a healthy weight.


Energy Value in Food Label


In countries where metric system is used, the energy value of foods is expressed in kilojoules (kJ) in those countries. Therefore, if you see that a food’s energy value is mentioned in kilojoules per portion then you will get that amount of energy per portion or serve of that food.


There is a tendency among some manufacturers to list energy content of foods in calories (cal). But sometimes it creates confusion. Because traditionally energy information inside a food is expressed with the term kcal. Some manufacturers wrongly omit the 'k' in front of 'cal'. In this way, two separate abbreviations 'cal' and 'kcal' are used interchangeably though they’ve different scientific meanings. The consumer therefore needs to understand here what actually he is reading here.


Energy Efficient Foods for Health and Weight Loss

To people who are trying to lose weight, should understand first which foods are low in energy. Usually, a food that has less than 170kJ energy per 100g can be safely regarded as 'low in energy' food. As a consumer, you’ve to look at a food label to find out if it says 'low in energy'. Then you should calculate how much energy that pack of food really contains per portion or serve. Remember that very often the so-called ‘slimming products’ or 'diet products' such as diet shakes, slimming bars and snacks don't only contain 170kJ per 100g. Therefore you need to check it our carefully.

Below is a list of food that are energy efficient and that you can take for health and weight loss.

Fruit and vegetables

  • Regard fruits and vegetables as good choices.
  • Avoid added salt and sugar which are present in varieties of canned fruit and vegetables.
  • Study low GI (Glycemic Index) foods and decide how the food might help you lose body weight.

Breads and Cereals

  • Per portion size, 3g of fiber or more.
  • Per portion size, less than 120g of sodium.
  • 10g or less sugar per 100g (20g for fruits).
  • Prefer multigrain or wholegrain varieties of food.
  • Prefer untoasted muesli.


You should look for those drinks that can serve you properly if you aim to lose weight and belly fat.

Fats and Oils

Olive, peanut, canola, soy, sunflower or safflower is the best forms of oil and spread.

Dairy Products (except Cheese)

  • Select those where you can get less than 3g per 100g.
  • Select those where you can get less than 1.5g saturated fat per 100g.


Select with least fat and sodium per 100g.

Meat, Chicken, Fish, Nuts, Legumes

  • 10g fat or less per 100g
  • 3g or less of saturated fat
  • 120mg or less sodium per 100g
  • Avoid added salt based tinned products
  • Select unsalted nuts

Snacks and Treat Foods

  • Per portion size 145 calories or less.
  • Always prefer those foods with the least saturated fats, sodium after comparison.

Last update: March 02, 2017 08:25:04 pm

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