Many of us are not sure how much salt, fat and sugar is in the food we eat. Change4Life’s new Food Smart campaign aims to give us all the information we need to make healthier food choices.
Here at Which? we’ve been campaigning for healthy eating for all and we want to see reductions in the levels of salt, fat and sugar in food and drinks. From our report on pizzas to analysing breakfast cereals, our product comparisons have often shown that you and your kids could easily be eating more than the guideline daily amounts without even realising.
Just a spoonful of sugar…
When we looked at breakfast cereals last February we found that 32 out of the 50 varieties we reviewed were high in sugar, such as Frosties at 37%. Many of those were aimed at children.
Our sandwiches report in May 2012 also found that you could be eating three times as much fat and saturated fat depending on the sandwich you buy.
Change4Life, the healthy living initiative from the NHS, recently ran a survey that found almost four out of five people don’t realise that a supermarket ham and cheese sandwich contains more salt than a packet of ready salted crisps. The results came from a food IQ test designed to see how savvy we all are when it comes to calories and nutrition.
I expected to get a fairly high score in the test. I’m aware of the products that are likely to contain lots of salt and which ones have oodles of saturated fat. When I’m out shopping, I check the labels of products and make decisions based on what I see.
Deep fat pizza – no thanks
Turns out, I’m not as sugar savvy as I thought. Nor am I fabulous at deciding which meals contain the most fat. I scored a measly 50% in the food IQ test and the only area I scored highly on was salt awareness.
It seems as though I could benefit from more education. Change4Life’s new Food Smart campaign could help – it’s all about making sure we know how much salt, fat and sugar is lurking in our meals. We’re then more likely to eat a balanced diet.
Rather than vilifying particular foods, the campaign suggests healthier alternatives and ways to cut back on fat and swap out sugary snacks.
If I’m going to have pizza for dinner on Wednesday, a veggie or seafood topping is going to have less fat than a meat feast. If I want to cut down on sugar, switching my breakfast cereal would be a good place to start.
Although, pizza’s unlikely to be on my menu until I can get one of Change4Life’s examples out of my mind: the fat from the average deep pan pizza could fill a wine glass. Bleurgh.
Are you food savvy? Can you beat my score in the food IQ test? How do you make sure you eat a balanced diet?