How do I check the fat, salt and sugar content in the food I buy?

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Use the traffic light system

Lots of packaged foods come with colour-coded labels that show how much fat, sugar and salt there is at a glance. Red means there’s a lot, amber means there’s a moderate amount, and green means there’s a little.

To make healthier meal choices, try to choose more green and amber labels, and fewer reds.

Check the nutrition label

If there’s no colour-coded label, look for the nutrition information per 100g instead. The NHS guidelines below will help you tell if a food is high in fat, salt or sugar.

High levels (per 100g)Low levels (per 100g)
Total fatMore than 17.5g3g or less
Saturated fatMore than 5g1.5g or less
SugarsMore than 22.5g of total sugars5g or less of total sugars
SaltMore than 1.5g0.3g salt or less

Use a food scanner app

A food scanner app can make it easier to understand food labels, especially when you’re shopping in a hurry. Just use your phone to scan the barcode on any item, and the app will tell you exactly what’s in it.

We recommend the free Change4Life Food Scanner app for Apple or Android.

Go back

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