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Traffic Light Labels Could Increase Healthy Eating

Traffic Light Labels Could Increase Healthy Eating


Nutrition labels are confusing, so color-coding foods may help

Color coding labels might help Americans be more healthy.

Recent research has found that half the world's consumers have trouble reading nutrition labels, and nobody really reads them anyway, so color-coding foods might be the next step.

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers added traffic-light colored labels to food items in a hospital cafeteria. Red labels denoted unhealthy items, yellow meant neutral, and green meant healthy.

Signs encouraged customers to choose green items and consider alternatives to red items. Within three months, sales for red items went down 9.2 percent and green items went up 4.5 percent.

"We believe this intervention was so successful because it was simple and easy to understand quickly. The labeling did not require any special skills and could be easily interpreted when a customer was in a rush," researcher Anne Thorndike said.

No word on whether or not these findings will differ in a high school cafeteria.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


Helping you eat well

In the UK, repeating nutritional information on the front of pre-packaged foods and drinks is voluntary (under the Food Information Regulation) but most of the major supermarkets and many food manufacturers provide this.
The information has to be displayed as either:

  • Energy (kJ and kcal)
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars (total sugars)
  • Salt

This information will be written per 100g/100ml, per portion or both.

The government’s recommended format is red, amber, green colour-coding and percentage Reference Intakes, or as you may better recognise it - traffic light labelling!

Using front of pack labels is really useful when you want to quickly compare different food products.

Using the government scheme, a combination of colour coding (traffic lights) and nutritional information is used to show, at a glance, whether a product is high (red) , medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and how much energy (calories and kilojoules) it provides. This can help you make comparisons between foods to allow you to make a healthier choice for example selecting a sandwich for lunch.

This means the product is neither high nor low in the specific nutrient.

You can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

Red doesn’t mean you cannot eat the product, but means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar.

We should be cutting down on foods with lots of red on the label, or if they are eaten, to have less often and in small amounts.

So when choosing between similar products, try to opt for more greens and ambers , and fewer reds !

Alongside these traffic lights, the label generally shows the amount of these nutrients in a portion of the food or drink and the percentage of your reference intake (RI) a portion of the product provides. In some cases, where there isn’t much room on the label, just energy values will be displayed but the full nutrition information will be available on the back of pack.

What are the guidelines for high, medium and low on a front of pack label?

The table below shows how high, medium and low levels of fat, saturates, total sugars and salt in foods are classified for front of pack labels (there are different levels for drinks see more info here). These levels have been decided by the UK government. The 'per portion' in red is used where portions are 250g or more.


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