You would think it would be really simple to look at a label and see how much fat there is in a particular food, wouldn’t you? Sadly, it isn’t.
Fat levels should really be kept under about 30% for health, but under 20% of total daily calories if you want to lose weight by cutting down on fat.
But say a label says there is 4.6g of fat in the food product. How do you know if that’s good or not? Some labels now show the traffic light system. If it’s green, it’s OK. But what if there’s no label? There’s only one way to work it out – maths!
Product 1 contains 4.6g fat and 287 calories in the whole product:
Each gram of fat contains 9 calories.
So, 4.6g of fat x 9 calories = 41.4 calories
Divide by 287 (the total no of calories in the product) = 0.144.
Multiply that by 100 and you get 14.4.
14.4 is your percentage of fat in this food product. So 14.4 percent of this food’s calories come from fat. We want to keep under 20-30% so that’s a good ‘un. We can keep eating it.
Product 2 contains 4.6g fat and 120 calories:
4.6g of fat x 9 calories = 41.4 calories in total. So far, the same.
Divide by 120 (this time the calories are lower so it looks good) = 0.345.
Multiply that by 100 and you get 34.5. So 34.5% of this product’s calories come from fat, which is above the 30% range. Bad!
Just goes to show that if you look at calories, you would have thought that the product with 120 calories was better for you weightloss-wise than the one with 287 calories. But if you look at the fat content, the lower calorie one is worse!
Obviously this doesn’t take into account the type of fat and that some fats are fantastic for us. If you can make sure your fattier foods are the good ones like avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish etc, then you are getting enough good fats but not too much fat overall.
Tip: You can work this out the same even if it only gives per 100g/per slice/per serving amounts as the percentage will turn out exactly the same as for the whole food product.
NB: I just checked my EnerG GF Rice bread – 48%! Plain unsweetened soya milk – 54%!! A tin of pink salmon (no oil) – 40%! Plain rice cakes – 7% (phew!)
Blimey – worth a check. Where’s me apple…?
Nightmare, isn’t it! Obviously it would take forever to check every item you eat. My advice is to use this calculation on some of your fave products that you eat time and time again and check them out – you might find some surprises!