Use code FIRSTTIME for 15% Off first time orders

Understanding Food Labels: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the world of food labels can be daunting, especially when trying to make healthy choices for you and your family. In Canada, food labels are regulated by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure transparency and consumer safety. Here, we will guide you through understanding food labels in Canada, with a particular focus on how to decipher ingredient lists.

Understanding Food Labels

Food labels in Canada contain several key components: the Nutrition Facts table, the ingredient list, and health claims.

  • Nutrition Facts Table: This is where you'll find detailed information about the nutrient content of the food. It includes information on calories and 13 core nutrients: fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. The % Daily Value (%DV) tells you the percentage of your daily recommended amount for each nutrient in a food serving.
  • Ingredient List: Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. This means that the food contains more ingredients at the beginning of the list and less of those listed towards the end.
  • Health Claims: These are statements about the relationship between a nutrient or food and health. They must be accurate and not misleading. Health claims are optional and can be found anywhere on the food package.

Deciphering Ingredient Lists

Understanding ingredient lists can be tricky, but it's crucial for making informed food choices. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Look at the Order: Ingredients are listed in order of weight, with the main ingredients listed first. The food is likely high in these components if sugar or saturated fats are listed as the first few ingredients.
  • Beware of Hidden Sugars: Sugar can be listed under many names, including glucose-fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, maltose, and dextrose. The product contains added sugars if you see these terms in the ingredient list.
  • Understand Food Additives: Some ingredients may be added to preserve the food, enhance its taste or appearance, or provide a specific nutritional benefit. While some additives are harmless, others may have health implications if consumed in large amounts. Do your research to understand what these additives are and decide if you're comfortable with them in your food.
  • Watch Out for Allergens: If you or a family member has a food allergy, it's crucial to read ingredient lists carefully. In Canada, the top allergens (like peanuts, milk, and wheat) must be clearly identified in the ingredient list.



Understanding food labels can empower you to make healthier and more informed food choices. By learning to read the Nutrition Facts table and decipher ingredient lists, you can choose foods that align with your dietary needs and health goals. Remember, the healthiest foods are often those with the simplest ingredient lists. Happy label reading!


Please note that this blog post was developed as a guide and may not cover all aspects of food labeling in Canada. Always consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.