Food Traffic Light Calculator Demonstration Version 2

This page is part of an amateur website devoted to promoting and displaying low sodium products www.findlowsaltfood.info


Dr Trevor Beard points out that Traffic Light food labels would make
low salt foods easier to find.  Every low salt food in the supermarket—and no others—would have a green light for salt!  His website has an article on Traffic Lights with an attached PDF.

Britain invented Traffic Light food labels to help people control overweight, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease and several dozen other preventable health problems that damage the health of so many people—and may kill people—even before they retire.

Prevention
Prevention requires a healthy lifestyle (enough exercise and not too much alcohol) and a healthy diet (less fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt).  Avoid the red lights for fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt.
Stick to amber (in moderation) and green (eat freely).

Treatment
Here is where sticking to green lights all the time can make such a big difference.

Could Australia have Traffic Light labels?
Yes.
If enough people knew about these Traffic Light labels Australia could have them too.  This game shows you and your children how they work.

  Total Fat g/100g
  Saturated Fat g/100g
  Sugar g/100g
  Sodium mg/100g
Colours shown by the calculator are for  foods (not drinks) and and based on the nutrient levels only. The UK system also takes the amount of a nutrient in a portion into account and the source of the sugar however in this demonstration they are not dealt with.  The UK recommendation is that labels also show the level of nutrients and the nutritional criteria the colours are based on. For official information see www.food.gov.uk.

The calculator is based on the current UK per 100g boundaries as set out below.
 FAT green30g  & below redabove 200g 
 SATURATES green15g  & below redabove  50g 
 TOTAL SUGARS green50g  & below redabove 12.5g *
 SALT green030g & below  redabove  150g 
 sodium          120mg  & below        above 600mg
The conversion of  salt to sodium was based on the approximate method used by the UK Food Standards Agency where 1000mg of sodium = 2.5g of salt.


The figures that are set into the calculator came from a packet of Sanitarium Lite-Bix (pictured below). Press the SHOW button to see how Lite-Bix might look in a UK supermarket. Traffic Lights would give it the legitimate advertising it has so richly deserved in Australia for over 15 years and never received.
Then try entering the data from the Nutrition information Panels of the breakfast foods you use
and other foods in your pantry. The tab key speeds entry.

If you want to label drinks, the current UK per 100mL boundaries are set out below.
FAT green15g  & below redabove 100g 
SATURATES green 075g  & below redabove  25g 
TOTAL SUGARS green25g  & below redabove  63g* 
SALT green 030g  & below  redabove  150g 
sodium          120mg  & below        above 600mg

The boundaries were taken from Front of Pack Nutritional Signpost Labelling  Technical Guidance issue 2 November 2007 Published by the UK Food Standards Agency. For updated and further information visit their website. Values with * were changed from issue 1  www.food.gov.uk  

A Project for budding nutritionists.

Kids projectLabel example
 Budding nutritionists can see the power of Traffic Light food labels by sticking them on a few of the foods in the pantry.  First they need to print out a sheet of blank labels which also comes with a shopping reminder for the parents.

Click this link for a page of blank traffic light labels in pdf form.

They can use the calculator to see what colours each label needs to match the data in the Nutrition Information panel on each packet, bottle or can.

The panel on the right (from a bottle of yoghurt) shows how to get the sodium for the SALT position on the calculator.  The circles show they would have to enter 60 mg of sodium.