Food labels are changing and the term Guideline Daily Amount is being replaced by Reference Intake (RI). Read about the new nutrition labelling requirements.
Protein (GDA: 45g)
Proteins are the major functional and structural components of all the cells of the body and they are essential for their growth and repair. All enzymes, blood transport molecules, antibodies, hair, fingernails and many hormones are proteins. Proteins are also a large part of membranes. Proteins are made of sequences of amino acids linked together.
Each gram of protein provides four calories, and can therefore be used as a source of energy. Despite that the body prefers using carbohydrates and fats as its first source of energy.
Proteins are found in different foods. Some animal sources of proteins are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt. Some plant sources of proteins are legumes (or pulses such as beans and lentils), grains, nuts, seeds and cereals.
Fibre (GDA: 24g)
Fibres are a type of carbohydrate which do not supply glucose to the body (unlike starch and sugars). It is not digested and hence is absorbed by the small intestine. Fibre is only found in plants and is needed to keep the digestive system healthy.
Fruit, vegetables, pulses (such as beans, chickpeas, lentils) and wholegrains are all sources of fibre.
Fibre plays many important roles:
It increases stool weight and decreases gut transit time, which helps to prevent constipation.
Carbohydrates (GDA: 270g)
Carbohydrates have been traditionally regarded as a simple energy source but they are now recognised as important food components. They are the most important source of energy (fat and protein being the others) and should make up to 50-55 percent of our daily energy (calories) intake.
The main types of carbohydrates are sugars, starches and fibres which can be found in fruits, vegetables, grains, cereal products, milk and milk products.
Sugars and starches are the main sources of energy (calories). They provide four calories per gram and supply energy to the body in the form of glucose. The brain can only use glucose as a source of energy, so it is essential to always keep the level of glucose in the blood at an optimum level.