Understanding Food Labels

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Understanding Food Labels

Knowing how to read food labels is crucial to knowing what you are putting into your body. This may seem like a simple task but keep in mind that manufacturers want you to buy their product and are trying to make it seem as nutritious as possible. Here is some labeling terms that you may run into:

  • "Low Calorie " = Contains no more than 40 calories per serving.
  • "Reduced Calorie" = Contains 25% fewer calories per serving than regular product
  • "Calorie-Free" = Contains less than 5 calories per serving
  • "Low Sodium" = Containing 140mg of sodium or less per serving.
  • "Very Low Sodium" = Containing 35mg of sodium or less per serving.
  • "Fat-Free" = Contains no more than 0.5g of fat per serving.
  • "Low Cholesterol" = Contains no more than 20g of cholesterol and less than 2g of saturated fat per serving.
  • "Low Fat" = Contains no more than 3g of fat per serving
  • "Lean" = Contains no more than 10g of fat, no more than 4.5g of which is saturated fat, also contains less than 95mg of cholesterol per serving
  • "Extra Lean" = Contains no more than 5g of fat, no more than 2g of which is saturated fat, also contains less than 95mg of cholesterol per serving
  • "Free", "No", "Zero" = Containing no amount, or a trivial amount
  • "Sugar-Free" = Containing less than 0.5g per serving
  • "Good Source" = Provides 10%-19% of Daily Value per serving
  • "Light" = Can mean one of three things:
    • provides 1/3 fewer calories or 1/2 the amount of fat as the regular product per serving
    • if it's a "low fat", "low-calorie" food, it can be called "light" if it provides 1/2 the normal fat present
    • can be referring to the actual color of the food itself



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