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Other labels on the foods you eat

Do you often see labels on foods that say things like "fat-free," "reduced calorie," or "light?" These types of labels are often seen on snack and dessert foods such as potato chips and cookies. Here are some useful definitions for you:

  • Fat–free – less than ½ gram of fat per serving
  • Low–fat – 3 grams or less fat per serving
  • Light – 1/3 fewer calories or half the fat of the regular version
  • Reduced – 25 percent less of the nutrient than the regular version
  • Sugar-free – less than ½ gram of sugars per serving
  • Calorie-free – fewer than 5 calories per serving
  • Cholesterol free – less than 2 mg of cholesterol and 2 or fewer grams of saturated fat per serving
  • High-fiber – 5 grams or more per serving, must also meet standard for "low-fat"
  • Good source of calcium – at least 100 mg calcium per serving

It's important to remember that fat-free doesn't mean calorie free. People tend to think they can eat as much as they want of fat-free foods. Even if you cut fat from your diet, but consume more calories than what you use, you will gain weight. Also fat-free or low-fat foods may contain high amounts of added sugars or sodium to make up for the loss of flavor when fat is removed. For example, a fat-free muffin may be just as high in calories as a regular muffin. So, remember, it is important to read your food labels and compare products.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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