Reading Food Labels: What's the Deal?
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
- 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