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What does fat-free, low-fat, light, and reduced-fat mean?

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Here's what those terms mean:

  • "Fat-free" foods must have less than 0.5 gram of fat per serving.
  • "Low-fat" foods must have 3 grams of fat or less per serving.
  • "Reduced-fat" foods must have at least 25% less fat than regular versions of those foods.
  • "Light" foods must have either 1/3 fewer calories or 50% less fat.

SOURCES: 

Howard, B. , 2006. Journal of the American Medical Association

Hu, F. 1999. Journal of the American Medical Association,

International Food Information Council Foundation: "Facts and Fiction: The Skinny on Dietary Fat and Lower-Fat Foods," "Fats and Fat Replacers: Myths and Facts."

U.S. Food and Drug Association: "How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label."

National Institutes of Health: "Weight Loss and Nutrition: How Much Do You Really Know?"

Harvard School of Public Health: "Fats and Cholesterol -- The Good, The Bad, and The Healthy Diet."

Christine Gerbstadt, MD, MPH, RD, anesthesiologist, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; medical director, Mobile Medical Corp.; author, , Nutronics, 2012. Doctor’s Detox Diet: The Ultimate Weight Loss Prescription

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas on November 26, 2018

SOURCES: 

Howard, B. , 2006. Journal of the American Medical Association

Hu, F. 1999. Journal of the American Medical Association,

International Food Information Council Foundation: "Facts and Fiction: The Skinny on Dietary Fat and Lower-Fat Foods," "Fats and Fat Replacers: Myths and Facts."

U.S. Food and Drug Association: "How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label."

National Institutes of Health: "Weight Loss and Nutrition: How Much Do You Really Know?"

Harvard School of Public Health: "Fats and Cholesterol -- The Good, The Bad, and The Healthy Diet."

Christine Gerbstadt, MD, MPH, RD, anesthesiologist, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; medical director, Mobile Medical Corp.; author, , Nutronics, 2012. Doctor’s Detox Diet: The Ultimate Weight Loss Prescription

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas on November 26, 2018

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