Food Labels…Simplified!

Knowing what the claims on a food label means will help you make healthier food choices.

Food packaging is designed to get your attention, with words like “Fat free, “No Sugar Added”, “Good Source of Fiber”. All of these words sound convincing, but what do they really mean? Thank goodness, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires foods to meet certain requirements in order to use these types of words – this means you can trust the food you eat is actually what the label says it is.

Check out these common food label claims and learn their meaning:
Free
ClaimMeaning
Calorie freeContains less than 5 calories
Sodium free / Salt freeContains less than 5mg sodium
Fat freeContains less than 0.5g fat
Cholesterol freeContains less than 2mg cholesterol & 2g or less saturated fat
Sugar freeContains less than 0.5g sugars
 Low
ClaimMeaning
Low calorieContains 40 calories or less
Very low sodiumContains 35mg of sodium or less
Low sodiumContains 140mg of sodium or less
Low fatContains 3g or less total fat
Low cholesterolContains 20mg or less cholesterol & 2g or less saturated fat
Less or FewerContains 25% fewer calories than the regular version
 Reduced
ClaimMeaning
Reduced calorieContains at least 25% fewer calories than the regular version
Reduced sugarContains at least 25% less sugar than the regular version
Reduced sodiumContains at least 25% less sodium than the regular version
Reduced cholesterolContains at least 25% less cholesterol & 2g or less saturated fat
Reduced fatContains at least 25% less fat than regular version
 Light
ClaimMeaning
LightContains at least 1/3 fewer calories or 50% less fat
Light in sodiumContains at least 50% less sodium than the regular version
 Source of
ClaimMeaning
High, Rich in, Excellent source ofContains  20% or more daily value of a nutrient
Good source ofContains 10% to 19% daily value of a nutrient
 Fiber
ClaimMeaning
High fiberContains 5g or more
Good source of fiberContains 2.5g to 4.9g

For more information, visit www.fda.gov.

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