Is it really Fat Free? Nutrition Lingo Defined

nutrition claimsHave you ever looked at a box of food or a food label and seen a ton of nutritional claims? Companies stating that their product is “a good source of” a nutrient or being “95% fat-free”, but do you really know what that means? Below I have listed some nutritional claims/terms and their definitions that are found on product packages and food labels.

General Terms

· Good source of: in order for a product to make this claim it must provide 10-19% of the Daily Value for a given nutrient per serving.

· Healthy: is a term used for a food that is low in fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol, and contains at least 10% of the Daily Values for vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein, or fiber.

· High: (synonyms- “rich-in”, “excellent source”) means a food provides 20% or more of the Daily Value for a given nutrient per serving.

· Less: (synonyms- “fewer”, reduced”) in order for a product to make this claim it has to have at least 25% of a given nutrient or calorie than the comparison food.

· Light or Lite: this claim means this food is 1/3 fewer calories than the comparison

· Organic: in order for a food to be able to make this claim it must mean at least 95% of the product’s ingredients have been grown and processed according to USDA regulations defining the use of fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, preservatives, and other chemical ingredients.

Energy Claims

· Calorie-free: this means that the product contains fewer than 5 calories per serving.

· Low-calorie: this means the product contains 40 calories or less per serving.

· Reduced calorie: this claim means that the product has at least 25% fewer calories per serving than the food in comparison.

Fat Claims

· Percent fat-free: a product can only use this if it meets the definition of low fat or fat-free and must reflect the amount of fat in 100 grams. For example, a food contains 2.5 grams of fat per 50 grams can claim to be “95% fat-free”.

· Fat-free: (synonyms- “zero-fat”, “no-fat”, “nonfat”) a product must be less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.

· Low fat: this means that the product contains 3 grams or less of fat per serving.

These are only a few of the terms thrown on food packaging. Next time you see one of these terms you will actually know what they are claiming!

One Response to Is it really Fat Free? Nutrition Lingo Defined

  1. Steve says:

    Kinsey,

    I noticed a lot of the terms are ‘per serving’ (ie…40 Kcals or less per serving), is there any legislation regulating how large or small a serving can be?

    Can food companies just make a serving so small that they call it ‘low-fat’, which may be true for each serving, but most people would eat many servings at a time, making it not so ‘low fat’?

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