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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!

July 17th, 2008