Nutrition Basics

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Food Substitutes

Healthy Eating

Eating for Disease Management

Special Considerations

Children and Nutrition

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Nutritional Concerns for the Older Adult

The Weight Loss Links

What Diets Can I Use to Lose Weight?

Eating Disorders

Food Safety

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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
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Nutrition Library: What Diets Can I Use to Lose Weight?

Dieter's Guide To Label Nutrient Claims


  • Fat-free: less than 0.5 grams (g) fat per serving
  • Low-fat: 3 g or less per serving and, if the serving size is 30 g or less or 2 tablespoons or less, per 50 g of the food
  • Reduced or less fat: at least 25 percent less per serving than reference food

The following claims can be used to describe the fat content of meat, poultry, seafood, and game meats:

  • Lean: less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g or less saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams cholesterol per serving and per 100 g
  • Extra lean: less than 5 g fat, less than 2 g saturated fat, and less than 95 mg cholesterol per serving and per 100 g


  • Calorie-free: fewer than 5 calories per serving
  • Low-calorie: 40 or fewer calories per serving and, if the serving size is 30 g or less or 2 tablespoons or less, per 50 g of the food
  • Reduced or fewer calories: at least 25 percent fewer calories per serving than the reference food

Calories and Fat

Light (two meanings):
One-third fewer calories or half the fat of the reference food. (If the food derives 50 percent or more of its calories from fat, the reduction must be 50 percent of the fat.)

A "low-calorie," "low-fat" food whose sodium content has been reduced by 50 percent of the reference food

("Light in sodium" means the food has 50 percent or less sodium than the reference food.)

Foods making claims about increased fiber content also must meet the definition for "low-fat" or the amount of total fat per serving must appear next to the claim.

  • High-fiber: 5 g or more per serving
  • Good source of fiber: 2.5 g to 4.9 g per serving
  • More or added fiber: at least 2.5 g more per serving than the reference food

Sugar-free: less than 0.5 g per serving

No added sugar, without added sugar, no sugar added:

  • no sugar or ingredients containing sugars (for example, fruit juices, applesauce, or dried fruit) added during processing or packing
  • no ingredients made with added sugars, such as jams, jellies, or concentrated fruit juice.

("Sugar-free" and "No added sugar" signal a reduction in calories from sugars only, not from fat, protein and other carbohydrates. If the total calories are not reduced, a statement will appear next to the "sugar-free" claim explaining that the food is "not low calorie" or "not for weight control." If the total calories are reduced, the claim must be accompanied by a "low-calorie" or "reduced-calorie" claim.) Reduced sugar: at least 25 percent less sugar than the reference food

Dieter's Label Checklist

Look for claims like "fat-free," "low-fat" and "high-fiber," usually on the front of the package. If present, the claims will signal that the food contains desirable levels of fat and fiber--two nutrients of concern to dieters.

Check the "Nutrition Facts," usually on the side or back of the package. It will give more complete nutrition information about the food.

Look at the column called "%Daily Value." It tells you if a food is high or low in fat, fiber, and other nutrients of interest to dieters. Try to select as many "low-fat" foods (that is, 5 percent or less of the Daily Value for fat) as possible.

Look at the serving size. It is about the same for similar items. So it's easy to compare the nutritional qualities of similar foods.

(Reprinted with permission from the United States Food and Drug Administration)

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