Dieter's Guide To Label Nutrient Claims


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


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.

Sugar-free: less than 0.5 g per serving

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

("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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