Sep 2, 2011

Posted by in Health, Nutrition | 0 Comments

The Ins and Out of Health Claims on Food Labels

Protein IconBook IconEver wonder about the difference between reduced fat and low fat? Or does ‘light’ on a label really mean no fat? The Food and Drug Administration has strict guidelines on how these food label terms can be used.

Here are some of the most common claims seen on food packages and what they mean:


Low Calorie: Less than 40 calories

Low Cholesterol: Less than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 gm or less of saturated fat per serving

Reduced: 25 percent less of the specified nutrient or calories than the usual product

Good source of: Provides at least 10 percent of the Daily Value of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving

Calorie free: Less than five calories per serving

Fat free/sugar free: Less than ½ gram of fat or sugar per serving

Low Sodium: Less than 140 mg of sodium per serving

High in: Provides 20 percent or more of the Daily Value of a specified nutrient per serving

High Fiber: Five or more grams of fiber per serving

Lean (meat, poultry, seafood): Ten grams of fat or less, 4 ½ grams of saturated fat and less than 95 mg cholesterol per 3 ounce serving

Light: 1/3 fewer calories or ½ the fat of the usual food

Healthy (individual food item): Low fat, low saturated fat, less than 480 mg sodium, less than 95 mg cholesterol and at least 10 percent of the Daily Value of vitamins A and C, iron, protein, calcium and fiber.

The FDA also sets standards for health-related claims on food labels to help consumers identify foods that are rich in nutrients and may help to reduce their risk for certain diseases. For example, health claims may highlight the link between calcium and osteoporosis, fiber and calcium, heart disease and fat or high blood pressure and sodium.

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