Beware of food labels

Beware of health claims on food labels; packaging can be deceiving.

Ever 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 (FDA) has strict guidelines on how these food label terms can be used. Remember packaging is a sales tool to attract you to an item.

Stay with the CHRIS system and you will never go wrong.

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.

Also beware of the “% Daily Value” on the right side of Nutrition Facts label, as this is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Remember the CHRIS system “Plan You Work and Work Your Plan” for a healthier lifestyle.

Take the time to educate yourself on you most valuable asset; your health.