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Label Lingo

LongIsland.com

With more information available than ever before, reading food labels and their "Nutrition Facts" panel can be a little intimidating. But understanding the lingo will help tremendously. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set ...

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With more information available than ever before, reading food labels and their "Nutrition Facts" panel can be a little intimidating. But understanding the lingo will help tremendously. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set legal definitions for many terms and claims that may appear on food labels. The following is a list of key words found on food packaging and what they mean.

"FREE"
No amount of that nutrient

"LOW-FAT"
3 grams or less per serving

"LOW-SATURATED FAT"
1 gram or less per serving

"LOW-SODIUM"
140 milligrams or less per serving

"VERY LOW SODIUM"
35 milligrams or less per serving

"LOW-CHOLESTEROL"
20 milligrams or less and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving

"LOW-CALORIE"
40 calories or less per serving

"LEAN"
Less than 10 grams fat per serving AND less than 5 grams saturated fat per serving AND less than 95 milligrams cholesterol per serving

"EXTRA LEAN"
Less than 5 grams fat per serving AND less than 2 grams saturated fat per serving AND less than 95 milligrams cholesterol per serving

"REDUCED"
Food altered to 25% less than the regular food

"LESS"
25% less that the reference food

"LIGHT"
1/3 fewer calories, 1/2 the fat or 1/2 the sodium (may also describe color or texture if the intent is explained)

"GOOD SOURCE"
10% - 19% of the Daily Value

"MORE"
10% more Daily Value than the reference food

"HIGH"
20% or more of the Daily Value

"FRESH"
Raw food that has never been frozen or heated

It is helpful to print this out and keep it handy for a quick reference in the grocery store! Good luck!