Food Label Terminology
Food label terminology can be confusing. Here is a collection of some of the terms you may find on food packages.
| If the label says...||It means... |
|Calorie free||Less than 5 calories per serving|
|Low calorie||40 calories or less per serving|
|Reduced calorie||At least 25 percent fewer calories per serving than the regular version|
|Cholesterol free||Less than 2 mg cholesterol and 2 g or less saturated fat per serving|
|Fat free||Less than 0.5 g fat per serving|
|Low fat||3 g or less fat per serving|
|Reduced fat or less fat||At least 25 percent less fat per serving than the regular version|
|Saturated-fat-free||Less than 0.5 g saturated fat and less than 0.5 g trans fat per serving|
|Low saturated fat||1 g or less saturated fat per serving|
|Reduced saturated fat or less saturated fat||At least 25 percent less saturated fat per serving than the regular version|
|Light or Lite||One-third fewer calories or 50 percent or less fat than the regular version; non-nutritive "light" claims are allowed but must identify the basis of the claim (examples: "light in color," "light in texture")|
|Lean||Less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, and 95 mg cholesterol per serving|
|Extra lean||Less than 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, and 95 mg cholesterol per serving|
It's important to understand the terminology used in food labels. And it's just as important to know what ingredients are in the foods you eat. See the next page to learn how ingredients are labeled, and what you can learn about a food from its ingredients.
For more information about nutritious eating, see:
- Eating Healthy: A balanced diet that includes a variety of foods is great for maintaining good health. Find out which food choices work best in a healthy eating plan.
- Low Cholesterol Diet: Eating a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is the best way to reduce your cholesterol and your risk of coronary heart disease. Explore the dietary choices that can help you lower your cholesterol.
- Weight Loss: For many people, weight loss is an important goal. Explore the different methods of losing weight, and see which can work for you.