Food Information

Understanding Food Labels and Nutrition Terms Explained

If you are a health-conscious person, then you surely know how important Food labels are. They provide the nutritional value that can allow you to know how much macro nutrition you have in your food thus tracking it. Also, following a diet requires tracking all of this info so you can make better purchase decisions.

However, Nutritional info can be slightly confusing. Why there is a low-fat label and reduced-fat label? do they mean the same thing? That’s the question we are willing to answer in this informative article about Food labels and Nutritional Terms. So, follow along!

Food Labels and Nutrition Terms Explained

(Credit: Alana Harris)

Food Labels

There are plenty of food labels that are available on most of the products. We will start explaining each and every one of them in hopes that it can help you pick the products that fit your dietary needs.

Low Sugar

This label is added to a product when the sugar content of it is no more than 5%, basically, 5 grams per 100 grams of the product. take care while buying such products cause if you are willing to go for a diet with no sugar, then this might not be the best option for you.

Low Fat

The FDA stated that a food is labeled “low fat” when it only has 3 grams or less of fat in every 100 grams of the product. For liquids, the fat content should not exceed 1.5 grams of fat in each 100 ml of liquid. Milk follows a similar approach but it can have up to 1.8 grams of fat per 100 ml.

This rule is kinda different for foods that are eaten in small doses, such as raisins or nuts. They can have up to 3 grams of fat for every 50 grams of the food.

Packed foods and meals can have a different way of calling it low fat. 3 grams is the maximum allowance for fat in a dish serving of 100 grams. and the caloric intake of such a meal must not exceed 30% of fats.

No Sugar Added

This label can be deceptive if you don’t understand it well. When you see the “No Sugar Added” food label on a product, it means that the food doesn’t have added sugar. but who said that all the sugar is added sugar? some foods have natural sugar in them such as juice, which your body still counts as sugar once you ingest it.

No Sugar Added

(Credit: Franki Chamaki)

That said, you should be careful picking such food and read the nutritional info on the product. It could be rich in natural sugar and ruin your diet despite the no sugar added label.

Reduced-Fat

The reduced-fat label has nothing to do with aforementioned low-fat food label. Both mean completely different things.

While low fat means that the food have no more than specific amount of food per 100 grams. The reduced-fat label is all about having less fat than an ordinary product, around 25% less to be exact.

This is why you should take care of the difference between low fat and reduced fat to be able to make better food choices for your diet.

Reduced-fat vs Low fat

Let’s assume you want to buy a specific brand of meat. The ordinary product has around 10 grams of fat per 100 grams of meat.

  • The reduced-fat version would have 25% less fat, thus have around 7.5 grams of fat per 100 grams of meat
  • The low-fat version would have around 5 grams of fat per 100 grams of meat according to the guidelines in order to be called low fat.

Low Calorie

If you are trying to lose weight and caloric intake is an important factor for you, understanding the concept of low calories can help you.

According to the guidelines, a low-calorie label is intended to mean that in a serving shouldn’t exceed 40 calories for a product (the only exception is sugar substitutes which follow different rules)

For meals and dishes to be labeled low calorie, it must contain 120 calories or less per 100 grams of the meal/dish.

Light/Lite

Light is a confusing one cause it’s not really specific. To label a product as “Light”, it must have at least 30% to 50% reduction of a specific macronutrient, such as fat, calories, or sodium.

This percentage is compared to a standard product, and the lite label is usually paired with a reduced amount. you would find the food labeled: Light, 30% less fat!

Be careful tho cause sometimes “light: can be used to refer to other factors, such as consistency or the color of the product being “lighter” than the ordinary one.

Take a look at the nutritional info per 100 gram to understand if the product is really light in the macronutrient that you need or not.

Wrapping up

Understanding food labels and nutritional terms can be quite confusing at first. We hope we made the confusion less harsh by highlighting what each label means. You can investigate further by checking the USDA guidance to make sure you are eating the right food and understand each label properly. If we missed a label or you have a question, leave it in the comments and we will answer as soon as possible. Thanks for reading!

Reduced-fat vs Low fat

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About the author

Michelle Ivory

Hello! My name is Michelle Ivory. I am a health-conscious who also happens to enjoy writing about food! Did you know that almost 40% of all food in America is wasted food? That's right! this is because people are unaware If their food has really gone bad or not. This is why it's my job to guide people on how to tell if their food has gone bad or not. which is why I decided to create this website to help people make an informed decision on their food and whether they should throw it away or not.

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