Food Labels

You should be in a habit of reading food label on the packet before you buy anything from market. Food label gives the complete information of the ingredients in the packet.

You should know how to read a food label and the meaning of the information given.

  • The Food Code requires to list all the ingredients in descending order by weight. It means the farther from the top of the list an ingredient is, the less of it the package contains.
  • The list also indicates the source of fats and oils or the type of oil. Become wise! The label may simply say cream or beef, this does not give any indication about the amount of fat in that ingredient. Try to avoid labels with animal fats, coconut oil or coconut milk.
  • Don't be carried away with the word 'light' or 'lite'. The item may be light in color, texture or flavor. These words on a bottle of oil may mean light in flavor or color! Oil cannot be light, after all it is an oil, i.e. a fat whose intake must be minimised, particularly oils high in saturated fats.
  • Always take a note of 'expiry date' or 'best before date' of the item.


Nutrient Contents

  1. Free: This means that a product contains no amount of, or only trivial amounts of one or more of these components: fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugars, and calories.
    calorie-free means less than 5 calories per serving,
    sugar-free and fat-free both mean less than 0.5 g per serving.
  2. Low: This term can be used on foods that can be eaten frequently without exceeding dietary guidelines for one or more of these components: fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories.
    • low-fat: 3 g or less per serving
    • low-saturated fat: 1 g or less per serving
    • low-sodium: 140 mg or less per serving
    • very low sodium: 35 mg or less per serving
    • low-cholesterol: 20 mg or less and 2 g or less of saturated fat per serving
    • low-calorie: 40 calories or less per serving.
  3. High: This term can be used if the food contains 20 percent or more of the Daily Value for a particular nutrient in a serving.
  4. Good source: This term means that one serving of a food contains 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value for a particular nutrient.
  5. Reduced: This term means that a nutritionally altered product contains at least 25 percent less of a nutrient or of calories than the product.

Item

FDA Specifications for Health Claims & Descriptive Terms

Low fat

3 grams or less of fat per serving

Less fat

25% or less fat than the comparison food

Fat-Free

Less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving with no added fat or oil

Saturated Fat Free

Less than 0.5 grams of saturated fat and 0.5 grams of trans-fatty acids per serving

Cholesterol-Free

Less than 2 mg cholesterol per serving and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving

Low Calorie

40 calories or less per serving

Low Cholesterol

20 mg or less cholesterol per serving and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving

Reduced Calorie

At least 25% fewer calories per serving than the comparison food

Lean

Less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 g of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per (100 gram) serving.

Extra Lean

Less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per (100 gram) serving.

Light (fat)

50% or less of the fat than in the comparison food.

Light (calories)

1/3 fewer calories than the comparison food

Sugar-Free

Less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving

Low Sodium

140 mg or less per serving

Very Low Sodium

35 mg or less per serving

Sodium-Free

Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving

High, Rich in or Excellent Source

20% or more of the Daily recommended Value per serving

High-Fiber

5 grams or more fiber per serving

Less, Fewer or
Reduced

At least 25% less than the comparison food

Low or Low Source of

Means an amount that allows its frequent consumption without exceeding the recommended Daily Value for the nutrient.

Good Source Of

Provides 10% more of the recommended Daily Value for a given nutrient than the comparison food

Healthy

Low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Contains at least 10% of the Daily recommended Values for vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or fiber.






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