Understanding Nutrient Claims

Today, almost all packaged items in the grocery store display some sort of health or nutrition claim. These can often be misleading and confusing. Monitored by the FDA, there are three categories for food and dietary supplement labels: health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims. Below are claims with their true meanings.

Calories

Calorie Free: less than 5 calories per serving
Low Calorie: 40 calories or less per serving.
Reduced Calorie: At least 25% less calories per serving than the regular product.

Sugar
Sugar Free: less than 0.5 grams sugars and no ingredient that is a sugar
Reduced or Less sugar: at least 25% less sugars than the regular product
No added sugar: no sugar or sugar-containing ingredient added during processing or packaging

Fat
Fat free: less than 0.5 g fat and no ingredient that is fat
Low fat: 3 g of fat or less
Reduced fat: at least 25% less fat than the regular product
Extra lean: less than 5 g fat, 2 g of saturated fat and 95 mg of cholesterol

Cholesterol
Cholesterol free: less than 2 mg of cholesterol and no ingredient that contains cholesterol
Low cholesterol: 20 mg or less of cholesterol
Reduced cholesterol: at least 25% less cholesterol than the regular product

Sodium
Sodium free: less than 5 mg of sodium
Very low sodium: 35 mg or less of sodium
Low sodium: 140 mg or less of sodium
Light: at least 50% less sodium than the regular product
Lightly salted: 50% less sodium than normally added
No salt added: no salt added during processing. If the food is not sodium free, the statement “not a sodium free food” must also appear on the label.

Fiber
High fiber or Excellent source of fiber: 20% or more of the Daily Value for fiber
Good source of fiber: 10-19% of the Daily Value for fiber

Inquire about our grocery store tours or any questions you may have for our wellness staff about grocery shopping and reading labels!