Food Label  Terms

food label terms

Food Label Terms

What should we think?

Nutrition claims on food labels are assertions about the amount of a particular nutrient in the food product. Since the label is designed to entice you to buy that particular product, it will help you to know what these terms mean so that you can spend your food dollars wisely.

Interesting Fact: Food companies often spend more on developing and producing attractive and tempting packaging than on the product that is inside the package.  

However, the nutrition label portion of the package has a lot of great information to help you make good choices!

Here is a list of the some of the most common nutrition food label terms and what is required by the U.S. government in order to make that claim:

Click here for a printable copy of this list.

IF IT SAYS: IT MEANS:
“High Fiber”More than 5 g of fiber per serving
“Light” “Lite” 50% of the fat and 1/3 fewer calories of regular version of product
“Organic” 95% of ingredients meet USDA organic standards regarding use of pesticides and other chemicals in production
“Good source of” Provides at least 10% of Daily Value
“Low fat"
“Lo-fat”
3 grams or less of fat per serving
“Fat-free”
“Non-fat”
Less than .5 g fat per serving
“Trans-fat free” Less than .5 g trans-fat per serving
“Cholesterol free” Less than 2 mg cholesterol per serving, plus 2 g or less of saturated fat and trans-fat combined per
“Low Cholesterol” 20 mg or less cholesterol per serving, plus 2 g or less of saturated fat and trans-fat combined per serving.
“Reduced calorie” At least 25% fewer calories than regular product
“Low calorie” Provides 40 calories or less per serving
“Lean” Provides less than 10 g of fat, plus 4.5 or less of saturated fat and trans-fat combined per serving, and 95 mg of cholesterol
“Rich in”
"Excellent Source of”
Provides 20% or more of nutrient
“Sodium free” “Salt free” Less than 5 mg per serving
“Low sodium” 140 mg or less per serving

Note: Check the ingredient list on a food label if you are in doubt about what is in the product.


Know the Healthy Eating Basics

As I talk to people, I realize that there is a great deal of confusion about basic healthy eating concepts. In addition, there is lots of good information about healthy eating that is simply not known by the average person.

Take the time to educate yourself about eating healthy. Click on the topics at the top of this page to learn about healthy eating. The more you know, the easier it will be to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.

Get to know the basics of healthy eating, so that you can make better food choices for better healthy. If you put in a little time now, it will soon become second nature to know about the types and combinations of foods that will help you feel well and live longer.


Click here to go from Food Label Terms page to Grocery Shopping page.


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