Have you ever been browsing the aisles at the grocery store and noticed how many food products have claims like low sodium, reduced fat, diet, good source, fat free, lean…what do they really mean?
Well, here is a quick over view of some of the most common claims and what they mean for what you are putting in your body.
no sugar added: no added sugar, including fruit juices or jam that contain sugar
low calorie: 40 kcal or less per serving
high fiber: 5 grams or more per serving, and must also meet the “low fat” claim
reduced fat or less fat: at least 25% less per serving than the regular food
low cholesterol: 20 mg or less cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving
low sodium: 140 mg or less per serving
fortified or enriched: Vitamins and/or minerals have been added to the product in amounts in excess of at least 10% of that normally present. Enriched means replacing nutrients lost during processing, and fortified refers to adding what was not originally there.
good source: means that a serving of the food contains 10% to 19% of the daily value for a particular nutrient
organic: at least 95% of ingredients by weight must meet the guidelines of no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, genetic engineering, antibiotics or irradiation
natural: the food must be free of food colors, synthetic flavors, or any other synthetic substance
lean: less than 10 g of fat, 4.5 g saturated fat and 95 mg of cholesterol per serving
I think it is important to be aware of what all the claims mean on the food we eat. Don’t just grab something because it sounds good. Figure out why it would be better than other options. Often times when something is low sugar or low fat, other things were added in order to keep the taste and texture consistent. So in the end, it might not be healthier like you think it is.