Understanding Fat LabelsFood product labeling can be very confusing. Even if you faithfully read labels, food manufacturers will try to sway you into buying product using enticing terms that may not necessarily mean what you think they mean. Here are some of the more common labels:
• Low fat: 3 grams of fat or less per normal serving.
• Lean: Meat or poultry with less than 10 grams of fat, less than 4 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams. However, companies having product names with "Lean" in the title prior to November 27, 1991 may retain those product names.
• Extra lean: Meat or poultry with less than 5 grams of fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams.
• Low in calories: Cannot contain more than 40 calories per normal serving.
• Light or lite: Foods that have 1/3 fewer calories than a comparable product, or have half the fat content of a comparable product, and the label must specify which one. If the adjective light is used to describe the taste, smell or color, it must be clearly stated as to what the term refers. It can also refer to products that have 50% of the sodium of normal products, but must be clearly specified as well.
• Fat-free: Foods with 0.5 grams fat per serving and no added fat or oil.
• Reduced fat: No more than half the fat of an identified comparable food.
• Low sodium: 140 milligrams or less per serving.
• Low cholesterol: Contains no more than 20 milligrams of cholesterol per typical serving size.
• Cholesterol-free: Food with 2 milligrams or less of cholesterol per serving and less than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.
• "Good" source: Foods can be labeled as a good source of vitamins or nutrients if they provide at least 10% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
• "High" source: Must provide at least 20% of RDA.
• Milk exception: Although 2% milk does not fit within the above terminology, it can still be called low-fat. (It contains 5 grams.)
More About Fats and Healthy Recipes:• Fat Substitutes - Are they healthy?
• Fat Terminology - Good Fats and Bad Fats
• Fat Math - How much fat should you eat?
• Fat Labels
• Diet Recipes and Resources