a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Food Labels: What do the Bold Claims Really Mean

Food labels are descriptive guides----Right? 
Less?  Reduced? Low? Light? 

What do these adjectives specifically mean? 
Are their definitions easy to glean?

The FDA is here to help---with what we need to know,
Issuing specific meanings to the general terms below

(Sorry for the corny attempt at rhyming!)

Dietary Dictionary
(familiar one- or two-word phrases on labels  monitored by the 
Food and Drug Administration
 and their very specific definitions.)

FREE as in without, no, zero: Contains no consequential amount of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugars, or calories. If this is true in a food's natural state, the label will say so (for example, "cider vinegar, a calorie-free food.")

LIGHT or LITE: These are products that have one-third fewer calories, half the fat, or half the sodium of the regular version.

LOW or LITTLE as in a low source of, or contains a small amount of:
Foods low in
fat contain a maximum 3 g per serving
low in saturated fat - 1 g
low in sodium - 140 mg
very low in sodium - 35 mg
low in cholesterol - 20 mg and less than 2 g saturated fat
low in calories - 40 calories

REDUCED (only applies to altered foods): A nutritionally altered
product with at least 25 percent fewer calories or of a nutrient
than the regular product. This claim can't be made on a product
if, in its original state, can be considered "low" (see above)

LESS or FEWER: If a food is said to have "less" or "fewer" of
something, it has not necessarily been altered but is being compared
 with other foods in a similar category. (for example, pretzels could
be said to contain less fat and fewer calories than other snacks, such
as potato chips.)

What does "Nutrition Facts" on a label mean?
Many people monitor their calories; some watch their fat, cholesterol, or sodium intake. The "Nutrition Facts" chart lists how much of each of these, as well as protein, carbohydrates, and other components, the food inside the package contains.

It is important to watch the serving size number. Many are not realistic (i.e. a 12-ounce-can of soda may list its figures based on two servings per can, thus appearing to lower the levels).

Additionally, the labels  have a %DV (percent daily value) column based on, usually, a 2,000 calorie daily diet.

MORE or fortified, enriched, added, extra, plus:A serving of food that has at least 10%DV more of a certain nutrient than a food with which is compared.

GOOD SOURCE or contains, provides: A serving of a food with 10 to 19%DV of a particular nutrient (which means it's slightly less than "high" (see below)

HIGH or excellent source of, rich: A serving of a food that contains 20%DV or more of a particular nutrient.

Manufacturer's go to great lengths to make their products more appealing and marketable. Hopefully the above has helpful in discerning the different meanings of similar words.

My next post will cover (or uncover) the specific government definitions for FRESH, ORGANIC, HEALTHY, NATURAL and more.

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