Many consumers have health concerns that benefit from understanding claims made on food packaging. These are often part of the marketing of a food product so do not appear on the “Nutrition Facts” section of the label. The terms you may see are definitions of the relative amounts of a particular component of the food based on what is noted as the serving size. Examples would include calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar, and fiber.
With regard to calories, the terms you might see would be “calorie free”, “low calorie”, or “reduced calorie”. The FDA approved definition of “calorie free” is having less than 5 calories per serving. For “low calorie”, the serving must contain <40 calories. A “reduced calorie” item would have >25% fewer calories than the regular product.
For describing the fat content of a product based on serving size, you might see “fat free,” “low fat,” “reduced fat,” or “less fat” or “low in saturated fat.” Fat-free foods must contain less than 0.5gm of fat and no ingredient that is fat. “Low fat” means <3gm fat and not more than 30% of calories from fat for meals/main dishes. “Reduced fat” is defined as >25% less fat than the regular product.
A product “low in saturated fat” has <1gm saturated fat per serving. It must also not have more than 15% of calories from saturated fat for a singular food or have less than 10% of calories for meals/main dishes.
Cholesterol guidelines have changed over the past