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Nutrition claims 101: The Light, the low

Basic Nutrition 101: The Light, the Low and the Free

Many of us are enticed to buy fat-free dairy products, low-sodium luncheon meat, light mayonnaise, and so on. Why? Because of the words "light," "low," and "free." A lot of us, however, do not have a clear view of what these terms mean when it comes to nutrition. This article aims to enlighten you about these nutritional claims, so read on.

Defining the Terms

  1. Light This describes either of the three things:
    • Properties such as color and texture of the food (e.g., light brown sugar)
    • A low-fat, low calorie food's sodium content has been trimmed down by 50%.
    • A referenced food's original nutritional content is altered so that the "light" product has calories less than 1/3 of the referenced product; or, the fat content of the "light" product is only half of the referenced product.
  2. Low Other terms used are "low source of," "few," and "little." This describes products that can be taken more frequently because some of the nutrients (e.g., calories, sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat, fat) do not go beyond the dietary guidelines.
  3. Free Other terms used are "zero," "no," and "without." This describes products that have virtually no amount of the proclaimed component/s such as calories, sugars, sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat, and fats.

Other Claims

  1. Added / More / Good Source of The nutrient claimed to be such should be more than ten percent of the reference product. In the case of "added," "enriched," and "fortified," most products are modified to fit the ten percent daily value requirement.
  2. Excellent Source Of / Rich In / High More than or equal to twenty percent of the daily value for the nutrient claimed for each serving.
  3. Healthy Product names with the sign "healthy" should have approximately sixty milligrams of cholesterol, 480 milligrams of sodium, one gram of saturated fat, and three grams of fat. A minimum of ten percent of the daily value of no less than one of these six nutrients should also be provided: fiber, protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Fish, poultry, and raw meat may be deemed "healthy" provided that they have, per serving, approximately ninety-five milligrams of cholesterol, two grams of saturated fat, and five grams of fat.

The Requirements to Fulfill the Claims

You do not want to be misled by false beliefs so you have to know what makes a "light" really light, a "low" really 'low' and a 'free' really 'free.' See the tables below for your reference.

CALORIES
Light/Lite Reduced/Less Low Free
When more than or equal to fifty percent of the calories are from fat, the fat should be trimmed down by at least fifty percent for each reference amount. When below fifty percent of kcal are from fat, fat should be reduced at least fifty percent or calories trimmed down at least 1/3 for each reference amount. Twenty-five percent or more calories were removed for each serving of the reference product Forty calories or less for each serving, or for each fifty grams of the product Not more than five calories for each serving


FAT
Light/Lite Reduced/Less Low Free
When more than or equal to fifty percent of the calories are from fat, the fat should be trimmed down by at least fifty percent for each reference amount. When below fifty percent of kcal are from fat, fat should be reduced at least 50% or kcal reduced at least 1/3 for each reference amount. Twenty-five percent or more calories were removed for each serving of the reference product Three grams or less for each serving, or for each fifty grams of the product Not more than 0.5 grams of fat for each serving


SUGAR
No Sugar Added / Without Added Sugar / No Added Sugar Reduced Free
Sugar is virtually non-existent in the product Twenty-five percent or more sugar were removed for each serving of the reference product Not more than 0.5 grams for each serving


SODIUM
Light Reduced/Less Very Low Low Free
When product is "Low Fat" and "Low Calorie," sodium is trimmed down by at least fifty percent. Twenty-five percent or more sodium were removed for each serving of the reference product. 35 milligrams or less for each serving, or for each fifty grams of the product. 140 milligrams or less for each serving, or for each fifty grams of the product. Not more than 5 milligrams for each serving.


FIBER
Added / More Good Source Of High
2.5 grams or more for each serving than the reference product. Around 2.5 grams to 4.9 grams for each serving. More than or equal to five grams for each serving. (Products claiming "high fiber" should meet the description for low fat; that is, the level of total fat should become visible opposite the claim "high fiber.").

To wrap it all up, nutrient claims serve as guides for choosing the right amount of nutrients that you need for your diet. It is natural to be confused at first but through practice you will be able to evaluate these foods properly with one blink of your eye. When you go to the grocery and evaluate foods, center on the nutrient that you need in your diet. If you are prone to have high blood sugar levels, then avoid products filled with sugar and with lots of carbohydrates. If there is someone in your household that has high blood pressure or heart ailment, then it would be better if you prepare meals low in sodium, cholesterol, trans fat, saturated fat, and total fat. If you want to watch your weight, then watch out your fat and calorie intakes as well.

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10 Comment(s)

By: gina 5 years ago
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By: RITIKA 6 years ago
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By: Rua 6 years ago
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