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Don't Be Fooled by Food Labels

Free.
This means that a product contains no amount of, or only trivial or "physiologically inconsequential" amounts of one or more of the following components: fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugars and calories. For example, "calorie-free" means fewer than 5 calories per serving, and "sugar-free" and "fat-free" both mean less than 0.5 grams per serving. Synonyms for "free" include "without," "no" and "zero." A synonym for fat-free milk is "skim milk."

Low.
This term is used on foods that can be eaten frequently without exceeding dietary guidelines for one or more of these components: fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and calories. Thus, descriptors are as follows:

  • Low fat. 3 grams or less per serving.
  • Low saturated fat. 1 gram or less per serving.
  • Low-sodium. 140 milligrams or less per serving.
  • Very low sodium. 35 milligrams or less per serving.
  • Low cholesterol. 20 milligrams or less and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.
  • Low calorie. 40 calories or less per serving.

Synonyms for low are "little", "few", "low source of" and "contains a small amount of".

Used with permission from www.health-eheadlines.com, © 2005, Write On, Inc.

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