Food Label Terms and Their Meanings

Low Calorie:  Allowed to contain only 40 calories per serving or a maximum of four calories per gram

Reduced Calorie:  Must have at least one-third fewer calories than the original product and should include a comparison of both versions.

Diet or Dietetic:  The product may be lower in calories, sodium or sugar.

Light or Lite:  This term can have any meaning the manufacturer wants to use it for, such as a relation to taste, texture, color or may have a lowered calorie fat or sodium content.

No Cholesterol:  Means that the item has no cholesterol but may still be high in saturated fats which may assist the body to produce cholesterol.

Low Fat:  When pertaining to dairy products, they must only contain between 0.45 and 2 percent fat by weight.

Extra Lean:  Usually pertains to meat and poultry. They must have no more than 5 percent fat by weight.

Lean:  Usually pertains to meat and poultry. They must have no more than 10 percent fat by weight.

Leaner:  Usually pertains to meat and poultry. Must have at least 25 percent less fat than the standard.

Sugar free or Sugarless:  Should contain no table sugar but still may contain some of the following: honey, corn syrup, sorbitalor fructose. Most of which are just other forms of sugar and still high in calories.

Sodium Free:  Should contain less than 5mg per serving.

Very Low Sodium:  Contains 35mg or less per serving.

Reduced Sodium:  The normal level of sodium in the product has been reduced by at least 75 percent.

No Salt Added:  Salt has not been added during the unsalted processing. The food may still have other ingredients that contain sodium.

Imitation:  A food which is a substitute for another food and is usually nutritionally inferior. May still contain the same number of calories and fat.

Organic:  May pertain to almost anything. Usually means a food that is grown without the use of artificial fertilizers.

Natural:  May mean anything, no regulations apply and may be seen on foods that have additives and preservatives.

Enriched:  A degraded, processed product that if fortified has nutrients added back in.

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