What does it mean when a company boasts their product as fat free, reduced calorie or light? Here are some definitions, provided by Black Health Matters, to help you decode food labels.
- Low-calorie: 40 calories or less per serving
- Reduced-calorie: at least 25 percent fewer calories per serving when compared with a similar food
- Light or lite: one-third fewer calories; if more than half the calories are from fat, fat content must be reduced by 50 percent or more
- Sugar-free: less than 1/2 gram sugar per serving
- Reduced sugar: at least 25 percent less sugar per serving when compared with a similar food
- Fat-free or 100 percent fat-free: less than 1/2 gram fat per serving
- Low-fat: 3 grams or less per serving
- Reduced-fat: at least 25 percent less fat when compared with a similar food
It's important to note that you can’t eat as much as you want of fat-free foods because they still may be high in calories. In order to maintain your weight, you have to cut fat and consume fewer calories. If you continue to consume more calories than you use, you will still gain weight. It’s also important to note that many fat-free foods will have added sugars and sodium to make up for the flavor lost when the fat is removed. So, remember, it is important to read your food labels and compare products.