Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Perhaps I've gone over this before... but food labels - in all their glory can be quite deceptive. I don't mean the nutritional facts on the back with their sly tricks for serving size and rounding down content... I mean buzz words and trends like "Low Carb" "Low Fat" "Reduced Fat" "Light" "Organic" "All Natural" "Whole Grain" and my personal favorite "Fat Free"
Lets take a look at what some of these mean - and DONT MEAN:
Low Fat: Low fat means a product contains 3g of fat or less per serving, and 30% or less of total calories
Reduced Fat: Reduced fat products contain at least 25% less fat than the original version. This does not mean that the reduced fat version is low fat (or even healthy). Take a package of reduced fat cookies, for example. If the original fat content per serving was 20g, and the fat has been reduced to 15g, it is still five times higher than the 3g per serving that officially qualifies as low fat.
Low-Carb: The FDA has not yet legally defined what "low-carbohydrate" means - so buying a low-carb snack, could mean abolustely anything.
Light: At least 50% less fat or 1/3 fewer calories per serving than the “regular” full-fat food cited on the label.
Organic: 90% of the food item is produced by farmers who avoided the use of bio-persistent nonselective chemical pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers. It does not ensure 100% organic - there is a 100% for those type foods.
Whole Grain: Are cereal grains that consist of the intact and unrefined, ground, cracked or flaked fruit of the grains whose principal components - the starchy endosperm, germ and bran - are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact grain.
All Natural: According to the USDA, food can only be labeled natural if it contains no artificial ingredients or added colors and is minimally processed.
Fat Free: Each serving of food has less than 1/2 gram of fat - but not necessary completely void of fat.