Fat Free Food

Pamela Stuppy: Defining food packaging claims

Many consumers have health concerns that benefit from understanding claims made on food packaging. These are often part of the marketing of a food product so do not appear on the “Nutrition Facts” section of the label. The terms you may see are definitions of the relative amounts of a particular component of the food based on what is noted as the serving size. Examples would include calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar, and fiber.

With regard to calories, the terms you might see would be “calorie free”, “low calorie”, or “reduced calorie”. The FDA approved definition of “calorie free” is having less than 5 calories per serving. For “low calorie”, the serving must contain <40 calories. A “reduced calorie” item would have >25% fewer calories than the regular product.