Sunday, September 25, 2011
Keep on reading
Smart shoppers, and concerned health seekers should know the following most commonly used terms on food packages:
Cholesterol-free. Currently there are no established standards for cholesterol labeling. This term becomes misleading in a food item that itself contains no cholesterol but is laden with saturated fat—like palm or coconut oil—which causes a rise in blood cholesterol.
Dietetic. This product is intended to meet special dietary purposes. One or more specific ingredients, such as sugar or salt, has been replaced or substituted. The term dietetic does not necessarily indicate low in calories.
Enriched. Nutrients lost in the refining process have been put back into the product.
Fiber. No regulations govern the way fiber must be listed. It may appear as dietary or crude fiber and as soluble or insoluble fiber.
Fortified. Additional nutrients have been added to the product. For instance, milk containing vitamins A and D is fortified.
Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Hydrogen has been added to an unsaturated fat to make it saturated or solid at room temperature. Partially hydrogenated fat is saturated, but less so.
Light or lite. There is no standard definition for this term. The product may be light in color, taste, texture, calories, weight or alcoholic content. It’s up to the buyer to figure out which of these applies.
Low-calorie. Under FDA requirements, this food can contain no more than 40 calories in a serving and no more than 0.4 calories per gram.
Natural. By law, the word natural can appear only on meat or poultry that contains no artificial ingredients. When applied to other types of food, this term has little meaning, although it appears on many products. Natural may be confused with pure, a term that means a product is made from only one ingredient—for instance, juice or honey.
Organic. The implication of organic is that no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides were used to grow, process, or package the food product. There is no national standard or definition of organic, and therefore no guarantee that an organic label is true to its claims.
Reduced-calorie. The product must be at least one-third lower in calories when compared with a similar product.
Sodium-free. Fewer than 3 milligrams of sodium are contained in a serving. Very low sodium means there’s no more than 35 milligrams per serving. Reduced sodium indicated that the level of sodium has been reduced by at least 75 percent.
Sugar-free or sugarless. This product contains no sucrose, or table sugar. However, another form of sweetener may be used, such as fructose or sorbitol—which contain about as many calories by volume or weight as sucrose. Aspartame and saccharin are sometimes used to sweeten sugar-free products.