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Low fat - Contains less than 3 grams of fat per serving.
Lite - Contains 1/3 calories or 1/2 fat per serving of original version or a similar product.
No calories or calorie free - Contains less than 5 calories per serving.
Low calories - Contains 1/3 calories of original version or a similar product.
Sugar free - Contains less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving.
Reduced sugar - at least 25% less sugar per serving than reference food.
No preservatives - Contains no preservatives (chemical or natural).
No preservatives added - Contains no added chemicals to preserve product. Some of these products may contain natural preservatives.
Low sodium - Contains less than 140 mgs of sodium per serving.
No salt or salt free - Contains less than 5 mgs of sodium per serving.
High fiber - 5 g or more per serving (Foods making high-fiber claims must meet definition for low fat, or level of total fat must appear next to high-fiber claim).
Good source of fiber - 2.5 g to 4.9 g. per serving.
More or added fiber - Contains at least 2.5 g more per serving than reference food.
With a little practice, you will be able to put your new found knowledge about food labeling to work. Reassess your diet and decide what needs to be changed. Start by eliminating foods that don't measure-up to your nutritional wants and needs, and replacing them with more nutritional substitutes.
And while you're at it, visit FDA website and learn about new labeling requirements, including those for "trans" fat. Like saturated fats, trans fats can raise levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and increase your risk of heart disease. The "Nutrition Facts" panel on food packaging must provide this information beginning January 1, 2006, but most manufacturers will start providing it sooner.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.
Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.