What healthy food labels really mean - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

What healthy food labels really mean

(Flikr/Anthony Albright) (Flikr/Anthony Albright)
FOX19 -

Do you pick certain grocery items over others because of claims on the packaging? Common terms like “low fat” and “healthy” are slapped all over food items, but their meaning is more complicated than it may seem.

Label claims must meet specific FDA regulations in order to appear on a food product. Here are 5 common phrases used on food and what they actually mean:

Low Fat: The food must have three grams of less of fat per serving in order to be labeled “Low Fat.” The important part to remember is the serving size – a low fat food can quickly become a higher fat food if consumed in excess amounts.

Antioxidant: Antioxidants can prevent or delay cell damage in the body. A food must have scientific evidence of antioxidant properties and contain enough of the nutrient per serving to qualify as a “good source” of the antioxidant.

Healthy: This is a loaded word, according to the FDA. Anything labeled “Healthy” must meet several standards including low fat, sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat. It also must provide at least 10 percent of the recommended intake of vitamins A and C.

Light/Lite: A food is light if either its calorie, sodium or fat content is reduced by 50 percent.

No added sugars: This doesn't mean a product is sugar-free. Many foods, such as fruits and vegetables, contain naturally occurring sugar. The “No added sugars” label is acceptable if a product contains one of those natural sugars, but the manufacturer added no additional sugars.

Sunday at 10: You could be spending extra money buying into false claims on your grocery items. We'll show you how to spot the lies on the labels.

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