Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How to Read a Food Label Part II

A while back I posted the easy way to read a food label.

While I did add some advanced steps, I realize that due to Big Food doublespeak, it's often a challenge to truly understand their front of the package claims - that's where they have their "Special Statements". Here's a quick glossary:

  • No Fat Or Fat Free - Contains less than a 1/2 gram of fat per serving.
  • Lower Or Reduced Fat - Contains less the fat or calories of the original version or a similar product
  • Low Fat - Contains less than 3 grams of fat per serving.
  • Lite - Contains 1/3 the calories or 1/2 the fat per serving of the original version or a similar product.
  • Low Calories - Contains 1/3 the calories of the original version or a similar product.
  • No Calorie Or Calorie Free - Contains less than 5 calories per serving.
  • Sugar Free - Contains less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving.
  • No Preservatives - Contains no preservatives (chemical or natural).
  • No Preservatives Added - Contains no added chemicals to preserve the product. Some of these products may contain natural preservatives.
  • Low Sodium - Contains less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • No Salt Or Salt Free - Contains less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • Baked Not Fried - Used mostly for potato chips, crackers or corn chips, this label means the product is usually sprayed with a light oil then baked in an over instead of fried in the oil. More often than not this does nothing to affect the calories of the item.
  • Lean - Contains less than 8 grams of total fat, up to 3.5 mg of saturated fat, and less than 80mg of salt in a serving.
Of course you have to keep in mind the fact that many of these statement are comparative ones. 1/3 the calories of an extremely high calorie original item may still contain a great deal of calories - similar story for saturated fats.

I also realized that in terms of my step #4 (Look at the sugar content), there are quite a few synonyms for sugar. Here's a list of all sort of different kinds of sugars.
Cane juice
Custard powder
Falernum Fructose
Honey Jaggery
Jus de canne
Remember, at the end of the day, sugar is sugar and whether God added it doesn't make any difference.

Information is good.