The following glossary of food label terms provides the government definitions of terms used on food labels and packages. The list will help you decipher what a food label tells you about the food.
Calorie-free: A serving contains less than 5 calories
Cholesterol-free: A serving contains less than 2 mg cholesterol and 2 g or less saturated fat
"A good source of " (a juice label, for example, that claims the product is "A Good Source of Vitamin C".) A serving contains 10% to 19% of the Daily Value for a given nutrient.
Daily Value (DV): The recommended daily intake of a specific nutrient based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Excellent source of; Rich in; or High: A serving provides at least 20% of the Daily Value for the claimed nutrient.
Extra, Added, or More: a serving contains at least 10% of the DV of a particular nutrient when compared with a similar food.
Extra lean: Cooked meat, poultry or seafood contains less than 5 g total fat, less than 2 g saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per serving.
Fat-free: A serving contains less than 0.5 (1/2) g of fat.
Gram (g): A metric unit of weight equal to about 1/28th of an ounce.
Healthy: To be labeled healthy, a food must meet the standards for low fat and low saturated fat and not exceed maximum levels for sodium and cholesterol. The product must also provide at least 10% of the Daily Value for at least one of the following nutrients: protein, fiber, vitamins A and C, iron or calcium. In addition, all raw fruits and vegetables (whether they meet the 10% standard or not), plain frozen fruits and vegetables (with no sauces or seasonings) and enriched grain products can claim to be "healthy."
High in fiber: A serving contains at least 5 g total fiber.
Lean: A serving contains less than 10 g total fat, less than 4 g saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol.
Light or Lite: A serving contains one-third fewer calories or 50% less fat than a similar product. If more than half the calories are from fat, fat must be reduced by 50% or more.
Low-calorie: A serving contains no more than 40 calories.
Low-cholesterol: A serving contains no more than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 g of saturated fat.
Low-fat: A serving contains no more than 3 g of fat.
Low-sodium: A serving contains no more than 140 mg sodium.
Milligram (mg): A metric unit of weight that measures one thousandth of a gram.
Reduced cholesterol: A serving contains at least 25% less cholesterol than a similar product and 2 g or less saturated fat.
Reduced fat: A serving contains at least one-third less fat than the same amount of a similar product.
Sodium-free: A serving contains less than 5 mg sodium.
Very low sodium: A serving contains 35 mg of sodium or less.