Monday, May 7, 2007

Food Labeling: Part 1

Understanding food labeling is important for maintaining any diet that is based on making choices among different foods on the basis of calories, fat content, and sodium. The strategy I’ve been using successfully is to log my consumption throughout the day using my diet spreadsheet and to let the results inform the choices I make. If I get to the end of the day and I am close to my self-imposed limits (1400 calories, less than 20% of those calories from fat, and less than 1500 mg sodium), I make informed decisions about what and whether to eat. It’s amazing how tasty and satisfying an orange can be when I’m near my daily limits.


Nutrient Content Descriptors and Claims

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition regulates what specific words can be used to describe nutrients for food products. The major nutrients covered are calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugars.

Free: Also means, zero, no, without, trivial source of, dietarily insignificant source of, and is based on the labeled serving size or on the regulated reference amount as are all the following terms. The amounts are as follows.

  • Calories: Less than 5 cal for the reference amount and serving size listed on the label.
  • Total Fat: Less than 0.5 g for the reference amount and serving size listed on the label.
  • Saturated Fat: Less than 0.5 g saturated fat and less than 0.5 g trans fatty acids for the reference amount and serving size listed on the label.
  • Cholesterol: Less than 2 mg for the reference amount and serving size listed on the label.
  • Sodium: Less than 5 mg for the reference amount and serving size listed on the label.
  • Sugars: Less than 0.5 g for the reference amount and serving size listed on the label.

Low: Also means, low, little, few in reference to calories, contains a small amount of, low source of.

  • Calories: 40 calories or less for the reference amount and serving size listed on the label and for 50 g (about 1.76 ounces) if the reference amount is small. For meals and main dishes, 120 calories or less per 100 grams (about 3.52 ounces).
  • Total Fat: 3 g or less for the reference amount or per 50 g if the reference amount is small. For meals and main dishes, 3 g or less per 100 g and not more than 30% of calories from fat
  • Saturated Fat: Less than 1 g for the reference amount 15% or less of calories from saturated fat. For meals and main dishes, 1 g or less per 100 g and less than 10% of calories from saturated fat.
  • Cholesterol: 20 mg or less for the reference amount and for meals and main dishes, 20 mg or less per 100 grams.
  • Sodium: 140 mg or less for the reference amount or per 50 g if the reference amount is small. For meals and main dishes, 140 mg or less per 100g
  • Sugars: The term low is not defined for total sugars.

Reduced/Less: Also means lower (fewer in reference to calories). The term modified may also be used. Definitions for meals and main dishes are the same as for individual foods when assessed per 100 grams.

  • Calories: At least 25% fewer calories for the reference amount than an appropriate reference food that has not been reduced.
  • Total Fat: At least 25% less total fat for the reference amount than an appropriate reference food that has not been reduced.
  • Saturated Fat: At least 25% less saturated fat for the reference amount than an appropriate reference food that has not been reduced.
  • Cholesterol: At least 25% less cholesterol for the reference amount than an appropriate reference food that has not been reduced.
  • Sodium: At least 25% less sodium for the reference amount than an appropriate reference food that has not been reduced.
  • Sugars: At least 25% less sugar for the reference amount than an appropriate reference food that has not been reduced.

HeHere is my recap for yesterday.



Daily Dietary Recap-5/6/2007
Calories Protein Carbohydrates SodiumFat % Calories from Fat
1315.26 62.68 g 218.83 g747.45 mg 18.46 g 12.57%

1 comment:

Dr. Anastasia Benjamin US said...

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