Deciphering Food Labels

Becoming a smart shopper got easier in 1994 when the federal government made the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act the law. Today, food labels have to pass U.S.
Food and Drug Administration regulations.

Here are the different parts of the nutrition label and how to make them work for you:

Front of the label: You’ll find special health claims regarding to a product.

Reduced Fat: At least 25% less fat per serving.

Low Fat: No more than 3 grams of fat per serving.

Fat Free: Less than 1/2 gram of fat per serving.

Light: At least 50% less fat or 1/3 fewer calories per serving.

Reduced Sodium: At least 25% less sodium per serving.

Ingredients: Find out exactly what’s in foods.

Ingredients are listed in order of importance, so if sugar is the first ingredient on a cereal label then you can be sure there is a significant amount of sugar in the product. You can also check to see if foods are really "natural." If they are, you won’t find chemicals or preservatives on the ingredient list.