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Basic Nutrition Terms That Many People Misunderstand E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA   

Understanding basic nutrition terms is very important. Bynutrition_terms understanding basic nutritional terms you can make sound, educated choices about the food you put into your body.

Failure to understand basic nutrition terms not only causes many people to eat food that may not be healthy for them, but it is a common cause for people putting on unwanted pounds. Failure to understand basic nutrition terms can also in some cases, put peoples health at risk.

Labeling Terms & Their Meanings

In order to understand food labels completely it is important to be familiar with, and understand key nutrition terms used on food labels. Here are some of the meanings of key nutrition terms according to government mandated definitions:

Key Food Nutrition Label Terms and Their Meanings

Sugar Free

Means that it has less than 0.5g per serving.

Reduced Sugar

Indicates that the product has at least 25% less sugar per serving.

No Sugar Added

Products are those that have had no sugar added during processing or packing. They do include products that already contain natural sugar such as dried fruit and juice.

Calorie Free

Means that the product is fewer than 5 calories per serving.

Low Calorie

Is an item that contains 40 calories or less per serving.

Fat Free

Is less than 0.5g of fat per serving.

Saturated Fat Free

Tells you that the product contains less than 0.5g per serving and the level of trans fatty acids is no more than 1% of the total fat.

Low Fat

Is 3g or less of fat per serving and if the serving is 30g or less or 2 tablespoons or less, per 50g of the product.

Low Saturated Fat

Informs the consumer that 1g or less per serving and not more than 15 percent of the total calories are from saturated fat.

Reduced Or Less Fat

Can be used on the label if at least 25 percent less per serving than the original reference food.

Reduced Or Less Saturated  Fat

Is at least 25 percent less per serving.


Means that the product has 50% less fat than the same regular product. Can also be used to mean one third fewer calories or 50% less sodium.


Means less than 10 grams of fat  4 grams saturated fat and 95 mg of cholesterol.

Extra Lean

Means less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams saturated fat and 95 mg of cholesterol

Cholesterol Free

Is any product that contains less than 2 mg of cholesterol and 2g or less saturated fat.

Low Cholesterol

Refers to an item that is 20mg or less and 2g or less of saturated fat per serving; and if the serving is 30g or less or 2 tablespoons or less, per 50g of the product.

Reduced Or Less Cholesterol

Indicates a product has at least 25 percent less and 2g or less of saturated fat per serving.

Sodium Free

Is less than 5mg per serving.

Low Sodium

Means the product is 140mg or less per serving.

Very Low Sodium

Is an item with 35mg or less per serving.

Reduced Or Less Sodium

Requires that the product be at least 25 percent less per serving.

High Fiber

Is any product that contains 5 or more grams per serving. High fiber claims must also meet the criteria for low fat or the level of total fat must be shown next to the high fiber claim.

Good Source Of Fiber

Refers to products with 2.5 to 4.9g per serving.

More Added Fiber

Products must contain at least 2.5g more per serving than the original reference food.


About the Author, Jeff Behar

Jeff Behar
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA is a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert, regularly writing about hot topics in the areas of health, fitness, disease prevention, weight loss, nutrition, anti aging and alternative medicine. Jeff Behar's work also often appears in several of the major health and fitness newsletters, health and fitness magazines, and on major health, fitness and  weight loss websites. Jeff Behar is also the CEO of, and; two very popular health, fitness, nutrition and anti aging information sites.



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