A food label contains a wealth of nutritious facts that most consumers overlook or do not take the time to read. The ingredients in the product is very important for a number of reasons. A consumer may be allergic to an ingredient that is not visible in the product.

To get a better understanding of what the label says and what it means is listed below.

label Says
label means
High protein Must contain at least 10 grams of protein per serving
Sugar free Less than .5 grams of sugar per serving
Light for fat 50% less fat than a comparable product
Light for calories 33% less than comparable product and 50% less fat
Light for sodium 50% less than a comparable product
Low-fat 3 or less grams per serving
Low-calorie 40 or less calories per serving
Low-sodium 140 milligrams or less per serving
Low-cholesterol 20 milligrams or less per serving
Low-saturated fat 1 gram or less per serving
Good source of nutrient Contains 10 to 19% of the RDA for Nutrient
“Free” Contains none or a scarce amounts of the nutrient such as fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar or calories
High Contains at least 20% of the RDA for a nutrient
Healthy Low in fat, saturated fat and sodium. Must provide 10% of RDA for Vitamin A, C, calciumiron, protein, or fiber
Lean Meat, protein, seafood or game meat that has per 3 ounces, less than 5 grams of total fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

It is important to buy nutritious foods at the grocery store and not buy the high fat, high calorie products that are often on sale. The following list will help make your shopping experience a nutritious one!

Tips to buy the most nutritions food

  • Plan ahead and make a grocery list.
    • Planning ahead is important. It will help you avoid the marketing tactics the supermarket uses to entice people to purchase unnecessary or high-priced items.
  • Learn how to read labels.
    • The labels will tell you the nutrient composition of the food. Look for calories per serving, grams of protein per serving, grams of fat per serving, and grams of carbohydrates per serving. See ‘Label Lingo’ below.
  • Eat something before you go shopping.
    • Hunger reduces your resistance to buy foods that are low in nutritious content, over-priced, and unnecessary.
  • Choose minimally processed foods.
    • As a general rule, fresh foods are more nutritious than processed foods. Many dietary deficiencies result from eating too much processed foods.
  • Increase awareness of the fat, cholesterol and sugar content in food.
    • The levels of fat, cholesterol and sugar are often higher than you think. Read the labels so you will know what you are eating
  • Leave children at home.
    • If you can find a babysitter, do not take your children with you to the grocery store. Shopping with children can result in unnecessary food purchases. These purchases are often sugary treats with low nutritious value.

Label Lingo

  1. Wheat Flour does not mean whole wheat flour.
    • Wheat flour probably contains primarily refined flour which is not as nutritious as whole wheat flour.
  2. Products that are labeled as ‘low in cholesterol’ might be high in fat, salt or other undesirable ingredients.
  3. Fruit beverages are better if they are 100% fruit juice.
    • If a product is labeled as a fruit beverage, it may only have 10% fruit juice. The higher percentage of fruit juice, the more nutritious the beverage is.
  4. Natural foods are not always more nutritious than other foods.
    • When considering natural foods, look to see how fresh they are, and try to buy ones that are minimally processed.
  5. Sugar free or sugar less means a food contains no table sugar but it can contain other sugars such as honey or corn syrup.
  6. Know the different types of sugar.
    • A food is likely to be high in sugar if one of the following names appears first or second in the list of ingredients: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, syrup, and table sugar.