Understanding food labels
Grocery stores are packed with aisle after aisle of different types and brands
of foods. The food label can help you to make sense of how to choose healthy
foods. Here are some tips on how to use the food label to choose foods low in
saturated fat and cholesterol:
This claim means that a food contains no amount (or a very small amount) of
these nutrients: fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar, and calories.
means fewer than 5 calories per serving.
means less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.
This claim can be used on all foods that can be eaten often without going
over the limit for one or more of these nutrients: saturated fat, cholesterol,
fat, sodium, and calories.
Other words that mean "low," include: "little," "few," and "low source of."
- Low-saturated fat:
1 gram or less per serving.
3 grams or less per serving.
20 milligrams or less and 2 grams or less saturated
fat per serving.
140 milligrams or less per serving.
40 calories or less per serving.
- Lean and extra lean
These claims can be used to describe the saturated fat and fat content of
meat, poultry, seafood and game meats.
less than 10 grams of fat and 4.5 grams or less of saturated
fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.
- Extra lean:
less than 5 grams of fat, less than 2 grams saturated fat,
and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.
Watching your serving size is still important. Just because something is "reduced
fat" or "lighter" in calories, does not mean than you can eat more of it.
Choosing foods lower in saturated fat and cholesterol will help you to lower
your blood cholesterol. By eating a larger portion of a food low in saturated
fat, you may eat more or just as much saturated fat and fat as the regular
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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