Understand Nutrition Claims

You grab a box of food off the shelf that claims to be "reduced" sugar. But what does that mean? Is "reduced" sugar different than "no" sugar? We'll give you the information you need.

Package Claims: What Do They Mean?

Food packages are allowed to display only a handful of nutrition claims (such as "no sugar added"). The manufacturer must support any nutrition claim on the package by listing the related nutrients on the nutrition facts label. There are no regulations on the placement, size, or color of the claim, which makes comparing products difficult -- until you look at the nutrition facts panels side-by-side.

"No"

When the word "No" appears on a food package, it means that food item contains no amount or trivial amounts of a nutrient. Other terms used: free, without, zero

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"Low"

The word "Low" on a food package applies to foods that don't easily exceed the dietary guideline. Other terms used: low source of, few, little, contains a small amount of

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"Reduced"

When the word "Reduced" appears on a food package, it means that food product is different from the regular food and contains at least 25 percent less of a nutrient or of calories.

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"Lower"

The word "Lower" on a food package means that food contains 25 percent less of a nutrient or of calories than the regular food. Other terms: less, fewer

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"Excellent Source Of"

The phrase "Excellent Source Of" on a food package means that one serving of that food provides 20 percent or more of the daily value for that nutrient, such as dietary fiber. Other terms: high in, rich in

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"Good Source Of"

The phrase "Good Source Of" on a food package means that one serving of that food provides 10-19 percent of the daily value for that nutrient.

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