It’s so easy to get lost in the information overload of nutrition facts, tips and science. Just picking up a food item and trying to decipher the nutrition fact label or even pronounce of the ingredients is enough to cause a headache!
To help you begin to wade through the non-sense and get to the facts, here’s some clear definition of nutrition terms you could come across:
Light: For a food to be able to be labelled as “light” it has to be reduced in fat or reduced in calories (energy). But pay close attention to the ingredients as this usually means the amount of sugar or chemicals added has been greatly increased.
Low Fat: This means that the food contains no more than 3 grams of fat in the serving size listed on the label. Again – read the facts label and ingredients – low fat does not always equal healthy.
Sodium Free: Foods can display this label only if they contain less than 5mg of sodium.
Source of Fibre: This can be displayed if there is at least 2 grams of fibre in the amount of food specified in the nutrition facts label. (High in Fibre means there is at least 4 grams of fibre, whereas Very High in Fibre means there is at least 6 grams).
Cholesterol Free: To make this statement, a food item has to be low in saturated fat and trans fat – it also means that the item has a small amount of cholesterol (less than 2 mg).
Vegan: This means the product or recipe does not have fish, meat, poultry, shellfish, gelatin (meat production by-product), animal fats, dairy products, eggs, butter, mayonnaise or honey.
Gluten Free: This means the product does not have any wheat or gluten ingredients. Quick Tips: Here’s what you want MORE of: Calcium, Fibre, Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C Here’s what you want LESS of: Sodium, fat, trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol
*Source: Health Canada