Access Allied Health

Label Reading - what do nutrition claims mean?

Access Allied Health - Thursday, April 26, 2012

With so many products to choose from these days, we can take the initiative and time to read the labels to know what we're buying.  The nutritional information can help you to make informed choices about the foods you want to eat.  Here are some common nutrition claims and what they actually mean.

All Natural
This usually means there are no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.  It doesn't mean it's the best choice as the product may still be high in fat, sugar and/or salt.

'Light' or 'Lite'
This does not necessarily mean less fat or lower in kilojoules.  For example, 'lite' potato chips are thinly sliced and 'lightly' salted but are still high in fat.  Light oils are light in colour/flavour, not in fat.

No Cholesterol or Cholesterol Free
This does not mean low fat.  Foods made with vegetable oil will have no cholesterol, as cholesterol only comes from animal based foods, but can still be high in fat.  E.g. a bottle of olive oil has no cholesterol but is still nearly 100% fat.

Carbohydrate Modified
These products contain sugars other than sucrose (cane sugar).  Sugars like sorbitol, mannitol and sylitol are often used.  These sugars are similar to sugar, i.e. the same calories and are not suitable for diabetics.

'Low-joule' or 'diet'
These terms mean that the product is lower in kilojoules than a similar product - usually due to the addition of artificial sweeteners.

'No Added Sugar'
This means that no extra sugar has been added to the product but it still may contain natural sugar already present in the food.

Reduced Fat
This label indicates that the product contains less fat than standard products but may not necessarily be low in fat.  Usually there is 25-33% less fat than the standard counterpart.

'Creamed', 'Toasted' or 'Oven-baked'
These terms mean that more fat and kilojoules have been added to the original product, as is the case with toasted muselies.