How to read labels. Part 2


Not always simple and obvious phrases written on the label should be taken literally, since in reality this may be an advertising ploy of the manufacturer

Fat Free Information

In the past, you’ve probably seen a lot of foods with catchy labels like «90% fat free» or «85% fat free.» Previously, they were put on every package of cookies, muffins and crisps. Nowadays, as you probably already noticed, there are much fewer such inscriptions. The thing is, nutrition labeling guidelines advise manufacturers to refrain from using such phrases, and most manufacturers adhere to this advice, which is good. Why? Because the label «fat-free by …%» can actually confuse consumers. Consumers say that when they look at a package labeled «90% fat free», they think it has less fat than a «reduced fat» product. However, let’s get down to the facts. The label «90% fat free» means that the food product contains 10% fat, i.e. 100 g of product contains 10 g of fat. At the same time, in foods labeled «Low in fat», there could be only 3% fat, i.e. 3 g per 100 g of product.

Potato casserole with meat, «90% fat free»

How unreliable information about fat-free percentage can be can be seen from the example of cooked food. Take, for example, a product such as potato casserole with meat.

If a 100g casserole contains 10g of fat, then you can write “90% fat free” on the casserole. At the same time, when you eat one standard serving of such a 350 g casserole, you get 35 g of fat. This is half the daily fat intake for women, which for them is 70 g.

Situations when information about the percentage of fat-free content can be placed on the product

An exception to the recommendation for information on the percentage of fat-free is the case when the product contains less than 3 g of fat, i.e., there is really little fat in it. In that case, the manufacturer gives you the correct information when he says that his crackers, which contain, for example, 3 g of fat per 100 g of product, are low in fat. On such a product, indeed, you can write «crackers, 97% fat-free».

Does the label «low fat» mean that a product is low in calories?

Sometimes, but not necessarily. Sometimes «low fat» muffins and cookies are not as low in calories as you might think. When you remove fat from milk and make skim milk from whole milk, you simply remove fat and reduce fat from 22g per pint (0.57L) to 1g per pint, reducing calories from 386 calories per pint to 1 87 calories. The only difference in the finished product is that the skimmed milk is thinner.

However, when you reduce the fat content in a cake recipe, you lose a lot of volume in the finished product, and in order for the output to remain the same volume of the product, you have to add other ingredients. Sugar is usually added. A lot of sugar! As you can see from the table below, a low-fat muffin can be almost as caloric as a base muffin:

Zhirov, g calories
In 1 pint (0.57 l) whole milk 14 387
In 1 pint (0.57 L) of skimmed milk 0,6 194
In 1 piece of regular carrot cake 5 98
In 1 slice of «low-fat» muffin 0,5 81

Foods with a «reduced content» of fats, sugar and salt

read the label

In order for food manufacturers to label their product as “reduced” in a given nutrient, the food must have 25% less content of that nutrient than; in the base product. However, you should be careful when you see “reduced content” labels on the packaging of a product — in order for them to make sense to you, you need to know how much of this nutrient would be in the base product.

Taramasalata (roe appetizer) «reduced fat», for example, may have 25% less fat than the base, and yet 100 g of this snack contains 25 g of fat. Reducing the fat in taramasalate by 25% is a useful thing, but one should not think that defatting it can, as if by magic, make it not fat at all if it is naturally rich in fat.

Marking «Light/Light»

There is currently no law that mandates the use of «Light/Light» descriptors on food packaging. These labels may be used to describe the texture of a product or to make us think that the product contains fewer calories or fat than similar products. Since this descriptor can introduce some ambiguity and is open to interpretation, manufacturers are advised to place it on the product label only if it meets the recommendations for “reduced content” labeling, i.e., this type of information should be provided on the label only if when the “light” product contains 25% less fat, sugar or salt than the base product.

«Virtually Fat Free»

Strictly speaking, this type of nutritional information is a real «no man’s land»: its use is not subject to recommendations or legal definitions. However, it is often given on products such as yogurt, but you can be quite sure that the food product that has this inscription gives you practically no fat.

Source: Adapted from How to Read Labels by Amanda Ursell

Article protected by copyright and related rights. When using and reprinting the material, an active link to the healthy lifestyle portal is required!


Добавить комментарий

Ваш адрес email не будет опубликован. Обязательные поля помечены *