What About Those Other Foods?


 Many of us are good at reading the nutritional labels on the foods we buy, but what about the other labels that some foods carry. What about labels such as “fat-free,” “reduced calorie,” or “light.”

Here are some definitions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health that might be helpful:

Calorie terms:

  • Low-calorie – 40 calories or less per serving
  • Reduced-calorie – at least 25 percent fewer calories per serving when compared with a similar food
  • Light or lite – one-third fewer calories; if more than half the calories are from fat, fat content must be reduced by 50 percent or more

Sugar terms:

  • Sugar-free – less than 1/2 gram sugar per serving
  • Reduced sugar – at least 25 percent less sugar per serving when compared with a similar food

Fat terms:

  • Fat-free or 100 percent fat free – less than 1/2 gram fat per serving
  • Low-fat – 3 grams or less per serving
  • Reduced-fat – at least 25 percent less fat when compared with a similar food

Remember that fat-free doesn’t mean calorie free. People tend to think they can eat as much as they want of fat-free foods. Even if you cut fat from your diet but consume more calories than you use, you will gain weight.

Also, fat-free or low-fat foods may contain high amounts of added sugars or sodium to make up for the loss of flavor when fat is removed. You need to check the food labels carefully. For example, a fat-free muffin may be just as high in calories as a regular muffin. So, remember, it is important to read your food labels and compare products.

Finding the nutrient content of foods that don’t have food labels:

When you get a pound of salmon in the meat department of your grocery store, it doesn’t come with a Nutrition Facts label. The same goes for the fresh apples or eggplants that you get in the produce department.

How do you find out the nutrient content of these foods that don’t have food labels?

You can use the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database. This is a bit harder than using the Nutrition Facts label. But by comparing different foods you can get an idea if a food is high or low in saturated fat, sodium, and other nutrients. To compare lots of different foods at one time, check out the USDA’s Nutrient Lists.


Fooducate…Eat a Little Better

Hemi Weingarten is a father of three who became interested in buying and preparing healthy food for his family when his children were just babies. As he tells it,” There are so many products. so many health claims, nutrients, and ingredients. So many promises by manufacturers. Despite the fact that I am a high tech exec with a graduate degree under my belt, I nonetheless found it difficult to make rational, information-based decisions for a task as simple as putting groceries into my shopping cart. During my trips to the grocery store I would be asking myself questions such as:

  • Do my kids really need to drink juice?
  • How much sugar is too much in a breakfast cereal?
  • What are nitrates? Should we avoid all food colorings?
  • Is just a tiny bit of trans fat OK?

  • What about those yogurts especially designed for young children?

So, I decided to do something about it. I began to educate myself by  reading books and web articles about food systems, nutrition, and food preparation. At some point I decided that I need to share this information with other people, so that they too will be able to make better choices.That is when  Fooducate was born. Fooducate is a personal grocery advisor helping people choose the best food for their families.”

In the Fooducate Blog you’ll find tips and tricks to help make you a better shopper of nutritious food. Topics include nutrition fact labels, hard to pronounce ingredient names, “health claims”, and other marketing tricks to watch out for at the supermarket.

Mr. Wiengarten gives the following assurances, ” Fooducate has no relationship with the food, drug, diet or supplement industries. Nor does Fooducate sell, peddle, distribute or otherwise offer magic pills, secret celebrity diets, and/or exotic supplements.”

To visit Fooducate and learn more about this personal grocery advisor go to www.fooducate.com

To read the Fooducate Blog go to www.fooducate.com/blog/


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