Member Login
Follow Us

Nutrient Claims Reference Chart - Helping You Choose Healthy Foods

Michelle Mirizzi • MS, Registered Dietitian • May 14, 2012

Nutrient Claims Guide To Understanding Food Packaging Terms

Finding healthy foods can get a little confusing with so many nutrient claims on packages. As you walk down the grocery store isles deciding which foods to buy, you may be wondering if you should buy reduced cholesterol or low cholesterol? Or maybe you are not sure what the difference is between lite and light?
nutrient claims
Our dietitian has made it easier for you to know the facts about the foods you are buying. Here is a quick and easy reference guide you can print and use at the grocery store.
Learning about nutrient claims can be overwhelming with all the definitions.  
The table below covers several of the most common nutrient claims found on food packaging. It might be worthwhile to print out the list for the next time you go to the grocery store. Plan your trip to the store when you have time to read labels and compare brands. The first couple of times you go shopping will probably take a bit longer as you compare labels and look at the definitions of each claim. Take your child along and encourage him or her to compare foods and decide what product is the best choice.
Common terms found on food packaging*:
Nutrient Claim means…
Calorie free less than 5 calories per serving
Low calorie 40 calories or less per serving
Fat free Less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving
Low fat 3 grams or less of total fat
Low saturated fat 1 gram or less saturated fat per serving
Saturated fat free
Less than 0.5 g of saturated fat
perserving and the amount of
trans fatty acids does not exceed 1% of the total fat
Reduced fat
Less fat
At least 25% less fat than the regular version
Sugar free Less than 0.5 g of sugar per serving
Reduced sugar
At least 25% less sugar per serving than
the regular version
High fiber 5g or more fiber per serving
Good source of fiber 2.5 g to 4.9 g of fiber per serving
Cholesterol free Less than 2 mg per serving
Low cholesterol 20 mg or less per serving
Reduced cholesterol
Less cholesterol
At least 25% less cholesterol per serving
than the regular version
Sodium free
Salt free
Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
Low sodium 140 mg of sodium or less
Reduced sodium
Less sodium
At least 25% less sodium per serving
than the regular version
Good Source of…
these terms mean that one serving of
a food contains 10-19% of the Daily Value
Excellent Source of…
High in…
Rich in…
these terms mean that one serving of a food
contains 20% or more of the Daily Value
Meat, poultry, seafood and game meat with less than 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, and 95 mg cholesterol per serving.
Extra lean 
Meat, poultry, seafood and game meat with less than 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, and 95 mg cholesterol per serving.
Lite or Light
This can mean two things. The product can have 50% less fat than the higher fat version or the product contains 1/3 fewer calories. For example Dreyer’s vanilla ice cream contains 150 calories per ½ cup serving and 10 grams of fat. The Dreyer’s light ice cream contains 100 calories per ½ cup serving and 3.5 grams of fat. 

The term “light” can also refer to the texture and color as long as the label explains it. For example, “light brown sugar” or “light olive oil.”

Reduced in…
This claim means that the product contains at least 25% less of a nutrient than the regular version. For example, Nabisco’s Original Oreo cookies contain 160 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving. The reduced fat version contains 150 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. Other words for “reduced in” include “lower in” and “fewer.”


The field of nutrition is continuously changing as we learn more and more. These nutrient claims are

designed to be flexible enough to change with new scientific understanding as needed. By knowing the definition of these terms used by food manufacturers, you will have the tools to be able to make wise choices for you and your family.

Lastly, don’t get too caught up on the nutrient claims. Remember that these claims give a general idea of a food’s nutrient content. Always refer to the Nutrition Facts Label for the exact amount of nutrients and calories in a product.










See All Our Nutrition Articles


Written by Michelle MirizziWritten on May 14, 2012Last updated on Aug 20, 2013




The photos displayed on this website were purchased legally from,, and All clipart displayed on this website is the exclusive property of