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Making Smart Choices in the Supermarket: Nutrition Claims Decoded Part 2

Last updated 7 years ago

In my last blog I discussed some popular nutrition and health claims to give you a better idea of what they actually mean. Here I have decoded even more popular nutrition claims that you may find confusing as you stroll through the grocery store aisles.


  • Sodium free: If a product says “sodium free” it contains fewer than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • Reduced or less sodium: at least 25% less sodium than the regular product.
  • Very low sodium: 35 mg or less per serving.
  • Low Sodium: This means the product has 140mg of sodium or less per serving.


  • Reduced sugar: At least 25% less sugar per serving than regular product.
  • No sugar added: No sugars (sucrose, lactose, or fructose) are added during processing or packaging. This also includes any ingredients that contain sugars.
  • Sugar Free: less than 0.5 grams per serving.


  • Reduced or less fat: at least 25% less fat per serving than the regular product.
  • Low fat: 3 grams or less per serving.
  • Fat free: Less than 0.5 grams per serving.


  • Reduced calorie or Fewer calories: At least 25% fewer calories per serving than regular product.
  • Low calorie: 40 calories or less per serving.
  • Calorie free: This means that the product has fewer than 5 calories per serving. So be aware of your serving sizes and don’t go overboard, you may end up adding on more calories than you think.

Claims on food products can make it difficult for the consumer to decide what the best option is. The main thing to remember is to look at the Nutrition Facts labels. Always pay attention to the portion size you are consuming. Something may be “low calorie,” or “low fat,” but if you are eating more than the recommended serving, you may end up adding more calories than you expected.

Shelly Edens is a registered dietitian with Memorial Hospital.


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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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