Food label lessons

Fat free, reduced fat, light, cholesterol free... These are just some of the clever claims that food companies use to entice us to buy their products, but how do we know which ones to trust? Diabetes Queensland nutritionist Rachel Latimore helps you to sort the fact from the fat.


The Claim: Fat Free

The Verdict:A food with fat free on the label must have less that 3g of fat per 100g so these are great choices. But there is a catch, often fat free foods have extra sugar added to them so be careful to check the sugar content as well.


The Claim: Reduced Fat

The Verdict:Those clever food manufacturers have found a sneaky trick in this food claim. Reduced fat doesn't necessarily mean low fat or fat free. Reduced fat means that the product simply has less fat than the full fat product. So a chocolate bar that is labelled reduced fat will probably still have loads of fat, but it will have less fat than your standard chocolate.


The Claim: Light or Lite

The Verdict:Another sneaky one! It would be fair to assume that foods that are called "light" would be lower in fat or kilojoules, but no, it usually means they are light in colour, taste or they just might not weigh very much!


The Claim: Cholesterol Free

The Verdict:It's great to look for cholesterol free foods, but a food may be low in cholesterol and still super high in fat and kilojoules. I suggest looking at the saturated fat content of the food rather than worrying too much about the cholesterol. If a food is high in saturated fat it will most likely be high in cholesterol and visa versa.


If you want to learn more about label reading to help you on your journey to a healthier you, check out our Healthy Food Shopping website