Reading Labels: What Does Reduced Mean?

Some packaged foods boast this term, but you may not be getting as good a deal as you expect.

Everyday Food, January 2009

What Does It Mean?
The Food and Drug Administration allows food manufacturers to use the term "reduced" to describe a product containing at least 25 percent fewer calories or 25 percent less sodium, sugar, fat, or cholesterol than the regular version of the item.

Don't Assume
Even if a food label says there is a "reduced" level of, for example, sodium, sugar, or fat, it doesn't always mean the product contains low levels of it. A reduced-sodium product such as broth, though lower in sodium than the regular version, may still contain an amount that's undesirable. Check the Nutrition Facts on the label for more precise information.

Eat better by checking labels as you shop and reading up on what the terms mean in the Between the Lines section.

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