Nutrient Claims on Food Labels

July 19, 2018

Nutrient claims describe the content of a food, including the amount of nutrients, calories, cholesterol or fiber, but not in exact amounts. Usually on the front of the food label, the nutrient claim provides a quick comparison between similar products.

Ever wondered about the validity of nutrient claims? You can rest easy since those claims are part of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) in which the government set strict rules that a product must meet in order to make a nutrient or health claim. If these definitions are met, then manufacturers can display certain approved claims about the food.

Daily Values are the basis for nutrient claims. A food which provides 10% or more of the Daily Value for a nutrient per serving is a good source, while one providing 20% is considered “high” in the nutrient.

Below is a breakdown of the definitions of nutrient content claims:


Nutrient Content Claim    What the Claim Means Per Serving
High (rich in, excellent source) 20% or more of the Daily Value
Good 10% to 19% of the Daily Value
More Contains at least 10% more of the Daily Value for vitamins, minerals, protein, dietary fiber, or potassium
Light Has at least ⅓ fewer calories or 50% less fat. If more than half the calories are from fat, fat content must be reduced by 50%    or more
Less or fewer Has 25% less of a nutrient or of calories

Calorie Claims

Calorie free Less than 5 calories
Low calorie 40 calories or less
Reduced calories At least 25% fewer calories

Sugar Claims

Sugar free Less than 0.5 gram sugars
Reduced sugar At least 25% less sugar

Fiber Claims
(If food is not low in total fat, the label must state total fat in conjunction with the fiber claims.)

High fiber 5 grams or more
Good source of fiber 2.5 grams to 4.9 grams
More or added fiber At least 2.5 grams more

Sodium Claims

Sodium free or salt free Less than 5 milligrams sodium
Very low sodium 35 milligrams of sodium or less
Low sodium 140 milligrams of sodium or less
Reduced sodium At least 25% less sodium
Light in sodium At least 50% less sodium
Salt free Less than 5 milligrams sodium

Fat Claims

Fat free Less than 0.5 gram fat
Low fat 3 grams or less total fat
Reduced fat At least 25% less fat than the regular version

Cholesterol Claims

Cholesterol free Less than 2 milligrams cholesterol and 2 grams or less saturated fat
Low cholesterol 20 milligrams or less cholesterol and 2 grams or less saturated fat
Reduced cholesterol  At least 25% less cholesterol and 2 grams or less saturated fat

Tags: food labels, healthy snacking, nutrient claims

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