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Food Label Reading Tips:

Read the ingredient list first! Don’t pay attention to the advertising or pretty pictures on the front of the package. Remember, there is no fruit in Froot Loops—just fruit flavors. Under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition governs the claims that manufacturers are permitted to print on the labels of packaged foods. Here are some guidelines: Low calorie = 40 calories or less per serving Fat-free = less than 0.5g fat per serving Low fat = 3g fat or less per serving Reduced fat = 25 percent fewer calories from fat per serving compared to reference food (does NOT necessarily mean low fat!) Low saturated fat = 1g fat or less per serving Lean = fewer than 10g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, and 95mg cholesterol per serving Extra Lean = fewer than 5g fat, 2g saturated fat, and 95mg cholesterol per serving Trans fat-free: less than 0.5g trans fat per serving (may include hydrogenated fat in the ingredients) Low cholesterol = 20mg or less cholesterol and 2g or less saturated fat per serving Cholesterol-free = 2mg or less cholesterol and 2g or less saturated fat per serving Less cholesterol = 25 percent fewer milligrams cholesterol per serving compared to reference food; 2g or less saturated fat per serving For more on how to understand and use the nutrition facts label visit FDA.gov Registered and licensed dietitian Susan Burke March, MS, CDE, is the author of "Making Weight Control Second Nature: Living Thin Naturally” – a book intended to liberate serial "dieters” and make living healthfully and weight-wise intuitive and instinctual over the long term. She may be reached online at www.SusanBurkeMarch.com.

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