How High is “High-Fiber”? (Nutrition Buzzwords, Demystified)


Ever wondered what that “high-fiber” cereal is actually providing in the way of fiber? (And is it less impressive than the box labeled “fiber-rich”?) Or ever considered how many calories are in a “low-calorie” sports drink?

In order for a food company to splash words like “high in fiber” across its packaging, the product must adhere to specific guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA also regulates claims at the other end of the spectrum: Foods that boast being “low in” or “free” of something (such as sodium), must also meet requirements. Here’s a cheat sheet of what’s behind the buzzwords.

Glossary of Terms
High, rich in, excellent source of: These terms can be used if a food contains 20 percent or more of the daily value of something (for example, fiber, Omega-3 fats, calcium, iron, potassium or vitamin C).

Good source: One rung down from the above. This term can be used if a food contains between 10 percent to 19 percent of the daily value of a nutrient.

Low in calories: 40 calories or fewer per serving

Calorie-free: Fewer than 5 calories per serving

Low-fat: 3 grams or less of fat per serving

Fat-free: Less than 0.5 gram of fat per serving

Low …read more