ALL-FRUIT AND FRUIT JUICE LABELS Look for the percentage of juice on the packages

Today’s food labels can be tricky because products that are labeled fat-free or sugar-free may have more calories than their full-fat counterparts. The important thing to remember is this: If you do choose a product that is low-fat or sugar-free, read the entire label—the calories, the fat, the sugar and sodium content.

The following tips may help you chose the products wisely.


Pay attention to the amount of sugar in a product. Fat-free foods are often filled with sugar (to add taste) and the caloric content can be just as high, if not higher, than that of their full-fat counterparts. And remember to review the amount of salt and the total number of carbohydrates.


Make sure you read the nutritional label and look at the number of calories per serving. Many sugar-free products contain as many calories as those made with sugar. These products may contain calories from flour or sugar alcohol. A calorie is a calorie no matter where it comes from.

It’s also important to pay attention to the serving size. One company’s serving size is not the same as another company’s serving size. We may also be tempted to eat more of the sugar-free foods because we think we are getting fewer calories.

If you’re reaching for the sugar-free product because you think it is more healthful, be aware that a lot of sugar-free products have a higher percentage of sodium and fat.


Look for the percentage of juice on the packages. Some «real fruit» beverages contain anywhere from 5-85% juice. «Real fruit» juices can have as many—if not more—calories and sugar than a can of soda, and certainly have less nutritional value than 100% juice.

If you’re choosing a real fruit beverage because you feel it is healthier for you, choose the 100% juice instead.


There is a difference between «all natural,» «fresh from the farm,» «natural,» «no preservatives,» and «organic.» Organic should mean that crops were grown without certain pesticides and fertilizers, or that animals were raised without antibiotics or growth hormones and were given access to the outdoors.

Until new US Department of Agriculture labeling goes into effect by 2002, which will read «USDA Organic,» look for labels such as «Certified Organic,» which means a product has met certain requirements.

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