Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip
How to Read Food Labels (January 3, 2006)

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Maybe you can simplify something for me. I’ve adopted a new healthy lifestyle recently, and am looking forward to the new year to continue and make 2006 my coming out. Can you explain how to read food labels? (Joan P., Oakdale, N.J.)

Many of the labels are deceptive or confusing. Here are some simple terms, so you can choose wisely to eat more healthy foods. I hope this solves the mystery. Remember even in a product that is labeled light or reduced, if you eat too many servings, you lose the benefit and could gain weight.

  • Fat free – less than 0.5 grams per serving.
  • Cholesterol free – less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.
  • Light or lite – a food contains at least 1/3 fewer calories or no more than ½ the fat of the original product.
  • Low fat – 3 grams or less of fat per serving
  • Low saturated fat – 1 gram or less of saturated fat per serving
  • Low cholesterol – less than 20 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.
  • Lean – less than 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving of 3.5 ounces.
  • Extra lean – less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving of 3.5 ounces
  • Reduced, less or fewer – food that contains 25% less fat than the standard product
  • Calories – per one serving of product

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on