What Does This Label Mean?
Turns out that watching your wallet can cause your waistline to expand. People who shop in discount grocery stores or chains have higher BMIs, according to a new study in the journalPLoS ONE, suggesting that being able to buy nutritious foods is a luxury many people can't afford. Budget-friendly retail giant Walmart aims to help make healthy food affordable—and easy to spot—with their new “Great For You” labels.
Set to kick off this spring, Walmart hopes the bright green labels will help customers instantly identify food options that are, well, great for you. The icon will appear on items like fruits and vegetables and packaged goods that fit their nutrition criteria. To earn the seal of approval, each product must meet these requirements:
- Total fat must be less than 35 percent of the total calories
- Contain no trans fat and no partially hydrogenated oils
- Saturated fats must be less than 10 percent of the total calories
- Added sugars cannot make up more than 25 percent of the total calories
- Sodium can’t exceed 600 milligrams per meal or 380 milligrams per serving [sidebar]
3 Rules For Reading Food Labels
But does the Walmart label really mean a product’s great for you?
While it's a step in the right direction, it doesn’t mean you can skip reading the back of the box, says Judy Caplan, RD of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Every person needs to take a moment to understand what the numbers and terms on the box really mean,” says Caplan. Labels on front of the box can—and often do—stretch the truth.
For example, federal regulations allow a label to say it’s “trans fat free” or contains “zero trans fat” even if there’s up to half a gram of trans fat per serving—and while that’s a small amount, most of us eat much more than one serving.
Video: Label Meaning
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