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No fat? Low fat? Light? Help!

Precise wording matters for food labels, so get to know the difference for terms such as "low fat," "no fat," "light" and "lean."

Confused by choices when you go grocery shopping or even when you grab a snack? The proliferation of foods designed to provide fewer calories has complicated our decision making. Clip out this handy reference. Each description is per serving.

Fat Free: Fewer than 0.5 grams of fat

Low Fat: 3 grams or fewer of fat

Reduced or Less Fat: At least 25 percent less fat than the full-fat product

Lean: Fewer than 10 grams of fat overall, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and no more than 95 milligrams of cholesterol

Light: Half the fat or one-third fewer calories than the full-fat product. If half or more of the food's calories (in its "regular" formulation) come from fat, then the maker has to cut 50 percent of the product's fat content for it to be deemed "light."

Cholesterol Free: Fewer than 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat

Calorie Free: Fewer than 5 calories

Low Calorie: 40 or fewer calories

"Reduced" or "Fewer" Calories: At least 25 percent fewer calories than the full-fat product

Clearly, the semantics matter. Knowledge is power, so know before you go shopping.

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