How Do Your Choices of Fat Stack Up?

With the addition of trans fat to the Nutrition Facts panel, you can review your food choices and see how they stack up. The following labels illustrate total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol content per serving for selected food products.

Don't assume similar products are the same. Be sure to check the Nutrition Facts panel (NFP) when comparing products because even similar foods can vary in calories, ingredients, nutrients, and the size and number of servings in the package. When buying the same brand product, also check the NFP frequently because ingredients can change at any time and any change could affect the NFP information.


Look at the highlighted items on the sample labels below. Combine the grams (g) of saturated fat and trans fat and look for the lowest combined amount. Also, look for the lowest percent (%) Daily Value for cholesterol. Check all three nutrients to make the best choice for a healthful diet.
Note: The following label examples do not represent a single product or an entire product category. In general, the nutrient values were combined for several products and the average values were used for these label examples.

Compare Spreads!*
Keep an eye on Saturated Fat, Trans Fat and Cholesterol!
 Butter **  Margarine, stick †  Margarine, tub †
Sample label for Butter with the values below. Sample label for Margarine, stick with the values below. Sample label for Margarine, tub with the values below.

  Saturated Fat : 7g
Trans Fat    :  0g
Combined Amt.: 7g

  Saturated Fat : 2g
Trans Fat    : 3g
Combined Amt.: 5g
  Saturated Fat :  1g
Trans Fat    : 0.5g
Combined Amt.: 1.5g
Cholesterol: 10 % DV Cholesterol: 0 % DV Cholesterol: 0 % DV
*Nutrient values rounded based on FDA's nutrition labeling regulations. Calorie and cholesterol content estimated.
**Butter values from FDA Table of Trans Values, 1/30/95.
† Values derived from 2002 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15.
 


Compare Desserts!*
Keep an eye on Saturated Fat, Trans Fat and Cholesterol!
Granola Bar ± Sandwich Cookies ± Cake, Iced and Filled ±
Sample label for Granola Bar with the values below. Sample label for Sandwich Cookies with the values below. Sample label for Cake, Iced and Filled with the values below.

  Saturated Fat : 1g
Trans Fat   :  0g
Combined Amt.: 1g

  Saturated Fat : 1g
Trans Fat    : 1.5g
Combined Amt.: 2.5g
  Saturated Fat :  3.5g
Trans Fat    : 4.5g
Combined Amt.:   8g
Cholesterol: 0 % DV Cholesterol: 0 % DV Cholesterol: 3 % DV
*Nutrient values rounded based on FDA's nutrition labeling regulations.
± Values for total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat were based on the means of analytical data for several food samples from Subramaniam, S., et al., "Trans, Saturated, and Unsaturated Fat in Foods in the United States Prior to Mandatory trans-Fat Labeling," Lipids 39, 11-18, 2004. Other information and values were derived from food labels in the marketplace.


Compare Snacks!*
Keep an eye on Saturated Fat, Trans Fat and Cholesterol!
Frozen Potatoes ±
(e.g., French Fries)
Potato Chips ± Mini-Sandwich Crackers ±
Sample label for Frozen Potatoes with the values below. Sample label for Potato Chips with the values below. Sample label for a Mini-Sandwich Crackers with the values below.
  Saturated Fat : 1g
Trans Fat   :  1.5g
Combined Amt.: 2.5g

  Saturated Fat : 2g
Trans Fat    : 0g
Combined Amt.: 2g
  Saturated Fat :  2g
Trans Fat    : 2g
Combined Amt.:   4g
Cholesterol: 0 % DV Cholesterol: 0 % DV Cholesterol: 1 % DV
*Nutrient values rounded based on FDA's nutrition labeling regulations.
± Values for total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat were based on the means of analytical data for several food samples from Subramaniam, S., et al., "Trans, Saturated, and Unsaturated Fat in Foods in the United States Prior to Mandatory trans-Fat Labeling," Lipids 39, 11-18, 2004. Other information and values were derived from food labels in the marketplace.


How Can I Use the Label to Make Heart-Healthy Food Choices?

The Nutrition Facts panel can help you choose foods lower in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. To lower your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, compare similar foods and choose the food with the lower combined saturated and trans fats and the lower amount of cholesterol.

Pop Quiz: Which should you choose?


Select a product on the left column for an answer!

Serving size = 1 Tablespoon* (g = grams; mg = milligrams)


 Product Calories Total Fat g Saturate Fat g Trans Fat g Combined Saturated and Trans Fats g Cholesterol mg
Margarine, 80% fat, stick † 100 11 2 3 5 0
Butter ** 100 11 7 0 7 30
Margarine, 60% fat, tub‡ 80 9 1.5 0 1.5 0
Margarine, 70% fat, stick † 90 10 2 2.5 4.5 0


*Nutrient values rounded based on FDA's nutrition labeling regulations. Calorie and cholesterol content estimated.

**Butter values from FDA Table of Trans Values, dated 1/30/95.

† Values derived from 2002 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15.

‡ Pre release values derived from 2003 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 16.

Answers:


Margarine, 80% fat, stick † Look for another option. This choice does not contain the lowest combined amount of Saturated and Trans Fat.


Butter ** Look for another option. This choice contains the highest combined amount of Saturated and Trans Fat, and the highest amount of Cholesterol.


Margarine, 60% fat, tub‡ Congratulations! This choice has the lowest combined amount of Saturated and Trans fat and 0 g of Cholesterol.


Margarine, 70% fat, stick † Look for another option. This choice does not contain the lowest combined amount of Saturated and Trans Fat.



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