How Do I Read A Food Labels?

Many food labels read, “Contains one or more of the following vegetable oils” and then a list of oils. Does this mean that there might be extra calories and fat that companies don’t include on the nutrition label?

No one, including food companies, likes to be boxed into a corner. This is the reason why a variety of vegetable oils may be listed in the ingredient label. Food companies then have the option of changing the type of oil used in a product without changing the food label. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits this as long as the vegetable oil is not the most predominant ingredient in the food product.

As far as the calories and grams of fat per serving are concerned, don’t worry. Since all vegetable oils have about the same amount of calories and fat per serving, the calories and fat in the food will be roughly the same, no matter what type of vegetable oil is being used.

However, the saturated fat content in the vegetable oils can vary depending on the type used. The FDA has addressed this, according to a food labeling specialist at the agency.

The saturated fat content on the food label has to reflect the vegetable oil with the highest saturated fat content of all the options listed, even if it’s not the oil used in that particular run of the product. This way, if you’re watching your saturated fat content, you won’t have the problem of undercalculating your intake.

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