Glossary with Abbreviations and Acronyms
Added sugars Sugars eaten separately or used as ingredients in processed or prepared foods, such as white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, high-fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, maple syrup, pancake syrup, fructose sweetener, liquid fructose, honey, molasses, anhydrous dextrose, and crystalline dextrose. May contain oligosaccharides. These do not include naturally occurring sugars such as lactose in milk or fructose in fruits. FDA defines added sugars as sugars or other ingredients added during processing or packaging that functionally substitute for sugars, such as fruit juice concentrates, jams, and jellies, including ingredients that may functionally increase the sugars content of a food, such as enzymes (21 CFR 101.60 (c)(2)).
Adequate intake A recommended average daily nutrient intake level based on observed or experimentally determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group or groups of apparently healthy people that are assumed to be adequate. A Dietary Reference Intake value.
Algorithm A formula or series of calculations in which a food product’s nutrient content is incorporated to produce a value by which the overall value of the product’s contribution to the diet can be determined.
Balanced diet The overall dietary pattern of foods consumed that provide all the essential nutrients in the appropriate amounts to support life processes, including growth and development in children, without promoting excess body fat accumulation and excess weight gain.
Body mass index (BMI) An indirect measure of body fat calculated as the ratio of a person’s body weight in kilograms to the square of a person’s height in meters. In children and youth, assessment of BMI is based on growth charts for age and gender and is referred to as the BMI for age.
Caloric sweeteners Sweeteners consumed directly and as food ingredients (such as sucrose) from refined cane and beet sugars, honey, dextrose, edible syrups, and corn sweeteners (primarily high-fructose corn syrup); contains oligosaccharides.
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
COMA/SACN Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition in the United Kingdom
Competitive foods Foods and beverages offered at schools other than meals and snacks served through the federally reimbursed National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and the after-school snack programs. Competitive foods include food and beverage items sold through a la carte lines, snack bars, student stores, vending machines, and school fundraisers.
Daily Reference Value (DRV) Value used in nutrition labeling for food components of public health concern for which there were no RDAs in 1993. In conjunction with RDIs, are known as Daily Values (DVs) in Nutrition Facts panel and specified in 21 CFR 101.9(c)(9).
Daily Value (DV) Dietary reference values established by FDA and used in nutrition labeling that are based on recommended daily intake levels of nutrients needed for good health. DV comprises RDIs and DRVs.
DGAC Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) A federal summary of the latest dietary guidance for the American public based on current scientific evidence and medical knowledge. The Guidelines are issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture and revised every 5 years.
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) A set of four distinct nutrient-based reference values established by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences that replaced and expanded the former Recommended Dietary Allowances in the United States. They include Estimated Average Requirements (EARs), Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), Adequate Intakes (AIs), and Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL).
Disclosure level The level of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium that, when exceeded, triggers the need for a disclosure statement when a nutrient content claim is used on labels of FDA-regulated food products. The disclosure statement (i.e., “See nutrition information for ___ content” with the blank filled in by the name of the nutrient exceeding the specified level) must be placed adjacent to the claim and is intended to alert consumers to levels of nutrients that may increase the risk of disease or health-related condition. Levels are specified in 21 CFR 101.13(h).
Discretionary calories The balance of calories remaining in a person’s “energy allowance” after consuming sufficient nutrient-dense forms of foods to meet all nutrient needs for a day. Discretionary calories may be used in selecting forms of foods that are not the most nutrient dense (e.g., whole milk rather than fat free milk) or may be additions to foods (e.g., salad dressing, sugar, butter). A person’s energy allowance is the calorie intake at which weight maintenance occurs.
Energy balance A state where calorie intake is equivalent to energy expenditure, resulting in no net weight gain or loss. In this report, energy balance in children is used to indicate equality between energy intake and energy expenditure that supports normal growth and development without promoting excess weight gain.
Energy expenditure Calories used to support the body’s basal metabolic needs plus those used for thermogenesis, growth, and physical activity.
Energy intake Calories ingested as food and beverages.
Fast food Foods and meals designed for ready availability, use, or consumption and sold at eating establishments for quick availability or take-out.
FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration
FD&C Act Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
Food category A way of characterizing foods according to either the type of food product, such as meals, main dishes, or individual food items, or by type of food, such as cereals, dairy, and soups.
Food Guide Pyramid An educational tool designed for the public that translated and graphically illustrated recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and nutrient standards such the Recommended Dietary Allowances into food group–based advice that promotes a healthful diet for the U.S. population. In 2005 it was replaced by an interactive food guidance system, MyPyramid.
Front-of-package (FOP) nutrition rating systems and symbols Systems that use nutrient criteria and symbols to indicate that a product has certain nutritional characteristics Symbols are often placed on the principal display panel of the product, but may also be found on the side, top, or back panels or on shelf tags.
Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) GDAs are nutrient intake levels that most people are guided to consume daily for a healthy diet. They provide a voluntary benchmark against which the contribution from specific nutrients per portion of a food product can be assessed. The food and beverage and retail industries derive their GDA values from international, EU and government guidelines. GDAs were first seen in the United Kingdom and are increasingly being used in the European Union (EU). The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU (CIAA) proposed a harmonized industry approach to nutrition labeling across the EU, including the use of standardized GDA values.
Health claims Claims that describe a relationship between a food, food component, or dietary supplement ingredient and a reduction in the risk of developing a disease or health-related condition.
Health promotion The process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health through networks and initiatives that create healthy environments. To reach a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living, and is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.
Healthful diet For children and adolescents, a healthful diet provides recommended amounts of nutrients and other food components within estimated energy requirements (EERs) to promote normal growth and development, a healthy weight trajectory, and energy balance. A healthful diet also reduces the long-term risk for obesity and related chronic diseases associated with aging.
HHS U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Intrinsic sugars Sugars that are naturally occurring within a food, such as fructose and sucrose in fruits or lactose in milk.
IOM Institute of Medicine
Labeled serving size Serving size as determined by the product manufacturer; based on the RACC and regulations for determining serving size.
Marketing An organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit an organization and its stakeholders. Marketing encompasses a wide range of activities, including market research, analyzing the competition, positioning a new product, pricing products and services, and promoting them through advertising, consumer promotion, trade promotions, public relations, and sales.
MyPyramid USDA-developed system by which Americans can determine how much of each food group to eat in order to meet daily nutritional requirements.
NAS National Academy of Sciences
NCI National Cancer Institute
NLEA Nutrition Labeling and Education Act
NRC National Research Council
Nutrient amount per serving on FOP Systems with symbols that display the amount per serving of select nutrients from the Nutrition Facts panel on the front of the food package or use symbols based on claim criteria. They provide information on percent daily values (%DV) or guideline daily amounts (%GDA) and may also include traffic-light colors or words to indicate that a product contains “high,” “medium,” or “low” amounts of specific nutrients. A declaration of calories per serving may also be on the front of the food package. Systems using symbols based on claim criteria (FDA or USDA) may award multiple symbols indicating that a product is “low fat,” “high fiber,” etc.
Nutrient content claim Label claim that characterizes the level of a nutrient in a food (i.e., nutrient content claim) made in accordance with FDA’s authorizing regulations. Nutrient content claims describe the level of a nutrient or dietary substance in the product, using terms such as “free,” “high,” and “low,” or they compare the level of a nutrient in a food to that of another food, using terms such as “more,” “reduced,” and “light.”
Nutrient density The amount of nutrients that a food contains per unit volume or mass. Nutrient density is independent of energy density, although in practice the nutrient density of a food is often described in relationship to the food’s energy density. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense but not energy dense. Compared to foods of high fat content, carbonated soft drinks are not particularly energy dense because they are made up primarily of water and carbohydrate, but because they are otherwise low in nutrients, their energy density is high with respect to their nutrient content.
Nutrient profiling The science of categorizing foods according to their nutritional composition and the categorization of foods for specific purposes on the basis of their nutrient composition, according to scientific principles.
Obesity An excess amount of subcutaneous body fat in proportion to lean body mass. In adults, a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese. In this report, obesity in children and youth refers to the age- and gender-specific BMI that is equal to or greater than the 95th percentile of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BMI charts.
Percent Daily Value (%DV) Percentages found in the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels that describe the nutrient contribution of the food to a 2,000-calorie diet for most nutrients. A high percentage means a serving of the food contains a lot of the nutrient, and a low percentage means it contains a little.
Portion size Represents the amount of food an individual chooses to consume for a meal or snack. Portions can be larger or smaller than the serving sizes listed on the food label or the Food Guide Pyramid.
Prevention With regard to obesity, primary prevention represents avoiding the occurrence of obesity in a population; secondary prevention represents early detection of disease through screening with the purpose of limiting its occurrence; and tertiary prevention involves preventing the sequelae of obesity in childhood and adulthood.
Proprietary Privately owned and operated; something that is held under patent, trademark, or copyright by a private person or company.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) Daily intake level of a nutrient that was considered to be adequate to meet the requirements of almost all healthy individuals in each life-stage and for each sex at the time the requirements were developed.
Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC) Amount of food customarily consumed per eating occasion by persons in a population group as determined by FDA; used as the regulatory basis for determining labeled serving sizes on the Nutrition Facts panel. Are specified in 21 CFR 101.12.
Reference Daily Intake (RDI) Nutrient reference values for protein, vitamins and minerals established by FDA. In conjunction with DRVs, are known as Daily Values (DVs) on the Nutrition Facts panel and are specified in 21 CFR 101.9(c)(7)(iii) and (8)(iv).
Shelf tag nutrition labeling Nutrition labeling present on the shelf tag of retail stores indicating that a product contains nutrient contents that make the product a more nutritious choice. Nutrition symbols or scores or both are displayed alongside the product price and bar code.
Structure/function claims Structure/function claims describe the role of a nutrient or dietary ingredient intended to affect normal structure or function in humans, such as “Calcium builds strong bones.” Such claims may also characterize the means by which a nutrient or dietary ingredient acts to maintain such structure or function, for example, “Fiber maintains bowel regularity,” or “Antioxidants maintain cell integrity,” or else they may describe general well-being from consumption of a nutrient or dietary ingredient.
Summary symbol based on nutrient criteria thresholds per category A system in which food products are grouped by categories (e.g., type of food or food product) and evaluated based upon that system’s criteria. Products that meet the criteria are awarded the system’s symbol.
Summary symbol/score based on algorithm A system in which food products are evaluated based on an equation that takes nutrients (positive or negative) into account. Products are given a numeric score (i.e., 1–100) or number of symbols (i.e., 0, 1, 2, 3) to indicate the nutrition quality of the product.
Symbol A characteristic graphic shape on a food label or in labeling, which may enclose words, numbers or other graphic shapes, and which may utilize characteristic colors, the intent of which, as a whole, is to represent the nutritional properties of a food.
Symbol based on claim criteria (FDA, USDA, or other organization) A system in which a symbol is awarded to food products that meet FDA, USDA, or other organization requirements for claims, such as “low fat” or “high fiber.” Multiple symbols can be awarded for a single product for many programs.
Symbol based on food group or food component (food-based symbol) A system in which a symbol is awarded to food products based on the presence of a food group or food component, such as whole grains. An example of this type of system is ConAgra’s Start Making Choices.
Total sugars The amount of naturally occurring sugar in a food product plus any sugar added during processing. It is defined for nutrition labeling purposes as the sum of all free mono- and disaccharides. Oligosaccharides are not included.