Special-diet foods defined

Slide 1 / 1
Learn how foods for specific dietary needs and lifestyle choices are categorized and defined.


Fat FreeFat free

According to FDA guidelines, food can be labeled fat free if it contains less than 1/2 gram of fat per serving. It's important to note that if you eat more than the recommended serving size of a food, you could actually be consuming several grams of fat regardless of the fat-free label.

Low CalorieLow calorie

If a food contains less than 40 calories per serving, it may be labeled low calorie according to FDA guidelines. If you eat more than the recommended serving size of a food, you may wind up consuming far more calories than listed on the label.

Low SodiumLow sodium

To meet FDA labeling requirements, foods labeled "low sodium" must contain 140mg of sodium or less per 100g serving. "Reduced sodium" foods must contain at least 25 percent less sodium than their non-reduced equivalent in order to carry that label. "No salt added" indicates that salt has not been added in processing the food, but it does not necessarily mean the food is low sodium.

Sugar FreeSugar free

This label can appear on foods that have less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving according to FDA guidelines. Such foods are often sweetened with artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes.

Food allergy

Gluten FreeGluten free

"Gluten-free" foods are those that do not contain gluten in any form from wheat, barley, rye or malt. The FDA has not established a set definition of gluten free.

Lactose FreeLactose free

Foods can be labeled "lactose free" if they contain no form of lactose, a sugar found mostly in milk. The FDA has not established a set definition of lactose free.

Nut FreeNut free

The nut-free label is applied to foods that are not made with peanuts, tree nuts or their by-products (e.g. peanut oil) and are also not made in facilities where peanuts or tree nuts have been manufactured. The FDA has not established a set definition of nut free.



A food can be certified kosher if it has been produced according to the requirements of Jewish dietary laws. Some general rules include no mixing of meat and dairy or of utensils that come into contact with them, strict guidelines for the slaughter and processing of animals and a prohibition of pork and shellfish. Kosher foods have distinctive package labeling to identify them.


While there is no FDA definition of the term, a product labeled "natural" is generally considered to be one that is made with ingredients that are extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically. Natural products will contain no artificial flavorings, colors or chemical preservatives.


Organic foods are foods that comply with a set of standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In order to be certified organic, a food must be grown and manufactured synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics or food additives. These foods will have labeling indicating they are "certified organic" or "certified naturally grown."


A soy label indicates products that contain soy as a primary ingredient. These products often form a part of a vegetarian or vegan diet and can be a significant source of plant-based protein.


Vegan foods are foods that contain no animal products (e.g. meat, eggs, seafood, dairy, gelatin) or animal by-products (e.g. honey).

Used with permission. © 2014 Walmart. All Rights Reserved.See full legal.

Important Walmart Disclaimer: 
The recipes appearing on the Site are either user-submitted or content generated from another third party. Walmart.com does not sponsor, recommend, or endorse any specific recipe third party, product, service or information provided on this Site. All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. Such content is not intended to substitute for the diagnosis, treatment and advice of a medical professional. Consult your medical professional for guidance before changing or undertaking a new diet or exercise program; especially if you are under eighteen (18) years old, pregnant, nursing, or have health problems. Neither the author nor Walmart.com assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
If you have dietary restrictions and/or allergies, always read the ingredient list carefully for all food products prior to consumption. If the ingredient list is not available on the food product, check with the food manufacturer, or do not consume the product.

You may also like