Beat the fat trap by reading all food labels carefully

Good for you

October 17, 1990

CONFUSED ABOUT THE nutrition information on food labels? Here are some suggestions from the American Dietetic Association.

* Nutritionists' suggest that no more than 30 percent of your daily calories come from fat. A fast way to calculate 30 percent fat calories: for every 100 calories, there should be no more than 3 grams of fat.

* Saturated fats are cholesterol-raising culprits often buried in an ingredient list. Check for coconut oil, palm kernel oil, palm oil, vegetable shortening, hydrogenated oils, lard, bacon, chicken fat, beef fat, tallow, butter or any animal fat.

* Don't assume that "low cholesterol" means low in fat. For example, vegetable oils have no cholesterol but have 100 percent fat calories.

* Remember with meat and dairy labeling: the percentage of fat by weight does not reflect fat calories. For example, whole milk is 96 percent fat-free by weight, but still gets 50 percent of calories from fat.

* Foods with three or more grams of dietary fiber per serving are good fiber sources.

* Check cereal boxes for sugar content; less than five grams of sucrose and related sugars is acceptable. One teaspoon is about five grams.

* Light or lite: These terms may mean fewer calories than the food in its usual form, but can also indicate lighter taste, color or texture. Compare labels.

* Oat bran: Descriptions such as "contains oat bran" and "excellent oat bran source" have no legal meaning.

* Organic: There is no national definition or standard for "organic" on a food label. Regulations vary from state to state.

* Serving size: There are no standard serving sizes. When comparing similar products, make sure the products' portion sizes are the same. Check one-portion packaged foods, such as juice, to see if it is indeed one serving.

Gratin of Scallops

1 pound bay scallops

1/4 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup bottled clam juice

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped mushrooms, optional

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of cayenne

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

1/2 cup finely minced onion

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon seasoned bread crumbs

Place scallops, wine, clam juice, mushrooms, salt, cayenne, dill, onion and lemon juice in a heavy non-aluminum saucepan.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to moderately low and simmer three to four minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add sour cream to scallop mixture. Spoon mixture into four individual scallop shells, as shown in our photograph or shallow individual gratin dishes or oven-proof tart pans. Combine cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over scallops.

Bake for four to five minutes until golden and hot.

Makes four servings with 134 calories per serving.

-- "365 Easy Low-Calorie Recipes"

by Sylvia Schur and Vivian Schulte;

Harper and Row Publishers -- 1990, $15.95.

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