Are health claims helpful for smart shopping?

I am sure you have read health and nutrition claims when shopping down the supermarket aisles. Shiny health and nutrition claims are right in front of your eyes on almost every packaged food product, but are they actually helpful?

Health claims refer to a relationship between food and health rather than a statement of content.

General level health claims refer to a nutrient or substance in a food, or the food itself, and its effect on health. For example, “Calcium for strong bones and teeth”

High level health claims refer to a nutrient or substance in a food and its relationship to a serious disease or to a biomarker of a serious disease. For example, “Diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in people 65 years and over”.

Packaged products also contain nutrition content claims.

Some common nutrition claims include:

Low Fat which means the products contains <3g of fat per 100g

Reduced fat/salt means the product has 25% less fat or salt than the original product of the same brand.

No added sugar means there has been none added during production, however may still be high in natural sugar (i.e. fruit juices)

Diet products like diet soft drinks and desserts (e.g. jelly) use artificially sweeteners. Diet products may be a good way to reduce the total amount of sugar and energy in your diet.

Although looking at this information is a good starting point, rather than relying on these claims to decide what to buy, it is always best to read the nutrition information panel and ingredients list to make an informed decision.

I love facilitating group workshops about how best to read and interpret nutrition information panels and ingredients list. Is this of interest for your community group? Complete this form

For more information, read this case study

Subscribe to receive my weekly nutrition tips straight to your inbox

Thanks for submitting!