Nutrition Claims – Food Labelling

UNDERSTANDING NUTRITION CLAIMS

Food advertisments and food labels can trick us to believe we’re consuming something healthy when really the product is far from it. Below are some of the most common claims and a definition of what they actually mean.

Label Claims & Meanings

“Reduced Fat” or “Reduced Sugar”

25% less fat or sugar than the regular version.

“Light” or “Lite”

The characteristic that makes the product ‘light’ must be listed on the label. It could refer to the product’s flavour, colour, salt content, energy content, fat content or sugar content.

“Low Fat”

No more than 3 grams of fat per 100g (3g fat/100g).

“Fat Free”

Can only appear on foods with less than 0.15g fat per 100g.

“Low Cholesterol”

No more than 20mg cholesterol per 100g.

“Cholesterol Free”

Can be advertised on foods containing no more than 3mg cholesterol per 100g.

“Source of Fibre”

At least 1.5g of fibre per serve.

“High Fibre”

Indicates the product has at least 3g fibre per serve.

“No Added Sugar”

No added simple sugars. Simple sugars include cane sugar, honey, malt, malt extract and maltose. These products may still contain simple sugars.

“Low Salt”

Food contains no more than 120mg sodium per 100g.

“Salt Free or No Salt”

Indicate there is no more than 5mg sodium per 100g of food, or 2.5mg per 100g liquid.

“Fortified”

The food provides more than 10% of the daily requirement for that nutrient.

More Label Lingo

“Diet”

Contains 40% less energy than the regular version (regular version must be specified on the product). Food products must also have at least 170kj per 100g less energy and liquid products 80kj per 100g less energy, compared with the regular version.

“Low GI”

The food must have a GI rating of 55 or less. It is important to note that a low GI value does not necessarily indicate the product is a healthy choice. GI refers to how quickly the carbohydrate component of the food will be digested and released into the bloodstream.

“National Heart Foundations (NHF) Tick Approved”

The tick program helps people identify healthier choices within food categories – not ‘healthy’ choices per se. The various criteria used for foods entering the Tick program are based on the general population and are, therefore, not necessarily appropriate for people with heart disease, at high risk of heart disease, or people with diabetes or any other disease.