- What is a nutrition claim?
- What do the nutrition claims mean?
- What is a he alth claim?
- Sample he alth claims
- What do the nutrition and he alth claims give me as a consumer?
- Could nutrition and he alth claims be misleading?
Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!VERIFIED CONTENTAuthor: Aleksandra Żyłowska-Mharrab, dietitian, food technologist, educator
Nutrition and he alth claims are strictly regulated by food law. Surely you have seen the information "contains only naturally occurring sugars" or "plant sterols and stanols lower blood cholesterol levels". These are examples of useful information about the nutritional properties of a particular product. What exactly do they mean and what product information do they contain? See sample he alth claims.
Food labels are full of information. You will find among them the nutritional value per 100 g and per serving, a list of ingredients or potential allergens. The names of food products must not be misleading, and the food law strictly defines many of them. Butter must be butter, i.e. made of cow's milk and contain 82% fat, turkey sausages are different from turkey sausages. You can find a lot of important information about the properties of food products on the products. They are the so-callednutrition and he alth claims .
What is a nutrition claim?
A nutrition claim, as defined, means any claim made on a food label that states, suggests or implies that the food has particular nutritional properties because of:
- energy (calorific value) it provides, provides a reduced or greater amount, or that it does not provide.
- nutrients or other substances it contains, with little or no further content.
What do the nutrition claims mean?
There is a list of approved nutritional claims in Poland. In order for such a claim to appear on a product, it must meet specific conditions. The nutrition claim may be exactly the same wording as in the list below or may have the same meaning for the consumer. What nutrition claims may you encounter on the labels and what do they mean?
- Low energy value - for solid food that contains no more than 40 kcal per 100 g or liquid food that contains no more than 20 kcal per 100 ml.
- Reduced energy value - at least 30% less calories than the standard version of the product with the indication, which made this product less caloric.
- Does not contain calories - this is how food can be labeled that contains up to 4 kcal / 100 ml, and in the case of sweeteners - a maximum of 0.4 kcal per serving, which is sweetened with the sweetness of a teaspoon (6 g) of sucrose, i.e. table sugar .
- Low fat content - when the product contains a maximum of 3 g of fat per 100 g or 1.5 g of fat per 100 ml.
- Fat free - Food may be labeled with this label when it contains no more than 0.5 g fat per 100 g.
- Low in saturated fat - The amount of saturated fat and "trans" fatty acids must not exceed 1.5 g / 100 g or 0.75 g / 100 ml. In both cases, saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids must not provide more than 10% of the energy value.
- Does not contain saturated fat - the amount of saturated fat and "trans" fatty acids must not exceed 0.1 g / 100 g or 100 ml.
- Low sugar content - food must not contain more than 5 g in 100 g of solids and 2.5 g in 100 ml of liquid products.
- Does not contain sugar - the product may contain a maximum of 0.5 g of sugar in 100 g or 100 ml.
- No added sugars - such a statement may appear on foods to which no simple sugars, disaccharides (sucrose, glucose, fructose, glucose-fructose syrup and others) or any sweeteners have been added. The "no added sugar" product must also indicate on the label that it contains naturally occurring sugars.
- Low sodium / s alt content - when the product contains no more than 0.12 g of sodium per 100 g or 100 ml.
- Very low sodium / s alt content - when the product contains no more than 0.12 g of sodium per 100 g or 100 ml. The exceptions are waters other than natural mineral waters. The low sodium ones can contain up to 2 mg of sodium per 100 ml.
- Very low sodium / s alt content - no more than 0.04 g of sodium in 100 g or 100 ml of the product.
- Sodium / S alt Free - This claim may be made on foods with no more than 0.005g of sodium per 100g or 100ml.
- No added sodium / s alt - such foods must not contain added s alt, and in addition, the sodium content naturally must not exceed 0.12 g per 100 g or 100 ml.
- Source of dietary fiber - the manufacturer may put this statement on the label if the product provides at least 3 g of fiber in 100 g or 1.5 g of fiber for 100 gfood kcal.
- High in dietary fiber - at least 6 g of fiber per 100 g or 3 g per 100 kcal.
- Protein source - these are food products in which protein provides at least 12% of energy.
- High Protein Content - This claim indicates that the product provides at least 20% energy from protein.
- Vitamin source or mineral source - the label may contain such a statement if the food product provides at least 15% of the recommended daily intake for the vitamin or mineral in 100 g or 100 ml. The recommended daily intake is specified in the Annex to Directive 90/496 / EEC and amounts to:
|Vitamin A - 800 μg||Chloride - 800 mg|
|Vitamin D - 5 μg||Calcium - 800 mg|
|Vitamin E - 12 mg||Phosphorus - 700 mg|
|Vitamin K - 75 μg||Magnesium - 375 mg|
|Vitamin C - 80 mg||Iron - 14 mg|
|Thiamine 1,1 - mg||Zinc - 10 mg|
|Riboflavin -1.4 mg||Copper - 1 mg|
|Niacin - 16 mg||Manganese - 2 mg|
|Vitamin B6 - 1.4 mg||Fluoride - 3.5 mg|
|Folic acid - 200 μg||Selenium - 55 μg|
|Vitamin B12 - 2.5 μg||Chrome - 40 μg|
|Biotin - 50 μg||Molybdenum - 50 μg|
|Pantothenic acid - 6 mg||Iodine - 150 μg|
|Potassium - 2000 mg|
- High vitamin content or high mineral content - if 100 g or 100 ml of a food product covers the body's need for a vitamin or mineral in at least 30% of the recommended daily intake.
- Contains - Any authorized nutrient or other substance that is not a vitamin or mineral.
- With increased content - if the food product meets the conditions for the claim "source", e.g. protein source, vitamin D source, and additionally contains at least 30% more of the declared ingredient than typical food products from the same category.
- Reduced content - when the food product provides at least 30% less of the declared ingredient than typical food products from the same category. The exceptions are micronutrients - there can be 10% less of them - and sodium (s alt) - by 25%.
- Light - when the product meets the same conditions as "with reduced content" with an indication of what ingredient is less in the product, e.g. calories, fat, sugar.
- Source of omega-3 fatty acids - when the product contains at least 0.3 g of alpha-linolenic acid per 100 g and per 100 kcal or at least 40 mg of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids together per 100 g and per 100 kcal.
- High content of omega-3 fatty acids - when the product contains at least 0.6 g of alpha-linolenic acid per 100 g and per 100 kcal or at least 80 mg of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids together per 100 g and per 100 kcal.
- High content of monounsaturated fats - when at least 45% of the fatty acids contained in the product come from monounsaturated fats. At the same time, unsaturated fats must provide at least 20% of the energy in the product.
- High content of polyunsaturated fats - when at least 45% of the fatty acids contained in the product come from monounsaturated fats. At the same time, unsaturated fats must provide at least 20% of the energy in the product.
- High content of unsaturated fats - when at least 70% of the fatty acids contained in the product come from monounsaturated fats. At the same time, unsaturated fats must provide at least 20% of the energy in the product.
What is a he alth claim?
A he alth claim is defined as any claim that states, suggests or implies that there is a relationship between a food category, a given food, or one of its ingredients and he alth.
The he alth claim must be based on the latest scientific knowledge and must be worded and clearly legible for the consumer.
He alth claims are divided into:
- Feature he alth claims
- relating to the growth, development and functioning of the body,
- relating to psychological functions and behavior,
- relating to weight loss and weight control.
- Reduction of risk he alth claims that refer to the reduction of the risk of developing or developing a disease resulting from the use of an ingredient of a food or food product.
Sample he alth claims
The list of approved he alth claims is much longer than that of nutrition claims as they cannot be grouped into categories. Each proposed he alth claim is considered individually, because it concerns a very narrow scope - the impact of a given food ingredient or food product on a specific he alth aspect.
Currently (December 2022) there are over 200 approved he alth claims and over 2000 rejected he alth claims. Fullthe list is constantly updated by the European Commission.
Sample he alth claims that may be used
- Essential fatty acids are essential for the proper growth and development of children.
- Eating foods / drinks that contain sugars instead of sugars causes a lower rise in blood glucose after eating them compared to foods / drinks that contain sugars.
- Activated carbon helps to reduce excessive gas after eating.
- Alpha-linolenic acid contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Barley beta-glucans have been shown to lower / reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease.
- Beta-glucans contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Biotin supports the proper functioning of the nervous system.
- Calcium and Vitamin D help reduce bone mineral loss in postmenopausal women. Low bone mineral density is a risk factor for osteoporotic bone fractures.
What do the nutrition and he alth claims give me as a consumer?
Nutrition and he alth claims can go a long way toward making he alth-conscious and informed grocery shopping. While a lot of information can be read from the composition of a food product, not everyone knows by heart the recommended intake values of vitamins (and in fact, hardly anyone knows these values by heart), protein or fat.
The Nutrition Statement clearly indicates that you will be providing a significant amount of an ingredient with a particular food product that you care about or that has a specific he alth effect.
But does a nutritional or he alth claim always make a food good for he alth?
Could nutrition and he alth claims be misleading?
It is prohibited by law to intentionally mislead a consumer by labeling nutrition and he alth claims. The producer cannot make a claim if the food does not meet the strict conditions for making the claim.
So you can be sure that if the product contains information about the increased protein content, there is actually more of it than in the equivalents of this product. If a manufacturer announces the role of beta-glucans in he alth, beta-glucans are present in the product they sell.
It may be, however, that after seeing the statement, you give yourself free from checking the composition and nutritional value. The brain is lazy and likes to simplify procedures. Sinceyou see something good on the label (after all, a nutrition or he alth claim is really good), you probably automatically assume that a food is good for your he alth.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The products are supposed to sell, and the producers emphasize the advantages of their products. On the other hand, they cover the flaws a bit (they cannot hide them according to the law) by placing the information on the back of the label, against the background, with smaller print.
The question of adding sugar to products turns out to be particularly tricky. So what if crunchy is a source of fiber, since it also contains a lot of sugar? What will give you the high vitamin content of candies, when in fact the candies are practically pure sugar? Does the reduced caloric value of mayonnaise make it he althier than standard mayonnaise? Not necessarily. It may turn out that the fat replacer actually has fewer calories, but generally adversely affects he alth.
So remember - the nutrition and / or he alth claim on the label is very valuable and helpful information, but it does not guarantee that the product is of good composition or is beneficial to overall he alth.