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Food and Nutrition

Nutrition Claims

What are nutrition claims?

There are two types of nutrition claims on foods: nutrient content claims and health claims. These claims must also follow certain rules from Health Canada to make sure that they are consistent and not misleading. These claims are optional and may be found on some food products.

Nutrient content claims describe the amount of a nutrient in a food. A good source of iron is an example of a nutrient content claim.

Health claims are statements about the helpful effects of a certain food consumed within a healthy diet on a person's health. For example, a healthy diet containing foods high in potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke and heart disease is a health claim.

How can you make a healthier food choice?

A nutrient content claim can help you choose foods that contain a nutrient you may want more of. Look for words such as:

  • Source, such as source of fibre
  • High or good source, such as high in vitamin A or good source of iron
  • Very high or excellent source, such as excellent source of calcium

A nutrient content claim can also help you choose foods that contain a nutrient you may want less of. Look for words such as:

  • Free, such as sodium free or trans fat free
  • Low, such as low fat
  • Reduced, such as reduced in Calories

Keep in mind, because nutrient claims are optional and only highlight one nutrient, you still need to refer to the Nutrition Facts table to make food choices that are better for you.

  • View the nutrient content claims and what they mean

A health claim can help you choose foods that you may want to include as part of a healthy diet to reduce risk of chronic diseases. An example of a health claim is a healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer.

Keep in mind, because health claims are optional and only highlight a few key nutrients or foods, you still need to refer to the Nutrition Facts table to make food choices that are better for you.

  • View the health claims and what they mean

What about other claims?

Other types of claims, often referred to as general health claims, have appeared in recent years on front-of-package labelling.  They include broad "healthy for you" or "healthy choice" claims as well as symbols, logos and specific words. These claims are not developed by the government. Instead, they are developed by third parties or corporations.  While it is required that the information be truthful and not misleading, consumers should not rely only on general health claims to make informed food choices.