Are Foods With Printed Health Claims Really Better?

By Sandy Todd Webster
Oct 20, 2016

These days you almost need a Rosetta Stone to decipher the health claims on food package labels. Do you ever wonder if foods marketed with such claims actually are healthier? Researchers overseas asked that question—and gathered data
on the matter.

Their study, published in the July 13 issue of European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.114), evaluated 2,034 prepackaged foods either with or without health-related claims in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. The researchers found that “foods carrying health-related claims have marginally better nutrition profiles than those that do not carry claims. . . . It is unclear whether these relatively small differences have significant impacts on health.”

Data revealed that except for sodium reduction, differences were marginal at best. For example, products with health claims, per serving, had 29 fewer calories; 3 grams less sugar; 2 g less saturated fat; 842 milligrams less sodium; and 0.8 g more fiber.

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Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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