Common claims listed on food labels include cholesterol free, lite/light, reduced fat/ sugar/ salt, low fat, very low fat, no added sugar, low joule/diet, high fibre and The Heart Foundation Tick. It is important to understand what the claim means. Some of the most common are explained below.
Lite/light doesn't necessarily mean a product is low in fat; it may instead be referring to the colour, flavour or texture of the food. Such as extra ‘light’ olive oil contains the same fat per 100g as normal olive oil.
A low fat product can only be labelled as such if it contains 10g or less, of total fat per 100g, while ‘very low fat’ products cannot contain more than 3g of total fat per 100g.
Diet/ low joule products contain artificial sweeteners to replace all or some of the sugar that would normally be used.
While the Heart Foundation Tick can be found on many products that are considered healthier choices, not all healthy foods have the tick on their label. This is because food companies apply for the tick, and so some foods that would qualify for the tick may not apply to display it on their label. The Heart Foundation have very strict guidelines and food companies must show continual compliance with these guidelines.
If something has the claim cholesterol free it does not necessarily mean it is low in fat. Cholesterol is only present in animal fats and also does not have a great effect on serum cholesterol levels compared with saturated and trans fats.
If a food is listed as Gluten free by law in Australia it must be gluten free.
Do you need help with deciphering product claims and food labels? A Simply Nutrition Dietitian can provide you with this information in an individual consultation at one of our clinics. Alternatively, why not consider one of our supermarket tours where one of our dietitians can guide you around the shopping centre. If you would like more information on how we can assist you please visit the Contact Us section of this website.