COMMON NUTRITION CLAIMS DECODED

Zero calories, high in fiber, a good source of calcium - what do they all really mean?

ZERO CALORIES - Fewer than 5 calories per serving (keep in mind you could be easily eating more than one serving, in which case the food isn't entirely calorie free).

HIGH IN FIBRE - at least 4 g of fibre per serving.

GOOD SOURCE OF “X” VITAMIN/MINERAL - More than 15% of the recommended daily intake per serving.

REDUCED SODIUM, LOW-FAT, SUGAR FREE - Although the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulates the use of these food claims, it's best to choose these products carefully, as the claims can be misleading. For example, reduced sodium means "the food is processed, formulated, reformulated or otherwise modified so that it contains at least 25% less sodium." However, a serving of a popular brand's cream of mushroom soup - despite being 25% less sodium - still contains a whopping 650 mg sodium. 
Health Canada recommends between 1,000 and 1,500 mg daily. Phrases on the front of the package don't tell the whole story. Always read the ingredient list and Nutrition Facts table.

ORGANIC food labeling claims fall under strict regulations but the main benefit of organic foods is that they are free of synthetic pesticides and preservatives, chemical fertilizers, and genetically modified ingredients. This means they are better for the environment and also easier on the human body.


Source: Sagan Morrow, certified holistic nutritionist

Susan Arruda