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Food makers can make health claims about certain nutrients,
such as calcium, fiber, and fat, that are found naturally in foods. The health
claims must be balanced and based on current, reliable scientific studies and
must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Health claims may be statements like "This food is a good source of
calcium. Adequate intake of calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis," or
"Development of cancer depends on many factors. A diet low in total fat may
reduce the risk of some cancers."
But just because a food label
has a health claim does not mean that the food is healthy for you. For example,
a food that is labeled as "a good source of calcium" may still be high in fat,
salt, or sugar.
Terms on labels are legally
defined for food companies. Phrases such as "low-fat," "low-sodium," "light" or
"lite," "free" (as in "fat-free"), and "organic" are
now standardized for all foods. If a food uses one of these terms, you can
trust that it meets the criteria for that term.
Current as of:
January 25, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
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