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What the Nutritional Labels are Hiding from You

Did you ever wonder about some of the health claims found on the labels of the foods you buy at the grocery store? “No cholesterol,” “Low fat,” “Low calories,” “Light…” Here are some answers to your questions!

You will find all the nutritional data by consulting the nutritional chart and the list of ingredients, and by reading the health claims on the label. This information proves very useful when you want to make healthy and nutritive choices.

The chart below contains the most common health claims and their meaning:

Tableau etiquette Valerie_eng

* per standard quantity and per serving (quantity specified in the nutritional chart)
**Percentage of the recommended daily amount

Generally speaking, if you want to increase your intake of a specific element (fibre, iron, calcium, etc.), look for these health claims on the label:

  • “source”
  • “high source”
  • “very high source”
  •  “good source”
  •  “excellent source”

If, on the contrary, you suffer from a health problem and you want to limit your intake of a specific nutrient, be attentive for these health claims:

  • “no”
  • “low” or “low content”
  • “poor”
  • “reduced”
  • “without added”

Be careful! These health claims are optional, which means that the companies are free to mention them or not on the labels of their products. If a product does not bear one of these health claims, it does not necessarily means that it’s a bad choice. Consult the other information available on the label to ensure you are making better choices!

For more information about reading nutritional labels, see the article “Reading the Nutritional Labels: Child’s Play!

From now on, will you be more attentive to these health claims when shopping for groceries?

By Valérie Noël

Canadian Food Inspection Agency. 2013. Food Labelling for Industry. Online. <http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/labelling/food-labelling-for-industry/eng/1383607266489/1383607344939>. Page viewed on May 21, 2014.
Heart and Stroke Foundation. Health Check program. 2010. Allégations nutritionnelles. Online. <http://www.visezsante.org/page/allégations-nutritionnelles>. Page viewed on May 21, 2014.

Valérie Noël

Holder of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Université Laval in 2006 and member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec, Valérie has been working as a nutritionist at Nautilus Plus since March 2014. Throughout her career, she has worked in various fields, from hospitals and physical rehabilitation to writing articles and reference documents. However, she has dedicated the majority of her work to food safety and allergies. Curious and versatile… but most of all, passionate about cooking and sports nutrition, she loves giving advice to her clients to help them make the best choices to reach their specific objectives, whatever they may be. Physical activity has always been an important part of her life: recreative and competitive volley-ball, training in the gym, group classes, and also running in the last few years. She also loves the feeling of freedom she gets from it, and would love to surpass herself by running increasingly longer distances during competitions!

What the Nutritional Labels are Hiding from You is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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