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Low- Or No-Content Claims Mislead Food Shoppers About Nutritional Content

March 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
People should not assume that food package claims -- no salt, no fat, low fat, no sugar, etc. -- guarantee that the foods are nutritious. In fact, these claims hardly ever reflect the actual nutritional quality of food, U.S. researchers concluded. The findings come at a time when food regulators, producers, and interest groups debate nutrition claim rules for packaged foods and beverages. The study analyzed data that included more than 80 million food and beverage purchases from more than 40,000 households from 2008 to 2012. Products with the least nutritional value – high in calories, sodium, sugar or fat – were more likely to have low- or no-content claims. They concluded: “Claims may have differential utility for certain foods or nutrients and, in some cases, may mislead about the overall nutritional quality of the food.”
Lindsey Smith Taillie et al., "No Fat, No Sugar, No Salt . . . No Problem? Prevalence of “Low-Content” Nutrient Claims and Their Associations with the Nutritional Profile of Food and Beverage Purchases in the United States. ", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March 15, 2017, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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