What are Nutrient Content Claims on food labels?

Some examples of nutrient content claims are sugar-free, lean, light, and many other terms. Some Nutrient claims are about the content of certain nutrients and may state that the product is low in fat or a good source of calcium. The FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) requires that nutrient content on food is based on how much people usually eat or drink and is known as the reference amount. Food that gives 10% of the daily nutrient value per serve, is a good source. So choosing food that is ‘high’ or a ‘good source’ is considered a good nutritional choice.

Nutrient Content Claims

The nutrient content claim is different from the information, and you can’t make claims that are in any way misleading. If a nutrient content claim remains unregulated, it does not mean you can claim that it has amazing (unsubstantiated properties). Content claims on food labels often say things like ‘high protein’ ‘low sodium’, and of course, we would expect this to be an accurate statement, and if we are on a low sodium diet we rely on the statement being accurate. If you want to claim that your product is nutritionally beneficial, you must also disclose other qualities that may not be so desirable. Often products that are low in fat are high in sugar content, so read the product information carefully.

Nutrient Content Claims on Food Labels

It is difficult not to become confused when reading food labels, and there are people who don’t read them at all. So it is good to find a simple example like stating quantity and nutrient, 300 calories, and 6 grams of fat, making the label easy to understand. If you use the word light or lite on a product you must compare it to a similar product. You will see the word lite milk and this is in comparison to whole milk that has a greater fat content.

Examples of a Nutrient Claim

When there is a shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables, many of us turn to the canned variety to supplement our diet. For people at risk of peanut allergy or anaphylaxis, the law requires allergen labeling. The food standards code requires foods to be labeled with ingredients and food additives.

Sulfites can cause health problems and allergic reactions to people with asthma. Gluten contained in cereals and bread can make people with a Coeliac disease very unwell. While traces of nut can cause anaphylaxis in those with nut allergies.

Red Wine

Before 2002 wine producers did not have to declare allergens on their label. A law was introduced in 2002 making this compulsory, so if you buy a really old bottle of red wine the allergens may still be in it. So check the label when purchasing your year 2000 bottle of Grange Hermitage.

Nutrient Content Claims on Food Panels

  • List energy, fat, carbohydrates, protein, and sodium.
  • The nutritional information panels are a better guide than advertising.
  • If the product contains food-inducing allergens, the label must say so.
  • Some of the healthiest foods don’t have labels, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and fish.

When you purchase package food, look at the back of the packet where you will see a box, you will see the following categories.

  • serving size
  • energy
  • protein
  • fat
  • carbohydrates
  • sugar
  • dietary fiber
  • Sodium


Listed on the panel as calories or kilojoules, and lower energy usually means fewer calories and lower fats making it a better choice.


is contained in meat dairy, oils, mayonnaise all cream and cakes, eggs, and these are less healthy choices and should be eaten in moderation.

Sugar and Salt

sometimes these are listed separately to be hidden on the ingredient list this food like fat, should be eaten in moderation

When you break down all the components of packaged food the better option is to eat whole foods as often as possible.

If 30 grams of packaged food has more than 40 calories per serve it can’t be low-calorie. You can’t claim that peanut butter is fat-free as this is a contradiction in terms. If you removed the fat from peanut butter it would no longer be what the name implies.

Soda and Sweet Drinks

If your child asks for a can of Coke, offer a healthy alternative. When you read the label a can of coke containing 330 MLS has 139 calories, and as the drink totally lacks nutritional benefits, it is not something that a child should have more than once a month. If you are an adult, and you drink the can of coke you will need to walk for 40 minutes to burn off the calories. So when you read the label on the coke can you will find it devoid of nutrition. This is an example of a poor nutrient claim, and many of us love coke on a hot day but realize it is probably better to drink water.

Claims on Food Labels

Nutrient content claims have to be clearly listed and proven. Any health claims have to be consistent with national policy guidelines that clearly state: Any claim made should be labeled with a nutrient declaration in accordance with Guidelines on Nutrition Labeling. The guidelines then lay out a table of conditions for nutrient content claims, and the criteria are strict.

Over the last 10 years, there has been a national approach to reducing obesity, as more men and women are now becoming clinically obese. This has led to tightening of the laws around food labeling as some people find it very hard to understand whether the contents are good for them or not. It is important to choose good nutrient content claims at all times, as there is no point in eating foods and consuming drinks that are totally devoid of nutrients, as these are the foods that often add empty calories, causing weight gain.


Content claims on food labeling are becoming easier to understand, and it is important to take the time to read it to ensure the good health of you and your family.