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Food Claims Explained: Part 3

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Food Claims Explained: Part 3

Part 3 of "Food Claims Explained" further investigates claims found on food packaging, such as sodium reduced and sustainable.

In this continuation of “Food Claims Explained,” we further examine the buzzwords that can be found decorating food products on grocery store shelves. Knowing what to look for (and what to avoid) can make navigating the grocery store a lot less stressful.

Sodium reduced
Health Canada states that in order for a product to be labelled as sodium reduced, it must contain a minimum of 25 percent less salt than a similar reference product that has not been reduced in sodium. Foods that meet this requirement may also be advertised as being suitable for those on a sodium-restricted diet.

Source of fibre
A product that is advertised as a source of fibre means that it contains at least 2 grams of fibre per serving. While 2 grams of fibre is better than none, it’s important to know that the average healthy adult should consume between 21 and 38 grams of fibre daily. To ensure you’re getting enough fibre, skip the products boasting marginal fibre contents and instead up your intake of fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, and legumes.

Source of omega-3 fatty acids
According to Health Canada, an item that is labelled as a source of omega-3 fatty acids must contain a minimum of 0.3 grams of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids per serving. The general consensus is that the average adult should consume between 0.3 and 0.5 grams of DHA and EPA combined. Other ways of getting our omega-3s include supplementation and eating fatty fish such as anchovies, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout.

Sustainable
Perhaps more ambiguous than the word natural, sustainable is being tossed around lightly, and without government standards. Sustainability should take into account many factors, such as working conditions for workers, water and soil conservation, protection of biodiversity, and reduced toxic output, among other things. However, unless the product you are purchasing is stamped with a Food Alliance Certified seal or for seafood, an Ocean Wise or SeaChoice symbol, it’s really difficult to discern which products are actually produced sustainably.

Wondering what it means when you see the word natural on a product? Or free range? Find out the truth behind other (sometimes bogus) food claims in parts one and two of our series.

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