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Are food product claims believable?

Have you noticed that many food products today having nutritional claims such as low fat, trans fat-free, high calcium and more on their product packaging? Food manufacturers include such claims to tell you how their food products can help you make the right choice for your health and wellness. These claims have to be approved for use by the Ministry of Health Malaysia, so you can generally trust the claims on food products made by reputable food manufacturers. Here, let us help you understand how to understand and use these claims to make the right choice Are food product claims believable?

Claims that help you compare.

High in calcium is an example of nutrient content claim. Nutrient content claims tell you the level of nutrient present in a food product. You can use these claims to choose products that best suit your nutritional needs. For example, if you are concerned about maintaining strong bones, you should pick products that have claims stating that they are rich in calcium.

Good to remember

You shouldn’t choose products based on claims alone. You should also refer to the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) to make your choice. For instance, you never know if the curry chicken that is low in salt may contain more fat than another brand. So, always refer to both claims and the NIP and make your choice based on the overall nutrient content of the food. Are food product claims believable?

Claims indicating improved nutrient level.

Nutrient comparative claims, such as less fat and higher in protein, compare the nutrient level or energy value of two or more products. For example, the package of NESVITA OMEGA PLUS milk has the claim Reduced fat. This claim tells you that this product is based on an improved recipe that contains a reduced amount of fat compared to ordinary milk. Therefore, if you wish to cut down the amount of fat in your diet, this may be the right choice for you.

Claims indicating nutrient health benefits.

Nutrient function claims describe how certain nutrient or special ingredients in the food product contribute to the growth, development and normal functions of your body. For example, Nestlé’s NESVITA Omega Plus contains plant sterols, called ACTICOL, which help lower cholesterol in your body. This is the product you may want to choose if you are concerned about the cholesterol level in your body.

Good to know

The law does not allow food manufacturers to claim that a particular food can cure, treat or protect you from any disease. If you come across a food product making such a claim, don’t be misled!