The nutritional quality of foods carrying health-related claims in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.
Kaur A., Scarborough P., Hieke S., Kusar A., Pravst I., Raats M., Rayner M.
Backgroung/Objectives:Compares the nutritional quality of pre-packaged foods carrying health-related claims with foods that do not carry health-related claims.Cross-sectional survey of pre-packaged foods available in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and the United Kingdom in 2013. A total of 2034 foods were randomly sampled from three food store types (a supermarket, a neighbourhood store and a discounter). Nutritional information was taken from nutrient declarations present on food labels and assessed through a comparison of mean levels, regression analyses and the application of a nutrient profile model currently used to regulate health claims in Australia and New Zealand (Food Standards Australia New Zealand's Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion, FSANZ NPSC).Foods carrying health claims had, on average, lower levels, per 100 g, of the following nutrients, energy-29.3 kcal (P<0.05), protein-1.2 g (P<0.01), total sugars-3.1 g (P<0.05), saturated fat-2.4 g (P<0.001), and sodium-842 mg (P<0.001), and higher levels of fibre-0.8 g (P<0.001). A similar pattern was observed for foods carrying nutrition claims. Forty-three percent (confidence interval (CI) 41%, 45%) of foods passed the FSANZ NPSC, with foods carrying health claims more likely to pass (70%, CI 64%, 76%) than foods carrying nutrition claims (61%, CI 57%, 66%) or foods that did not carry either type of claim (36%, CI 34%, 38%).Foods carrying health-related claims have marginally better nutrition profiles than those that do not carry claims; these differences would be increased if the FSANZ NPSC was used to regulate health-related claims. It is unclear whether these relatively small differences have significant impacts on health.