Canada prohibits low carb claims in food labels
- Staff writers
- A hardline government stand on carbohydrate claims for new food labels has prompted a sharp retort from the purveyors of the Atkins low-carb diet.
- Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are telling food producers that new labelling regulations will eliminate all references to low-carb benefits.
- When the rules take effect next year, carbohydrate content must be listed on the Nutrifacts table on all food and beverage packaging.
- But other carb-related claims, including in the product''s brand name or trademark, will be prohibited.
- The regulation could affect hundreds of new products coming on to the market to capitalize on the low-carb diet movement, led by Atkins Nutritional Approach.
- "I take exception to saying there''s no science to this approach and that it''s unhealthy," Colette Heimowitz, an Atkins vice-president, said yesterday from New York.
- "It takes big government agencies a while to embrace the research.
- But at least acknowledge the research that has been done in the last three years."
- The company issued a news release contending that 37 different studies have shown that "controlling carbohydrate intake is key to healthy nutrition, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and to good overall health."
- Health Canada says it is simply following the guidance of the U.S.-based Institute of Medicine which, in 2002, recommended that 45 to 65% of a person''s daily caloric intake come from carbohydrates.
- "Therefore, based on that science -- based on those dietary recommendations -- it was considered inappropriate to have claims which highlighted foods that were low in carbohydrates," said Christina Zehaluk of Health Canada''s bureau of nutritional sciences.