Content Map Terms

Health Claims on Food Labels


Food makers can make health claims about certain nutrients, such as calcium, fibre, and fat, that are found naturally in foods. The health claims must be balanced and based on current, reliable scientific studies. And the claims must be approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Health claims may be statements like:

  • "This food is a good source of calcium. Adequate intake of calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis."
  • "Development of cancer depends on many factors. A diet low in total fat may reduce the risk of some cancers."

But just because a food label has a health claim does not mean that the food is healthy for you. For example, a food that is labelled as "a good source of calcium" may still be high in fat, salt, or sugar.

Terms you can trust

A food label includes the front panel, the ingredients list, and the Nutrition Facts label. The terms on labels are legally defined for food companies. Phrases such as "low-fat," "light," and "-free" (as in "fat-free") are standardized for all foods. If a food uses one of these terms, you can trust that it meets the criteria for that term.

Food label terms


What it means (per serving)


Food has less than 5 calories.


Food has less than 40 calories.


Has 25% less calories or 25% less fat than the regular product.

Fat-free or sugar-free

There's less than 1/2 gram of fat or sugar.


There are 3 grams or less of fat.


Has 10% or less fat.

Low cholesterol

Food has less than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat.

Low sodium

Food has 140 mg or less of sodium.

Good source of

There's at least 15% of the Daily Value of the vitamin or nutrient.

High in fibre

Has 4 or more grams of fibre.


Current as of: March 1, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator