Food Guidelines May Be Crossing the Line
By Bernice Hurst, Contributing
Based on a sample of
120 foods representative of the U.K. diet, experts at Oxford University
have calculated that just seven percent of foodstuffs would be forbidden
from claiming they were nutritious and 40 percent from claiming they were
healthy, according to research cited by consumer rights organization Which?.
Products such as jam
doughnuts, custard tarts, pork sausages and ready salted crisps could allegedly
use health and nutrition messages on their products under European Commission
An EC regulation on nutrition
and health claims adopted in May 2006 was intended to
“stop consumers being misled into buying less healthy products they
thought were good for them.” Nutrition claims would be legally defined,
with substantiated health claims.
Which? now believes
that pressure from European governments looking to promote their national
products, regardless of how healthy they are, have diluted the Commission’s
criteria. These, it says, are now “unscientific and fundamentally
Senior public affairs
officer Colin Walker said, “The U.K. Government needs to get these
proposals thrown out and completely rewritten. The adoption of these criteria
will weaken the fight against obesity and poor diets doing far more harm
For the skeptical, one
case in point may be a study by Wrigley asserting that chewing gum can
improve teenagers’ academic performance, according to nutraingredients-usa.com.
Researchers at the company’s Science Institute found that students who
chewed gum showed an increase in standardized math test scores with better
final grades than those of others who didn’t chew gum.
Wrigley has conducted
a series of projects “to learn more about the potential health and
wellness benefits of chewing gum.” In this case, the authors concluded
that it might “be a cost-effective and easily implemented method to
increase student performance.”
Focusing on alertness
and concentration, situational stress, weight management and appetite,
and oral health, the Wrigley Institute’s executive director claimed,
“This study adds to the growing body of evidence that supports the benefits
of chewing gum for various cognitive performances.”
Have rules concerning health claims lost their effectiveness in the U.S.
as they apparently have in the European Union? How can retailers help consumers
to really understand what is and is not healthy?
- Doughnuts, crisps could make health
claims – Which? – justfood.com
- Doughnuts good for your health,
says European Commission – which
- Teenage brain power boosted by chewing
gum: Wrigley study – nutraingredients-usa.com