0 calories, but not a low calorie food--how can this be?
April 2, 2007 6:01 PM   Subscribe

Why are Ice Breakers sours "not a low calorie food" when their nutrition facts list 0 calories?

So, I was looking at a package of Ice Breakers Sours mints, which are sugar free, and on the front, right under "Sugar-free" it says "Not a low calorie food." However, the nutrition facts state that there are 0 calories. How can this be?
posted by deansfurniture5 to Food & Drink (13 answers total)
I don't know about the 0 calories thing, but often times gum will have sugar alcohols instead of sugar, making them sugar free. But they still result in calories after they go down. "Sugar alcohols are not metabolized by oral bacteria, and so they do not contribute to tooth decay." (From the wikipedia article).

That's how you can be sugar free and 'not a low calorie food', but I don't know about the 0 calories part...
posted by cschneid at 6:05 PM on April 2, 2007

Another piece of the puzzle: the FDA defines low calorie as: 40 calories or less per serving.
posted by cschneid at 6:08 PM on April 2, 2007

Seems they have no calories so maybe the trick is they are not a food.
posted by Listener at 6:09 PM on April 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

The FDA now requires a "not a low-calorie food" disclosure on foods that make "no sugar added" claims.

I'm guessing that's 0 calories per serving, and a serving is one candy, and it's rounded down, but at any rate it's an FDA requirement to put that on the label if you say "Sugar-free", because apparently they don't want people to think that sugar-free means you can eat all you want without getting fat.
posted by team lowkey at 6:17 PM on April 2, 2007

Two things: 1) the serving size is 1 piece. 2) If calories/serving is below some level then manufactures are allowed to claim 0.

Take a look at pam cooking spray. They have made the serving size a .3 second spray so they can claim 0 calories.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:21 PM on April 2, 2007

See also.
posted by team lowkey at 6:21 PM on April 2, 2007

Best answer: From 21 CFR 101.9 (bolding added): (1) ``Calories, total,' ``Total calories,' or ``Calories': A statement of the caloric content per serving, expressed to the nearest 5-calorie increment up to and including 50 calories, and 10-calorie increment above 50 calories, except that amounts less than 5 calories may be expressed as zero.

The warning is essentially so you are not mislead by the rounding.
posted by smackfu at 6:24 PM on April 2, 2007

Also, you need less than 40 calories per 50 grams to avoid the warning. That means the ice breakers have roughly 1-2 calories. There are just 40 of them per 50 grams, so they are over the limit.
posted by smackfu at 6:26 PM on April 2, 2007

Wow, so Tic-Tacs, who have always bragged "only two calories per piece" could actually claim zero calories?
posted by IndigoRain at 6:59 PM on April 2, 2007

It's not a food. the 'Low Calorie' designation is for products that have a certain amount of nutritional significance. i've been digging for a reference but can't find a good one, hence the vagueness.

I assume the FDA (and the gum manufacturer, I'd imagine) don't want dieters turning to gum as a diet food.
posted by markovitch at 6:59 PM on April 2, 2007

This PDF is Wrigley bitching to the FDA about this.
posted by smackfu at 7:01 PM on April 2, 2007

Indigo- Indeed. There are sometimes little blow ups when a company pulls something like that.
posted by GilloD at 9:14 PM on April 2, 2007

And here I just assumed that it was the logical hole ... it's got 0 calories but it's not a "low calorie food" obviously means that it's not food.
posted by cotterpin at 9:22 AM on April 3, 2007

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