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Legal Definition Of Low Carb

(credit:  William West/Getty Images)

(credit: William West/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - So what is the legal definition of “Low Carb?” Betcha don’t know.

It sounded too good to be true. Hm. Spoiler alert: it was.

The maker of Dreamfield Pasta claimed that its pasta was low carb and that its glycemic index is 65% lower than similar pasta products. And all you had to pay was double the price of the average box of pasta. The company, which says it relied on its own scientific study which it wouldn’t produce, has settled the class action lawsuit for $7 million, in which it will refund up to 10 boxes of pasta per consumer, and it will donate any unused part of the settlement pot to the American Diabetes Association.

Ok, but what does this mean to you? How do you know what the words “low carb” really mean on a food label?

You don’t, and the reason you don’t know the legal definition of low carb is because there isn’t one. The closest the governmental agencies have to a legal definition is a standard for labeling: in order for a product to make the claim that its product is low carb, it must have a lower carbohydrate content than in comparable commercial products – or else it is considered misleading to the public.

So, if you say that your pasta is low carb, there is no magic number of carbs per piece of macaroni – it just has to be lower in carb grams than the average elbow or the company will find itself in hot water.

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