Heart Foundation Tick

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The Heart Foundation Tick has been helping Australians make healthier food choices for over 20 years. As a trusted, independent not-for profit program, Tick continuously works with food companies to improve the nutrition of the foods we eat most often.

Tick’s nutrition standards are tough and stringent so food companies work hard to earn the Tick. And once the Tick is on pack, foods are regularly random tested to ensure they continue to meet our strict nutrition standards.

By looking out for the Tick, shoppers can easily choose healthier products at a glance. They’re healthier because Tick foods are lower in saturated fat, sodium (salt), and kilojoules (energy) but they also contain plenty of the good stuff like fibre, calcium, wholegrains and vegetables.

With more than 1,700 products now approved to use the Tick, you are bound to find a healthier alternative to the foods you usually buy. 

Download the Tick Shopping Guide for your next trip to the supermarket.

Tick criteria

We make sure that every Tick product contains less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff. So Tick foods have reduced levels of unhealthy saturated fat, trans fat, salt and kilojoules (energy); and more healthy nutrients like fibre, vegetables and calcium. We judge a food as whole, as it’s eaten, and not just according to one nutrient.

We are often asked why sugar is not a Tick criterion. What’s interesting is that a seemingly high sugar content doesn’t automatically make a food ‘bad’.  It’s important to look at the food as a whole, taking into account the other nutrients it contains.

Made up of mostly sugar and/or fat, a high kilojoule chocolate bar or soft drink is rightly considered an unhealthy food because it’s also low in nutrition.  On the flip side a wholegrain breakfast cereal, yoghurt or piece of fresh or dried fruit can also be high in sugar but also very nutritious. To overcome this, we strictly monitor serve size and kilojoules (energy) in Tick products. By limiting kilojoules, the level of sugar in a food is automatically taken into account. Research continues to show that excessive energy intake is the major contributor to being overweight or obese.

The NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) recently reviewed all available evidence to update the Australian dietary guidelines and concluded that sugar as an individual nutrient was only important in relation to dental caries.

There is no scientific consensus that sugar as a nutrient causes heart disease. We believe that while overall kilojoule intake is important, other factors such as levels of sodium, fibre and saturated fat and trans fat are more important in preventing cardiovascular disease.

The advice of the Heart Foundation of Australia is based on sound science. And we will continue to review new scientific evidence as it becomes available.

For more information on sugar visit our Sugar and Carbohydrate section.

Strict nutritional standards

Every food with the Tick is independently tested to ensure it meets our rigorous standards. Find out more Tick facts here.

Once a product meets our standards the food company pays a licence fee, and displays the Tick on that product. If the product fails to meet our standards, it cannot use the Tick. However, we will encourage food companies to make changes to the product in order to meet our standards, should they wish to do so.

Foods with the Tick are randomly and frequently tested to make sure they continue to meet the standards. If any Tick food no longer meets our standards, it is expelled from the program. And not only can you rest assured that what you are eating is healthier, you can also trust the manufacturer’s claims about the product. All of the packaging used for Tick foods must be approved and all advertising claims must be truthful. So you’re in safe hands!
Tick foods
Tick approved foods generally fall into 3 groups:
Fresh foods such as fruit and vegetables, eggs, plain nuts and seeds, and lean meat are all important for a healthy, balanced diet. The Tick on these foods reminds us to regularly include them in our shopping.  All fresh fruit and vegetables automatically qualify for the Tick even though they might not carry the Tick logo.
Everyday foods such as bread, low fat milk, pasta, rice, breakfast cereal, canned fish and many others; are the kinds of foods we eat most (if not all) days. Because we eat these foods so often, it is important to make healthier choices; an easy way to do this is to choose those with the Tick.

Occasional foods should be precisely that. Most of us like to indulge from time to time, so we make food companies work hard to make these foods a healthier choice before they can earn the Tick. So although your favourite pie may have the Tick, we still recommend you consider them occasional foods and not an everyday part of

 

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