healthier choice symbol

​If you are a shopper looking for healthier food choices, all you have to do is to look out for the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS). Today, about 4000 different food products, spanning across over 100 food categories such as convenience meals, sauces, beverages, snacks and breakfast cereals, have qualified for the HCS.

Look out for the Healthier Choice Symbol

Using the Healthier Choice Symbol  to guide your grocery purchases is one way to incorporate healthier options into your diet. Products with the symbol are in general lower in saturated fat, sodium, sugar and higher in dietary fibre, calcium, and wholegrains compared to similar products within the same food category. To make nutrition labelling more comprehensive, each HCS carries a tagline that focuses on the nutritional aspect of the product.

The Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) is awarded to food products that meet HPB's HCS nutritional criteria. These criteria differ with food categories, are based on extensive scientific research, market research and where possible, bench-marked against other countries implementing similar guidelines. For each criterion, HPB also engages key manufacturers to assess the technical feasibility of these guidelines.

You can view the HCS guidelines here and the list of HCS products here.

What do these Healthier Choice Symbols (HCS) mean?

There are a total of thirteen different HCS taglines available. Each product will carry HCS with one or more of the taglines appropriate to the product and should it satisfy the nutritional guidelines. 

Higher in Wholegrains​


Products carrying HCS with this tagline contain at least 20% more wholegrains compared to similar products from the same food category.

The benefits of wholegrains go beyond its fibre content. Wholegrains are also important sources of antioxidants like vitamin E, selenium and phytochemicals. These food components work together to help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Wholegrains may also play a role in weight management.

Examples of foods carrying HCS with this tagline include brown (or unpolished) rice, brown rice vermicelli (bee hoon), wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholemeal breads, wholegrain pasta, and wholegrain cereal beverages.

Higher in Calcium


Products carrying HCS with this tagline contain at least 25% more calcium compared to similar products from the same food category. 

Calcium helps support the development of strong bones and teeth. A healthy diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D, with regular exercise, helps to achieve strong bones and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Examples of foods carrying HCS with this tagline include calcium-fortified soy products, milk, and milk products.

Lower in Sugar

Products carrying HCS with this tagline contain at least 25% less sugar compared to similar products from the same food category.

Our sugar consumption should be no more than 10 per cent of our daily energy intake. For most adults, that is about 10 teaspoons of sugar (based on a 2000-daily calorie intake). If you are determined enough, a further reduction to a 5 teaspoon (25g) of sugar a day can bring about additional health benefits. 

Example of foods carrying HCS with this tagline includes sweetened drinks such as Asian drinks, carbonated drinks, cultured milk products, juice drinks and sweet snacks such as chocolate confectionery. 

No Added Sugar


Products carrying HCS with this tagline contain no added sugar to the product. This means that no additional free sugars or ingredients containing free sugars were added during the processing of the product. 

Added sugars in food provide empty calories with little nutritional value. Excessive consumption of foods high in added sugars can contribute considerably to energy intake. Excess energy intake, if not expended through physical activity, can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. 

Examples of foods carrying HCS with this tagline include beverages such as fruit juice, coffee and tea, as well as, fruit spreads and dried fruit.

Sugar Free 


Products carrying HCS with this tagline contain less than or equal to 0.5g sugars per 100g or per 100ml of the product. 

Our sugar consumption should not be more than 10 per cent of our daily energy intake. For most adults, that is about 10 teaspoons of sugar (based on a 2000- daily calorie intake). One way to reduce your sugar intake is to opt for sugar free beverages. 

Examples of foods carrying HCS with this tagline include beverages such as non-carbonated/ Asian drinks, isotonic drinks, carbonated drinks, and water. 

Lower in Sodium


Products carrying HCS with this tagline contain at least 25% less sodium compared to similar products in the same food category. 

Excessive sodium intake increases blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke and kidney disease. Evidence suggests that sodium intake of less than 2000mg of sodium per day is beneficial in reducing blood pressure.

Examples of foods carrying HCS with this tagline include sauces, recipe mixes, canned and processed meats, processed seafood-based foods and, ready to eat legumes,​ nuts and seeds.

No Added Sodium


Products carrying HCS with this tagline contain no additional sodium added to the product. 

One way to consume lesser sodium is to opt for products that have no added sodium. Eating too much sodium can increase blood pressure, which is a risk factor for stroke and kidney disease. For better health, stick to a limit of 2,000mg of sodium per day. 

Examples of foods carrying HCS with this tagline include fresh/frozen seafood, frozen/chilled vegetables, herbs and spices.

Lower in Saturated Fat


Products carrying this HCS with this tagline contain at least 25% less saturated fat compared to similar products in the same food category. 

Saturated fat tends to raise total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). High levels of LDL increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Example of foods carrying HCS with this tagline includes dairy products, edible oils and, convenience meals.

Trans Fat Free


Products carrying HCS with this tagline contain no or negligible amounts of trans fat i.e. less than 0.5g per 100g of the product.

Trans fat like saturated fat, increases the risk of heart disease. It not only increases the LDL levels, but also decreases the level of good cholesterol (High-density lipoprotein) in the blood.

Examples of foods carrying HCS with this tagline include margarines/fat spreads, edible oils, biscuits, and crackers, breads and rolls.​

Low Glycemic Index 


Products carrying HCS with this tagline are Low Glycemic Index. 

The Glycemic Index (GI) uses a scale from 1 to 100 to rank carbohydrate foods on how quickly and how much they raise blood sugar after eating. Consuming too much high GI foods causes repeated spikes in your blood glucose. Studies show that this can lead to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and colorectal cancer. 

Low Glycemic Index foods have a GI value of less than or equal to 55 and cause a more gradual rise in blood glucose. Consuming lower GI foods help to control blood glucose levels and aid weight loss efforts. 

Examples of foods carrying HCS with this tagline include cereal beverages, bread, and convenience meals. 

Eat 2+2 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Daily 


Products carrying HCS with this tagline are fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Fruit and vegetables are naturally low in fat, calories, and sodium and boast a range of essential vitamins and minerals. The Health Promotion Board encourages everyone to eat 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables each day. 

Less than 100 calories (for crisps/chips only)


Products carrying HCS with this tagline are crisps/chips where each individually packaged portion is less than or equal to 100 calories. 

Look out for crisps/chips with this tagline to easily identify snacks that are individually portioned to less than or equal to 100 calories per pack. Choosing your snacks wisely can keep your energy levels up without piling on added calories 

Less than 200 calories (for ice cream only)


Products carrying HCS with this tagline are ice cream products that are both lower in sugar compared to similar products in the same food category and less than or equal to 200 calories per portion. 

Look out for ice cream with this tagline to easily identify ice cream which have less than or equal to 200 calories per portion. Choosing your snacks wisely can keep your energy levels up without piling on added calories.

​​Eating in moderation

Healthier Choice Symbol products are healthier as they contain less sodium, saturated fat, sugar and, or free of trans fat, or higher in calcium, dietary fibre and wholegrains compared to products in the same food category. Though these HCS labelled foods are healthier than those in similar food groups, all foods that are consumed in excessive amounts can cause weight gain. Hence, even when eating foods with the HCS, remember to consume in moderation.

So Remember

  • Choose foods carrying the Healthier Choice Symbol. 
  • Ensure that you eat all foods in moderation.

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