Posts Tagged ‘healthy choices’

Grocery Score

July 31, 2010

Kudos to grocery giant Kroger, for pioneering a food ranking system to help it’s customers make wise decisions.

The system ranks foods on a scale of 1- 100, from the least nutritious to the healthiest.

The system, licensed from NuVal LLC, employs a system designed by experts from Yale University. It takes the information from food’s nutrition labels, as well as other public information to calculate it against the federal dietary recommendations.

While these scores are much more factual and accurate than the failed food labeling system which put a green check mark on certain foods produced by their paid subscribers, there is still a controversy among purveyors.

For example, General Mills Cheerios scored a rank of 37, while Post’s Shredded Wheats received a 91.  The General Mills spokesperson, felt that the ranking was unfair, citing that the cereal was low fat, cholesterol free and made primarily of whole- grain oats. The NuVal spokesman stated that the Cheerios had more sodium and less fiber than the Shredded Wheats, justifying its data.

NuVal does not show the scores to anyone before they appear on the grocer’s shelves, hopefully insuring that there are no outside factors affecting the scores.

Consumers are responding to the information, and making healthier choices within each food group.

This is just one step in a nation wide effort to help people make educated decisions  in their food purchases. Walmart, the largest food retailer in America will be rolling out a similar program this year.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Smart Choices?

September 13, 2009

2117900437.JPGA new food labeling program called “Smart Choices” is designed to help shoppers easily identify smarter food and beverage choices.

The green label with a large checkmark is appearing on hundreds of food items, much to the chagrin of many nutritionists.

It is no wonder that obesity and diabetes run rampant in a country where the Food and Drug Administration has deemed sugar laden Froot Loops and Cocoa Krispies healthy grains, and full fat mayonnaise and artificially sweetened Fudgesicles as “smart choices”.

Yet these foods fit within the FDA guidelines of not exceeding the very generous limits of sugar, fat and sodium per serving.

It seems to me that the real healthy choices come in nature’s own packaging. If it made it into a box, chances are pretty strong that it has been processed and refined. Call me crazy, but it would be tough to print check marks on the real “smart choices” such as fresh fruits (even the spelling of Froot has been altered in the cereal version) vegetables, lean meats and seafood. Have you ever tried to hold a live fish, let alone print a check mark on its side?

Once again, industry is preying on the poorly educated consumer, who believe that endorsement from the FDA and approval from the Smart Choices program is helping them make informed and positive choices in the food they buy.

Dr. Eileen T. Kennedy, president of the Smart Choices Board and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, defended the program in the New York Times, stating that “consumers are smart enough to deduce that if it doesn’t have a checkmark, by implication it’s not a “better for you” product.” She cited the example that given the choice between Froot Loops and a donut, the cereal is a better choice. But what about whole grains, such as oatmeal and low fat dairy, such as yoghurt instead? Aren’t they MUCH better for you products? The comparisons are relative. Two bad choices don’t make a good one.

We believe that educating the American public on the benefits of good nutrition and physical exercise is a much more noble and useful deed for our government to indulge in than this misguided labeling effort.

photo: adapted from Glasshouse Images


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