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Nutritious or Not? Check the Score

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check the score on your food to see if it's nutritious or not MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

When it comes to smart grocery shopping, you are probably savvy enough to know that what you see is not necessarily what you get, that the promises of “lite” and “healthy” and “nutritious” on a loaf of bread or another item can sometimes be misleading.

Fortunately, many supermarket shelves are now displaying nutritional scoring systems right alongside prices.

The scoring systems take into account a food item’s vitamins, minerals, fiber content, sugar level, protein, calcium, sodium, cholesterol and other attributes and present them in an easy-to-understand format. This will usually eliminate the need to squint at the item itself and to decipher its small box of nutritional data.

Here are a few popular nutritional scoring systems being adopted at grocery chains around the United States:

NuVal Nutritional Scoring System

NuVal came into being about four years ago and is touted as being created by an independent panel of nutrition and medical experts, some affiliated with the Yale University School of Medicine.

Scoring relies on a patent-pending algorithm called the Overall Nutritional Quality Index. Each food item -- including items in the produce, meat and dairy aisles -- is given a score from 1 to 100, with a higher score denoting greater nutritional value.

Skim milk, for instance, gets a score of 91, while 2 percent milk gets a score of 55. The packaged, brand name chocolate chip cookie to go with the milk, however, gets a score of 11.

NuVal is in use at Meijer, HyVee and City Market, along with about two dozen other chains, according to its website.

Guiding Stars

Also touted as an objective food rating system, Guiding Stars goes by an algorithm that grades foods based on nutrient density, said its website.

A Guiding Star logo with one gold star next to a price tag indicates good nutritional value. Two stars indicate better nutritional value, and three stars point to the best nutritional value.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Indeed, The NuVal Nutritional Scoring System is really a great food scoring system it helps you a lot to gain nutritional value of the foods. And also the scores are displayed directly on shelf tags. lol .

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September 9, 2012 - 11:27pm
EmpowHER Guest

The fact that NuVal gave skim milk a higher rating than 2% milk immediately makes me fail to trust their recommendations. Most dieticians and nutrition professionals these days know that you need to have fat in milk to properly process the protein. You also miss out on fat soluble vitamins with skim milk. I do hope these rating systems can come up to current times. I also hope shoppers will continue to educate themselves and not immediately trust these below par recommendations.

September 6, 2012 - 8:30pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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