Low fat. Fat-free. Healthy. Added fiber. Fortified with vitamin C. These claims seem to be on the front of every package of food on the grocery store shelves. Just how healthy are these foods? Is their food product everything they claim? It seems that consumers are at a disadvantage because there is no real way to know just how healthy packaged foods are.
Introducing the NuVal 1-100 Nutritional Scoring System
That is, until a group of scientists in an independent consumer group created the NuVal 1-100 nutritional scoring system. The NuVal 1-100 System is a ratio that takes into account a food’s healthy ingredients, such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and weighs them against unhealthy ingredients, such as added fat, sugar, and salt. The result is a number between 1 and 100, 100 being the most nutritious, and 1 having no nutritional value.
This makes decision-making at the grocery store much a much easier task, and demystifies the health claims on the front of the packages. The one little number at participating stores next to the item description on the food shelves says it all.
Understanding How to Use the NuVal System
The NuVal system takes the guesswork out of grocery shopping. For instance, choosing fresh fruits and vegetables is an easy choice for nutrition. Most scores range between 78 and 100. However, not all foods are in the top 25%. Does this mean that they are not healthy for you to eat?
Not always. Some categories of food can still be good for you, but some are better than others in that category. Most meat, for instance, hovers between a 25 and a 53. This is because some meats contain more fat than others, and some processed meats contain more sodium than others. However, protein is a macronutrient, and we need protein in our diets, especially if you are the type of person who can’t eat beans or lentils. However, the reason why meats are so low is because they do not deliver as much nutrition per calorie as fruits and vegetables. What to do? Try and choose meats that are skinless and have the fat trimmed.
This is not the case with processed goods. Processed foods often do not contain macronutrients, and if they do, they are often on the lower end of the nutritional scale because they contain added salt and bad fats rather than good fats, which adds extra sodium and calories to one’s diet.
Finding a Participating Grocery Store
To find out what stores in your area participate in offering the NuVal System, go to their website.
Even if you do not have any stores in your area that participate, you can still print up a participating store’s list of foods they offer to the public and bring it to a store near you. This way you can still reap the benefits of the NuVal System.