AURORA, Colo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – When it comes to healthy eating the nutrition fact label is a great guide, but a Nielsen study found that 59 percent of shoppers have a hard time understanding exactly what those labels really mean. Now grocery stores are trying to make it easier in the form of a “nutritional value,” or NuVal, score. Some grocery stores are starting to post that score right next to the price.
If you look at this grocery store tag you’ll probably first notice the price of these raisins, but look to the left … in blue lettering is something called a NuVal score. It’s between one and 100 … with one being the least healthy and 100 being the healthiest.
Lauren Ott, registered dietitian at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, said, “NuVal is a way to make it really easy for the consumer without having to pick up the product to tell how healthy or unhealthy it really is.”
So, for instance, the raisins we showed you had a high NuVal score of 88. But compare that to Craisins with a low NuVal score of just four.
Ott said, “The second ingredient in these Craisins is sugar. When you look at these raisins they have one ingredient: raisins.”
Since honey is pure sugar, it gets a NuVal score of just one. Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup is also on the lower end at 31. Plain Greek yogurt scores high with 94. The scores were calculated by a panel of nutritionists and medical experts who took into account unhealthy fats, sodium, sugar, calories and carbohydrates.
If you don’t see the NuVal score where you shop, download the NuVal app and scan foods yourself.
Researchers studied more than half a million shoppers at a grocery store that used the NuVal scoring system and found that if shoppers only have to look at a single number they are more likely to make healthier choices even if they have to pay more. The nutrition score appeared to justify the price. So why aren’t NuVal scores used in all grocery stores? To get NuVal, chains have to pay for it, and some aren’t willing to do that. You can go to NuVal.com for more information.
Contributors to this news report include: Jessica Sanchez, Field Producer; Brogan Morris, Assistant Producer; Rusty Reed, Videographer; and Tony Dastoli, Editor.
NUVAL SCORE: HEALTHY CHOICES MADE EASY
BACKGROUND: Comprised of 30 different nutrients and nutrition facts, the NuVal Nutrition scoring system is a food scoring system based on the item’s nutrition value. The scores range from 100 all the way down to one, with one being the least nutritious. Here is the formula:
Numerator/Denominator = Score of 1 to 100
Numerator: Nutrients with favorable effects on health including: fiber, folate, vitamin A, C, D, E, B12 and B6, potassium, calcium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, total bioflavonoids, total carotenoids, magnesium and iron.
Denominator: Nutrients with unfavorable effects on health including: saturated fat, trans-fat, sodium, sugar and cholesterol.
Higher numbers in the numerator would increase the overall NuVal score, and higher numbers in the denominator would decrease the score. Additional factors taken into account include protein quality, fat quality, glycemic load and energy density. Trans-fat has been linked with heart disease, and because of this the NuVal system assigns a “weighting coefficient” to trans-fat, making it lower the score even more. However, foods containing a high amount of vitamins and minerals with lower calories receive “extra credit” and a higher score.
WHERE TO FIND THE SCORES: The scores are located right beside the price tag of the item. On their website, www.nuval.com, you can find a complete list of every grocery store that has the system in place. NuVal also mentions that you can ask your local grocery store about the system. The information for store managers and employees is on their website if you would like to add this system.
SCORES: Here are some popular items scored:
- NuVal score of 100: Fresh Broccoli, fresh sweet potato, fresh tomatoes, green giant frozen cut green beans, bananas, blueberries, mango, grapefruit, pineapple and non-fat skim milk.
- NuVal Score of 4: Cap’n Crunch Sweetened Corn & Oat cereal and All Vegetable Shortening.
- NuVal Score of 1: Nabisco Chips Ahoy Chewy Real Chocolate Chip Cookies
- NuVal Score of 88: Green Giant chopped spinach, Allens Popeye regular spinach, passionfruit and avocados.
- NuVal Score of 24: Coconuts, Arnold Italian Crustini rolls and Quaker Life Cereal.
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