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This is why Nutri-Score can be misleading
The colored scale on the food is intended to make it easier to eat healthy food. But sometimes the ratings can be confusing. Here’s what you need to know about Nutri-Score.
Nutri-Score aims to help people eat healthy food in a simple and understandable way. This can work – but only if you compare products in the same category.
Did you notice the little rainbow logo on some of the packages? More and more products appear The so-called Nutri-Score on me. Together with colors and characters, they should help consumers Better food rating. For example, if a dark green “A” is marked, it gives the product a particularly “healthy” status, while a red “E” indicates exactly the opposite.
The value is determined on the basis of the components of the product: fiber, protein, vegetables, fruits and legumes have a positive effect, while saturated fatty acids, sugar, salt and many calories have a negative effect.
Healthy eating is more complicated than the scale
So far, it’s pretty clear. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and the Nutri score can be misleading. Because food is not easy to categorize and a healthy diet is more complex than the colorful scale would suggest. This means that even if you only eat products that contain a green “A”, such as pasta, it does not mean that you are eating a balanced – and therefore healthy – diet. For example, “good” ingredients such as vitamins and minerals and “bad” ingredients such as flavor enhancers and artificial flavors are not taken into account in the evaluation.
Natural fruit juice can score worse on the Nutri-Score than a soft drink that contains sweeteners.
Another example: Diet soda sometimes ranks better than natural fruit juice. That’s because Nutri-Score focuses on sugar: a soft drink can be full of sweeteners, no vitamins and perform better than natural juice with fructose – but also plenty of vitamins.
Or frozen french fries: sometimes they have an “a” because they are made from potatoes – i.e. vegetables. If saturated fatty acids are then reduced and high quality vegetable oils are used, then this is the rating. But that doesn’t mean they’re any healthier than roasted and salted pistachios, which have a “C.” However, such French fries are definitely better than other French fries in category «C» or «D».
With trail mixes, for example, Nutri-Score can help compare different products — and choose the healthiest version.
Conclusion: if you have to choose between two similar products – for example in front of the shelf with breakfast cereals – Nutri-Score can help you with its scheme for choosing the healthy alternative. In general, however, it doesn’t make sense to look for only ‘A’ products.
How can you eat a healthy and balanced diet?