Researchers from theINRA have developed a method to classify all foods based on their nutritional quality. They were based on food consumption data collected at 1171 adults in the INCA investigation 1 from 1999. They thus established a nutrient profile for each food. The goal is to offer the consumer better readability on the quality of the food products they buy.
The healthy - LIM method
The researchers propose to label foods based on their nutritional quality. A "Healthy" logo, for example, pourrait appear for the best products.
A ranking of foods into four categories
- The category healthy (Score of match individual nutrition recommendations) includes foods rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and essential fatty acids while being very little calorie. We find for example in this category, fish, the fruits and vegetables. These foods are good for your health and should give priority in a balanced diet.
- The category LIM (food to 'limit '.) includes the underperforming food with compounds such as salt content, saturated fat and added sugars, is high. In this category we find the Fat Delicatessen, cakes & sweets, sauces, sugary drinks, etc.
Between these two extremes there are two intermediate categories
- The first relates to them neutral foods for health and includes among other white rice, pasta and dried fruit.
- Respect to the second food both rich in nutrients but also very calorie or very rich in salt, for example, which are recommended occasionally or in small quantities like red meat, certain cheeses, smoked or salted fish, etc.
The other advantage of this system is to allow to classify complex so-called food, as the dishes, sandwiches, Pizza, snacks, etc.
Towards a better balanced diet and readability
This project is designed to encourage the industry to review the composition of their products or direct them toward making other more balanced diet-friendly foods so labelled a healthy logo.
The image of already present "Nutritional information" labelling on packaging, showing the energy value, the rate of protein, carbohydrate, lipid, etc., It would enable the consumer to better make their choices among the multitude of products offered in RADIUS. Indeed, It is sometimes difficult at the first glance whether a classic yogurt is better than a milky dessert for example.
What are the habits of the French ?
Following this ranking, the researchers looked at the eating habits of the French. Nicole Darmon, Coordinator of this research team of the University of Aix-Marseille, considers that "the nutritional balance is not very far from our habits". On average, 50% (by weight) food consumed by the French belong to the first category (HEALTHY) and 30% belong to the last class (LIM). By making tests with optimized plans they have determined that foods first category has totaled around 65% by weight and that the share of the latter category dropped to 20%. Should be, in order to better eating, increase the share of food of better nutritional profile 2/3 weight total food consumed at the expense of other foods.
Labelling very highly recommended
After the well known slogans of all, "Eat five fruits and vegetables a day" or "dairy products are our friends for life" broadcast by the Ministry of health during the last decade, the affixing of a logo could see the day for the next PNNS (National Plan Nutrition Health) from 2011 to 2015. This is what urge 31 learned societies and experts in nutrition as reported The Figaro.
We are still in a position to ask if food boasting a "Healthy" logo will not be a strong increase in the price. In the same way, We can ask ourselves about the reactivity of the industrialists who do actually improve their products under the legislative constraint. This initiative is certainly to be welcomed and improved the legibility and transparency of products can be beneficial !
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