The citizens of the EU and especially of Greece, are becoming increasingly overweight – obese and automatically more prone to heart disease, diabetes and other obesity-related diseases. A very important part of the problem has to do with our diet.
You will often hear nutritionists say that learning to read and understand the labels behind each package is very important. However, finding the healthiest yogurt, cereal or ready meal is not that easy.
The Nutri-Score helps consumers in such a way by making it possible to compare at a glance nutritional quality of the products.
But what is the Nutri-Score?
Nutri-Score is a front-of-pack nutrition label that converts the nutritional value of foods and beverages into a simple overall score. It is based on a scale of 5 colors and letters (A is green to represent the best nutritional quality while E is dark orange to indicate it is the lowest).
And how is it calculated?
THE Nutri-Score algorithm, created by a team of independent researchers, calculates and takes into account nutrients that must be limited (calories, saturated fats, sugars and salt) but also, the “good” elements (fibers, proteins, etc.).
In the food – drink, assigned a color and a letter based on the resulting and calculated score, per 100g or 100ml.
In which countries is it used?
Although the EU does not oblige the member states to choose it and make it mandatory, there are some member states (France, Belgium, Spain), which have already approved and implemented it since 2017.
Why is it important to have simple nutrition labels?
International public bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) believe that nutrition labeling on the front of the package can help consumers switch to a healthier way of eating.
Color coding will help consumers understand and compare the nutritional quality of foods and beverages. For this reason, the nutrition label should be applied to as many products as possible and provide both positive and negative evaluations.
Despite its proven effectiveness through various studies, the Nutri-Score has been questioned by several as it is considered a very simple type of rating that does not offer detailed information about the nutritional content of packages. Nevertheless, the seven associations supporting the European Citizens’ Initiative “PRO-NUTRI-SCORE” urge the Commission to submit a proposal to make the use of Nutri-Score within the EU.
Understanding food labels is very important as it helps us to understand exactly what we consume. Therefore, ask a registered dietitian to show you and train you in reading and understanding labels (Nutri-Score or tables on the back of the package).
Dr. Tonia Karagiannis
PhD, University of Thessaly
a: Sp. Spyridis 3, Volos
p: +30 2421303674 M: +30 6947827831
e-mail: [email protected]
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- WHO European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020.
- Enax, L. et al. Salient nutrition labels increase the integration of health attributes in food decision-making. Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 11, No. 5, September 2016, pp. 460–471.
- https://www.beuc.eu (The European Consumer Organization)