Worried about how healthy your food really is? Check the nutrition score to find out.
Recently, the Kroger grocery store chain partnered with a nutritional research company called NuVal to provide a "nutrition score" for every food product inside their stores. Basically, the higher the score, the more nutritious the product.
The idea is to give us consumers a better idea of what's really good for us, so we can make the right dietary choices. And you guessed it: there have been some pretty nasty shockers so far.
As it turns out, some of the products in the health food aisle have worse scores than a quart of ice cream! Hah! I always knew Rocky Road was good for you... or at least, better than some of that gerbil food the manufacturers push as healthy!
A Little Background
NuVal bases its system on the independent recommendations of a panel of medical and nutritional experts. Their goal, they say, is to make "good nutrition easy by providing comprehensive nutritional information in a single number."
Kroger isn't NuVal's only client, but the fact that Kroger is the biggest supermarket chain in the U.S. does give their adoption of NuVal's system some added punch. Other chains are beginning to follow their lead.
But hey, you don't have to go to the grocery store to get NuVal's take on common food products. Click here to see a representative selection online.
How It All Works
NuVal's panel examines more than 30 nutritional factors for each product, including vitamin, fiber, fat, sugar, and mineral content, and boils the nutritional value down to a number between 1 and 100. It may not surprise you to learn that a certain famous brand of chocolate chip cookies has a NuVal score of just 2.
But you might be surprised to discover that canned sweet sauerkraut also has a NuVal score of 2, and at 8, canned beets aren't much better. I don't know about you, but I can taste the outrage of generations of kids from here. All those years of being forced to eat your vegetables, "because they're good for you," wasted!
But let's not go off half-cocked, eh? Broccoli is assessed at 100, as are unsalted canned green beans. But so are bananas, so that kind of evens things out.
The Best of the Best
If you're wondering what else is at the top of the charts, 100-pointers include blueberries, unprocessed wheat bran, and steamable green beans, with pineapple and ruby red/pink grapefruit clocking in at 99. Items with a NuVal score of 1 include certain butter-flavored cookies and pretzel twists.
Heartbreakingly, our favorite gourmet fat-free strawberry sorbet also scores a 1! But despite its dismal nutrition score, it still tastes better than beets.