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What is the number one superfood? Can the NuVal nutrition score help us find healthy foods?
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The system also incorporates measures for the quality of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as calories and omega-3 fats.

The nutrient content for a food is processed through a complex algorithm developed through a rigorous process by a team of twelve experts. In addition to the numerator and denominator nutrients, the algorithm takes into account other key factors that measure the quality and density of nutrients, as well as the strength of their association with specific health conditions.

For example, trans fat has a very strong association with heart disease, a highly prevalent and serious condition. Therefore, the algorithm assigns a "weighting coefficient" to trans fat which substantially lowers the Score of foods containing it. Those weighting coefficients are determined by the prevalence, severity, and strength of association with health conditions.

The quality of macronutrients fats, proteins, carbohydrates is another key factor in the overall equation. The higher the quality, the higher the Score. Foods with higher nutrient density -- a significant amount of vitamins and mineral, but relatively few calories -- also receive extra credit and higher Scores. The greater a food's "trajectory" toward numerator nutrients generally favorable and away from denominator nutrients generally unfavorable , the greater the Score.

How did you determine what nutrients to use? For more detailed information on the inclusion of each nutrient, and a bibliography of sources upon which each decision was based, please contact us at experts NuVal. Yogurt Scores vary depending on the amount and type of fat the products contain, as well as the presence of sodium, sugar, calcium, and levels of vitamins A and D.

Yogurts with the lowest scores have between 30 to 40 grams of sugar, which is equal to almost 10 teaspoons of sugar, as well as some saturated fat. Yogurts without saturated fat and added sugar tend to score the highest. Yoplait Trix, Burstin Berry. Bread Scores vary with the content of whole grain, fiber, sugar, salt, and oil.

Breads made from just whole grain flour, water, and yeast can earn very high Scores. What is surprising is how different the NuVal Score can be from what is suggested by the name of a bread — i. But that simply reveals that what a bread is called, and what it is made out of, may be two very different things. At the other end of the spectrum, however, are products still called cereal, but with sugar as the first and therefore most abundant ingredient.

As a result, the range of NuVal Scores in the cereal aisle is one of the largest in the entire supermarket. Scores in this category will tend to vary with whole grain content and fiber more is better ; and with additions of sugar, salt, and saturated or trans fat less is better. In some cases, as with toasted rice or corn flake cereals, Scores may be relatively low partly because of what is added such as sugar and salt , as well as what is taken away parts of the whole grain.

Higher Scores in this category identify cookies with less sugar, less salt, less or no harmful oils, more fiber from whole grains, and vitamins and minerals from fruits and nuts.

There is good nutrition for you even in the cookie aisle - and NuVal Scores make it easy for you find it. Health Valley Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Nabisco Fig Newtons Fat Free. Nabisco Snackwells Crème Sandwich Cookies. Eggs are a perfect protein source and provide many nutrients, but at a high cost in dietary cholesterol, which we are told to limit by the Dietary Guidelines, the DRIs, and all other sources of expert guidance.

Some egg producers use a feeding process that can change the nutrient profile of the egg and — assuming they provide the data to support this — it may result in higher NuVal Scores for particular eggs in the future.

Egg substitutes that score higher than eggs do so because they retain many of the favorable nutrients in eggs — particularly the high quality protein — while eliminating their principal nutritional liability, cholesterol. Many frozen vegetables have no additives, so their Scores are the same or similar to those of fresh vegetables, varying with the concentration of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

However, frozen vegetables with added salt and salt-heavy seasonings, as well as those with fat- and salt-laden sauces, will have lower Scores. Hence, the wide range of Scores for frozen vegetables. Scores in the milk category vary primarily with saturated fat content.

Other factors that strongly influence the Scores for milk products include added sugar and salt, and the concentrations of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Non-dairy and lactose-free beverages usually have the same influencers as regular milk, however, they may also contain fiber, which can influence the Score.

Lactose, itself, is not a differentiating nutritional factor. Nearly all frozen pizza options contain saturated fat, which impacts their scores. Sodium can also be a factor, with some brands having as much as 1,mg per serving.

Scores can rise when the product uses a whole grain crust which raises the fiber and real cheese, which raises the score because of the added calcium.

Pizzas that use partially hydrogenated oils, a source of trans fat, tend to have scores at the bottom of the NuVal scale. Like meat and poultry, seafood is a source of neatly perfect protein. But unlike most other meats, fish tends to be low in saturated fat, and is often a concentrated source of fish oil, which is rich in health-promoting omega-3 fats. For this reason, the fish that are richest in omega-3 fats, such as salmon, get very high scores.

Fish and seafood with lesser amounts of omega-3 and higher concentrations of sodium get lower scores. Hence the Score of 36 for lobster, which is fairly high in sodium and, by and large, lacking in omega-3 fats. Those products with the highest NuVal scores are also the best source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Conversely, oils with the lowest NuVal scores tend to have the lowest amounts of omega-3s in this category. As the NuVal scores show, liquid oils are often a better choice than butter, margarine and other solid shortenings. Pampa Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Snack and granola bar Scores vary with the content of sugar, fiber, and sodium. They also vary by the type of fat they contain; products with mono- and polyunsaturated fats tend to score higher, while those with saturated and trans fats receive lower NuVal Scores.

Finding nutritious choices in this category can be more difficult, given the complexity of flavors and added ingredients commonly found. Using NuVal scores can reassure consumers that they will have the information to make an educated buying decision when it comes to nutrition.

Saturated fat has a significant impact on cheese scores, with some products having as much as half of their calories coming from saturated fat. If a product is low fat, reduced fat or fat free, they tend to score higher because some or all of the saturated fat has been removed. The presence of sodium and calcium can also impact scores calcium positively, sodium negatively. Cabot Vermont Cheddar Chunk.

Sorrento Mozzarella Cheese Chunk. Many of the most nutritious items in the supermarket are found in the produce aisle. Scores vary in the produce category based on the concentration of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber in particular.

Those at the very top of the range are very highly concentrated in many nutrients and low in calories. The lower scoring produce items are less packed with nutrients as in the case of iceberg lettuce or higher in calories as in the case of passion fruit. Processed meats with added sodium will also tend to score lower. The saturated fat content of poultry varies between white and dark meat.

Remember that while lean meat may be a very important part of a balanced diet, it will never score as high as most vegetables. That is because the NuVal System measures the ratio of nutrients to calories, and meats are generally a much more concentrated source of calories than fresh produce. Bison or Buffalo ground meat. Whole grain pastas made from a few simple ingredients are rich in fiber and nutrients and have just about no harmful nutritional baggage.

Even their glycemic load is low. Lower scoring pastas are made from refined rather than whole grains, or have added ingredients that drive up calories, cholesterol, and salt content. Salty snacks are, for the most part, made from grains such as corn or vegetables such as potatoes.

There are exceptions, such as pork rinds. The highest scoring items in this category are made from whole grains, and little else, providing fiber and relatively little salt. In fact, many items in the salty snack category are actually less salty than a healthy diet should be on average. This is because when a product has very few ingredients, the taste of each one comes through very clearly, and less salt is needed.

In addition to high fiber and low salt, other factors leading to high Scores in this category include: Low Scores will tend to mean little or no fiber, more salt, high calorie content. Posted by Nicole, RD at 1: Melissa October 23, at 6: Anonymous November 11, at Anonymous January 14, at 6: Illinois Abortion Clinics March 7, at 2: Linda Betty August 24, at 7: Cardiology-medicine September 16, at 7: John Markkx October 3, at 1: Administratie Voor Beginners November 9, at Newer Post Older Post Home.

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How does NuVal calculate its ratings? And then it boils it down into a simple, easy-to-use number; a number you can trust to make better decisions about nutrition in just a few seconds. We know, and now science backs it up, that cholesterol is very good for us, in fact essential for our health!

What foods should we find at the top of a list of nutrient-dense foods? Foods are nutrient-dense when they contain lots of fat soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, plus protein and minerals. My first choice for a nutrient-dense food would probably be liver, followed by eggs and whole milk.

Why choose liver as the number one superfood? Look how liver stacks up against apples, carrots, and even red meat:. The only nutrient not higher in liver than all the others is zinc, which is slightly higher in red meat, but in every other nutrient listed, liver is way ahead.

But you can read more here and here and here about the nutrition in liver. For more NuVal scores, look here — no liver though. Top scores are awarded to farmed fish 93 — Atlantic salmon and soymilk 91 — Silk Soymilk. Soymilk is not a healthy, nutritious food! Read Soy Alert to learn about the problems with soy. But look what we do find with a NuVal score of —skim milk! Skim milk is a heavily processed product that has had all its fat and, therefore, all of its fat soluble vitamins removed.

Plus skim milk is almost always doctored with additives to make it look and taste better. Read here and here about problems with skim milk.

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