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NuVal Food Score System Comes Under Question

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) - Food scores are designed to help people make healthy choices, but now the way food is scored is coming under question.

NuVal is used in chains like King Soopers to help health-conscious shoppers. It’s just one set of guidelines to help shoppers make wise choices. It is not gospel as consumers still have to know what works well with their diet.

The small signs with numerical scores are everywhere. A high number means high nutrition — a lower score is not so good.

“I guess it helps you figure out if you’re going the right thing in terms of what you’re trying to eat and what you’re trying to buy and what’s best for the body,” one shopper said.

It’s a system designed by disease prevention specialist. Dr. David Katz.

“The average supermarket in the United States sells 50,000 foods, and the overwhelming majority of them come in bags, boxes, bottles, jars and cans,” Katz said. “All of that packaging has marketing messages about ‘choose me, I’m good for you in some way.’ “

The system basically is an equation of nutrients, minus unhealthy ingredients. Some registered dieticians and customers don’t think the system itself is healthy.

“People go and take a look at this number and say, ‘Oh, that’s healthy.’ But it’s not necessarily healthy because they’re not taking a look at the whole picture,” a critic said.

Still, King Soopers and other chains that offer NuVal say it’s a great place to start.

“I think it is accurate, it depends on what tools you’re using, so we base it on the USDA guidelines,” Kelli McGannon with King Soopers said.

The regular nutrient panels are still on the products for further research.

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