Relying on the Nutri-Score of foods is not enough to eat healthy, according to a study
Author: Clark Tos
When shopping, many of us rely on Nutri-Score to choose the best products. However, an Italian study has just shown that this label is not sufficient for consumers to make the right choices.
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First of all, contrary to popular belief, it should be noted that the aspect of food most associated with the risk of mortality is not the composition nutritional intrinsic but more their degree of transformation. This is in any case the result of a very serious investigation on the subject published in the renowned scientific journal The British Medical Journal. As a reminder, a processed or even ultra-processed food is the result of an industrial process which consists of deconstructing whole foods into chemical constituents then modifying and recombining them by adding additives.
So-called 'processed' foods are classified into 4 categories according to the Nova system. The latter lists them according to their degree of processing, unlike the Nutri-Score which focuses on the nutritional quality of a food according to criteria such as fat, salt or fiber content, and informs customers by bias of 5 letters (A, B, C, D and E). These two different classifications are all the same indirectly linked since it is estimated that more than 80% of the foods identified as “unhealthy” by the Nutri-Score are also ultra-processed.
To find out more about this, for 14 years a group of Italian researchers followed nearly 23,000 adults by analyzing the nutritional composition of their diets and the corresponding degree of food processing. This complex work enabled them to see precisely to what extent the excess risk associated with poor diet could be due to the ultra-processing of food.
“We found that some of the excess mortality associated with poor quality diets is explained by the fact that these diets are also ultra-processed. Conversely, the excess mortality risk associated with diets high in ultra-processed foods is unlikely to be attributable to the low nutritional quality of these foods. reports Marialaura Bonaccio, epidemiologist and first author of the study.
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Healthy but processed foods?
In other words, it is essential for consumers to be aware of the degree of processing of the food to make the right choice and referring to the Nutri-Score is not enough to eat healthy. Indeed, the customer who would opt for a product declared healthy by the Nutri-Score but ultra-processed would thus fall into a trap which would not be negative for his health while this one thinks to be careful.
“We need to focus on foods that the Nutri-Score classifies as nutritionally sound but are also highly processed. This is the case, for example, of certain drinks which, although they have a reduced sugar content and are therefore adequate from a nutritional point of view (letter B in the Nutri-Score), are in fact highly processed” explains in a press release Giuseppe Grosso, co-author of the study.
Like what, you must always remain careful and attentive when filling your shopping cart!