- The energy content (calories) of a food is not the best way to judge a food – lentils and liquorice have the same energy density.
- The fat content of food is not the best way to judge a food – nuts have more fat and are more energy dense than French fries.
- The sugar content is not the best way to judge a food – dried fruit is full of sugar.
- The sodium content is not the best way to judge a food – soft drinks are low in sodium.
- Do you need to reduce the number of carbohydrates you consume?
- Do you need to increase the amount of fat in your food plan?
- Do you need to increase the amount of protein in your food plan?
Professor Jennie Brand-Miller concludes this way - “What would I like to see on food labels? I’d like to see a system that:
- Focuses on the positive.
- Rates foods according to their contribution to desirable macronutrient and micronutrient intakes.
- Uses Adam Drewnowski’s Nutrient Rich Foods Index, which rates individual foods based on their overall nutritional value, as an essential component.
- Encourages higher protein intake, particularly from legumes.
- Distinguishes between naturally-occurring and added sugars.
I think in the United States, we need a slightly different system, but with the USDA dietary guidelines not being part of it.