Nutri-Score: how does it work? | Health Magazine

It is a logo affixed to the front of the packaging of certain products sold in supermarkets for manufacturers who have taken the step.

The Nutri-Score logo is made up of 5 letters: from A to E, from the most nutritionally favorable to the least favorable.

The logo is also made up of 5 colors (from dark green, through light green, yellow to dark orange) complementing the letters. Dark green is the most favorable and dark orange the least.

Nutri-Score was created at the request of Ministry of Solidarity and Health in order to help consumers make the best possible food choices. He is part the health system modernization law of January 26, 2016.

It was created based on the work of Professor Serge Hercberg’s team, president of the National Nutrition and Health Program (PNNS), the expertise of the National Health Security Agency (ANSES) and the Superior Public Health Council (HCSP). France was the first country involved in Nutri-Score end of 2017.

The latter is not, at the moment, mandatory, but is based on the voluntary participation of agri-food companies.

France is the first European country, but not the only one, to join Nutri-Score. Six other countries are involved in this process. These are Germany, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The definition of Nutri-Score is as follows: For 100 g or 100 ml of a certain product from a certain range (breakfast cereals, desserts such as yoghurts, biscuits, etc.), Nutri-Score checks its content of good nutrients such as fibersO proteinsvegetable fruits, legumesnuts, olive and rapeseed oils, etc., as well as nutrients to be limited, such as fats, sugars, salt and calories.

This calculation results in a grade between A: favorable and E: unfavorable. “The principle of Nutri-Score is no fat, no sugar, no salt, explains Aurore Lavergnat, nutritionist-nutritionist. In fact, it involves restricting or eliminating anything that can cause weight gain, increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity or one metabolic syndrome. »

Which products are affected?

The Nutri-Score concerns exclusively processed products: cereals from breakfastprepared meals, desserts… Raw foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish are not affected.

Can we trust Nutri-Score?

“The Nutri-Score is not completely reliable,” warns Aurore Lavergnat, nutritionist-nutritionist. It does not take into account the presence of preservatives, colorings, flavor enhancers, texture and coating agents, emulsifiers, etc. added to products by manufacturers. »

However, if some of them are natural, such as ascorbic acid (E 300), citric acid (E 330), curcumin (E100) to color a product orange, chlorophyll (E 140) to color a product green, other additives can be dangerous to health. This is the case, for example, of carboxymethylcellulose (E466), which can be found in ice creams, sauces, vinaigrettes and sweet drinks. Can promote chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.

Another examples: “Rice cakes can get Nutri-Score as long as their Sugar level too high can promote the onset of metabolic syndrome », specifies the nutritionist-nutritionist. On the other hand, “an olive oil can obtain Nutri-Score C, with an intake of 1 to 2 tablespoons per day being recommended”, informs the nutritionist. The same goes for cheeses. 90% of them are classified as D or E. “If they are rich in fat, raw milk cheeses are beneficial for the intestinal flora and hard cheeses provide proteins and calcium necessary for good health of the body”, specifies Aurora Lavergnat. We can therefore consume a portion of 30 g every day.

In turn, Michel Dagbert, senator for Pas-de-Calais, was surprised in May 2021 that “Nutri-Score does not take into account the reality of portions: it focuses exclusively on the theoretical consumption of 100 g of products while, for cheese, the average consumption is 35 g per day. This system does not take into account the presence of micronutrients that are good for health, such as vitamins, minerals and trace elements. »

Evolve to better take into account the presence of additives

It is to respond to these criticisms that this nutritional logo, never revised since 2017, evolves in 2024, with a algorithm change, more in line with dietary recommendations. Goal: to better help consumers choose their processed products based on their impact on health. the Nutri-Score will therefore take better account of the presence of coloring agents, flavor enhancers, preservatives, emulsifiers and others food additives

As Pauline Ducrot, head of specialization in prevention and health promotion at Santé publique France, points out (source 1), “many products will see their score change, between 30 and 40% of products are affected. It is not the composition of the products that changes, but how your score is calculated. »

Among the expected changes:

  • The oils rich in good fats, such as those made from olives, rapeseed or nuts, will be valued, as will the foods that contain them.
  • The note of certain fatty fish will improve, due to its richness in omega-3.
  • Products based on wholemeal flour, rich in fiber, will have better scores than their refined counterparts. On the other hand, cereals with a high sugar content will have their classification downgraded from A to C.
  • Poultry will be classified above red meat.
  • The difference between thesweetened and unsweetened dairy products will also be more marked.
  • O diet soda that contain sweeteners will no longer be classified as B, but rather from C to E.
  • At the beverage level, the presence of sweeteners is taken into account “to prevent manufacturers from using these additives instead of sugar”.

Ientry into force of this new Nutri-Score will come into force at the end of April 2024. Afterwards, “manufacturers and distributors will have a period of 2 years to adapt their packaging and apply the new Nutri-Score” (source 1).

Nutri-Score A, B, C, D, E (before expected change in 2024): product examples

There is a big difference between products classified as A and those classified as E. The closer you get to the letter E, the more you need to pay attention to the frequency of consumption.

What is the best Nutri-Score?

It’s like in school: to be a good student in the food industry, it’s better to get an A than an E!

Nutri-Score A and B products

Products classified as Nutri-Score A and B should be preferred as much as possible, of course. “Ideally, we should even try to consume only products with these two letters on a daily basis », recommends the nutritionist-nutritionist.

O Nutri-Score A products. VHere are some examples of highly rated products: Nat ourson honey biscuits, chopped steak 5%, Evian mineral water, Pom’Potes (plain apple, banana apple, strawberry apple)

Nutri-Score B products. For breakfast: Organic Chocapic, Organic Cheerios, Candy Up chocolate or strawberry, Jocker multifruit – 30% sugar, petit-suisses with fruits from 2 cows, Frulos Yoplait fruit yogurts, cream cheese with Petit Filous fruit mix, yogurts with Mini Yop chocolate drink

Nutri-Score C Products

“Products classified as C can be consumed approximately every 2 days”recommends Aurore Lavergnat.

Mc Donald’s Chicken Mc Nuggets, Whooper Junior Burger King, Tropicana orange juice, Andros apple juice, Champomy, P’tit savane roulo chocolate cake, Danette chocolate dessert creams, Flanby vanilla and caramel pudding, chocolate dessert cream Danette milk chocolate,

Nutri-Score D and E products

“As these ratings are not very favorable, it is preferable not to consume poorly rated foods more than 1 to 2 times a week”evaluates the nutritionist-nutritionist.

O Nutri-Score D Products. Burger King cheeseburger, McDonald’s croque, Burger King children’s burger, Nectar Apple Pressade, Fruit Shoot Red Fruits, Ourson Lulu chocolate cake, Prince Pocket chocolate biscuit, Nesquick cereal bars

O Nutri-Score E products. Oasis Apple Black Currant Raspberry, Coca-Cola, Orangina, Capri-Sunorange, Teisseire Grenadine Syrup, Lemon, Mint, BN Mini Chocolate Cookie, Dinosaurus Chocolate Cookies, LU Small Schoolboy Chocolate Cookies, Kinder Pingui Bars,

These foods are taken from the Diabetics Federation’s Little Nutritional Guide for Parents.

Nutri-Score: how to use it?

The Nutri-Score is used to compare products within the same department or category, to choose the best. For example: Danone natural yogurt has Nutri-Score A, while in the same aisle a yogurt The Nature Sucré brand has a Nutri-Score of C. The same goes for Bolognese lasagna, which can be classified as A in one brand and D in another.

As for the score, it must be put into perspective. Because if for a yogurt a Nutri-Score C is not very good, because there are many products in the same category with a Nutri-Score A, for an olive, rapeseed or walnut oil for example, a Nutri-Score C is quite favorable, with many other oils displaying a Nutri-Score D.

There is no point in trying to consume only products with Nutri-Score A or B on a daily basis. Other products can be part of a balanced diet as long as they are consumed in small quantities and only a few times a week. .

The Nutri-Score app

You can download theNutri-Score ABCDE app to scan the food products you want to buy when you go shopping. The application will indicate the Nutri-Score of the food.

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