Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/17/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Curious about the system, our reporter learns more.

For customers at nearly thirty supermarket chains across the nation, there's now an easier way to decipher the nutritional value of their product selections. Known as NuVal, a private scoring system has been developed to help consumers tell if they're really getting the nutrition they think they're buying.

The NuVal scoring system is designed to make understanding food nutrition easier.

The NuVal scoring system is designed to make understanding food nutrition easier.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/17/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Home & Food

Keywords: NuVal, nutrition, food, system, label, stores, healthy, marketing


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Reading labels is a time consuming process and few shoppers bother with it. It's not that they don't want to make healthy food choices, it's that they're busy. Instead of taking the time to read the labels, the make their decisions based on word-of-mouth advice, and marketing it's faster, but often a lot less accurate.

Unfortunately, marketing often borders on the deceptive and suggests you're getting more than you really are. Many foods marketed as "whole wheat" or "organic" are not as nutritious as you'd think. Many organic foods are still treated with chemicals.

Enter the NuVal system. The NuVal system isn't the final word on nutrition, but it does provide a snapshot of how nutritious an item is based on a single score.

Catholic Online had the opportunity to interview Robert Keane from NuVal and to learn a little more about this scoring system, which seems to be catching on across the country.

COL: Robert, what is Nuval and how does it work?

KEANE: The NuVal Nutritional Scoring System is a simple rating system that rates foods on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the NuVal Score, the more nutritious the food. Scores are found on the shelf at more than 1,600 supermarkets across the country. NuVal Scores are calculated by assessing more than 30 different nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, sugar, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. These calculations result in a NuVal Score. You can learn more about how scores are calculated at this page.

COL: Why do you feel we need NuVal?

KEANE: Consumer need NuVal because despite our best efforts, it seems harder than ever to know the nutritional value of the food you buy. We have nutrition fact panels, but when you shop, how do you know if shredded wheat or Cheerios are better for you? What about trying to determine what yogurt or even what kind of potato chips have better nutrition? The NuVal System allows you to compare foods like an expert as easily as you compare prices.

COL: Who is behind NuVal?

KEANE: The algorithm that powers NuVal Scores was created by a panel of more than a dozen of the country's best minds in nutrition science led by Dr. David Katz, Co-founder and Director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Connecticut. They took two years of collaboration to determine just how to best score foods. The algorithm itself is based on Federal guidelines for nutrition. NuVal LLC is a joint venture formed in 2008 by Topco Associates, LLC, and Griffin Hospital.

COL:
Who calculates NuVal scores and how is it done? (In a lab, etc?)

KEANE: The data upon which our scores are based are taken directly from the food products' nutrition fact panels and ingredient lists. Once we have this information, scores are calculated using a proprietary algorithm at a facility in Boston.

COL:  Is there any independent verification of your scores to ensure they are fair and accurate?

KEANE: Yes, a team of dietitians review each new score as it is created. We also take it upon ourselves to review products on a regular basis to ensure we update the scores of products that may have been reformulated.

COL:
What are the food manufacturers saying about NuVal?

KEANE:
Our scores cover more than 90,000 different foods products from thousands of manufacturers. In this situation there can be disagreements on what a certain food receives as a score. However, we do our best to work with manufacturers and explain why foods score the way they do. In certain cases, we have had manufacturers change the way they process a food, making it more nutritious and raising the NuVal score!

COL:
There's a lot of misinformation about our food out there. Companies know consumers will buy whatever they can cleverly market. Fads are real, such as gluten-free, whole wheat, and organic. Marketers slap these on the labels regardless of what's really in the product. Does NuVal address this issue?

KEANE:
Absolutely. We have said all along that one of the biggest strengths of NuVal Scores is that they cut through all marketing messages. No matter what it says on the package, simply look at the shelf tag, and you'll see the NuVal Score, right next to the price. Just that one number can sum up the overall nutritional quality of a food and ensure you are choosing the best option for you and your family.

COL: If NuVal is so great, why not petition Congress to make NuVal or a system similar to it part of the labeling laws?

KEANE:
The idea behind NuVal was actually proposed to the Government by Dr. David Katz. The Government decided not to act on it, so Dr. Katz took steps to create the system commercially. You can see it in his own words with this video.

COL:
What if I like NuVal, but can't find it in my store. What can I do to get me NuVal scores? Is there a website or an app?

KEANE: Right now, scores are licensed to supermarkets, so they are the primary place where you can find NuVal Scores. However, we are exploring other options to get scores to consumers. For instance, users of Aetna's ActiveHealth can access now access all our scores online. We're now expanding our reach into the health and wellness field to reach even more customers.

COL:
Robert, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

If you are interested in learning more about NuVal, visit the company website here.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Home & Food

A 'Catholic's Paradise' created by ... Domino's Pizza? Watch

Image of Ave Maria means 'Hail Mary' (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Ave Maria Town, meaning "Hail Mary" Town, is located in Florida, roughly 40 miles from Naples. It opened in 2007 after popular pizza chain Domino's' CEO, Tom Monaghan, invested in its creation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In accordance to Monaghan's ideals, Ave ... continue reading


The candy cane's humble origins: Do YOU know the sweet treat's story? Watch

Image of Do YOU know what the origin of the candy cane is (Corbis)?

By Kenya Sinclair (California Network)

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, pine trees are erected and decorated, festive music can be heard, Christmas presents are purchased and wrapped and iconic holiday candies are released from their summertime hibernation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Every December ... continue reading


WHY WAIT? Check out NEW YouTube videos - now!

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Have you seen the Catholic Online YouTube channel yet? Every day thousands of people stop by our channel for a wonderfully peaceful and prayerful experience. Don't forget to subscribe today, so you don't miss out on over 100 beautiful Catholic videos, with new ones ... continue reading


10 surprisingly easy pet hacks to change the way you think about life Watch

Image of We love our pets but sometimes keeping up with their maintenance can be challenging. How can we simplify this?

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We all love our fuzzy, soft, rough, feathery, scaly, wet, interesting pets, but sometimes they can be high-maintenance. What are a few fast and easy ways to keep them happy without costing us our comfort, time and money? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  You've ... continue reading


3 surprising benefits to cooking with cast iron, and how to restore your pans to make better tasting food Watch

Image of Meals prepared in cast iron can be more nutritionally beneficial than others.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Cleaning, seasoning and maintaining cast iron cookware is important and can save you quite a bit of money. Cooking with cast iron pans and skillets is also a great way to get a healthy dose of iron, but what are the other benefits? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


What you should eat to improve productivity and promote a healthy lifestyle Watch

Image of

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Experts revealed the top 22 foods you should eat at work to improve your performance in the office.  MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Experts revealed why you should be eating beetroot, marmite and yogurt to keep your performance at work in top ... continue reading


Are you giving this to your kid? The worst fast food kid's meals Watch

Image of Eat This, Not That! investigates the best and worst fast food children's options (Alamy).

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New York is considering a bill to limit the calorie count of fast food children's meals to only 500 calories. In an investigation conducted by Eat This, Not That! Magazine, meals served for kids in fast food chains go far above the limit.  MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


Homeless grow large garden for food in Atlanta Watch

Image of A garden plot on the Metro Atlanta Task Force shelter roof.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Homeless people come together and plant a garden to provide food for a shelter in Atlanta. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Anita Beaty, executive director of Metro Atlanta Task Force told Atlanta Progressive News, "It is important to share and train residents in ... continue reading


Hilarious video captures American children taste-testing school lunches from around the world Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American children were filmed trying seven different foreign school lunches and most were met with disapproval. The video by Cut.com quickly became viral, with over 200,000 views within 24 hours. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Common school lunches from ... continue reading


Are chilies the new super food? Study finds the pepper can help with weight loss Watch

Image of Chilies are linked with weight loss.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new health study found that chilies can help shed pounds. According to The Daily Mail, adding some fiery chilies to food can help stop overeating -which leads to obesity- by triggering a receptor in the stomach. Further research will be conducted to present a more ... continue reading


All Home & Food News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 5 of the best non-traditional ways to celebrate Valentine's Day
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, February 14, 2016
  • St. Valentine: Saint of the Day for Sunday, February 14, 2016
  • Prayer in Time of Anger HD Video
  • Saint Valentine and why we offer roses
  • Stations of the Cross - Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 26:4-10
4 'The priest will then take the basket from your hand and lay it before ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend your nights in the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:1-13
1 Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 10:8-13
8 What does it say, then? The word is very near to you; it is in your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 14th, 2016 Image

St. Valentine
February 14: Click Here for St. Valentine Prayer's Saint ... Read More