I stumbled upon this new nutritional guide that is apparently being introduced in certain supermarkets in the US. It's called NuVal (http://www.nuval.com/How
), and purports to substitute the data-dense traditional food nutrition labels with a single number to indicate a food's nutritional "score"- between 1 and 100, higher being better.
A food's nutritional score is derived from an algorithm that factors contents like fiber, vitamins/minerals, cholesterol and fat content. "Good" contents increase the score, while "bad" stuff decreases it.
At face value, this seems like a pretty good idea. If done correctly, grocery shoppers will have a much simpler tool for discriminating between healthy and unhealthy choices, making it more likely to be used. As the NuVal website suggests, the scoring system could function in much the same way as "eat this, not that" (http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/eat-this-not-that
), except it would be more versatile as a general nutritional comparison between any two items.
That being said, there are a couple red flags here. The organization producing NuVal is led by David Katz, M.D., who in the past has drawn criticism from Dr. Novella and others for his accommodating views on certain CAM issues (see http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/some-encouraging-backlash-against-nonsense/
). Furthermore, the algorithm for determining a food's nutritional score is proprietary and "patent-pending", so there is currently no way to evaluate its principles and weaknesses.
Any thoughts on how useful the NuVal system will be or on how its development and implementation are being handled?