Nutritional characterisation of foods: science-based approach to nutrient profiling. Summary report of an ILSI Europe workshop held in April 2006.
ABSTRACT The background of the workshop was the proposed EU legislation to regulate nutrition and health claims for foods in Europe. This regulation will require the development of a science-based nutrient profiling system in order to determine which foods or categories of foods will be permitted to make nutrition or health claims. Nutrient profiling can also be used to categorize foods, based on an assessment of their nutrient composition according to scientific principles. Today, various nutrient profiling schemes are available to classify foods based on their nutritional characteristics. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the work developed by ILSI Europe's expert group and to explore wider scientific aspects of nutrient profiling, including their relative effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses. In particular, the focus of the workshop was on scientific approaches to the development of nutrient profiles for the purpose of regulating nutrition and health claims. The 76 workshop participants were scientists from European academic institutions, research institutes, food standards agencies, food industry and other interested parties, all of whom contributed their thinking on this topic. The workshop reached a degree of agreement on several central points. Most participants favored a food category approach rather than an 'across the board' system for nutrient profiling. Most also felt that nutrient profiling schemes should focus on disqualifying nutrients, while taking into due account relevant qualifying nutrients. Levels of each nutrient should be clearly defined for all food categories to be profiled. Reference amounts selected for further considerations were: (1) per 100 g/100 ml, (2) legislated reference amounts, and (3) per 100 kcal. The majority of workshop participants agreed that nutrient profiling schemes should allow for a two-step decision process; step (1) identify which nutrients to take into account, and step (2) define the thresholds for these nutrients. All participants agreed that an objective validation should be conducted before implementation of nutrient profiling. This would include determination of sensitivity and specificity using "indicator foods" selected on their potential to affect major health issues. The management of any adopted system needs to allow it to be dynamic over time and revise the system when new scientific knowledge emerges. The majority of participants favored a food category approach rather than an 'across the board' system. Further work is required to identify the final list of qualifying and disqualifying nutrients for any food category that may be identified and for the selection of optimal reference amounts. It is essential that key stakeholders continue to communicate and work together on the complex issues of nutrient profiling.
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ABSTRACT: An increase in dietary intake along with food marketing and changes in the local, national, and global food systems are considered by many as the primary global drivers of the obesity and noncommunicable disease (NCD) pandemics . Empirical evidence from health research  has linked long-term change in BMI to consumption of specific food categories. Abundant consumer research exists on the various ways by which the different components of marketing strategies individually and jointly impact food choice (see  for a review). However, solid theoretical and empirical foundations remain absent for which marketing business practices cause which changes in food purchase, consumption, and diet and with which obesity and diet-related health consequences. At the same time, facing the pandemic of obesity and diet-related chronic disease, policy makers, researchers, and practitioners have longed for a surveillance system that can describe and monitor food marketing activities at various levels to support research and decision making. More research about food marketing and health outcomes can then be conducted to better inform policy and intervention aimed at preventing child and adult obesity and their chronic disease sequel. Yet, there is not much solid insight on how such a system should be implemented.Diet Quality: An Evidence-Based Approach, Volume 2, 1st edited by Victor R. Preedy, Lan-Anh Hunter, Vinood B. Patel, 07/2013: chapter Part IV: pages 383-396; Springer New York., ISBN: 978-1-4614-7314-5
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ABSTRACT: Nutrient profiling of foods is the science of ranking or classifying foods based on their nutrient composition. Most profiling systems use similar weighting factors across nutrients due to lack of scientific evidence to assign levels of importance to nutrients. Our aim was to use a statistical approach to determine the nutrients that best explain variation in Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores and to obtain β-coefficients for the nutrients for use as weighting factors for a nutrient-profiling algorithm. We used a cross-sectional analysis of nutrient intakes and HEI scores. Our subjects included 16,587 individuals from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2008 who were 2 years of age or older and not pregnant. Our main outcome measure was variation (R(2)) in HEI scores. Linear regression analyses were conducted with HEI scores as the dependent variable and all possible combinations of 16 nutrients of interest as independent variables, with covariates age, sex, and ethnicity. The analyses identified the best 1-nutrient variable model (with the highest R(2)), the best 2-nutrient variable model, and up to the best 16-nutrient variable model. The model with 8 nutrients explained 65% of the variance in HEI scores, similar to the models with 9 to 16 nutrients, but substantially higher than previous algorithms reported in the literature. The model contained five nutrients with positive β-coefficients (ie, protein, fiber, calcium, unsaturated fat, and vitamin C) and three nutrients with negative coefficients (ie, saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar). β-coefficients from the model were used as weighting factors to create an algorithm that generated a weighted nutrient density score representing the overall nutritional quality of a food. The weighted nutrient density score can be easily calculated and is useful for describing the overall nutrient quality of both foods and diets.Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 12/2012; 112(12):1968-75. · 2.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Nutrient profiling is a method of ranking the healthiness of foods based on their nutrient composition. Many existing systems have been developed for regulatory purposes, such as the assessment of the suitability of foods to bear health claims or to be advertised to children, but increasingly profiling is being used to educate consumers via front-of-pack labelling. Most of the existing models have been developed for individual foods in retail settings, not for whole meals available in foodservices. To be effective and justifiable, nutrient profiling models must be science-based, transparent and demonstrate that they are comprehensible and useful to consumers. A case study of a new Heart Foundation Tick programme in Australian foodservices is presented. This paper also reviews existing international profiling systems and discusses some of the issues and challenges for application in meal services, such as compliance with standards, ensuring food safety and credible and effective means of communication.Journal of Foodservice. 08/2009; 20(5):230 - 240.