a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Best News On Food Labeling

Friday, February 20, 2009

Best News On Food Labeling

SUMMARY: Completely unrelated to dogs, but I think that the "Nuval" (Overall Nutritional Value Index) is the best nutritional aid to come along in a long time.

Nuval rates every food on a scale from 1 to 100 for its nutritional value. Developed at Yale, it's based on a variety of nutrients, grains, vitamins, sugar, salt, impact on blood pressure, and a bunch of other things. I first read about it in a brief article in the Sept 2008 National Geographic.

Think how handy it would be to compare an orange at 100 or a tangerines at 93 with canned sweetened mandarin oranges (haven't found a score for them yet, but I'm betting it's quite a bit lower). Or to compare your Wheatena at 91 with Wheaties at 28. Or Captain Crunch at 10. (Not that I'm admitting to eating it regularly.)

Sure, some of this you could kind of guess on your own. But this really makes it easy to compare. They're trying to get grocery stores everywhere to use it. I would love to see this implemented.

You can read scores for quite a few things already at nuval.com.


  1. Interesting. Why would straight-up wheat bran, with very-damn-little actual absorbable nutrition in it, be the ONLY cereal to rate a 100?

    I can't find my staple cereal, "Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats." I'm guessing that it, by itself, is fairly high on the list. I add a tablespoon of flax seed and a tablespoon of oat bran.

  2. I would guess that's because it's all fiber, which is very beneficial to your body in a bunch of ways, with absolutely nothing detrimental added.

    You'll notice that the list on the site is far from complete. E.g., no canned fruit. No desserts other than cookies. No drinks of any kind, juices or otherwise (except milk). Like that.