Nutritional profiles – views and prospects
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Abstract: The term nutritional profile has been widely used since political institutions declared to use this instrument for legislative purposes. According to these regulations nutrient- and health-related claims in particular should only be admitted if the food in question has a positive or at least intermediary nutritional profile. Nutrient profiles, in the form of tables or graphs, list all nutrients of a certain food. To demonstrate the nutritional value of nutrient profiles, i.e. to convert nutrient profiles into profiles of a food’s nutritional value, a rating system is recommended; graphic representations should be based on recommended intakes. As far as food quantities are concerned, 100 g or a usual portion, or both, are discussed. For the sake of clarity, the number of nutrients to be evaluated should be limited to those which are most important. Both negative components (harmful quantities) and positive nutrients (remedy of nutrient deficits) should be evaluated.
Following a proposal from the U. K. up to 10 points each for negative components such as energy, saturated fatty acids, added sugar and sodium (so-called A points) and positive ingredients such as iron, calcium, n-3 PUFAs, and the share of fruit and vegetables (so-called C points) are granted. A score, i.e. a nutritional profile, is obtained from the difference between the points for negative and positive characteristics. Foods with less than 0 to 2 points are regarded « healthier », those with 9 and more points « less healthy ». Values in between are regarded as « intermediate ». Claims are not admitted for « less healthier » products with 9 and more points. There is a good chance for this – more or less modified – system to be used EU-wide.
Well defined and highly informative nutritional profiles may also be used in nutritional counselling, e.g. to recommend certain quantities of various food items or combinations of different products. In food industry, nutritional value profiles may be used in the fields of product development and product improvement, for the training of staff and argumentation aids for marketing.
Author Keywords: nutritional profiles; food’s nutritional value; rating system