The Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition is in the final stages of assembling a new consumer tool that is similar in scope to programs like Guiding Stars and NuVal just now hitting supermarkets — yet different in that it compels shoppers to seek out foods based on nutrient density.
“Traditional plans that emphasize nutrient avoidance are an approach that's failed. More Americans are overweight, but they're undernourished,” said Greg Miller, an executive vice president at the National Dairy Council, a coalition member. “Consumers are tired of being told how not to eat. They want to be told how to eat.”
The coalition, made up primarily of commodity organizations representing all five food groups, came together several years ago and began working with the scientific community to develop criteria consumers could use to choose foods that have the most nutrients per calorie. A recent omnibus study sponsored by the coalition found that 78% of respondents agreed they're looking for a simple, practical tool that would help them build a healthy diet, based on the foods they choose.
The goals to date have largely been met, according to Miller. He says the program is objective, based on accepted science; simple and balanced; and validated against health outcomes. Trials have shown that a person following the guidance does meet better-health, government-set benchmarks for blood pressure, blood-glucose levels and the like.