Guiding Stars® Nutrition Rating Algorithm Goes Public

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American Journal of Health Promotion Publishes Science Behind Food Ratings, Answering Call for Greater Transparency in Nutrition Guidance

Guiding Stars®, the world’s first storewide nutrition guidance program, today announced the online publication of the Guiding Stars algorithm in the November/December 2011 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion. The publication of the algorithm allows the public to fully understand the scientific basis for the nutritional ratings of foods. The publication showcases the research and development that went into the Guiding Stars algorithm, and the important role a transparent program can have in simplifying the process of choosing healthier foods in all areas of the supermarket.

Guiding Stars was recently awarded patent protection for its nutrition rating algorithm, which is grounded in evidence-based science and the most current dietary guidelines and recommendations of leading national and international health organizations, such as the FDA and USDA. The system credits all edible foods based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, and debits for the presence of trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium. Food items are then awarded zero, one, two or three stars – one star means good nutritional value; two stars, better nutritional value; and three stars, the best nutritional value.

“Guiding Stars is a pioneer in nutrition guidance, and with the proliferation of on-package and on-shelf food labeling programs, we want to be transparent about the algorithm that underlies this system,” said Leslie Fischer, PhD of the University of North Carolina, and a member of the Guiding Stars Scientific Advisory Panel. “Even a well-informed consumer can have a difficult time identifying nutritious foods and the publication of the algorithm makes the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program more transparent and accessible to the public.”

There are an abundance of products that claim to support a healthy diet, often calling out a single nutrient while ignoring others. The Guiding Stars algorithm considers the balance of key nutrients to encourage and nutrients to limit. As a result fewer than 25 percent of all food and beverage grocery items meet the criteria to receive a rating of one or more stars. While many nutrition experts encourage consumers to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, there are also categories within the center of the store that offer starred choices. Guiding Stars highlights the more nutritious choices for consumers at-a-glance, and serves to reduce confusion as shoppers navigate the store.

“By being fully transparent, we allow the nutrition community and consumers alike to have access to the science behind our program. As a result of the star ratings, retailers and manufacturers have begun to take steps to reformulate their foods, and we hope that the impact of publishing our algorithm will continue to lead to better ingredient selection, with the ultimate goal of promoting optimal health,” said Betts FitzGerald, managing director of Guiding Stars. “The Guiding Stars system was created to simplify the shopping experience and help today’s busy consumer make informed choices. Our program is working. We are achieving our goal of helping consumers to take the necessary steps to take control of their health by selecting more nutritious foods.”

About Guiding Stars Licensing Co.

Since 2006, Guiding Stars has been leading the way in helping consumers make nutritious food choices and recently received a U.S. Patent for the Guiding Stars nutrition rating algorithm. The Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program is a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutrition choices and is designed to make a positive and lasting impact on public health. Guiding Stars is currently found in more than 1,600 supermarkets including Food Lion, Hannaford, Bloom, Sweetbay, Homeland, Kings Super Market and Marsh Supermarkets. Guiding Stars has also expanded into public schools, colleges and hospitals and appears on the Shopper mobile iPhone application. Additional information can be found at guidingstars.com.