Guiding Stars & Weight Loss

Running shoes, measuring tap, notepad, oatmeal, and a pear implying a narrative of weight loss
Photo by big_nazik on Freepik.

Guiding Stars is an objective, evidence-based, nutrition guidance program. It provides a simple tool for consumers to quickly identify more nutritious choices while shopping. Our intent has always been to support people’s health, regardless of weight. We rate foods as good, better, and best to give consumers at-a-glance advice: the more stars a food earns, the more nutritious it is. Simply by choosing more foods that earn stars, shoppers can improve their nutrition without dieting. 

Weight in the U.S.

More than 70 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or have obesity. For those trying to lose extra pounds, there are a lot of different weight-loss options. Safe and successful weight-loss programs encourage eating more nutrient-dense foods, like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These foods have a higher proportion of nutrients that are encouraged for healthy diets and fewer “empty” calories. For packaged foods, reading Nutrition Facts labels and ingredients can confuse even the most informed consumers. It also requires valuable time. Conveniently, Guiding Stars reads the nutrition labels for nearly all foods and provides transparent ratings for nutrient-density that you can trust, saving you time as you shop. 

Of course, purchasing only starred foods doesn’t guarantee a healthy diet. Buying and eating nutrient-dense foods is a great start for a healthy lifestyle. Other factors including portion size, food preparation techniques, variety, balance, fitness, weight and health status all help to define an individual’s healthy diet. 

Calories, Portions, and Servings

The Guiding Stars algorithms are based on calories. They look at the balance of points for nutrients to encourage and nutrients to limit in a 100-calorie serving of the food. This allows us to rate foods against an objective standard. This standardization also allows the consumer to compare products side by side. It adjusts for serving size variation of the same product due to food packaging, as well as water weight.

It’s important to make a distinction between portions and servings. We evaluate nutrient density based on a 100-calorie serving. The portion, or the amount of food you choose to eat for a meal or snack, still matters for your health. By selecting Guiding Stars earning foods, you can rest assured that you’re getting the most nutrition per bite within a category of food.  

Professional Guidance

If you think you might need to lose weight, talking with a health care professional is an important first step. Your provider might recommend finding a registered dietitian. They can work with you to design a personalized weight loss plan, including diet changes and physical activity. With the right plan, you can still eat all your favorite foods.

Are you interested in exploring popular commercial weight-loss diets and understanding what makes them so attractive to the mainstream population? This webinar examines how each of these popular diets “works” and dives deep into the research that supports or disputes each diet.