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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


GALAN, Pilar et al. Nutri-Score and ultra-processing: two different, complementary, non-contradictory dimensions. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2021, vol.38, n.1, pp.201-206.  Epub Apr 26, 2021. ISSN 1699-5198.

The front-of-pack nutritional labeling system Nutri-Score is sometimes under attack because it classifies as A and B certain ultra-processed foods. In fact, this is not surprising given that nutritional quality (assessed by Nutri-Score) and ultra-processing (assessed by the NOVA classification) do not cover the same "health dimensions" in foods but rather different dimensions likely to affect health through specific mechanisms. Although they cover different and complementary dimensions, there is nevertheless an overall association between the degree of processing and nutritional quality of foods. But within the group of ultra-processed foods there are differences in the number, type and doses of additives, as well as differences in nutritional quality. Therefore Nutri-Score allows, within the category of ultra-processed foods (as for all categories of the NOVA classification), to differentiate the nutritional quality of foods, which is essential in terms of health impact. Indeed, regardless of the level of food processing, it has been shown that consuming foods that are better ranked on the Nutri-Score scale is associated with a health benefit and a lower risk of chronic diseases. This is important because, even if it is recommended to reduce the consumption of ultra-processed foods, for those who do not want to or cannot avoid consuming them, for those for whom cooking is difficult (for reasons of time, ease, taste, etc.), the choice of foods better ranked on the Nutri-Score scale has a positive impact on health. Nutri-Score and ultra-transformation must be considered two different and complementary dimensions.

Keywords : Front-of-pack nutrition labels; Nutri-Score; Ultra-processed foods; NOVA classification; Nutritional quality.

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