PORTLAND, Maine, June 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Guiding Stars, North America's leading nutrition guidance program, today announced that the organization has updated its approach to factoring dietary cholesterol into its ratings system in response to evolving scientific evidence and changes reflected in the latest 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Guiding Stars' patented nutrition rating algorithm no longer imposes debits on foods that contain dietary cholesterol. Under the new algorithm, only foods with the very highest amounts of dietary cholesterol, 300 mg or more per 100 calories, will not earn stars.
The new algorithm allows nutritious yet cholesterol-containing foods like eggs and shrimp to earn stars. The inclusion of eggs in particular is a positive development for consumers who are looking for affordable, nutrient-dense sources of high quality protein. Classified by many as a "nutritional powerhouse," eggs are rich in essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants. In the past, the scientific consensus among many nutrition and medical experts was that people should limit their intake of eggs due to the food's high cholesterol levels, but current research finds no significant link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease or stroke.
"The science on dietary cholesterol has evolved," said Leslie Fischer, PhD, MPH, RD, a Scientific Advisor at Guiding Stars. Dr. Fischer is a co-founder of Nutrigenetics Specialists and former faculty member in the nutrition department at the University of North Carolina. "Recent research shows that for most individuals, blood cholesterol is the primary driver of heart disease and associated adverse health conditions, not dietary cholesterol. The research also indicates that dietary cholesterol isn't as much of a factor in overall blood cholesterol levels as we once thought. As the top nutrition guidance program, Guiding Stars is committed to providing evidence-based ratings to help consumers make healthy choices, so the algorithm was changed to reflect the new scientific consensus."
Launched in 2006, Guiding Stars leveraged a Scientific Advisory Panel of noted nutrition and public health experts from across the country to develop the food rating system. Based on a patented and transparent algorithm that objectively evaluates the nutritional quality of foods, Guiding Stars assigns one star for good, two for better and three stars for foods with the best nutritional value. Simple-to-understand Guiding Stars ratings appear at major grocery chains and food service facilities at thousands of locations across the U.S. and Canada and online, where Guiding Stars provides healthy recipes as well as additional information to help people choose foods wisely.
"For 10 years, Guiding Stars has helped people make better choices as they load their grocery carts, choose items in a cafeteria or plan home-cooked meals," said Jim McBride, Director, Guiding Stars Licensing Company. "I am pleased that we have updated the algorithm to align with the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. By revising the cholesterol debits, the star values will increase on more than 350 packaged foods, 60 single ingredient whole foods, and over 400 Guiding Stars recipes. We expect that consumers will find these changes helpful in offering an even greater variety of nutritious choices to consider for themselves and their families." McBride added that Guiding Stars always stays current with and responds to evolving scientific evidence and new consensuses. "We're already examining the implications of the pending changes by the FDA to the Nutrition Facts label. We are aligned on providing greater transparency for the consumer."
For maximum transparency, the Guiding Stars algorithm and ratings criteria are publicly available and accessible on the organization's website. The program uses information from the Nutrition Facts Panel and ingredients lists that appear on food packaging as well as nutrition data from the USDA National Nutrient Database, synthesizing information that consumers typically find confusing and difficult to read into a simple visual cue that indicates nutritional value. By using an algorithm to create a score based on the assignment of credits and debits, Guiding Stars makes it clear which foods provide the best nutrition, and that makes it easy for anyone to choose more nutritious foods.
To learn more about the Guiding Stars program, please visit www.guidingstars.com.
About Guiding Stars
Since 2006, the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program has helped millions of consumers make more nutritious food choices. Based on its U.S. and Canadian patented nutrition rating algorithm, the program provides 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 in more than 1,500 supermarkets in the U.S., including Hannaford, Food Lion, Homeland, Marsh Supermarkets, B&R and Price Chopper (Kansas City). In Canada, Guiding Stars is offered exclusively through Loblaw Companies Limited, and is currently in more than 900 stores from British Columbia to Newfoundland through Loblaws and its affiliated banner stores Atlantic Superstore®, Dominion®, Fortinos®, ProvigoMC, ProvigoMC Le Marche, Real Canadian Superstore®, Save Easy®, Valu-mart®, Your Independent Grocer® and Zehrs®. Guiding Stars can also be found in public school, college and hospital dining facilities and is accessible through the Shopper mobile app for iOS devices. For more information, visit www.guidingstars.com.
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SOURCE Guiding Stars