NuVal® Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do all products have NuVal Scores?
A: Not all categories are scored with NuVal. For example, items in our Deli, Food Service and Bakery departments do not currently receive NuVal Scores. Additionally, a handful of products will not be scored. They are: wine and spirits, vitamin and mineral supplements, baby food, or products that contain no calories such as plain water, seltzer water, club soda, coffee, tea, spices and rubs, corn starch, vinegar, salt, baking soda, lime juice and lemon juice.
Q: Should I stay clear of aisles without "higher" Scores?
A: No. Simply remember each food category has a range of NuVal Scores AND an average. For example, NuVal Scores for soups range from 1 to 99 with an average of 26. Understanding that every category of food has its own range and average makes it easier to shop for your favorite foods and to trade up to higher scoring items within each aisle.
Q: Do organic foods score higher on the NuVal Scoring System?
A: Not necessarily. Organic ONLY indicates how a food is farmed and processed, not its level of nutritiousness or impact on overall health. Therefore, organic status does not mean a food has more nutrients. For this reason, organic status will not affect a food's NuVal Score.
Q: Why would 100% fruit juice have such a low NuVal Score?
A: Part of the evaluation done to determine NuVal Scores is looking at energy density (For example, calorie level per gram). Although 100% juice contains only natural sugars from fruit, the calorie level for a gram of 100% juice will be much greater than the calorie level for a gram of the actual fruit. That is why an apple scores a 96 while 100% apple juice scores a 15.
Q: Is a food's NuVal Score lowered if it contains artificial sweeteners?
A: Scientific evidence supports the safety and efficacy of consuming artificial sweeteners. Scientific evidence to the contrary remains lacking. Therefore, a food's NuVal Score will not be lowered because of their presence.
Q: How do natural and artificial sweeteners affect NuVal Scores?
A: Foods containing natural sweeteners like stevia [Truvia®] and artificial sweeteners like sucralose [Splenda® Brand Sweetener], aspartame [Equal®] and saccharine [Sweet'N Low®] will oftentimes have higher NuVal Scores than their counterparts with natural sugars or added sweeteners like sugar, honey, organic cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Why? Sugar content tends to drive down a food's Score because it causes the calorie content to increase— ®ardless if it is naturally occurring or added.
Q: Is the NuVal Scoring System a diet?
A: Although it is one more tool toward eating more nutritious foods, it most definitely is NOT a diet plan. In fact, by choosing to eat above an arbitrary high number such as 80, there is a potential for becoming deficient of certain nutrients like protein. Using NuVal Scores as a roadmap to more nutritious foods when working toward daily food group goals is the best way to use the program.
Q: Where can I get further information?