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Foods : What is the Nutrition Grade? (FAQs)

The Nutrition Grade was developed with the goal of helping people improve the nutritional quality of their diets. This tool is fully automated and does not feature any manual corrections - hence all items are evaluated objectively and following the same set of rules.

As you may know, not all nutrients are equally good for you. Some of them, like cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fats should be avoided as much as possible. Some other ones, however, such as minerals and vitamins, are essential for your health. Thankfully, the USDA devised the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) figures for each one of these nutrients, which were used as the foundation of the Nutrition Grade's algorithm.

Obviously, foods rich in minerals and vitamins are graded highly, and their good points are all listed right next to their grade. Undesirable nutrients contribute to the bad points. Even though the USDA does provide RDA values for these nutrients, these values must be understood differently from those for the desirable nutrients; the undesirable RDAs should be viewed as the very last limit, whereas the desirable RDAs mark a target to shoot for.

The Good and the Bad Points provide a summary of what the Nutrition Grade identifies as the food items' special strengths and weaknesses. Those points are then converted to a numerical format, and then finally turned into the well-known letter format (A-best; F-worst).

No automated tool is perfect, and the same is true for this one. Please understand that Nutrition Grade only checks how close or far away a certain food is in respect to your RDAs. There are many more aspects that need to be considered for Health, and this is only one of them.

Finally, Nutrition Grade will not necessarily help you lose weight. It will, hopefully, help you get it done as healthy as possible, but you could, for example, eat only perfectly graded food items and still end up gaining weight. Weight loss is all about counting calories and it is not necessarily related to health - but health and weight loss are also not mutually exclusive. In other words, you should keep an eye on your calories, and at the same time, also try to get as good a grade as you can.

Added 2007-06-03 22:26:24

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