Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Equipe de Recherche en Epidémiologie Nutritionnelle (EREN; Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team) in France, and other partner institutions have found that people who regularly consume foods of lower nutritional quality (with a lower Nutri-Score) are more likely to die earlier from all causes than people who regularly consume foods of higher nutritional quality (with a higher Nutri-Score). The report was published in the British Medical Journal.
The researchers determined the nutritional quality of foods by using a modified version of the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency nutrient profiling system (FSAm-NPS). The Nutri-Score is used in several European countries to guide consumers towards healthier food choices. It is a front-of-package label that provides a visual indication of the nutritional quality of food products by using five tiers: from a dark green “A” rating, indicating higher nutritional quality, to a dark orange “E” rating, indicating lower nutritional quality. The rating system is based on the FSAm-NPS, which reflects the nutritional profile of foods according to the amount of protein, sugars, saturated fatty acids, and other components per 100 grams.
The study used food intake data from more than half a million participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, which is jointly coordinated by scientists at IARC and Imperial College London, United Kingdom.
Although it is known that diets lower in sugar, saturated fats, salt, and energy and higher in fruits, fibre, and vegetables are more conducive to good health, this research is important because it can inform debates on the harmonization of food labels and address challenges related to encouraging healthier nutritional choices.
Deschasaux M, Huybrechts I, Julia C, Hercberg S, Egnell M, Srour B, et al.
Association between nutritional profiles of foods underlying Nutri-Score front-of-pack labels and mortality: EPIC cohort study in 10 European countries
Br Med J, Published online 16 September 2020;