Star Based Nutrition Labeling Systems

There’s some talk about standardizing nutrition labeling systems so they only have stars:

“It’s simple,” said Alice H. Lichtenstein, a nutrition professor at Tufts University, who served on the committee that prepared the report. “It’s interpretive. People don’t need to look at numbers or do any calculations to figure out what they mean. Three stars are better than no stars.” 

The problem with this approach is that while the labeling system is simple, your health is complicated. A homogenous rule applied to complex systems will create blindspots that actors can manipulate while still following the rules of the law, even if they’re not following its intent.

From the same source:

 At stake is how nutrition information is presented and how it might affect the way consumers spend their money. 

My guess is that it won’t affect how consumers spend their money.

And from another source:

 “All this said, we do need an easy guidance system of some kind that will encourage consumers to make informed decisions about their food choices.

Here’s a guidance system: When you go grocery shopping only buy from the outer portion of the store. Eat most of your meals from that.

Get a blender or juicer to make smoothies/juices with a bunch of bad tasting, healthy stuff in it, it usually tastes okay.

Do something fun once a week with friends. Walk to places when you can.

Stop worrying about your diet, and don’t read about it so much 🙂

3 thoughts on “Star Based Nutrition Labeling Systems”

  1. While I agree with your general point, I think something like this would probably help a tad . I’m always amused at the way lots of people interpret hordes of diet information in compartmental ways. They either don’t see the forest for the trees or adopt near mystical beliefs about certain ingredients. A rating system like this would help resolve that problem. It might be less effective 5 years from now than it is today due to adjustment by some companies, but I’m not sure that’s a good enough reason to put off this sort of measure.


  2. Gotta agree with Doug. I see my grandma getting more use out of a sytem like this than current labeling practices, which I’m guessing she avoids all together, even though she shouldn’t since she’s diabetic.


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