A new food ranking system is ready to go for a trial. The Overall Quality Nutritional Index (ONQI) is designed to make your grocery shopping healthier or more confusing - that is depending on whom you ask.
The ONQI is a food scoring system, which is designed to evaluate the nutritional quality of the foods, beverages and recipes you buy. Behind this little invention are fifteen top ranked nutritionists. The ONQI is already in many stores and it is ready to make a debut in the spring nationwide. Later this year, you will be able to find the rating of about 50,000 foods and food products online and on store shelves.
The ONQI takes 30 different nutrition factors into account, such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fat, antioxidants and other nutrients basic to that food or recipe. It then divides this by the "bad" nutritional factors such as cholesterol, saturated fat, sodium, added sugars, glycemic load, etc. The end result is a formula that scores a product from 1 to 100 (100 being the best possible food you can get and 1 being the worst).
On their website, it says that "the ONQI literally lets you compare apples to oranges (and on nutritional value, oranges win)" (even though if you knew the basic statistics, you would be able to compare cows to grapes but that is not significant to this point).
Furthermore, ONQI is said to be able to help in choosing the best possible choice of foods. So, for example, if you were walking down the chips aisle and you wanted to buy the chips, the ONQI would tell you which chips you should buy - ie. which one has the highest nutritional value.
While to choices are not officially available yet, nor they are published in any scientific journals to date, here is a sneak preview of what you might expect on the shelves of your stores in the future:
Mustard Greens - 100
Fresh Strawberries - 100
Raw Spinach - 100
Raw Broccoli - 100
Orange - 100
Apple - 96
Banana - 91
Plain Oatmeal - 88
Atlantic Salmon - 87
Tilapia (fish) - 82
Almonds, dry roasted - 82
1% Milk - 81
Barley, cooked - 63
Scallops - 51
Sunflower Seeds, dry roasted, salted - 40
Orange Juice - 39
Ground Beef, cooked at home - 31
Canola Oil - 24
Diet Soda - 15
Pretzel Sticks - 11
Pepperoni - 9
Cheese Calzone - 8
Regular Soda - 1
Taffy - 1
These scores can be viewed on ONQI website.
While the ONQU sounds excellent in theory, I am not so sure if it will help us combat obesity. The definition of this GPS system is to help us make healthier food choices ie help us choose which one is better: orange or chips. However, in my opinion, people know what is good for them and what is not. It is their motivation to buy healthy food that is lacking. Furthermore, while this GPS system might help people who are already buying healthier foods, I doubt it will motivate any of the others to look at the value of this system. Maybe if they developed a form of a computer which would not let you buy certain foods based on your weight and health, but otherwise, the food labels will not stop me from eating those pretzel sticks (even though I follow the healthy lifestyle and make sure my family does also).
So, while I think this is a step in the right direction, I do not believe it is something that will all of a sudden make people pick the right foods, especially teenagers. I also do not believe that we need a GPS system to tell us that fresh strawberries are better than taffy. I would recommend developing something that will motivate people to make healthier food choices. Furthermore, toss out the junk food. Do not offer people so much choice when it comes to chips. Put the healthiest ones on the bottom and the unhealthiest ones at the top of the shelves (so they cannot reach for it).