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smart choices

Smart Choices Grocery Program Discontinued

smart choicesThe Smart Choices Grocery Program, the very program that DietsInReview panned last month, has been voluntarily discontinued. Officials with Smart Choices said that the group will “postpone” active operations and not encourage wider use of the logo while the FDA investigates labeling issues, reported MSNBC over the weekend.

The FDA cited the use of multiple nutritional markers on foods, from check marks to stars, icons and even numerical ratings, that can overwhelm the consumer and in reality label foods healthier than they really might be. Foods could contain as much as 50% sugar and still receive the green check mark if they had extra fiber or were high in one of twenty nutrients. In my book, there’s not one food that is 50% sugar that I’d label as “healthy.”
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Smart Choices Program May Not be Overly Smart for Shoppers

smart choices logoI was recently invited to attend the launch of the Smart Choices food labeling system. Smart Choices is a front of packaging nutritional food label system developed by an alliance of U.S. food manufacturers and retailers. Products must meet specific guidelines to be included. The program is funded by the participating food companies – basically, a company pays for the label. Smart Choices is “designed to promote public health by helping shoppers make smarter food and beverage choices,” says the program’s press statements.

The basic premise couldn’t be more simple. Qualifying foods are stamped with a green check mark, which is designed to help a shopper make the healthiest choice within a particular category. (All fresh fruits and vegetables are automatically included – but they don’t get a green check mark because they are grown on a farm and not represented by a company.) If you are buying peanut butter, the green check mark container might contain the best choice in terms of health.
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Grocery Tips from Wendy Bazilian and SuperFoods Rx Diet Giveaway

This week I had the distinct privilege of meeting with Wendy Bazilian to discuss the new Smart Choices grocery initiative. She was kind enough to share a few tips to help all of us experience a healthier, more successful shopping trip.

Watch her tips now and then read on to learn about the giveaway!

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Will the New Smart Choices Label Help You Lose Weight?

smart choices logoIf you haven’t already, you will soon see this label on processed foods at a grocery store near you. I know, I know… anyone who has been in a grocery store in the last three years, has probably seen the “smart spots”, “sensible solutions”, “best life”, and healthy food rating systems like “stars” or “overall nutrient quality index“. It’s complicated. What do these things mean and how can they help me? Right?!

The Smart Choices Program was motivated by the need for a single, trusted and reliable front-of-pack nutrition labeling program that U.S. food manufacturers and retailers could voluntarily adopt to help guide people in making food and beverage choices that fit within their daily calorie needs.
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Making Sense of the New Healthy Food Labels

If trying to understand the nutritional value of the foods you’re eating based upon the information provided on food labels and ingredients list leaves you feeling lost, then help is here. Some of these are already in place and many are coming soon, but four different organizations have created new labeling for packaged and fresh food products to help consumers understand at a glance how healthy or not their foods really are. Whether printed on the package itself, like Smart Choices, or posting stickers on shelves, like NuVal, counting nutrition will be as easy as 1-2-3, or maybe even counting stars, like Guiding Stars. Here we explain these new systems, as well as Nutrition IQ, and how they each work for you.


Smart Choices labels are being printed on the front of the package for only foods that nutritionally qualify. You’ll see the green check mark, servings per package and total calories per serving. The “rating” is defined by a co-op of food producers, retailers and nutritional organizations like the American Heart Association.
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