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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Nutrient profiling: the new environment

item Nicklas, Theresa

Submitted to: American College of Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/22/2009
Publication Date: 8/6/2009
Citation: Nicklas, T.A. 2009. Nutrient profiling: the new environment. American College of Nutrition. 28(4):416S-420S.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommends that individuals choose nutrient-dense foods to help meet nutrient needs without consuming excess calories, a concept that is supported by health professionals and nutrition organizations. With an increased emphasis on nutrient density, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, in their Technical Report, called for more research to develop a valid and scientific method for defining the nutrient density of foods that can ultimately be useful on labels to help people build healthier diets. Nutrient profiling is the science of ranking foods based on nutrient composition. Over the past years, numerous nutrient-profiling systems have emerged to provide guidance on improving diet quality, resulting in a heightened awareness of a need for a standardized definition of nutrient density. While nutrient-profiling systems are meant to help individuals make healthier food choices, their introduction to the marketplace leaves many unanswered questions regarding both the development of a scientific definition of nutrient density and its consumer application. The goal of this article is to review the roles of nutrient density and nutrient profiling in providing consumer guidance. Specifically, this review will summarize the current nutrition environment and address the need for future research around nutrient-profiling systems as a means to define nutrient density.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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