You may have noticed over the past 12 months Health Star Ratings appearing on packaged food products rather than the Heart Foundation Tick. The Heart Tick accreditation program has being replaced with the Health Star Ratings to keep up with the current supply and food formulation trends. The concept of the Health Star Ratings is the more stars, the more nutritious the product. Product can be awarded between ½ a star- 5 stars.
The Health Star Rating Program is government and public health initiative which companies can voluntarily chose to adopt. No payment is associated with having the food tested or displaying the stars on food packages. To obtain a rating for a food product, the manufacture submits the ingredients list and nutritional information panel; generating a star rating. Points are awarded and removed based on the energy, saturated fat, sodium, total sugars, protein fibre, nut, legume and calcium content of the product.
So what does this mean? Health stars are a convenient front of label symbol to look for, however it should not replace reading the nutritional information panel. A good example is Milo- Milo powder itself is only awarded 1.5 stars, however the front of the product highlights 4.5 stars. The additional 3 stars come from making it with milk. Milk boosts the products calcium and protein content.
The Health Star Ratings only apply to packaged foods. You will notice some fresh or frozen foods having been awarded stars however this is not the intention of the scheme.
If you require extra knowledge, support, accountability for achieving your health goals, make an appointment with one of our dietitians.