Why Health Star Ratings Are A Crock
- Laura Hill
Supermarket shopping is already hard as it is; I always shop on a full stomach with a pre-prepared list otherwise I tend to buy not only things I don’t need but things I’m craving. Handy tip: Eat before you shop!
As many of you know, the Health Star Rating was brought in by the Australian Government, which is meant to be the official guide as to how healthy a product is by indicating 0.5-5 stars.
If the product gets five out of five stars you would be led to believe you’ll wake up tomorrow looking as lean as a rake. Half a star though and STOP, back away and call the bomb squad.
This entrusted system scores straight full fat milk 4.0 stars but Up & Go with 19.2g of sugar per serve a generous 4.5 stars! Milo which is practically a tin of sugary dirt ALSO gets 4.5 stars. Smoked salmon though? Let’s give that 3.0 stars and plain natural Greek yoghurt ONLY 1.5 star?
Are you noticing a trend here? It’s pretty blatantly obvious that the Health Star Rating is a marketing tool led by the big sugar companies to make a buck… Two out of three Australians are considered overweight or obese and we wonder why?
“According to The World Health Organisation, we should eat no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day, yet the average Australian consumes around 14 teaspoons – that’s a whopping 420 teaspoons in the month of June alone… “ – That Sugar Movement (2019).
Yes, the healthiest option is to buy fresh produce and to avoid packaged food altogether, but you would hope that these indicators would be helping not hindering you. So, how do you overcome this conflicting advice?
I’m not going to ramble on to you all day about what you should and shouldn’t eat but next time you’re at the supermarket do yourself a favour and instead of following the Health Star Rating at a glance, pick the product up and read the ingredients list and the nutrition label.
Did you know that on a product label, ingredients are listed in order of predominance, with the ingredients used in the greatest amount first. Just because something says ‘no added sugar’ doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain any – If the 2nd or 3rd ingredient is sugar, then maybe take a look at other, similar products and find an alternative.
They are thankfully revising the Health Star Rating at this present time, so we will hopefully see a shift where a lot of these products are revised in regard to healthiness – Keep an eye out but until then, make smart choices.
As Greg Glassman famously, states “Choose fresh produce. Eat meat, vegetables and nuts. Some fruits and little starch. No sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat – Keep it simple, results reflect your nutrition and your training”