NuVal - Dried cranberries vs. raisins
If you're not familiar with NuVal, it is a nutritional scoring system that supposedly lets consumers make healthier choices between various products. Foods are ranked on a scale from 1-100 with 100 being the healthiest food. NuVal scores are starting to show up on the product tags on the shelves at supermarkets. I noticed something odd yesterday.
I'm wanting to start eating oatmeal every morning for breakfast, and was considering adding some dried fruit to the oatmeal to help sweeten it up. I was thinking either dried cranberries or raisins. I know dried fruits aren't the healthiest foods out there because of the concentrated amounts of sugar in them, so I wanted to see which would be the better choice.
The dried cranberries I looked at were 130 calories per serving, contained 26g of sugar, and had 3g of fiber. The raisins also had 130 calories per serving, but had more sugar at 29g and less fiber at 2g. It would seem the cranberries just edge out the raisins. But then I noticed that both products had NuVal scores on their tags. The raisins had a score of 87, while the cranberries had a measly 4.
If the two products contained the same amount of calories, but the cranberries had less sugar and more fiber, why are they so astronomically less healthy than the raisins?
Very interesting, but I haven't a clue.
The "NuVal" system sounds kind of arbitrary, but here's my best guess:
Raisins are simply dried grapes, with minimal processing (except for golden raisins, which are bleached.)
Dried cranberries are typically "enhanced" with white sugar, as plain cranberries are too tart for most palates.
In my book, naturally occurring fruit sugars edge out highly processed, refined white sugar.
But what constitutes "a serving?" Are both product scores based on equal weights, or simply comparing an arbitrary "serving size" established by the manufacturer?
I think the conclusion is valid, though I'm not so sanguine about the methods.
Wait for the rating system to change in a year or two when they decide carbs are good for you again.
Raisins are complex carbs, which are good for you - that kind of sugar provides clean energy and are processed easily in your system. The cranberries are probably full of processed white sugar, which you should avoid.
Just call me Chris.
The natural sugar vs added sugar argument seems sound. If that is the case, it seems the nutritional labels should differentiate between natural and added sugars.
Does the Nuval system take into account the vitamins in each food product? It seems to me that if one had more vitamin C or something, that it could beat out the other.
That is my only guess.
Very interesting; I'd never heard of this NuVal system. I did however have a handful of dried cranberries from Costco this morning and you can taste the sugar oozing out of them.
I've been putting dried cranberries in my oatmeal in the morning, along with a few almonds. The cranberries that I've been buying claim to have nothing added, and they aren't very sweet at all.
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