Abstract P106: Classification of Foods - An Example from the Netherlands
Introduction Epidemiologic studies linking dietary patterns with chronic diseases have increased exponentially in recent years. However, most existing dietary patterns do not classify foods based on scientific evidence. The Netherlands Nutrition Center proposed a system to classify all foods according to their nutrient content based on scientific evidence which we describe here.
Methods All foods were first divided into “basic” foods, consisting of nutrient-dense foods and that are typical of the Dutch diet and “non-basic” foods, consisting of foods with a low nutrient and/or high energy density. Secondly, foods were classified into three subgroups; foods with a positive, neutral or negative effect on health. Classification criteria were based on 5 nutrients relevant for the prevention of chronic diseases, i.e. 4 nutrients that increase the risk of chronic diseases (saturated fatty acids, mono-trans unsaturated fatty acids, sodium, and added sugar) and 1 that decreases the risk of chronic diseases (dietary fiber). For non-basic foods the same 5 nutrients were used and in addition the energy content per serving was taken into account.
Results All foods were summarized into 9 “basic” and 6 “non-basic” foods and subsequently subdivided according to their positive, neutral and negative effects on health. For basic foods, such as bread, fiber and saturated fatty acids discriminated the most for this subdivision. Non-basic foods, such as snacks, were generally negatively classified foods. Except when energy content was less than 100 kcal per serving non-basic foods were classified as neutral or positive (Table 1).
Conclusion This system makes it possible to classify all foods in relation to their effect on health in a transparent way. This can be used for nutritional education and research purposes.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.