Policy Research for Front of Package Nutrition Labeling: Developing and Testing a Summary System Algorithm. 4.2.3 Ranking of Foods and Food Groups with Modified Algorithm, Removing Added Sugars (NDS3)


The baseline algorithm was modified to remove the added sugars component from the negative nutrients for a total of two negative nutrients instead of three in the baseline algorithm. The average score of the 570 foods with the modified algorithm was slightly lower than the mean score of foods using the baseline algorithm (Figures F-3 and F-4). In general, foods that contained the other two negative nutrients, saturated fat and sodium, had lower scores when added sugar was removed from the algorithm.

The scores for most fruits and fruit juices did not change; however, canned fruits containing added sugar had higher scores when added sugar was removed from the algorithm. Scores of foods in the sweets/beverages group increased substantially. The mean score of grains increased slightly on a per 100 kcal basis and decreased slightly on a per RACC basis. Among the grain products, scores for cakes, cookies, and cereals increased, and scores for crackers and mixed foods decreased. The decrease in scores for mixed foods was greater on a per RACC basis than on a per 100 kcal basis. For example, macaroni and cheese decreased from −10.10 to −24.07 because the high amounts of saturated fat and sodium on a per RACC basis were divided by two instead of three in the modified algorithm; on a per 100 kcal basis, the score decreased from −2.06 to −4.90. Among dairy foods, scores for yogurts and ice cream generally increased, while scores for cheeses decreased. Low-fat chocolate milk scored higher than white whole or 2% milk, whereas in the original algorithm all chocolate milks scored lower than all of the white milk varieties. Scores for fats, eggs, and meats decreased because these foods do not contain sugar, and the other negative nutrients were more heavily weighted because of dividing by two rather than three negative nutrients.