Policy Research for Front of Package Nutrition Labeling: Developing and Testing a Summary System Algorithm. D: Calculation of Healthy Eating Index


The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) is a measure of diet quality that assesses conformance to federal dietary guidance. Food group standards are based on recommendations found in MyPyramid. The standards were created using a density approach expressed as a percentage of calories or per 1,000 calories.

HEI Components and Standards for Scoringa
Component Maximum Points Standard for Maximum Score Standard for Minimum Score of Zero
a Intakes between the minimum and maximum levels are scored proportionately, except for saturated fat and sodium (see note 5).

b Legumes counted as vegetables only after meat and beans standard is met.

c Includes all milk products, such as fluid milk, yogurt, and cheese.

d Includes nonhydrogenated vegetable oils and oils in fish, nuts, and seeds.

e Saturated fat and sodium get a score of 8 for the intake levels that reflect the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, <10% of calories from saturated fat and 1.1 grams of sodium/1,000 kcal, respectively.

Source: Guenther, P. M., Krebs-Smith, S. M., Reedy, J., Britten, P., Juan, W-Y., Lino, M., Carlson, A., Hiza, H. A., and Basiotis, P. P. (2006). Healthy Eating Index-2005. CNPP Fact Sheet No. 1. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/HealthyEatingIndex.htm.
Total fruit (includes 100% juice) 5 ≥0.8 cup eq per 1,000 kcal None
Whole fruit (not juice) 5 ≥0.4 cup eq per 1,000 kcal None
Total vegetables 5 ≥1.1 cup eq per 1,000 kcal None
Dark green and orange vegetables and legumesb 5 ≥0.4 cup eq per 1,000 kcal None
Total grains 5 ≥3.0 oz eq per 1,000 kcal None
Whole grains 5 ≥1.5 oz eq per 1,000 kcal None
Milkc 10 ≥1.3 cup eq per 1,000 kcal None
Meat and beans 10 ≥2.5 oz eq per 1,000 kcal None
Oilsd 10 ≥12 grams per 1,000 kcal None
Saturated fat 10 ≤7% of energye ≥15% of energy
Sodium 10 ≤700 mg per 1,000 kcal ≥2,000 mg per 1,000 kcal
Calories from solid fat, alcohol, and added sugar 20 ≤20% of energy ≥50% of energy