Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Health Star Ratings - 100 different flavours of stupid

Unfortunately I have been motivated to have one last crack at the Government's latest IQ tester website. It now allows you to enter in some selected nutritional data into their IQ calculator and, as far as I can ascertain, the more stars = lower IQ if you actually eat them.

Some easy targets:

It is hardly surprising that bacon and butter score so low. Looking into it a bit further, if you enter in the standard data for a chook egg, you get a whopping 4 stars (hooray for real food!). 

data used for the egg rating

That is all well and good until you look at what else is considered worthy of 4 stars

data used for Uncle Toby's cereal
So there you have it. Eating sugary breakfast cereal really is as healthy as eating a chicken egg. What a relief for Uncle Toby and for everyone without a brain. 

But you can really fuck around with the numbers and see what happens if you dump 49g of sugar in a bowl, mix in 30g of protein powder, 15g of fibre (pysllium husks?) and then you get the ultimate health food.

OK, I don't actually know if you can put that mix together and get only 900 kilojoules, but the point is that anything with 49 grams of sugar in it, should automatically get zero stars. 

From what I can gather, you get bonus points for more fibre and protein and that counteracts the amount of sugar and fat. Not surprisingly, you get more penalty points for fat grams than you do sugar.

That they don't require you to enter in total carbohydrates or omega 6 polyunsaturated fats is a sadly predictable omission.  

The health star rating system was always going to be 100 different flavours of stupid, but I suppose it is nice that they've made it so obviously ridiculous that no one will pay any attention to it.

Hope springs eternal. 

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