Scoring for HFSS: Is it Nuts?…Sowing The Seeds…

Seeds 800 x 533

When scoring for HFSS, the product benefits from high levels of fruit, vegetables and nuts.  But not seeds

A NutriCalc client spoke to us recently, aggrieved by the fact that his seed-based snack doesn’t benefit in the same way as a nut-based product would.  We don’t make the rules, of course; we just provide a calculator to work out your HFSS score according to the legislation.  But we do share his view.

HFSS scoring uses the Nutrient Profile model, published in 2011.  It’s made clear in the guidance document that seeds do not count.  However, no reason is given.  Is this fair?  How different are seeds and nuts?  The answer is:  not very different.

In fact, some common nuts that are included (almonds, for example) are actually seeds anyway!

The Nutri-Score front-of-pack symbol, which is used in continental Europe, also uses the Nutrient Profile calculation, although the authors have made a number of tweaks to it.  But they also don’t include seeds. 

To give you an idea, the table below compares some nutrition information for a few seeds and nuts:

per 100g
FAT
PROTEIN
FIBRE
IRON
ZINC
VIT B1
VIT B6
VIT E
FOLIC ACID
g
g
g
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
µg
SUNFLOWER SEEDS
47.5
23.4
10.5
6.4
5.1
1.6
0.4
38
227
SESAME SEEDS
58.0
21.5
1.9
10.4
5.3
0.9
0.7
3
97
PUMPKIN SEEDS
45.6
28.8
3.9
10.0
6.6
0.2
0.2
2
58
BRAZIL NUTS
68.2
16.3
5.4
2.5
4.2
0.7
0.3
7
21
WALNUTS
68.5
17.3
6.7
2.9
2.7
0.4
0.7
4
66
ALMONDS
49.9
25.6
12.5
3.7
3.1
0.2
0.1
26
44

To us, they look at least as nutritious. Of course, seeds are generally not consumed in the same quantity, however, in our opinion, this is not a reason to discount them.  Does anyone out there know why seeds are excluded, whilst nuts are included?  Do please let us know as quite frankly, we’re baffled!

David F. Bartley PhD

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