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Nutrition Guide Program FAQ

Question Answer

What is DeCA's Nutrition Guide Program (NGP)?

NGP is a point-of -purchase nutrition identification program that makes it easier for shoppers to find products based on nutrition attributes many customers look for. These products are identified by color-coded shelf tags that indicate attributes such as organic, low fat, good source of fiber, low sodium, whole grain or no sugar added.

Question Answer

Why did DeCA implement a NGP?

Shoppers have always valued their time, and DeCA's NGP helps them easily identify products based on nutrition attributes such as organic, low sodium, high fiber or low sugar. This service comes at a time when eating healthier has become a major consumer focus in line with the growing awareness of health and well-being in our nation. Shoppers are looking for healthier choices and NGP helps ease their search.

Question Answer

What is the source of the criteria for identifying items with a nutrition attribute?

NGP is based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specific requirements for nutrient content and health claims. All NGP tags for manufactured products are based on the food manufacturer's labeling, including the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredients.

Question Answer

Is NGP meant to replace reading a product's Nutrition Facts panel?

No. The NGP tags point out certain key nutrition attributes of products and does not include all the information of the Nutrition Facts panel. Patrons, and especially those with food allergies or specific nutritional needs, still need to read the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredients list to more fully determine if a product suits them.

Question Answer

What are the featured attributes?

  • Low Fat – Individual item: Contains 3g or less of total fat per serving; for Meals/Main Dishes: 3g or less total fat per 100g of product.
  • Good Source of Fiber – Items with at least 10% or more of the daily value for fiber per serving and the Regular Amount Commonly Consumed for food types (RACC). The serving size listed on the package may not equal the RACC and are low in fat.
  • No Sugar Added – "No Added Sugars" and "Without Added Sugars" are allowed if no sugar or sugar-containing ingredient is added during processing
  • Low Sodium – Contains140mg or less per serving and RACC.
  • Organic – Items that have been certified as "USDA Organic."
  • Whole Grain – Items that are made with whole grain and contain at least 8g of whole grain.
Question Answer

What does the thumbs up symbol mean?

Packaged food items and dairy products that have a thumbs-up symbol have been approved as meeting high nutritional quality criteria agreed upon by Department of Defense (DoD) and military service dietitians. They are nutrient dense and are a great choice in building a healthy eating pattern to promote optimal health and performance. These items align closely with the criteria for Go for Green and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Go for Green, which the Marine Corps calls "Fueled to Fight," is a DoD health promotion and nutrition education effort that's used in military dining facilities and galleys, to help diners identify food and beverage choices to optimize performance, health and readiness. When shopping your commissary think of the thumps-up symbol as high nutrition, high performance food as, "Dietitian Approved! We did the work for you."

Question Answer

How does one follow a healthy meal pattern?

Fill your cart with mostly:

  • Fresh produce
  • Lean meats and eggs
  • Heart healthy fats from fish, nuts and seeds, olive and canola oil and avocados, etc.
  • Packaged items that have the Green Thumbs-Up
  • Include a few indulgences and treats and use the nutrition attributes to guide you.
Question Answer

How does NGP work?

The NGP evaluates categories of food items regardless of manufacturer, brand or price. Products meeting minimum criteria are evaluated further to determine the top one to three nutrition attributes. These products are then identified with the appropriate color-coded shelf tags. The colors are: identify what they mean for each of the six classifications.

  • Light Blue – Low Fat
  • Dark Blue – Low Sodium
  • Sand – Good Source of Fiber
  • Ruby – No Sugar Added
  • Brown – Whole Grain
  • Green – Organic
Question Answer

What categories are included in the program?

The following categories are included in the program:

  • Baby food (Organic Only)
  • Chilled meats
  • Baking goods
  • Condiments
  • Beverages (no water)
  • Bread
  • Frozen Foods
  • Candy (Organic only)
  • Canned goods
  • Grains, pasta and side dishes
  • Cereal & breakfast foods
  • Snacks
  • Soups
  • Cake Mixes (Only Whole Grain)
Question Answer

What categories are excluded from the NGP?

  • Pet food
  • Dessert toppings
  • Spices and seasonings (except for organic)
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Water
  • Drink mixes (margarita, etc)
  • Fresh produce
  • Fresh meat
  • Fresh seafood
  • Coffee and Tea

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