Understanding what nutrients are included in the calculation of the Health Star Rating system can be complex. This article aims to simplify which nutrients bring up the star rating and which ones bring it down.

Positive

  • Fibre
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Protein
Negative
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugars
  • Sodium
The rating also takes into account how much energy (kilojoules) that items contains.

To gain a more detailed understanding, you can use the Nutrition Information Panel in conjunction with the Health Star Rating system to work out the nutritional value of that product.

The Nutrition Information Panel allows you to fully breakdown how much of each nutrient is included that item. There are five important things to remember when reading the Nutrition Information Panel.
  1. Per 100g/l v per serve: Ensure you are always reading the ‘per 100g/ml’ column not the ‘per serve’ one when comparing similar products. Each company will advise how many serves of a particular item are within a packaged item and this will vary from item to item. By reading the ‘per 100g/ml’ will make sure you are always comparing the same amount regardless of the serving size.
  2. Fats section: Trying to understand the different types of fats can be tricky. When looking at this section on the Nutrition Information Panel, look for high monounsaturated fats and low saturated or trans fats – anything less than 3g per 100g for saturated fat is best. You should generally chose foods with less than 10g of fat per 100g – this is different dairy items.
  3. Sugars section: You don’t need to avoid sugars entirely, but you should try to limit the amount of added sugar. If a product has more than 15g of sugar per 100g, check the ingredients list to make sure it is not high on the list.
  4. Sodium section: Foods with less than 400mg per 100g are good, and less than 120mg is best.
  5. Ingredients list: The quantity in which an ingredient is used in a particular product determines its location on the ingredients list. If you see healthier ingredients fairly high on the list, that is a good sign for nutritional value.
For more information about nutritional labels visit the How to Use the Health Stars page or the Eat for Health Website.