Traffic lights (SAIN and LIM)

Traffic lights on food and recipes

Commercial products have nutritional labels, which aims to allow customers to know if these products are good or bad for their health.

It Would nessary that consumers can have an overall view of the impact of a food (or recipe) to their food intake, and this is what provides What Foods relying on SAIN-LIM method that been developed by scientists, to allow labeling foods based on their nutritional profile with two indicators:

  • The first summarizes the positive aspects of the food: the Score for compliance with Individual Nutritional Recommendations or SAIN, It is an indicator of nutrient density that is to say, a ratio nutrient / energy estimates the average compliance of Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDI) for several nutrient.
  • The second indicator, called LIM, summarizes the unfavourable aspects of the food. It measures the nutrients for which consumption should be reduced, such as salt, saturated fats or added sugars. We will also use the name "Fat, Salt, Sweet" for this indicator.

The values ​​of these indicators can therefore each be represented by a traffic light. They are used in What Foods relying on public databases :

  • Ciqual (Observatory of the nutritional composition of foods, depending on the French Ministry of Health), which has more than 1,400 generic foods eaten in France
  • Fcen (Ministry of Health of Canada), with over 5804 generic foods

For each ingredient individually present in recipes on What Foods, it was added foods with nutritional compositions are provided by these two databases, which allows to use these two indicators.

To facilitate a glance interpreting these indicators, What Foods combined these two traffic lights to position, using a point, food and recipes on this decision chart attached:
 

The calculation method SAIN indicator

The scientists who created this indicator, established the following formula :

What Foods applies this indicator on recipes and for the nutritional analysis of your diet, displaying a value on a gauge with colours ranging from orange (below the threshold of acceptability, or level 1), pale green (level 2), light green (level 3) to dark green (level 4) which indicates the highest density nutritritional

The adaptations to the original formula of the indicator, while respecting its principle and its relevance, are :

  • Use of 24 nutrients by the Nutrimeter ®: Protein, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, Iodine, fibres, Retinol, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Cholesterol
  • RNI used are the individual values that are based on your physiological profile
  • Energy is that provided by the recipe or your diet
The calculation method LIM indicator

The scientists who created this indicator, established the following formula:

What Foods applies this indicator on recipes and for the nutritional analysis of your diet, displaying a value on a gauge with colours ranging from dark green (below the threshold of acceptability, or level 1), light green (level 2), orange (level 3) to red (to be avoided if possible, or Level 4).

Adaptations to the original formula of the indicator, while respecting its spirit and its relevance are :

  • using three nutrients used in the Nutrimeter®: Sodium, SFA, Carbohydrates.
  • RNI used are the individual values that are based on your physiological profile
The origin of this indicator

Here's what the INRA (National Institute of Agricultural Research) and the INPES (National Institute of Education for Health and Prevention) websites say the about the SINR SAIN, LIM method: a labelling of foods according to their nutritional profile
In 2007 an INPES human nutrition research team from Marseille (INSERM, INRA, University) presented a nutrient profiling system based on the use of two indicators.

  • The first summarizes the positive aspects of the food: the Score for compliance with Individual Nutritional Recommendations or SAIN, It is an indicator of nutrient density that is to say, a ratio nutrient / energy estimates the average compliance of Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDI) for several nutrients.
  • The second indicator, called LIM, summarizes the unfavourable aspects of the food. It measures the nutrients for which consumption should be reduced, such as salt, saturated fats or added sugars.

By plotting their two values on a graph 620, different foods have been screened. Then two thresholds of acceptability (SAIN> 5 and LIM <7.5) were applied to classify the foods into four categories.

The SAIN - LIM system allows a separate evaluation of the positive and negative aspects of each food considered individually. Thus, several dishes sold under the same name (cassoulet, for example) may be classified differently depending on the ingredients, recipes and processes used.

This method has some shortcomings. In its current version, the system classifies all added fats in the same category ("reduce") without distinction, especially between animal and vegetable fats.

SAIN-LIM system was developed by Michel and Nicole Darmon and is described in their book: balanced diet. Basic concepts and new indicators: SAIN and LIM. Editions Tec & Doc Lavoisier. July 2008.

English