A $2.1 million campaign to help grocery buyers choose healthier foods using a star-rating system has been chalked up as yet another win for the government’s fight against obesity.
Trevor O’Neill, a 36-year-old teacher from Maroubra, said the system – which involves the healthiest foods being marked with five stars, while unhealthy fare is marked with as little as a tip of a star – has enabled him to stick to a diet for the first time.
“I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything I love – in fact, I can now eat more of some of my favourite foods,” he said, saucing up a large sausage roll. “Obviously, some foods are missing the vital nutrients my body needs; this system lets me see the gaps, and fill them accordingly. Take this sausage roll, it only scores two stars. But when I add an iced coffee and a handful of donuts, I’m packing my body with seven-stars worth of vitamins. Chuck in a chocky bar, and I’m basically a vegan!”
O’Neill, who noted he had gained weight since starting his diet but concluded that it must be “good fat”, is not alone in his love of the no-fuss system, with numerous Facebook groups springing up to inspire members with maximum-star meal ideas.
“The healthiest meal I ever had pushed 18 stars,” one member boasted, sharing a picture of himself sitting in front of a loaded buffet table on what appears to be a cruise liner, with a bib tied around his neck.
Medical professionals have thrown their weight behind the new system, with some citing the sheer enthusiasm patients have shown as a good indication of its success.
“I haven’t even seen some of my more portly patients since introducing them to the star-rating system,’ Blacktown doctor Helen Sharp said. “I can only assume they’re in a better place.”