Last updated: Mar 02, 2016
Health will evaluate submissions for its “Must-Eat List” based on the following criteria:

Round 1: Health will eliminate foods and beverages that contain ingredients that scientific research shows may be harmful to your health. Health will identify the top foods free of the following ingredients:
1. Preservatives: BHT, BHA, nitrites, and nitrates
2. Unhealthy fats: Olestra and trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated oils, and shortening)
3. Artificial and high-intensity sweeteners [i]: acesulfame potassium or acesulfame-K (Sunett, Sweet One); aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet); monk fruit extract; neotame; saccharin (SugarTwin, SweetN Low); sucralose (Splenda); stevia extracts (Pure Via, Truvia); tagatose (Naturlose); and trehalose

Round 2: The foods and beverages that pass Round 1 will then be evaluated for health-promoting ingredients. Each of these ingredients has a body of scientific research suggesting it contributes to fending off disease and promoting good health. The foods must contain at least one of these nutritional elements in significant amounts [ii] to make the Health “Must-Eat List”:
1. Dietary fiber (not added/functional fiber) [iii] [iv]
2. Live active cultures [v]
3. Potassium
4. Calcium
5. Vitamin D
6. Folic acid (a B vitamin)
7. Other B vitamins
8. Antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E)
9. Iron
10. Zinc

Health and its team of experts will also screen for foods and beverages in Round 2 that may seem healthy, but in fact have low nutritional value. Products will also be evaluated for sodium, sugar, and whole grains content, as well as for taste. Health will use editorial discretion in making final judgments for the “Must-Eat List.”

End Notes
(i) The following sweeteners are acceptable, among others: agave, brown sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and sugar.
(ii) For vitamins and minerals with a Daily Value (DV): a serving must contain at least 15% DV for that nutrient. Round 2 nutrients with a %DV are: Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin D, Folic Acid (a B vitamin), other B vitamins [B6, B12, Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Biotin (B7), Pantothenic Acid (B5)], Antioxidants [Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E], Iron, and Zinc.
(iii) Foods with added fiber as the only health-promoting ingredient are excluded. Added fiber includes: inulin (from chicory root), maltodextrin, polydextrose, soy hulls, oat fibers, and sorghum fibers.
(iv) One serving must have at least 3g of fiber (according to the FDA, a “good source” of fiber contains 2.5 – 4.9 grams per serving).
(v) Products labeled “heat-treated after culturing” are excluded. Products should either a) have a seal from the National Yogurt Association that says “NYA Live & Active Cultures” or b) contain phrasing such as “contains active, live cultures” or “living yogurt cultures.” The NYA seal is voluntary.