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The eMark system has been developed using Ministry of Health Food and Nutrition Guidelines1-4 and Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand.5 An eMark provides information on  the amount of energy (energy density) in a food or drink, and the rate at which this energy is converted to glucose in the body (relative glycaemic impact).

Energy density is the amount of energy (kilojoules) per gram of food or ml of a drink. The five categories of energy density are represented by eMark numbers, from 1e  to 5e.

Relative glycaemic impact is the rate at which energy from the food is digested and converted into glucose, the body’s fuel. This information is shown by the colour of the eMark:

  • blue for foods that release their energy slowly, giving you long-lasting or sustained energy
  • green for foods that will sustain you for a medium length of time
  • yellow for foods that will give you a fast burst of energy but won’t sustain you for very long

Why do we need two different energy measurements?

To maintain a healthy weight, your energy intake should match your activity levels. If you sit in front of a computer all day, for example, but consume enough energy for a daily 10k run, your body will convert the unused energy to fat, which over time will lead to weight gain.  On the other hand, not having enough energy can lead to weight loss, as the body will break down its own fat and muscle for energy.

Blue foods will release energy gradually, providing an energy source that lasts from one meal to the next.  Yellow foods are digested rapidly  and raise blood sugars in a short period of time.  They can be used during or after a sporting event to provide energy fast, but you will soon be needing more energy again.  Blue and green foods are a much better option to keep your body fuelled for both mental and physical activity.

References:

  1. Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children Aged 2-12 Years:  A Background Paper. Ministry of Health, June 1997.

  2. Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Adolescents:  A Background Paper. Ministry of Health, 1998.

  3. Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Adults:  A Background Paper. Ministry of Health, October 2003.

  4. Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Older People:  A Background Paper. Ministry of Health, June 1996.

  5. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, NHMRC, 2006.