- Researchers have developed a “food compass” that ranks foods from the healthiest to the unhealthy based on nine factors.
- Fruits and vegetables were the best, and processed foods were the worst.
- Experts say that this system can be used to select the right food for the diet based on individual goals.
Determining if food is “good” for you is not always easy.
However, researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts may have eased the situation by developing new tools that rank more than 8,000 foods and beverages in order of health.
Beyond “eat vegetables and avoid soda”, the general public is quite confused about how to identify healthier options in grocery stores, cafeterias and restaurants. ” Dr. Darish Mosafarian, The lead author of the study and Dean of the Faculty of Nutrition Science Policy, Tufts University, Press release..
“Consumers, policy makers, and even the industry are looking for simple tools to guide everyone to healthier choices,” he added.
A nutritional profiling system called a food compass scores foods based on nine factors.
- Nutrient ratio
- Food ingredients
- Fiber / protein
- Specific lipids
This system gives foods a score ranging from 1 being the least healthy to 100 being the healthiest.
Researchers said food and drink with a score of 70 or higher, such as raspberries, should be encouraged.
Foods with a score of 31-69, such as potato chips, should be eaten in moderation.
Items with a score of 30 or less, such as instant noodles, should be consumed to a minimum.
LaurilightA PhD assistant professor of public health at the University of South Florida said the system might help people make better choices, but it’s not perfect.
“I am [a] A tool that helps guide consumer behavior. I think it would be useful for consumers to classify foods in that way. Instead of classifying by just one nutrient, we categorized foods by incorporating many nutrients and health functions into the algorithm, “Wright told Healthline.
“Consumers are confused by so many health messages —“ Reduce fat, but choose healthy fat. ”This is a more specific guideline for consumers. But it doesn’t take into account the individualization of people’s diets, “she added.
In the food compass system, the snack and sweets category had the lowest average score of 16.
The highest scoring category was fruit, with an average score of close to 74. The average score for vegetables was 69, and the average score for legumes, nuts and seeds was 68.
Almost all raw fruits received a perfect 100 score.
“I argue that almost all fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those with naturally bright colors, need to decorate almost perfect 100, and almost all fresh fruits and vegetables can be eaten. I insist that you can and probably should eat. Feel free. ” Dana Hannes, MPH, RD, Ph.D., Senior Dietitian at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, told Healthline.
“Because it contains fiber and water, it’s very difficult to overeat calories, fresh fruits and vegetables, and it’s a full food. I’ve heard stories of eating too much fruits and vegetables and gaining weight. I’ve never had one, “she said.
Wright said there are several factors that determine food health.
Nutrient density One of them.
“Nutrient density is a healthy amount of nutrients proportional to calorie content. High nutrient density foods such as fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients and low in calories. Low nutrient density such as soda and candy. Foods are low in nutrients and high in calories, “she said.
Regarding food choices, Wright said that healthy choices depend on an individual’s health goals.
“It’s important for people to look at their current habits and lifestyles and define what their health goals are,” she said. “Do they want to lose weight? Do they want to increase their energy levels? This helps to prioritize the foods they choose.”
“I recommend working with a registered dietitian who can personalize your habits and plans to improve your health goals,” she added.
As a starting point for making healthier choices, Hunnes said it was a good idea to limit processed foods and focus on plant-based choices.
“I always include more raw foods (ie, fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains) in my diet and reduce the amount of animal foods (milk, meat, chicken, fish, etc.) in my diet. It is highly recommended that you have a lot of data to support the fact that they can be inflamed). If you can’t afford or find fresh fruits and vegetables, freezing is great, as well. It’s a healthy alternative and often cheap, “she said.
“Foods should always look good and taste good. No one wants to eat unsavory health foods. They often get used to the taste of salty, greasy, sweet processed foods and are genuine, pure foods. Forget the taste of, so that’s first and foremost, “Hunnes said.
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