Deciding on which food is “healthy” for you is not as easy as it seems. It depends on different factors – body type, metabolism et al. All these factors often leave us confused about what to include in a healthy, balanced diet. To make things easy for all, researchers at the Tuft University in Massachusetts developed a new tool that help rank more than 8,000 foods and beverages in order of how healthy they are. It is called Food Compass – a new nutrient profiling system – that “incorporates cutting-edge science on how different characteristics of foods positively or negatively impact health”, reads the study. This tool took over three years to develop and the findings were reported in the journal Nature Food.
The study’s lead and corresponding author Dariush Mozaffarian states, “Once you get beyond ‘eat your veggies, avoid soda,’ the public is pretty confused about how to identify healthier choices in the grocery store, cafeteria, and restaurant. Consumers, policy makers, and even industry are looking for simple tools to guide everyone toward healthier choices.”
For this study, a detailed database of 8032 foods were tested and scored the foods in 54 different characteristics across nine domains “representing different health-relevant aspects of foods, drinks, and mixed meals, providing for one of the most comprehensive nutrient profiling systems in the world,” the study further reads.
In the food compass, each food item received scores ranging from 1 to 100 – where 1 is considered least healthy and 100 is determined to be most healthy. The researchers found:
- Foods that scored 70 or more are healthiest for daily consumption;
- The ones scoring 31-69 should be eaten in moderation;
- Anything scoring 30 or lower should be consumed minimally.
As per these rakings, raw raspberries, salted almonds, vegetable curry etc are the healthiest foods for consumption. On the other hand, grilled chicken breast, peanut butter and jelly sandwich and others can be eaten in moderation. However, instant noodles, cheeseburger etc are considered the unhealthiest of the lot.
For the detailed report, click here.