An infographic displaying the scores certain foods received, grouped by foods to eat often (100-70), foods to eat moderately (69-31), and foods to minimize (30-1).
New nutrient profiling system, most comprehensive and science-based to date, clears up confusion to benefit consumers, policymakers
A scientific team at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts has developed a new tool to help consumers, food companies, restaurants, and cafeterias choose and produce healthier foods and officials to make sound public nutrition policy.
Food Compass is a new nutrient profiling system, developed over three years, that incorporates cutting-edge science on how different characteristics of foods positively or negatively impact health. Important novel features of the system, reported October 14 in Nature Food, include:
- Equally considering healthful vs. harmful factors in foods (many existing systems focus on harmful factors);
- Incorporating cutting-edge science on nutrients, food ingredients, processing characteristics, phytochemicals, and additives (existing systems focus largely on just a few nutrients); and
- Objectively scoring all foods, beverages, and even mixed dishes and meals using one consistent score (existing systems subjectively group and score foods differently).
“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,” said the study’s lead and corresponding author, Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School. “Consumers, policy makers, and even industry are looking for simple tools to guide everyone toward healthier choices.”
The new Food Compass system was developed and then tested using a detailed national database of 8,032 foods and beverages consumed by Americans. It scores 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 characteristics and domains were selected based on nutritional attributes linked to major chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and cancer, as well as to risk of undernutrition, especially for mothers, young children, and the elderly.
Food Compass was designed so that additional attributes and scoring could evolve based on future evidence in such areas as gastrointestinal health, immune function, brain health, bone health, and physical and mental performance; as well as considerations of sustainability.
Potential uses of Food Compass include:
- Encouraging the food industry to develop healthier foods and reformulate the ingredients in popular processed foods and snacks;
- Providing food purchasing incentives for employees through worksite wellness, health care, and nutrition assistance programs;
- Supplying the science for local and national policies such as package labeling, taxation, warning labels, and restrictions on marketing to children;
- Enabling restaurants and school, business, and hospital cafeterias to present healthier food options;
- Informing agricultural trade policy; and
- Guiding institutional and individual investors on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investment decisions.
Each food, beverage, or mixed dish receives a final Food Compass score ranging from 1 (least healthy) to 100 (most healthy). The researchers identified 70 or more as a reasonable score for foods or beverages that should be encouraged. Foods and beverages scoring 31-69 should be consumed in moderation. Anything scoring 30 or lower should be consumed minimally.
Across major food categories, the average Food Compass score was 43.2.
- The lowest scoring category was snacks and sweet desserts (average score 16.4).
- The highest scoring categories were vegetables (average score 69.1), fruits (average score 73.9, with nearly all raw fruits receiving a score of 100), and legumes, nuts, and seeds (average score 78.6).
- Among beverages, the average score ranged from 27.6 for sugar-sweetened sodas and energy drinks to 67 for 100% fruit or vegetable juices.
- Starchy vegetables scored an average of 43.2.
- The average score for beef was 24.9; for poultry, 42.67; and for seafood, 67.0.
Food Compass is the first major nutrient profiling system to use consistent scoring across diverse food groups, which is especially important for mixed dishes. For example, in the case of pizza, many other systems have separate scoring algorithms for the wheat, meat, and cheese, but not the finished product itself. Consistent scoring of diverse items can also be helpful in assessing and comparing combinations of food and beverages that could be sold and consumed together, such as an entire shopping basket, a person’s daily diet pattern, or a portfolio of foods sold by a particular company.
“With its publicly available scoring algorithm, Food Compass can provide a nuanced approach to promoting healthy food choices–helping guide consumer behavior, nutrition policy, scientific research, food industry practices, and socially based investment decisions,” said last author Renata Micha, who did this work as a faculty member at the Friedman School and is now at the University of Thessaly.
Original Article: Ranking Healthfulness of Foods from First to Worst
More from: Tufts University
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Nutrient profiling system
- Ingredient benefits diversify in sports nutrition categoryon November 29, 2021 at 9:16 am
Ingredient innovations in the sports nutrition category increasingly involve more than protein. Extending the shelf life of bars, amplifying the effectiveness of protein sources and improving the ...
- Sacramento Region Innovation Awards: Better Meat Co. works to build a greener food systemon November 26, 2021 at 3:26 am
After writing a book that spotlighted innovators working on growing meat that doesn’t require animals, co-founder and CEO Paul Shapiro was inspired to enter the meat-free protein space.
- Gonzaga Prep food drive lets students provide for community that’s provided for themon November 24, 2021 at 2:40 pm
Gonzaga Prep’s parking lots were bustling Wednesday morning with hundreds of students loading bags and carts full of food into vehicles to be distributed to Spokane-area families in need.
- DARPA seeks ‘top chef’ for 3D printed foodon November 24, 2021 at 12:50 pm
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants ideas for turning cellular biomass into safe, visually appealing, edible and palatable food that can support the military and civilians when ...
- This Northwest Burger Chain's Workers Successfully Negotiated the Country's First Fast Food Union Contracton November 22, 2021 at 8:38 am
BurgerVille and its employees are expected to ratify the agreement later this year, possibly paving the way for more quick-service restaurant workers.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Nutrient profiling system
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Compass Group Hong Kong promotes Gigi Lau to marketing and sustainability headon November 29, 2021 at 5:44 pm
Compass Group Hong Kong has promoted Gigi Lau (pictured) to head of marketing and sustainability, according to her LinkedIn. She first joined the company three and a half years ago as marketing ...
- atai Life Sciences Increases its Ownership Position in COMPASS Pathwayson November 29, 2021 at 4:05 am
(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- atai Life Sciences (Nasdaq: ATAI) ("atai"), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company aiming to transform the treatment of mental health disorders, today announced that it has ...
- Compass Group (LON:CPG) Price Target Raised to GBX 1,800 at Morgan Stanleyon November 28, 2021 at 12:22 am
Compass Group (LON:CPG) had its price target increased by Morgan Stanley from GBX 1,750 ($22.86) to GBX 1,800 ($23.52) in a report released on Wednesday, Price Targets.com reports. They currently have ...
- Compass Group (LON:CPG) Stock Rating Reaffirmed by Barclayson November 26, 2021 at 10:20 pm
Barclays reiterated their overweight rating on shares of Compass Group (LON:CPG) in a research note released on Tuesday morning, Analyst Price Targets reports. The brokerage currently has a GBX 1,740 ...
- Compass Group PLC: Narrow-Moat Compass Group Warming Up in Fourth Quarteron November 23, 2021 at 7:58 am
Find the latest COMPASS GROUP PLC (CMPGY) stock forecast based on top analyst's estimates, plus more investing and trading data from Yahoo Finance ...