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How to identify healthy foods

A new Food Compass system developed by researchers in America has been labelled ‘one of the most comprehensive nutrient profiling systems in the world’.

Using cutting-edge science the system, created by a team at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, has taken three years to develop and explains ‘how different characteristics of foods positively or negatively impact health’.

“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.”

This new tool assessed more than 8,000 foods consumed by Americans, with each given a score from 1, least healthy, to 100, most healthy. Scores take into account 54 different characteristics including ‘nutrients, food ingredients, processing characteristics, phytochemicals, and additives’. Which 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’.

“With its publicly available scoring algorithm, Food Compass can provide a nuanced approach to promoting healthy food choices–helping guide consumer behaviour, nutrition policy, scientific research, food industry practices, and socially based investment decisions,” added Renata Micha, a former faculty member at the Friedman School, now at the University of Thessaly.

The Food Compass nutrient profiling system, developed by researchers at the Friedman School at Tufts, incorporates cutting-edge science on how characteristics of more than 8,000 foods positively or negatively impact health. Credit: Tufts University

Learn more about the new Food Compass.

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Written By

Iain is a creative writer, journalist and lecturer, and formerly an editor of two international business publications. Iain is now editor of Innovators Magazine, as well as the strategic content director for OnePoint5Media.

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