Researchers at Tufts University in the US have created what they call the ‘Food Compass’ which turns common assumptions about snacking on their heads. Turns out, a chocolate ice cream in a cone is better for you than a granola bar – and couscous scores lower than bacon, in spite of it being linked to cancer. The team at Tufts spent three years looking at more than 8,000 foods and drinks, from melon to a McDonald’s, and ranked them according to 54 different attributes. They say they have created the most comprehensive system to date to assess the nutritional content of what we eat. MailOnline has more.
As it stands, food labelling in the U.K. highlights calories, fat sugar and salt. But scientists say this only takes into account a handful of ingredients and ignores important ones.
Tufts researchers developed a scoring system which considers how healthy foods are across nine metrics – including ingredients, additives and protein.
As expected, sweet deserts and fizzy drinks scored extremely low – while nutrient-packed fruit, vegetables and nuts scored achieved some of the highest scores.
But there are some very unexpected results. Take a cheese and ham omelette, for example. With healthy fats and proteins from eggs and meat, you’d be forgiven for thinking it is a great breakfast choice.
According to this chart, it scores a measly 26 points — while pancakes from a fast food restaurant get a whopping 50 points.
Among the surprising findings are:
- Chips get eight times more points than rice
- Ready salted crisps get more points than multigrain crackers
- McDonald’s pancakes score higher than ham and cheese omelettes
- Unsweetened chocolate almond milk scores higher than regular milk
- A bowl of Cheerios scores higher than seeded toast
- Chicken curry scores higher than veggie soup
- A skimmed milk cappuccino scores higher than a shot of espresso
- A slice of hick cut pizza scores higher than a bowl of instant noodles
Worth reading in full.