Ranking Healthfulness of Foods from First to Worst

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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.
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…
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