The new nutrient analysis system “food compass” helps people make healthier choices

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The new nutrient analysis system “food compass” helps people make healthier choices

food compass is a new nutrient analysis system. After three years of development, it combines the cutting-edge science on how different characteristics of food have a positive or negative impact on health. The relevant research report was published in nature food on October 14, 2021. It is reported that important new features of the system include:

equal consideration of health and harmful factors in food (many existing systems focus on harmful factors)

incorporate cutting-edge science on nutrients, food ingredients, processing characteristics, phytochemicals and additives (the existing system mainly focuses on a few nutrients)

objectively score all foods, beverages, and even mixed dishes and meals. In addition, a consistent score is used (the existing system subjectively groups and scores foods)

“once you go beyond’eat your vegetables and avoid soda’, the public is quite confused about how to determine healthier choices in grocery stores, canteens and restaurants,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, lead author of the study and corresponding author of the paper and Dean of Friedman college, “Consumers, policymakers and even the industry are looking for simple tools to guide people to make healthier choices.”

it is understood that after developing the food compass system, researchers used a detailed national database of 8032 kinds of food and beverage consumed by Americans to test. It scored 54 different characteristics in nine fields, which represents different health-related aspects of food, beverage and mixed diet, and provides one of the most comprehensive nutrient analysis systems in the world These characteristics and areas of choice are based on nutritional attributes related to major chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and cancer and malnutrition, especially for mothers, children and the elderly.

food compass is designed to enable more attributes and scores to develop according to future evidence, such as gastrointestinal health, immune function and brain health. Bone health, physical and mental performance and sustainability considerations.

potential uses of the food compass include:

encouraging the food industry to develop healthier foods and reformulate popular ingredients of processed foods and snacks;

providing food procurement incentives for employees through health, health and nutrition assistance programs in the workplace;

providing local and national Policies provide scientific basis, such as packaging labels, taxes, warning labels and restrictions on children’s sales;

enable canteens in restaurants, schools, enterprises and hospitals to provide healthier food choices;

provide information for agricultural trade policies;

guide environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) of institutions and individual investors Investment decision.

each food, beverage or mixed dish will get a final food compass score, ranging from 1 (the most unhealthy) to 100 (the healthiest) Researchers believe that a score of 70 or above is a reasonable score for foods or beverages that should be encouraged. Foods and beverages with a score of 31-69 should be eaten in moderation. Anything with a score of 30 or below should be eaten as little as possible.

among the main food categories, the average score of the food compass is 43.2:

the category with the lowest score is snacks and sweets (average score 16.4) ;

the categories with the highest scores are vegetables (average score 69.1), fruits (average score 73.9, almost all raw fruits get 100), and beans, nuts and seeds (average score 78.6) ;

in beverages, the average score ranges from 27.6 points for sugary soda and energy drinks to 67 points for 100% fruit or vegetable juice;

the average score for starchy vegetables is 43.2 points;

the average score for beef is 24.9; the average score for poultry is 42.67; and the average score for seafood is 67.0.

food compass is the first major indicator to use consistent scores in different food groups Nutrient analysis system, which is particularly important for mixed dishes. For example, in the case of pizza, many other systems have separate scoring algorithms for wheat, meat and cheese, but not for the finished product itself. Consistent scoring of different items also helps to evaluate and compare the combination of food and beverages that can be sold and consumed together, such as the whole shopping basket and one’s daily life Eating patterns or the food portfolio sold by a company.

Renata Micha, another author of the research paper, said: “with its open scoring algorithm, the food compass can provide a subtle method to promote the selection of healthy food – helping to guide consumer behavior, nutrition policy, scientific research, food industry practice and social based investment decision-making.”