Ranking food safety from first to worst: study


A new tool has been developed by scientists at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy to help consumers, food companies, restaurants and cafeterias choose and produce healthier foods, and officials to develop policy public nutrition wise. The results of the study were published in the journal “Nature Food”.

Food Compass is a new nutritional profiling system, developed over three years, that incorporates cutting-edge science on how different characteristics of foods have a positive or negative impact on health. Important new features of the system include: 1. Equal consideration of healthy and harmful factors in foods (many existing systems focus on harmful factors);

2. Incorporate cutting edge science on nutrients, food ingredients, processing characteristics, phytochemicals and additives (existing systems largely focus on only a few nutrients); and 3. Objective scoring of all foods, drinks and even mixed dishes and meals using a consistent score (existing systems subjectively group and score foods differently).

“Once you get past ‘eat your veg, avoid soda,’ the public is pretty confused as to how to identify healthier choices in the grocery store, cafeteria and restaurant,” the manager said. of the study and corresponding author, Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School. “Consumers, policymakers, and even industry are looking for simple tools to guide everyone toward healthier choices,” Mozaffarian added.

The new Food Compass system was developed and tested using a comprehensive national database of 8,032 foods and beverages consumed by Americans. It notes 54 different characteristics in nine areas representing different aspects important to the health of foods, beverages and mixed meals, providing one of the most comprehensive nutrient profiling systems in the world. Characteristics and domains were selected based on nutritional attributes related to major chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular issues and cancer, as well as the risk of undernutrition, especially for mothers, young children and the elderly.

Food Compass was designed so that additional attributes and scores may evolve based on future evidence in areas such as gastrointestinal health, immune function, brain health, bone health, and physical and mental performance. ; as well as sustainability considerations. Potential uses of the Food Compass include:

1. Encourage the food industry to develop healthier foods and reformulate the ingredients of processed foods and popular snacks; 2. Provide food purchasing incentives for employees through workplace wellness, health care and nutrition support programs;

3. Provide science for local and national policies such as packaging labeling, taxation, warning labels and restrictions on marketing to children; 4. Enable restaurants and cafeterias in schools, businesses and hospitals to present healthier food options;

5. Inform the agricultural trade policy; and 6. Guide institutional and individual investors on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investment decisions.

Each food, drink, or mixed dish receives a final Food Compass score ranging from 1 (least healthy) to 100 (healthiest). Researchers have identified 70 or more as a reasonable score for foods or drinks that should be encouraged. Foods and beverages graded between 31 and 69 should be consumed in moderation. Anything that scores 30 or less should be consumed at a minimum. Across major food categories, the average Food Compass score was 43.2.

1. The lowest rated category was snacks and sweet desserts (mean score 16.4). 2. The highest score categories were vegetables (mean score 69.1), fruits (mean score 73.9, with almost all raw fruits receiving a score of 100) and legumes, nuts and seeds (score average 78.6).

3. Among drinks, the mean score ranged from 27.6 for sugary sodas and energy drinks to 67 percent of fruit or vegetable juice. 4. Starchy vegetables scored an average of 43.2.

5. The average mark for beef was 24.9; for poultry, 42.67; and for seafood, 67.0. Food Compass is the first major nutritional profiling system to use consistent scoring for various food groups, which is especially 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 the finished product itself.

Consistent scoring of various items can also be useful in evaluating and comparing combinations of foods and beverages that could be sold and consumed together, such as a full basket, a person’s daily diet, 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 to guide consumer behavior, nutrition policy, scientific research, food industry practices and Company-based investment decisions, ”said latest author Renata Micha, who did this work as a faculty member at the Friedman School and is now at the University of Thessaly.

The other authors are Naglaa H El-Abbadi, Meghan O’Hearn, Josh Marino, William A Masters, Paul Jacques, Peilin Shi and Jeffrey B Blumberg of the Friedman School. (ANI)

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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