We’re in the height of the holiday season, which means non-stop parties…and non-stop feasting. But if you’re trying to avoid gaining weight and figuring out which foods are best to eat, you may want to keep in mind some recent dietary research from Tufts University that offers surprising guidelines about what constitutes healthy dining choices. As in you may be better off snacking on Fritos
or savoring an ice-cream cone with chopped nuts, rather than devouring a multigrain bagel.
The scientific team at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition and Science created what’s being described as “a new nutrient profiling system” that is designed “to help consumers, food companies, restaurants, and cafeterias choose and produce healthier foods.” Called the Food Compass, the system rates foods on a 1-to-100-point scale, with 100 being the healthiest rating, and bases the scores on such factors as nutrients, food ingredients, processing characteristics and additives. The system does yield some ratings that might come as a surprise to food shoppers. Many items that might conventionally be considered unhealthy received a score of higher than 50. Among them are such snacks as plain Fritos (55), lightly salted potato chips (69) and chocolate-covered almonds (78). By contrast, some items that are often deemed healthier choices get a score lower than 50. Among them: reduced-calorie rye bread (34), Kellogg’s
Corn Flakes (19) and a multigrain bagel with raisins (19). The research was released last year, but a new study, published last month in the Nature Communications journal, found that those who ate foods with higher Food Compass scores had better long-term health outcomes. The study looked at dietary records and health data from nearly …