Home Health Eating more foods with higher Food Compass scores lunked to better long-term health outcomes

Eating more foods with higher Food Compass scores lunked to better long-term health outcomes

by News Desk
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The idea that what we eat directly affects our health has been around for a long time. Hippocrates recognized this as far back as 400 BC, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to identify healthier foods in supermarket aisles and restaurant menus. Researchers at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutritional Sciences and Policy now show that Food Compass, a comprehensive food profiling system, identifies improved overall health and reduced risk of death.

In a paper published in Nature Communications On November 22nd, researchers assessed whether higher Food Compass scores improved long-term health outcomes in adults who ate more food, and found out.

Introduced in 2021, the Food Compass provides a comprehensive measure of the overall nutritional value of any food, beverage, or mixed meal. Nine areas of each item, such as nutrient ratio, food-derived ingredients, vitamins and minerals, degree of processing, and additives, are measured. Based on scores of 10,000 products commonly consumed in the United States, researchers recommend foods with a score of 70 or higher as recommended foods. Eat foods with a score of 31-69 in moderation. Anything with a score of 30 or less is consumed sparingly. This new study used Food Compass to score a person’s entire diet based on his Food Compass scores for all foods and beverages he regularly consumes.

Nutritional profiling systems aim to objectively measure how healthy a food is. should be healthier.”


Megan O’Hearn, Freedman School PhD candidate and lead author of the study

In this validation study, researchers tested a nationally representative diet from 47,999 U.S. adults ages 20 to 85 enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2018. We used records and health data. Deaths were determined through links with the National Death Index (NDI).

Overall, the researchers found that the meals of about 50,000 subjects had an average Food Compass score of just 35.5 out of 100, far below ideal. “One of the most disturbing findings was how poor the average diet of the population is,” says O’Hearn. “This is a call for action to improve the quality of our diet in the United States.”

When people’s Food Compass diet scores were evaluated against health outcomes, multiple significant relationships were found, including age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, income, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and even after adjusting for other risk factors such as diabetic status. Higher Food Compass diet scores were associated with lower blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol, BMI and hemoglobin A1c levels. Reduced prevalence of metabolic syndrome and cancer. A higher Food Compass dietary score was also associated with a lower risk of death: every 10-point increase was associated with a 7% lower risk of death from all causes.

Dr. Darish Mozaffarian, Professor of Nutrition and Dean of Policy at the Friedman School, Jan Mayer, said: “Our findings support the effectiveness of the Food Compass as a tool to guide consumer decision-making, as well as industry reform and public health strategies to identify and encourage healthier foods and beverages. I have.”

Researchers say Food Compass provides a more innovative and comprehensive assessment of nutritional quality compared to existing nutrient profiling systems. For example, rather than measuring dietary fat, sodium, or fiber levels in isolation, we assess the ratio of saturated and unsaturated fats to take a more nuanced and holistic view. sodium to potassium; and carbs to fiber.

Food Compass also contains ingredients that have been shown to have protective health benefits, including fruits, non-starchy vegetables, legumes, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, seafood, yogurt, and vegetable oils. Increase your score. Unhealthy ingredients such as refined grains, red meat, processed meat, ultra-processed foods and additives score lower.

Researchers designed Food Compass with the ever-evolving field of nutritional science in mind, with a multidisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in epidemiology, medicine, economics, and biomolecular nutrition. will continue to be at the forefront of nutritional research.

“We know Food Compass isn’t perfect,” Mozaffarian said. “However, it provides a more comprehensive and comprehensive assessment of the nutritional value of foods than existing systems, and these new findings support its validity by showing that it predicts better health.” To do.”

These findings are timely for the release of a new US National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. One of the pillars of this strategy is to ensure that “all consumers have a healthy Make a choice and be able to access it.”

“This study further validates that Food Compass is a useful tool for defining healthy foods. , and hope to help guide procurement choices in school cafeterias; incentive programs for healthier eating in health care and federal nutrition programs; industry reforms; policy,” said O’Hearn.

Researchers plan to work on simplified versions with lower required nutrient inputs, and versions tailored for specific conditions such as diabetes and pregnancy, or for populations in other countries. The research team is also interested in adding food compass domains based on other aspects of food, such as environmental sustainability, social justice, and animal welfare.

“We look forward to continuing to find ways to improve the Food Compass system, bring it to more users, and eliminate confusion about healthier choices,” Mozaffarian said.

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Journal reference:

O’Herne, M. and others. (2022) Food Compass Validation on Healthy Diet, Cardiometabolic Health, and Mortality in US Adults, 1999–2018Nature Communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-34195-8.

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