If you're like us, you might find it confusing sometimes to know exactly how healthy some foods are, especially when you're rushing around the supermarket. Beyond the basic rules of thumb (fruits and veggies are good, sugar is bad, fried foods are soooooo delicious.... but definitely not healthy), some food producer get very clever in blurring the lines with their marketing, claiming to be "light" or "healthy" or use healthy-sounding product names in food that is not healthy at all.
Recently, a team of scientists at Tufts University pulled together a variety of health data from many different sources, and compiled it into something they're calling the "Food Compass", designed to look at "how different characteristics of foods positively or negatively impact health", and score them accordingly.
The compass breaks down food into several categories, and provides a score from 1 (least healthy) to 100 (most healthy). According to the researchers, "foods and beverages scoring 31-69 should be consumed in moderation. Anything scoring 30 or lower should be consumed minimally."
Here's an example of some of the scoring:
There's a TON more in the full study, and a ranking of many different food groups - from Rice Krispies Treats cereal (5) to Cheerios (95), from hot dogs (3) to salmon (95), and from Gatorade (1) to celery juice (100) - is really fascinating, and you can get into all the details here. You can read more about how it was put together here.
Of course, it's important to do your own research when you are considering health and nutrition decisions, and it's important to note that some of the funding for this study came from Danone, a food company that owns many different food brands in the dairy space. Just a bit of extra food (bad joke!) for thought as you chew and digest (ugh, again!) this information.