Better breakfast: ice cream or granola?

Study: Ice Cream Better This Popular Health Snack?

A nutritional team at Tufts University has created a new system to rank foods by how healthy they are. They named this tool the “Food Compass.”

Researchers ranked foods based on 54 different health and nutrition aspects, from fat content to manufacturing process

During the three years of the study, they investigated 8,000 different types of foods and drinks. They scored each item between 0 and 100, with 100 being the most healthy.

It wasn’t a surprise  that whole foods like fruits and vegetables ranked high on the Food Compass list.

But, it was a surprise when the team compared  foods considered “healthy” with those foods considered “unhealthy.”

For example, the Food Compass scored frozen yogurt at 23, making it less healthy than chocolate ice cream with nuts which scored a 35. Now, there’s a surprise for everybody who thought they were being good by eating frozen yogurt!

Chocolate ice cream with nuts even scores better than granola for breakfast!

Speaking of breakfast, how about eggs, the healthy breakfast star?

Eggs rate between 51 and 61 on the Food Compass, depending upon how you make them. Eggs earned a score of 51 for an omelet with veggies and 61 for a raw egg yolk.

And, even though eggs are better for you than corn flakes (at 16), they are not as good for you as plain instant oatmeal which scores a 75.

So, how do we use the Food Compass to make healthier eating choices?

It’s easy! All we have to do is choose foods and drinks that score 70 and above, and that we eat fewer foods scoring 31 to 69.

The report also suggests that we should cut back hard on those food options under 30.

Let’s look at how different food categories fared in this study.

Lowest, with an average score of 16.4, snacks and sweet desserts.

Highest scoring foods are (no surprise!) fruits and vegetables (average score @80) and when consumed raw, receive a score of 100. Your mom was right!

In the milk department; almond milk is better for you than skim milk which is better for you than whole milk.

Apricots are right up there, scoring 100 along with peaches, cherries, and cantaloupe.

The study team says this system makes good food choices clear.

The fact that ice cream gets a higher score than granola and eggs a lower score than instant oatmeal may surprise some people.

But solid evidence backs it up.

Check out the Food Compass here, and see if there are any surprises for you.