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Why Cheerios are better than coffee for breakfast, says a new study


When it comes to healthy eating, it seems like every week there’s a new tip.

Take the egg. Once demonized for high cholesterol, they gained hero status when high-protein diets became the holy grail of weight loss. No wonder we’re so confused.

But a new study could be the definitive guide we’ve all been looking for.

Scientists in the US have created the Food Compass, which they say is the most comprehensive system ever designed to assess the nutrient content of what we eat. The team in Boston spent three years examining more than 8,000 foods and drinks, from watermelon to McDonald’s, and ranked them according to 54 different attributes using cutting-edge science.

They gave each food a score between 1 and 100 – the higher the score, the healthier the food. Foods rated between 100 and 70 are encouraged, foods between 69 and 31 should only be eaten in moderation, while anything below 30 is bad news.

Scientists in the US have created the Food Compass, which they say is the most comprehensive system ever designed to assess the nutritional content of what we eat.

Scientists in the US have created the Food Compass, which they say is the most comprehensive system ever designed to assess the nutritional content of what we eat.

Some of the top-scoring foods will come as a bit of a surprise. Legumes, nuts and seeds (average score 78.6), fruit (73.9) and vegetables (69.1) fare well. Salty snacks and desserts (average score 16.4) are on the no-go list.

But there are a few surprises. Sweet potato chips get a score of 69, as does bulgur wheat, usually considered a healthy grain. Vitamins and minerals are comparable in both. But break it down further and other factors emerge.

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Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and potassium and low in sodium.

Bulgur wheat has more protein and fiber than sweet potatoes, but it also has more starch (a bad thing) and less healthy fat.

And those of you who have ditched cereal for breakfast in favor of eggs may be surprised to learn that Cheerios (95) and Shredded Wheat (83) are not only top scorers in the grain category, but also score better than boiled eggs (51 ).

“Cereal is not inherently bad. In fact, if they’re high in whole grains, they get a good score for that, and if they don’t have added sugar, they don’t lose any points,” explains Professor Jeffrey Blumberg, one of the collaborators. study authors.

Addicted to coffee?  Oddly, espresso (55) isn't the top choice according to Food Compass

Addicted to coffee? Oddly, espresso (55) isn’t the top choice according to Food Compass

What’s more, while eggs are a great source of protein, they may not contain as many nutrients as, say, vitamin and mineral-enriched cereal, hence the lower score.

Do you feel like supercharging your diet? Here’s what to choose — with their Food Compass ratings in parentheses.


Food with the highest score – 100/100

  • Avocado
  • Raw or lightly cooked broccoli
  • Celery juice
  • Raw salmon
  • Watercress
  • Red beans
  • Cherries

Lowest rated foods – 1/100

  • Sparkling drinks
  • White pitta bread
  • Cooked sweets
  • Frankfurters
  • Cookies
  • Fudge
  • Instant soups


For juice, opt for celery (100), which contains a range of vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium and calcium, or tomato (100), which are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene.

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Addicted to coffee? It is strange that espresso (55) is not the best choice. A healthier option is a skimmed milk cappuccino (73), which has some protein and, unlike the full-fat version (58), not too much saturated fat.

When it comes to cereal, Special K might seem like a good choice, but with a score of 18, it’s on par with Cornflakes (19) and not much better than Frosties (15).

Eggs on their own, boiled or poached, only score 51. But make an omelet and you can push it up or down depending on what you put in it. A ham and cheese omelette cooked in butter pulls the score down to 15, but an egg white omelette with vegetables takes you up to 59. If you like toast, have jam on white (1) for reduced-fat peanut butter on whole grain (63) .


Unadulterated sashimi (thinly sliced ​​seafood) (100) is a good choice, while the sushi-style California roll (1) has almost no health benefits thanks to starchy rice, sweet vinegar and processed crab sticks.

White rice noodles (17) may look healthy, but they’re almost empty calories. But if you eat whole-wheat spaghetti (70), you get a lot more fiber, plus iron and potassium. Add a tomato sauce with seafood and vegetables and you get 78 points.

Sandwiches are not a great choice, regardless of the filling. Even the veggie sub sandwich with fat-free spread only gets a 14, while the roast beef gets an 11. If you have to take a sarnie, go for the grilled chicken on a whole wheat lettuce and tomato roll (68). Sad but predictable, cakes (1) and cookies (4) are not recommended.

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You won’t be surprised to learn that a McDonald’s cheeseburger (8) isn’t very nutritious. Ditch the meat and starchy carbs in favor of seafood – it’s high in protein, low in saturated fat and full of vitamins and minerals.

Try the mussels in tomato sauce (95) or the tuna salad with light mayonnaise (73). For top marks, go for a seafood salad with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and other greens. The bad news is that you have to hold the dressing to get a perfect 100.

If you can tolerate meat, curry is not a bad choice. Vegetable curry scores 90, beef curry only 51.

Finally, while the chocolate sauce and whipped cream sundae scores a 10, you can still get your chocolate fix—the chocolate frozen yogurt made with skim milk scores a pretty impressive 81.

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