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The Food Compass

It’s all over social media, the FDA said Lucky Charms is healthier than ground beef, how? – Greg M.

Lucky Charms is magical, but not that magical!

Sorry, the FDA did NOT rank Lucky Charms healthier than ground beef, whole milk, or wheat bread.

The graph below, is NOT the new food pyramid, it’s actually a graph of a scoring system created by researchers at Tufts University, called the Food Compass.

Social media hounds and health pundits/activists have turned this into something it’s not. Yes, there was funding by the NIH/government to Tufts for this research, yes it does rate various foods by health value, and yes, it is being used as a guide for public policy.

However, the researchers were forthcoming that the Food Compass has some flaws and there are some rankings that are “outliers”, they fall outside of what the scoring system should do.

Basically, the current Food Compass has some faults and they are continuing to do more research to strengthen where it’s weak!

The FDA replaced the Food Pyramid with MyPlate in 2011, it shows a plate should be made up of a good portion of fruits, vegetables, and proteins and dairy. But it doesn’t compare certain foods to others.

Hence tools like the Food Compass.

How I rate food is based on two things, calorie density vs nutritional density. Essentially how much nutrition do I get per calorie. The more, the better.

For example, 100 calories of broccoli provides more vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants than 100 calories of soda. So for general health and wellness, I’ll choose 100 calories of broccoli over the soda.

But what if I needed to run a mile and I needed quick energy? Then 100 calories of sugar (quick energy) from soda is much more useful to me than 100 calories from broccoli – the nutrients in broccoli won’t give me immediate energy.

This is why it’s hard to rate foods against each other, you must understand the context of why you’re eating the food.

Be careful of social media, it’s all “click bait” and emotion, many sources are just looking for a rise out of you and are not well educated. Think logically, think for yourself, and look at various sources on both sides…you’ll find the truth somewhere in the middle 😉