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Here’s why Cheerios are better than coffee for breakfast

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When it comes to healthy eating, there seems to be a new piece of advice every week.

Take eggs. Once demonized for their high cholesterol levels, they have gained hero status when protein-rich diets have become the holy grail for weight loss. No wonder we’re so confused.

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

US researchers have created the Food Compass, which they say is the most comprehensive system ever developed to assess the nutrient content of what we eat. The Boston team spent three years studying more than 8,000 foods and drinks, from melon to McDonald’s, and used cutting-edge scientific data to rank them in 54 different ways.

They gave each product a score from 1 to 100 – the higher the score, the healthier the food. Foods with a score between 100 and 70 are welcome, foods with a score between 69 and 31 should only be consumed in moderation, and anything below 30 is bad news.


This Food Compass is the most comprehensive system ever developed to assess the nutrient content of what we eat.

Some of the highest scoring products won’t come as a surprise. Legumes, nuts and seeds (average score 78.6), fruits (73.9) and vegetables (69.1) are well suited. Savory snacks and desserts (average score 16.4) are on the banned list.

But there are some surprises. Sweet potato chips score 69, as does bulgur wheat, commonly considered a healthy grain. The vitamins and minerals in both are comparable. But if you break it down further, other factors come to light.


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

Bulgur has more protein and fiber than sweet potatoes, but it also has more starch (which is bad) and less healthy fats.

And for those of you who have ditched cereal for eggs for breakfast, you might be surprised to find that Cheerios (95) and Shredded Wheat (83) not only top the grain category, but also score higher than boiled egg (51). While eggs are a great source of protein, they may not contain as many nutrients as, say, grains fortified with vitamins and minerals, hence the lower score.


“Flakes are inherently not bad. In fact, if they have a high content of whole grains, they will get a good mark for it, and if they do not have added sugar, they will not lose a single point, ”explains Professor Jeffrey Bloomberg, one of the co-authors.

Coffee? Curiously, espresso (55) is not the best choice, according to Food Compass. 

Want to diversify your diet? Here’s what to choose – in brackets is their Food Compass rating.



Products with the highest score – 100/100

  • Avocado
  • Raw or lightly cooked broccoli
  • celery juice
  • raw salmon
  • Watercress
  • Red beans
  • Cherry

Products with the lowest score – 1/100

  • Carbonated drinks
  • White pitta bread
  • boiled sweets
  • sausages
  • Cookie
  • fudge
  • Instant soups



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

Espresso (55) is not the best choice. A healthier option is a skimmed milk cappuccino (73), which contains some protein and, unlike the full-fat version (58), not too much saturated fat.

In terms of cereal, Special K might seem like a good option, but at 18, it’s on par with Corn Flakes (19) and not much better than Frosties (15).

Eggs alone, poached or not, only get 51 points. But make an omelette and you can scale it up or down depending on what you put in it. Butter-cooked Ham and Cheese Omelet brings the score down to 15, but Egg White Omelette with Vegetables brings you 59. If you like toast, replace the white (1) jam with reduced-fat peanut butter on whole grain flour (63).


Pure sashimi (thinly sliced ​​seafood) is a good choice (100), while the sushi-style California roll (1) offers few health benefits thanks to starchy rice, sweet vinegar, and processed crab sticks.

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

Sandwiches are not the best choice, regardless of the toppings. Even a sandwich with vegetables and low-fat spread only gets 14, while roast beef gets 11. If you need sarni, try wholemeal fried chicken with lettuce and tomato (68). Unfortunately, but predictably, cakes (1) and cookies (4) are not recommended.


You won’t be surprised to know that the McDonald’s (8) cheeseburger is not very nutritious. Ditch meat and starchy carbs in favor of seafood, which is high in protein, low in saturated fat, and high in vitamins and minerals.

Try mussels in tomato sauce (95) or tuna salad with light mayonnaise (73). For top marks, choose a seafood salad with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. The bad news is that you need to keep the bandage in order to get a perfect 100.

If you can cut out meat, curry is a good option. The vegetable curry scored 90, while the beef curry scored 51.

Finally, while ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream scores a 10, you can still get chocolate dressing – frozen chocolate yogurt made with skim milk scores a pretty impressive 81.


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