Which foods are best for your health?

Do you ever feel bewildered by all the conflicting and contradictory information on nutrition and health?

Should you buy couscous or rice?  Salmon or tuna?  Pineapple or prunes?

Would you like a simple guide to help you with your shopping?

Fortunately, scientists at Yale University have come to your rescue and developed a score for the “overall nutritional quality” of a food.

Very simply, this score reflects the ratio of beneficial nutrients to harmful nutrients in a food.  It also takes account of the strength of the association of these nutrients with health.  For example, trans fat has a strong association with heart disease, so the value for trans fat is weighted, which substantially lowers the overall score for foods containing it.

The score is called the Overall Nutritional Quality Index, or ONQI.  The higher the score, the healthier the food.

David Katz and colleagues at Yale say:

ONQI is a measure analogous to density – just as the density of diamond does not vary with the size of the stone, the nutritiousness of broccoli does not vary with portion size

So what do you think?  Please leave a comment below and tell me if you find this helpful or if you have any questions.

ONQI graphic

Overall Nutritional Quality Index

Reference

Katz, D. et al.  Performance characteristics of NuVal and the Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI).  Am J Clin Nutr April 2010, vol. 91 no. 4 1102S-1108S

If you have enjoyed this post and would like to know more about how to cook and eat to maintain or restore your health, please visit my website.  You can also stay in touch by signing up for my newsletter and by joining me on Facebook and Twitter.

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2 thoughts on “Which foods are best for your health?

  1. Hiya Jane,

    I am unable to post a comment in your website, because of the Chinese restrictions on certain known subversive people’s broadcasts! Neither can I open the ONQI index – so I will have to wait until I return to the UK to look at it.

    However, I just wanted to say that I think it’s a brilliant idea, and just the sort of information I need to help me to organise my diet.

    Thank you!

    Colin x

    On 22 Feb 2013, at 07:01, “Jane Philpott’s Food, Nutrition and Cookery

  2. There are some interesting outcomes on the list, some I wouldn’t have placed as highly. I guess the question comes “where do you draw the line”? I’d be going about 80?

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