Eat healthy food
burger and chips really be healthier than a bowl of cornflakes?
Government have just completed an analysis of the nation's most popular
healthy and un-healthy foods that we eat,
and it has turned conventional wisdom on its head and declared that a burger
with chips can be healthier than the average bowl of cornflakes.
least healthy product of all that we eat is Polyunsaturated margarine, when compared
with other foodstuffs.
league table of more than 300 individual and processed foods that we eat has
been drawn up by the Food Standards Agency and it gives foods a ranking between
26 down to minus 10 in accordance with their overall nutritional value.
critics say that it's a very
and "nonsensical" model which gives high scores to foods that
are widely accepted to be less healthy options.
general, previous analysis of healthy and non-healthy foodstuffs we eat have concentrated only on
negative things like salt, sugar and fat, placing products like pizza, chips and burgers
right down to the bottom of the league table.
contrast, the Foods Standards Agency analysis factors in some positives
like energy, protein and vitamin content to give a much more rounded result.
These findings are quite surprising and are likely to provoke some future
debate on what we should eat.
foods like oven chips, takeaway burgers, sliced white bread, supermarket chicken
jalfrezi, and spaghetti in tomato sauce have been ranked as healthier than
some breakfast cereals, cheeses and olive oil.
least healthy products revealed by the analysis are Polyunsaturated
margarine and butter.
"There are some iconic foods
we eat like burgers and chips which are not as unhealthy as one might
assume," said Mike Rayner, director of the British Heart Foundation health promotion
research group at Oxford University, which produced the model for the Foods Standards Agency.
"If they are made with just a little fat, they can offer
fiber, protein and vitamin and contribute to a balanced diet."
Rayner said the margarine was likely to have scored badly because the model did not factor
in polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels.
lot of breakfast cereals come out badly, with many brands ranking below
that of takeaway sausages, chicken nuggets, doughnuts and chips.
Along with cornflakes, sugar-coated puffed wheat
cereal and bran cereal are ruled unhealthy options, largely because of their high sugar and
salt content and lack of many nutritional positives.
bizzare twist in the league table, ranks a glass of Cola healthier than a milkshake, and
fudge cake made with chocolate healthier to eat than streaky fried bacon.
At the top of the table
Lentils boiled in unsalted water, tofu
that has been steamed and baked beans with reduced sugar and salt.
bottom of the table
Butter and margarine,
cheesecake and corn snacks with spicy flavorings.
"profile" system has been developed to be used by Ofcom, the broadcast
watchdog, as it considers whether to impose restrictions on advertising junk food to
Mike Rayner accepted there were anomalies, but said he was satisfied that the new system was
said that, "Anything with a high fat, sugar or salt content does badly in the model because the
government has decided that these are the priority issues with regard to nutrition and
food manufacturers said last week that they would strongly oppose the model being used for
any nutritional advice.
A spokeswoman for the Food and Drink Federation said:
"The model tries to distil a product's
nutritional value into one single score, so the products we eat like cereals score quite badly despite
containing some very good nutrients like fiber and protein.
"We are disappointed that an opportunity to take a scientific and objective approach to this
important issue has actually been lost."
The Foods Standards Agency
defended the model and said that the government's scientific advisory committee on
nutrition believed that it "accurately" identified foods which could in future be covered by
broadcast advertising restrictions.
The new rules for wise eating
are considered to be:
HEALTHIER FOOD GROUP
Chicken tikka masala (supermarket brand)
Roast beef dinner
LESS HEALTHY FOOD GROUP
Chicken caesar salad with low-fat dressing
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© Anthony George 2005 Eat healthy food or not? Sponsor Love My Town