Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gotta Work On My NuVal Scores

OK, I'll bite (so to speak).

Thanks to an item earlier this month on Toni Brayer's blog I got curious about Yale's list of Top 100 Foods for nutritional value, and about their scoring system, the NuVal Score produced via an algorithm called the ONQI (Overall Nutritional Quality Index).

It seems we can expect the NuVal scores of most items on our grocery lists to be posted in stores this fall. I'm interested in this latest iteration of how to pass judgment on our food intake (I guess the "glycemic index" fell out of fashion?). Doctors' education in nutrition is notoriously sub-par, so hey, NuVal, show me what you got.

The highest score, indicating most nutritious, is 100. I checked on their website to see how our most-frequently-bought grocery items did:

Spinach 100
Red leaf lettuce 100
Green beans 100
Broccoli 100
Blueberries 100
Kiwi 100
Strawberries 100
Oranges 100
Carrots 99
Pineapple 99
Mango 93
Red onions 93
Bananas 91
Grapes 91
Corn 91
Salmon filet 87
Cod filet 82
Clams 71
Bay scallops 51
Boneless chicken breast 39
Lobster 36
Pork tenderloin 35
Flank steak 34
Ground Sirloin (90/10) 30
Ham 27
Beef spareribs/pork baby back ribs 24
Coconut 24

Hm. I thought corn was supposed to be pretty bad for you?  (Incidentally, the ONQI isn't the only nutrient assessment tool available out there.  Check out this Washington Post article for a different food guidance system developed by the Nutrient-Rich Foods Coalition.  Hat tip to registered dietitian Karen Kafer of the National Dairy Council for the links!)

The good news is that although we do eat and enjoy red meat and chicken on occasion, we are mostly fishetarians, so if we can just ratchet up the fruits and veggies we'll be in better nutritional shape.

The bad news is, we do have guilty pleasures (bacon, apple pie, bread), and they are at the bottom of the list, of course. :(

*Sigh...* Why, all of a sudden, are visions of all-butter thumbprint cookies, red velvet cupcakes, opera gateaux, and chocolate squares dancing in my head...? :)


Ann of the Incredible Gift said...

Your pictures of yummy fruits, eggplants and broccoli has me drooling.

I can imagine that the cookies, cupcakes, gateaux and chocolate are dancing in your head because they are treats and delicious.

In my world, treats are good for you (in small quantities) because they make you happy, and a happy person has a higher functioning immune system.

T. said...

Hi, Ann-

That picture is from the oh-so-browsable website http://commons.wikimedia.org, where I get a lot of photos of things I don't have in my own collection.

You remind me of what my little boy sometimes says to justify his asking for "seconds" of dessert: "But it's good for the SOUL." :)

Jared At The Doctor Job said...

Yikes! I don't normally eat any of the "100" foods. Although kiwis sound really good right now.

T said...

I know, right?

Had lamb souvlaki at a Greek restaurant last night and kept wishing, because it was SOOOOOOOO delicious, that as in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it could be exempt from being considered "red meat..."

Plenty of green beans with fresh dill, too, though...yummmmmmm.....

Dragonfly said...

Fishetarian...love the term. Me too. Salmon for dinner (thank you oh fish wholesaler for enabling me to eat lots of seafood cheaply on a student budget, working out cheaper than buying chicken from the supermarket).