Australian researchers have proposed a novel way to help people make better choices about what they eat.
The researchers say their solution would be a universal universal “food index” that would allow consumers to make a direct comparison between a food and a different food.
“It would allow you to compare the food you eat with the food that your grandparents ate, or the food your mother ate,” Associate Professor Simon Woodman, from the Australian National University, said.
“What you would have is a universal index of foods and their relative value in terms of health.”
The index would be available online and would be linked to a person’s health status, and a basket of foods.
“You could have a grocery list and you could sort it by their BMI and by the level of their sugar consumption, which would be an indicator of their health status,” Professor Woodman said.
But the index also provides a measure of nutritional value for Australians.
“It’s based on what your parents ate, what your grandparents did and what your mother did, so you know if they got cancer, you would compare the value of that food to what they ate,” Professor Woodsman said, “and if you had a higher BMI, it might be worth less”.
The index has already been used in Australia, and Professor Woodmans said it would be easy to adapt the concept to the United States.
“If we’re trying to develop a universal food index, we’re already going to need a lot of data from different countries,” he said.
Professor Woodman’s work could be applied to other food-related issues, such as whether certain foods were safe or harmful to humans.
The index could also help to reduce poverty.
“In terms of helping people to get a better quality of life, if you’re an individual and you’re able to do that without any cost, it’s worth a lot more than what you’re currently paying for your food,” Professor Thomas Staggs, from St George’s University, told ABC News Breakfast.
“The index is an opportunity to try to reduce some of the inequalities that we see in our society.”