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Published: February, 2014; Vol 10, Num 11


A Review:

Health Food Face-Offs

By Steve Clark

Maybe you're wondering if it's better to eat French fries or fried onion rings. Or you're stumped about corn versus flour tortillas. Perhaps, you're curious whether dark or milk chocolate is better for you, or if red wine is superior to white.

These are some of the conundrums you can investigate at Prevention magazine's Health Food Face-Off site.

In each face-off infograhic (see sidebar), the contestants are compared in a dozen or more categories. The categories vary depending on the foods. Typical are calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, carbohydrates, specific vitamins and minerals, cholesterol and fiber. The results are totaled, and a winner is declared. A bottom line is drawn, and recommendations on what to buy are delineated. Each face-off also provides the source of its data.

While some of the comparisons appeal more to curiosity than to practical decision-making – how often do you ask yourself whether coconut water or a sports drink is better for you? – others could spur healthier dietary choices: wild versus farmed salmon or creamy versus crunchy peanut butter, for instance.

Whether they reconfigure your food choices or not, the face-offs can raise your awareness of the issues at the foundation of any healthy diet.

The infographics are the work product of Prevention magazine, an American healthy lifestyle magazine launched in 1950. It is published by Rodale Press, and you may encounter an occasional pop-up ad for the publisher's periodicals or advertisers as you click around the face-offs. It's no problem to click past them.

As our knowledge of foods and their impacts constantly expands, creating a healthy, sustainable diet has become a life-long endeavor. These food face-offs are an entertaining, yet rigorous way to educate yourself about the array of choices you face in the supermarket.

[Steve Clark is the LHSFNA's Communications Director.]