Livin' on the MDedge

The compass that points toward food

Where news meets medicine's lighter side


The new breakfast of champions

We love a good ranking system here at LOTME world headquarters, especially the food-based ones. Luckily for us (and our readers), a new study published in Nature Food offers a food-based ranking system.

Pepperoni pizza PxHere

Sadly, unlike the last food-related ranking we covered, the Food Compass doesn’t tell you how much life you gain or lose from each food you eat down to the precise minute. Instead, it favors a more simple rating system from 1 to 100, with healthier foods scoring higher, and even incorporates mixed foods, not just single ingredients. This makes it better at assessing and comparing food combinations, rather than trying to mix and match the many ingredients that go into even relatively simple recipes.

The top and bottom of the rankings contain the usual suspects. Legumes and nuts, at 78.6, had the highest average score among the broad food groups, followed by fruits and then vegetables. Rounding out the bottom were sweets and savory snacks at 16.4. Among the individual foods, there were perfect scores in both directions: 100 for raw raspberries, while instant noodle soup and nonchocolate, ready-to-eat, nonfat pudding (very specific there) each earned a 1.

There are a few surprises in between. Nonfat cappuccino received a green light from the investigators, great news for the coffee drinkers out there. A serving of sweet potato chips scored better than a simple grilled chicken breast, and a slice of pizza, loaded up with extra meat and a thick crust, is still more nutritious than a bowl of corn flakes.

Neither is good for you, of course, but we’re still going to take this as a sign that pizza is the ideal breakfast food. Add that to your morning coffee, and you’re ready to start the day. Move over Wheaties, there’s a new breakfast of champions.

COVID-19 resisters, please step forward

Some people have all the luck with good genes, both inside and out.

Illustration of DNA ktsimage/Thinkstock

Genetically speaking, humans are 99.9% the same, but that 0.1% is where things get interesting. Because of that 0.1% difference, some people are more likely to contract diseases such as HIV, while others might be more resistant. These small differences in genetic code could be the key to finding treatments for COVID-19.

“The introduction of SARS-CoV-2 to a naive population, on a global scale, has provided yet another demonstration of the remarkable clinical variability between individuals in the course of infection, ranging from asymptomatic infections to life-threatening disease,” the researchers said in Nature Immunology.

The investigators have been scouring the world to find people who might be resistant to SARS-CoV-2 and have enrolled over 400 individuals in a “dedicated resistance study cohort,” according to ScienceAlert.

The investigators are looking at households in which families were infected but one member did not show severe symptoms, or for individuals who have been around the virus multiple times and haven’t contracted it. They are also looking at blood types.

Enrollment is ongoing, so if you’ve been in contact with COVID-19 multiple times and have not gotten sick, scientists would like to hear from you.


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