Study reveals surprising top three countries with the healthiest foods

A new study out of the George Institute for Global Health has identified the countries with the best foods and beverages; the conclusion is based on an analysis of more than 400,000 products across a dozen global territories and countries. The team of researchers looked at multiple aspects of the products, ranking them on the basis of things like saturated fat content, sugar levels, and more. The top countries are surprising.

Given the popularity of certain diets, one may suspect that a Mediterranean country would take the top slot, but that honor goes to the United Kingdom, which was found to have the healthiest overall foods and drinks. The United States came in second place and Australia in third.

The study utilizes the Health Star Rating system out of Australia, which assigns a rating to food ranging from 0.5 to 5 stars based on nutrient levels. The UK earned itself an overall 2.83 Health Star Rating, just barely eclipsing the US rating of 2.82 stars. Australia, too, barely missed out at 2.81 stars.

The three lowest ratings in the study went to India, China, and Chile at 2.27, 2.43, and 2.44, respectively. However, when looking at individual categories, these countries have their upsides. China, for example, had among the healthiest beverages in the study at 2.9 stars, but a low packaged food score at 2.39.

In comparison, South Africa had a high food rating of 2.87, but its overall score was lowered by a poor beverages rating of 1.92 stars. China's packaged drinks and foods were found to have the highest levels of saturated fat, while Canada and the US took first and second place for unhealthiest levels of salt.