Which Hipster Fad Foods Are Actually Good For You? Check These Charts

Source: Chris Walker
Source: Chris Walker

It seems like every day hipsters are touting a new miracle food. Kale, quinoa, tofu, açaí, almond milk—the list goes on.

But are hipster foods actually better for you?

Taking a look at the actual nutrition facts for each food reveals the harsh reality: Some hipster foods are great for you, but others simply aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

The 10 charts below compare hipster fad foods against traditional alternatives, based on the nutrients in one serving. The result?

The big winners: Quinoa and chia.

The big losers: Tofu and açaí juice.

Where hipsters win:

1. Chia beats brown rice.


Chia has a much higher concentration of good nutrients compared to brown rice. It does have more fat content, but omega-3’s are less harmful fats and actually shown to be healthy in moderate amounts.

2. Flax also beats brown rice.


Flax has a similar nutritional profile as chia, which means it’s packed with good stuff. But it also has more fat. If complementing a low-fat diet, flax is great source for nutrients.

3. Quinoa edges out brown rice, and has far less fat than chia or flax.


Quinoa is more nutritious than brown rice, and it’s very low fat and carb content may make it a more attractive option than either chia or flax.

4. Kale edges out spinach because of its vitamin C content.


Kale and spinach are roughly on par except for their iron and vitamin C content. Kale’s vitamin C content far exceeds spinach’s, while both are low in carbs.

5. Greek yogurt beats regular yogurt.


Greek Yogurt has more protein, riboflavin, and vitamin B12—and far less sugar—than regular yogurt.

Where hipsters lose:

6. Tofu loses to black beans. Tofu isn’t actually a great source of protein, contrary to popular belief.


Black beans are a much better source for protein and other nutrients, although this comes at the cost of more carbs.

7. Açaí juice loses to orange juice. Orange juice has more nutrients, with less sugar.


Ties:

8. Cow’s milk has way more nutrients than almond milk, but also much more sugar and fat.


9. Agave nectar is slightly more nutritious than brown sugar, but it actually has way more sugar.


10. Kombucha has more types of nutrients than black coffee, but it has way more carbs.


Sources:

USDA, Institute of Medicine dietary reference tables, GT's original kombucha, Silk almond milk, Mayo clinic.

Note:

Each comparison shows the % daily recommended nutrients contained in one-serving of food. All percentages are based on the daily recommended amount for a young adult. Nutrients under “You Want Less” tend to be over-consumed in American diets. However, many of them are necessary and beneficial in moderate quantities.

h/t Nadieh Bremer for d3 radar chart code.

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Chris Walker

Chris heads up interactive content and data visualization at Mic. Previously he blogged about data visualization while traveling around India, and before that he worked on big data applications at Palantir Technologies. Chris grew up in the SF Bay Area and graduated from Stanford. In his free time he's training for a marathon and trying to become a better cook.

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