Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Eat Like a Nutritarian

What actually constitutes a healthy diet? There is so much new research everyday and more and more developments in the field of nutrition, that it can be hard to answer this seemingly simple question. 
As a nutritionist my job is to deduce from all the information being thrown at you and provide you with simple, evidence based theories that have remained true time and time again. Because nutrition is also a fairly new field, it wasn't until recently that we have had more assurance in some of our "truths" in regards what makes up a healthy diet.

We have been told from day one that fruits and vegetables are good for us. Duh!! It's a broken record already. How can we use that information in a different way, other than just vaguely knowing that these foods are healthier? We have to revolutionize the way we look at these foods and what their purpose is. If you knew that eating broccoli every day would cause you to never get cancer EVER in your life, then I'm going to bet you would find a way to incorporate it into your diet. But just saying broccoli is good for me isn't very motivating. 
In our Unite Fitness Eating Philosophy we stress eating the majority of your calories through nutrient dense foods. (e.g., fruits and vegetables). This is at the top of our food pyramid and is the foundation for helping our clients find their best weight. These foods will not only support a healthy metabolism, but they will provide you with the right fuel to live a vivacious and long life. We know so much about nutrition and its powerful effects to create disease or protect against disease. However, the question that seems unanswered to the majority of our population is what constitutes a diet that is actually disease protecting versus one that is disease promoting? What degree of nutritional excellence is necessary to make a diet therapeutically disease reversing? How do we measure the quality of our diet or the degree of nutritional excellence we are obtaining?
There's a new dietary term coined by nutrition guru Dr. Joel Fuhrman (nutritionist for Whole Foods Market) and it's called being a "Nutritarian." Fuhrman says the quality of a diet can be judged on three simple criteria:

  1. Levels of micronutrients 
  2. (vitamins, minerals, phyto-chemicals per calorie)
  3. Amounts of macronutrients 
  4. (fat, carbohydrate, protein) Meeting individual needs, without excessive calories that may lead to weight gain or health compromise.
  5. Avoidance of potentially toxic substances
  6. (such as trans fats) and limited amounts of other potentially harmful substances (such as sodium).
Dr. Fuhrman is revolutionizing the way we as eaters think of food. We need to start looking at what human beings need to support living a long and healthy life.

  • It is not sufficient to merely avoid fats.
  • It is not sufficient for the diet to have a low glycemic index.
  • It is not sufficient for the diet to be low in animal products.
  • It is not sufficient for the diet to be mostly raw food.

"A nutritarian understands that food has powerful disease–protecting and therapeutic effects and seeks to consume a broad array of micronutrients via their food choices"
Let's begin  to look at food in how the nutrients will benefit you. As if you're picking out a vitamin in the store, let's choose a food and do our research on what the food will provide us, both good and bad. If I read a nutrition label and don't recognize or understand an ingredient I will immediately pull out my smart phone and look it up. I make sure I am staying responsible with what I put in my body.

A quick way to assess the nutrient density of foods is to look at the ANDI score at Whole Foods Market.  ANDI stands for "Aggregate Nutrient Density Index." An ANDI score shows the nutrient density of a food on a scale from 1 to 1000 based on nutrient content. ANDI scores are calculated by evaluating an range of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities.
Don't just let food keep you alive, let it keep you alive and well, make everything you eat count!


Allen said...

Please consider the ANDI scale carefully. Strawberries may be nutrient dense, but if you do not buy them organic or grow them in your garden, you're more likely to consume pesticides and other toxins. Check out this 2012 article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/us/pesticide-pulled-from-us-market-amid-fear-of-toxicity.html. Also, here's another blog with additional informative information about the ANDI scale: http://thetableofpromise.blogspot.com/2010/08/andi-scores.html

Allen said...
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