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Date: 2024-03-03 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00009357

Measuring Nutritional Value

Dr. Fuhrman's Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI)


Peter Burgess

Dr. Fuhrman's Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) Share on tumblrShare on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailMore Sharing Services 1.2K The Standard American Diet (SAD) is made up mostly of disease-causing foods, with 30 % of calories from animal products and over 55 % from processed foods.1 In addition, 43% of Americans polled reported that they drank at least one sugar-sweetened drink each day, 40% said that they eat ‘pretty much everything’ that they want, and 33% of overweight and obese individuals reported that they were at a healthy weight. Lifestyle-related diseases are the most common causes of death, but according to a 2011 poll by Consumer Reports Health, 90% Americans believe that they eat a healthy diet. 2 This highlights the nutritional misinformation that abounds in our society. Most Americans do not understand that whole plant foods are the best for our health – they are led to believe that processed foods labeled “low-fat” or “low-carb,” artificially sweetened beverages, pasta, grilled chicken, and olive oil make up a healthful diet. Americans have not yet grasped the concept of nutrient density. H = N/C (Health = Nutrients / Calories) This simple equation defines how your health is related to the nutrient density of your diet. Adequate consumption of micronutrients—vitamins, minerals, and many other phytochemicals—without excessive caloric intake, is the key to achieving excellent health. The nutrient density in your body’s tissues is proportional to the nutrient density of your diet. Micronutrients fuel proper functioning of the immune system and enable the detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms that protect us from chronic diseases. I coined the term, nutritarian to define a diet style which provides a high ratio of micronutrients per calorie and a high level of micronutrient variety. To illustrate which foods have the highest nutrient-per-calorie density, I created the aggregate nutrient density index, or ANDI. It lets you quickly see which foods are the most health-promoting and nutrient dense. This index is currently being used at Whole Foods Market grocery stores to help customers make healthier food purchases. The ANDI ranks the nutrient value of many common foods on the basis of how many nutrients they deliver to your body for each calorie consumed. Unlike food labels which list only a few nutrients, ANDI scores are based on thirty-four important nutritional parameters. Foods are ranked on a scale of 1-1000 with the most nutrient-dense cruciferous leafy green vegetables scoring 1000. Because phytochemicals are largely unnamed and unmeasured, these ANDI rankings may underestimate the healthful properties of colorful, natural, plant foods, so the nutrient density of natural whole foods may be even higher than ANDI scores indicate. The ANDI demonstrates the nutritional power of green vegetables, especially compared to processed foods and animal products. Even though attention should be placed on these nutrient rich foods, it is also important to achieve micronutrient diversity, and eat a adequate assortment of lower ranked plant foods to obtain the full range of human requirements. I recommend people consume mostly foods that have an ANDI score greater than 100. Take a minute to evaluate the quality of your current diet and learn which foods you need to consume more of to improve it. A more comprehensive list of ANDI scores can be found in my Nutritarian Handbook and ANDI Food Scoring Guide. Nutrient Scoring Method*

To determine the ANDI scores, an equal-calorie serving of each food was evaluated. The following nutrients were included in the evaluation: fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin A, beta carotene, alpha carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin E, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, choline, vitamin K, phytosterols, glucosinolates, angiogenesis inhibitors, organosulfides, aromatase inhibitors, resistant starch, resveratrol plus ORAC score. ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is a measure of the antioxidant or radical scavenging capacity of a food. For consistency, nutrient quantities were converted from their typical measurement conventions (mg, mcg, IU) to a percentage of their Dietary Reference Intake (DRI). For nutrients that have no DRI, goals were established based on available research and current understanding of the benefits of these factors. To make it easier to compare foods, the raw point totals were converted (multiplied by the same number) so that the highest ranking foods (leafy green vegetables) received a score of 1000, and the other foods received lower scores accordingly.

Sample Nutrient/Calorie Density Scores

Kale 1000
Collard Greens 1000
Mustard Greens 1000
Watercress 1000
Swiss Chard 895
Bok Choy 865
Spinach 707
Arugula 604
Romaine 510
Brussels Sprouts 490
Carrots 458
Broccoli Rabe 455
Cabbage 434
Broccoli 340
Cauliflower 315
Bell Peppers 265
Asparagus 205
Mushrooms 238
Tomato 186
Strawberries 182
Sweet Potato 181
Zucchini 164
Artichoke 145
Blueberries 132
Iceburg Lettuce 127
Grapes 119
Pomegranates 119
Cantaloupe 118
Onions 109
Flax Seeds 103
Orange 98
Edamame 98
Cucumber 87
Tofu 82
Sesame Seeds 74
Lentils 72
Peaches 65
Kidney Beans 64
Sunflower Seeds 64
Green Peas 63
Cherries 55
Pineapple 54
Apple 53
Mango 53
Peanut Butter 51
Corn 45
Pistachio Nuts 37
Oatmeal 36
Shrimp 36
Salmon 34
Eggs 31
Milk, 1% 31
Bananas 30
Walnuts 30
Whole Wheat Bread 30
Almonds 28
Avocado 28
Brown Rice 28
Low Fat Plain Yogurt 28
White Potato 28
Cashews 27
Chicken Breast 24
Ground Beef, 85% lean 21
Feta Cheese 20
White Bread 17
White Pasta 16
French Fries 12
Apple Juice 11 Cheddar Cheese 11
Olive Oil 10
Vanilla Ice Cream 9
Corn Chips 7
Cola 1

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