When you make food choices, what are your criteria? Hopefully you consider a food’s nutrient-content in relation to its calorie-content. Dr. Fuhrman calls this concept, nutrient density. He talks about it in his book Eat to Live
. Take a look:
The key to an extraordinary diet is a simple formula: H = N/C.
Health = Nutrients/Calories
Your health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories. H = N/C is a concept I call the nutrient-density of your diet. Food supplies us with both nutrients and calories (energy). All calories come from only three elements: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Nutrients are derived from non-caloric food factors—including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals. These non-caloric nutrients are vitally important for health. Your key to permanent weight loss is to eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutrients (non-caloric food factors) to calories (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). In physics a key formula is Einstein’s E = mc2. In nutrition the key formula is H = N/C.
Every food can be evaluated using this formula. Once you begin to learn which foods make the grade—by having a high proportion of nutrients to calories—you are on your way to lifelong weight control and improved health.
Now, most people don’t get this concept, even the so-called experts. For example, take diet dunce—oops! I mean “Diet Detective” Charles Stuart Platkin. Here’re his picks for the healthiest fast-food breakfasts
. I know, a real oxymoron. Check it out anyway:
English muffin (no butter): 140 calories, 1.5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 260 mg sodium, 27g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g protein.
Croissan'wich Egg & Cheese: 300 calories, 17g fat, 6g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 740 mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1g fiber, 12g protein.
Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon, Cholesterol-Free Egg, Reduced-Fat White Cheddar Sandwich: 350 calories, 11g fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 820 mg sodium, 41g carbs, 4g fiber, 20g protein.
Ham & Cheese Croissant: 274 calories, 12g fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 842 mg sodium, 22g carbs, 1g fiber, 13g protein.
This is only a sampling of Platkin’s picks, but as usual, Charles’s main criteria for “good food” is calorie content. In his mind, the fewer the calories, the better the food—not always true. Just look at all the bread, sodium, and saturated fat in this junk. This quote from Dr. Fuhrman seems fitting:
The combination of fat and refined carbohydrates has an extremely powerful effect on driving the signals that promote fat accumulation on the body. Refined foods cause a swift and excessive rise in blood sugar, which in turn triggers insulin surges to drive the sugar out of the blood and into our cells. Unfortunately, insulin also promotes the storage of fat on the body and encourages your fat cells to swell.
Clearly Platkin’s recommendations are more harebrained than health-conscious, but he’s not alone. IateApie has concocted the list of the top ten low calorie breakfast cereals
. Yeah, because refined cereals are loaded with nutrients—sigh. Anyway, here’s the top three:
1. Kashi Mighty Bites
Calories: 120 | Sugar: 5 grams
2. Kashi Organic Promise Strawberry Fields
Calories: 120 | Sugar: 9 grams
3. Lucky Charms
Calories: 120 | Sugar: 13 grams
I think this list and Charles Stuart Platkin’s drivel will only confuse people into believing these processed and fast foods are wise choices. It seems to me that calorie driven diet advice does little to satisfy Dr. Fuhrman’s formula of Health = Nutrients/Calories. More from Eat to Live
If you attempt to follow the perverted diet that most Americans eat, or even if you follow the precise recommendations of the USDA’s pyramid—six to eleven servings of bread, rice, and pasta (consumed as 98 percent refined grains by Americans) with four to six servings of dairy, meat, poultry, or fish—you would be eating a diet rich in calories but extremely low in nutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamins. You would be overfed and malnourished, the precise nutritional profile that causes heart disease and cancer.
Personally, I seldom get caught up on calorie-content. Sure, I avoid junk foods like these, but I judge all my food by its nutrient content. Take avocados for example, they might be high in calories, but they pack the nutrients my body craves and needs; avocados’ Wikipedia page