Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a University of Pennsylvania Medical School graduate and one of the leading experts in the field of healing illnesses by specializing in what he calls “Nutritional Medicine”. I had the luxury of being taught by Dr. Fuhrman while I was attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC earlier this year. What I learned from him will stay with me for a lifetime……
Dr. Fuhrman is most well-known for the ANDI Scale that he developed in partnership with Whole Foods. The “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index” or better known as ANDI for short, is a way of helping consumers distinguish between good and bad foods. In a nutshell, the ANDI scale rates all foods on a scale from 1 to 1000, based on the nutrient density that the food itself contains. The higher the number on the ANDI scale, the better a food is supposed to be for you. For example, a bag of Doritos may score less than 100 on the ANDI scale whereas a bag of spinach may score close to 1,000. You can see here how beneficial this can be for the average consumer that walks into a grocery store and starts seeing what rating their food has. The ANDI score can now be found in every single Whole Foods Grocery Store, which operates 302 stores: 291 stores in 38 U.S. states and the District of Columbia; six stores in Canada; and five stores in the United Kingdom.
This is a huge step for our society which is crippled by diseases stemming from poor quality food choices. Hopefully, this will curb some of the alarmingly high rates of childhood obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke that continues to plague America.
So what foods scored highest on the ANDI Scale. Take a long hard guess for just a minute. That’s right folks, you guessed it, VEGETABLES. But not just any vegetables, dark leafy green vegetables walked away with the gold medal on this one.
So here are the TOP 10 Foods on the ANDI scale (all of which happened to be dark leafy green vegetables) and what I am calling:
1. Mustard/Turnip/ Collard Greens- Is a low-calorie anti-oxidant dense food!
2. Kale- Just one cup of Kale supplies more than 70% of your RDI(Recommended Dietary Intake) for Vitamin C!
3. Watercress- Has been in the spotlight most of 2010 for having immense anti-cancer fighting properties!
4. Bok Choy- This nutritional powerhouse is great in stir frys and has loads of carotenes!
5. Spinach- Popeye knew what he was doing! Historically, it was thought to restore energy and increase vitality!
6. Broccoli-Has huge potential in fighting cancer, especially breast cancer! Women should eat em up!!
7. Cabbage- One of the American Cancer Society’s key dietary recommendations!
8. Brussel Sprouts- A member of the cruciferous vegetables which contain more phytochemicals with demonstrable anticancer properties than any other vegetable family!
9. Swiss Chard- Contains off the chart levels of chlorophyll and plant pigments(which help fight most diseases)!
10. Arugula- Contain high levels of glucosinolates which are potent stimulators of natural detoxifying enzymes in the body.
The following is a list that I have compiled of the worst commonly eaten foods in American Society in no particular order. Avoiding these foods may do wonders to your health!!!
1. Pizza- Call it a slice of heaven or a slice of inflammation. This everyday food(350 slices are consumed every second in the United States)contains two of America’s top Pro-Inflammatory Foods; Wheat and Dairy. Together, wheat and dairy stick to your insides like glue and cause massive amounts of inflammation in the body. I’m not saying to never eat your favorite pie, just consume in moderation and be selective with what ingredients go into it. Gluten free pizza with Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, Fresh Prosciutto and Fresh Basil could be an incredibly healthy option.
2. Synthetic Sweeteners- Despite what most advertising will have you believe, synthetic sweeteners including Aspartame, Sucralose and High Fructose Corn Syrup are extremely dangerous and should not be consumed! Most of these were designed to give the “Diet” industry a boost, although Americans keep getting fatter and fatter…..
3. Boxed Cereal- If you are wondering why this food made the “Worst” list you have probably bought into one of America’s most clever and deceptive food marketing campaigns. Don’t believe me, take a walk on the cereal aisle next time you’re at the grocery store and you will be amazed at how many health claims are on each box. Remember here folks, most boxes of cereal are simply boxes of inflammation. They are super-duper oober processed and have boat loads of sugar. Avoid the health claims at all cost!
4. Candy- We have all heard the slogan by our parents that “It’s going to make our teeth fall out of our head”. Not only will sugar laden candies promote dental decay, but they will mess up your bodies insulin receptors which is the leading cause of Adult and Juvenile Diabetes. If you must have something sweet, opt for dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao content. This anti-oxidant rich super-food packs a punch both in taste and in nutritional benefits. Special Note: Not to be mistaken for a Twix or a Snickers
5. Fast Food- McDonald’s made 70 billion dollars in 2009. Yes that is not a typo, 70 BILLION dollars. Everyone knows that fast food is bad for them but drive by any fast food establishment at lunch time and you will realize how many people are still wrecking their health by consuming this garbage!
6. Snack Foods- Most American’s consume far too many calories in a day and snacking is a major culprit. Most snack foods in the US contain little if any actual nutrients, meaning your eating a whole lot of nothing! Unless your Michael Phelps who spends 6 hours a day in a swimming pool, you probably don’t need the extra calories to sit at a desk all day!
7. Bread- Most of the bread in the United States comes from refined flour which has all the nutrients stripped out of it and an alarming amount of calories. Next time you buy a loaf of bread at the store, take it between both hands and press together as firmly as possible. If the loaf smashes up to nothing, you just found the answer to what you are buying, AIR! Bread does nothing but give you empty calories and a bloated belly. Not to mention all the bleaching agents, dough conditioners and sweeteners they add to it!
8. Pastries- Doughnuts, Cookies, Muffins all fall under this demonic category. Sorry Twinkies Fans! Think sugar, sugar, sugar and extra calories that you don’t need……
9. Coffee- Sorry Starbucks lovers. The only reason why this is on the list is that no one consumes just one cup a day. Your average “cup of joer” finds themselves drinking the stuff non stop; morning, day and night. Not to mention all the “souped-up lattes” that Starbucks has to offer. Most have way too much caffeine and enough sugar and calories to put you into “liquid comotosis” for half the day. Coffee is also very acidic which leaches calcium from your bones in an attempt to keep you blood stream alkaline.
10. Artificial foods- This broad category could pretty much cover 75% of the aisles in a grocery store. Most of what we consume in the US isn’t even really food at all! It’s what the NY Times Best Selling Author Michael Pollan calls, “Eating food-like substances”. If you can’t make something yourself or pronounce all the ingredients, DON’T EAT IT!
Special Note- The above list is just a small percentage of the “Fake” foods that we consume as a culture on a daily basis that make us sick and fat. This list is subject to change at any time without any notification. Please use your best judgement when putting things into your mouth. The body your save may be your own….
And Just for the record, the list could have easily been titled “The TOP 500 Worst Foods”
by Curt MacNeill
Certified Nutrition Educator
Certified Health Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners