Nutrient Density: Getting the Most Bang for your Buck
We’re pretty passionate about nutrient density here at Life Foods. Nutrient density is a measure of how healthful a food is in relation to the calorie content; in other words, it measures the relative ‘bang for your buck’ certain foods offer. Foods like leafy greens, vegetables and fruits have a high nutrient density because they are low in calories and fat but very high in nutritive value. Eating a diet that includes a significant amount and variety of vegetables and fruits each day is the best way to ensure that our bodies are getting adequate nutrition.
But sadly, foods that are low nutrient density are the foods that make up most of the Standard American Diet (SAD). According to the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, “concerns that the American diet has become energy-rich but nutrient-poor have been expressed for more than three decades.” Sadly, these low nutrient density foods make up a majority of the foods available in our daily lives: fast food, processed grains, fruit juice and candy are all examples of how low nutrient density foods can crowd out healthier options. Learning to avoid these foods and choose healthier options is one of the keys to better health. Nutritionist Matthew Lovitt says that eating in line with the theory of nutrient density, “discourages foods that contain potentially problematic ingredients like refined carbohydrates, added sugar, sodium, saturated fat and hydrogenated oils. [Following a nutrient-dense] approach will allow the broader application of a nutritionally sound and health promoting dietary ideal so that more people can overcome the physical detriment caused by the Standard American Diet (SAD).”
Learning which foods qualify as high nutrient density can help us make better choices for our diet. Lovitt explains that, “assessing a food’s nutrient-to-energy ratio will help guide people towards more healthful foods that promote the proper function of all the body’s systems because of their exceptional vitamin and mineral composition.”
So how do you find high nutrient-density foods? Firstly, always choose whole foods or foods made from only whole-food ingredients. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and single-ingredient foods like beans, rice, grains, seeds and nuts. Avoid white flours, packaged cereals, boxed mixes, fast food and soda. You can learn more about which foods are high nutrient density in this chart from Dr. Fuhrman. Which of your favorite foods are at the top of the list?
Life Foods products, which use only whole food, plant-based ingredients, are all exceptionally nutrient dense. Each ingredient is chosen for nutrition and flavor, and combined in a way that makes it easy to enjoy as a replacement for common processed foods. Our condiments Red, White and Yellow contain none of the processed sweeteners or oils commonly found in other brands; likewise, our superfood salad dressings contain healthy, cold-processed oils, herbs, vegetables and natural sweeteners for a great flavor with a great nutritional profile. Learn more about all our products here at Life Foods Inc.