Tools for Evaluating the Nutritional Value of Foods
When determining the healthiest foods to eat, what tool do you use to measure the overall nutritional value of the food?
What features would you like to see in the ideal tool?
Organic - the last thing I want to ingest is pesticides, chemicals, and/or preservatives. Whole foods in their natural state - I always ask two questions of my clients when counseling them on nutrition: 1) Would your great grandmother serve it on her table? and 2) How do you FEEL after you eat a meal? If it is nutrient-dense, people report feeling energized and ready to take on the day. If they feel bloated, fatigued, and end up with all sorts of cravings, then I have to point out the quality of the food ingested is most likely the culprit.
I live by my lifestyle nutrition: Foods with no added sugar, no added salt and no processed omega-6 in the right amount, at the right time, and prepared in a healthy manner. Additions include omega-3 fats and fiber.
Reading the ingredient list and nutrition facts label is the best tool to enable this lifestyle. Additional items for the label include omega-3 amount, omega-6 amount, O-6/O-3 ratio, glycemic load, and inflammation index.
Best wishes for good health and success.
Dr. Gary Epler
I follow the paleo diet. So no dairy, soy, grains, and minimally processed foods. I consume meats that are humanly raised and grass fed. Wild Caught Fish.
This type of diet may seem really hard, but it isn't. It is literally everything as natural as possible. It is not necessarily about the quantity of food, but the quality.
The best tool out there is a label or information that tells me exactly where the food came from.
Nutritional science has long linked high glycemic index foods with a host of diet-related disease, from Cardiovascular disease and diabetes to obesity, including cancer. Indeed diabetic individuals are mandated to eat foods with a Glycemic Index of 55 or less. While Glycemic Index is not a truly precise measurement, but based on a mini clinical trial, it provides a reference for blood sugar rise from a specific food intake. However the FDA has failed to implement any reasonable glycemic labeling requirement since the inception of the Glycemic Index in 1995 (Jenkins et al.), while allowing a host of useless and obsolete high-fat related label claims.
Clearly the FDA is vested in keeping our country in a state of diet- related disease by maintaining that high sugar and high glycemic foods are safe to eat. We can surely create helpful and insightful nutritional value guidance, but the general public won't ever see it on a label, while the FDA is run by big food corporations.