As I stated in a previous posts, a Nutritarian derives 90% of their diet from plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. But it takes it even a step further because as a Nutritarian your goal is to eat foods with the highest nutrient density. In the Eat for Health Program, foods are measured by an ANDI score. The highest ANDI score a food can get is 1000. Foods with the highest ANDI score are your green leafy vegetables like collard greens and kale. Therefore you want your diet to consists of a lot of these types of vegetables.
By the definition above, you may be thinking that there is not much difference between this type of eating style and Vegetarianism or Veganism. As you know, vegetarians do not eat meat and vegans take it a little further by not eating any animal products like eggs, butter, milk, or cheese. Fuhrman, author of Eat for Health states, “Being a nutritarian differs from being a typical vegetarian because the focus on high-nutrient vegetation improves health dramatically, and one can reduce the level of animal products to a safe level without having to exclude them completely.”
Although the vegan diet is the most similar to the nutritarian there can be some distinct differences. Most importantly is that many vegans, as well as vegetarians, get a large majority of calories from wheat or grain, meaning their diets may consist of lots of breads and pastas. But what we know from the research, is that wheat and grains are not nutrient rich foods. In fact, as the chart above shows, whole wheat pasta receives a micronutrient density score of 19. Therefore a vegetarian or vegan diet that is predominantly grain based will not supply the body with the nutrients needed for optimal health or to ward of disease. According to Fuhrman, “Vegans who live on processed cereal, white flour products, rice, white potatoes, and processed soy products should not be expected to significantly extend their lifespan because their diet cannot be considered nutrient rich.
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