I was in Florida recently talking with a friend of mine Kevin Gianni at a VIP party of an Internet Marketing conference we were attending together. Of course, he being a vegan and me just someone who eats Nutrient Rich to the best of my ability most of the time was scouting out the various foods that we wanted to nosh on while networking amidst the barrage of junk party food.
Always up for an opportunity to talk about food and nutrition, while talking about marketing the subject of whole foods and Nutrient Rich foods entered the conversation; ideas we both promote. It was there and then, in that conversation that I finally made a distinction that is super important.
Not all whole foods are Nutrient Rich (by our definition) or the most nutrient rich foods for that matter when you look at their nutrient profiles.
A debate about this brewed and we were both up to it. This was the second incarnation of the debate, for me, in recent years. My first exposure to this debate was when Andrea Beaman was working with me, when we first launched nutrientrich.com. We would debate all the time on the definition of Nutrient Rich and we disagreed big time. I saw this as fundamental to the message and the market and I wanted to be as accurate as possible based on nutrient profiles, and a nutrient profiling system, not personal opinion, common "whole food" vernacular or the nourishing traditions point of view where anything that’s "grown" or "born", is a whole food. It’s not.
The point is simple… per Nutrient Rich guidelines, a food source is whole if you can "base" (literal definition) your diet on it, without negative consequences. That means, it must have all the nutrient categories represented in varying quantities so that when you eat, you eat for health and performance as your body is gets all the nutrients it needs to succeed.
Animal foods, don’t meet this basic criteria. It does not mean you can’t or shouldn’t eat animal foods as part of your total dietary intake (there are a myriad of factors that influence this), but there is not a general or fundamental nutritional requirement, at least in any significant quantity.
Personally, I John Allen Mollenhauer, eat small amounts of organically raised animal foods from time to time. But my definition is not based on a fundamental nutritional requirement.
See the Food Class System – http://www.nutrientrich.com/food-classification-chart.html.
Also, see Top 10 Findings of the China Study. Download report from home page, if you haven’t.
It’s on the basis of nutrient profiling that we define whole foods. Even though animal foods are natural and whole as in whole fish for example, it does not mean that a whole fish will supply you with whole food nutrition – meaning the array of nutrients that you need to be healthy. If all you ate was chicken, fish, and other meats, just watch what would happen to the health and performance of your body. Ask Dr Atkins, oops he’s not here.
Note: Dr Atkins didn’t even do that foolish experiment. He at least ate nutrient rich foods to compliment his nutrient poor diet and still died of heart disease.
Animal foods are rich in some nutrients, (several) but as a whole, they are still considered nutrient poor. It’s not just about what’s in a food in terms of nutrients that defines Nutrient Rich, it’s what’s in the food that your body doesn’t need that subtracts from a foods Nutrient Profile score, like cholesterol, saturated fat, refined sugar and sodium and other compounds that are either man made, isolated, and inserted in concentrations that your body does not require.
If you define a food like chicken as a whole food, then is half a chicken not a whole food? You get the idea. It’s not defined by the portion size, it’s defined by is nutrient profile. Either way, the chicken when it was whole, was still missing certain nutrient categories and contains nutrients like protein in forms that are not the most health promoting if eaten in significant quantities, and it includes substances that come from the chicken, like cholesterol and saturated fat, that are not required or wanted in your body from dietary sources.
There is much to discuss and debate on this idea. But I’ve made an initial point. Nutrient Rich and whole foods are not synonymous.