The 3 Classes of Food™

Eat 90% or More Plant-Based, Whole Food Nutrient Rich! 

Understand the nutrient density of what you eat.

The 3 Classes of Foods—Nutrient Density Chart This chart will help you understand the difference between micronutrient-rich, nutrient-poor, and nutrient-barren foods.

The primary difference between nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor foods is micronutrient density among many food attributes. Phytochemicals, which make a “healthy” food health-promoting, are only plant-derived and are the cornerstone of genuinely healthy foods as they slow the aging process, enable the repair of cell damage, reduce inflammation, and help rid the body of toxins.

Eat foods rich in micronutrients and other food factors in that food will promote your health!

Plants contain thousands of micronutrients, not just the 40 essential vitamins and minerals and calorie-containing macronutrients, protein, carbohydrate, and fat;  many have been discovered, and others are presently unidentified ~ Joel Fuhrman MD.

As you start eating up to 90% or more whole foods, nutrient-rich, minimize or eliminate animal products and refined foods, and then optimize the way you eat for nutrient density, volume, variety, and great taste, you will crowd out calorie-dense foods that are micronutrient poor and get free of addictive substances. You’ll also start eating when you are hungry and fuel your body right. This will help you get healthy, lose weight naturally and live longer.Click the links below to see the nutrient density of 27 nutrients for each class and sample foods by category for comparison purposes. See the nutritional profiles and begin transitioning from third-class nutrient barren foods and second-class nutrient-poor foods to eating 90% or more first-class nutrient-rich foods. You will free up your energy, promote health and elevate the function and performance of your body as you get free of lifestyle-induced diseases. 

Note: You can still eat some nutrient-poor and barren foods and still be eating a plant-based, “whole food nutrient-rich” or “nutritarian” diet on a total dietary intake based when you are eating a largely green vegetable-based diet, also rich in fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds and to a lesser extent whole intact grains (which are not high in phytochemicals). In other words, we acknowledge you may eat a small amount of animal products, though we are not promoting these foods for nutritional purposes.   

To understand how this information was established, read the References Here.

First Class, Nutrient-Rich “Superfoods”

Plant foods rich in micronutrients, including phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and macronutrients—health-promoting protein, real-food carbohydrates, healthy fat, fiber, and water to function, stay healthy, and perform well. They don’t contain substances your body doesn’t need, like dietary saturated fat or cholesterol. 

Recommendation: Eat 90% or More Whole Food, Nutrient-Rich meals, and menus for the best results.

Examples of these superfoods include:

> Vegetables
> Fruits
> Legumes (beans)
> Raw Nuts and Seeds
> Whole, Unrefined, Intact-Grains

Second-Class, Nutrient-Poor Foods

Animal foods are rich in some nutrients like protein but are missing whole nutrient categories like essential phytochemicals and fiber. They contain cholesterol and saturated fat the body does not need from dietary sources.

Recommendation: Maintain a diet of 10% or fewer animal foods if you eat them at all.

Examples of these foods include:

Low Fat Dairy
Full-fat Dairy
Chicken and Beef

Third-Class, Nutrient-Barren Food “Stuff”

Humanmade foodstuffs of both plant and animal origin are refined and stripped of their nutrients. Some trace nutrients with some added back for nutritional and marketing purposes. These highly concentrated pleasure-stimulating substances addict you and leave you fat and sick.

Recommendation: You eat these foodstuffs rarely or avoid them altogether.

Examples of these foodstuffs include:

> Refined grains
> Refined Oil and Sweets



The 3 Classes Of Food™ (Continued)

The 3 Classes of Food are based on USDA Data. They rank foods by class and then by category as determined by their nutrient density–the cornerstone for making great food choices. We picked seven popular foods for each class of food so you can see the nutrient densities of first-class, second-class, and third-class foods.

Health=Nutrients/Calories (H=N/C) is the formula created by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., stating that health (in terms of nutrition) is determined by the nutrient-per-calorie ratio of food. The purpose of The 3 Classes of Food is not to drill down into the intricacies of ranking which food is higher in what individual nutrient or which food is specifically better than another. That is more accurately handled by the ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index), which Joel Fuhrman, M.D., created.

The 3 Classes of Food™ provide a higher level view, showing you nutrient density by class and category of foods based on 27 of the most well-known nutrients, including the most available data on phytochemicals—the one category of nutrients that best determine a foods’ nutrient density and represents both known and unknown phytochemicals. There are also deductions for saturated fat, cholesterol, and added sodium.

Understanding The 3 Classes of Food will help you determine whether you want to eat plant-based, whole foods nutrient-rich 90% of the time or more, or you want to go 100% vegan, and why, based on the “nutrient density” or their “nutrient richness.”

This is the simplest way to clarify the world’s best foods, the Nutrient Rich “Superfoods,” which you want to eat for the best results.

Scroll to Top