Food Quality Scale
Hey guys. Welcome to the Saluber Coaching Show. My name is Dr. Matthew Blaylock. In today's episode, I'm going to be talking to you about a question that people ask me almost every day and it's, “What foods should I be eating?” Now people know that I have a Ph.D. in nutrition sciences so they want to know from an expert what foods should I eat. I always answer them that it's best if you eat natural, fresh foods. But people are still confused, what does that mean - natural fresh foods. So, I made a scale in order to help people. I help people by using a grading system ABCDF just like people are used to from school.
Food Quality Scale
Now, A means that the food is natural and fresh and it hasn't been processed. B means that has been processed one step - one change to it. C means that it has a little bit more of a change it's different from the natural food. D means that it still has the natural food there but it's being used in a way that's no longer natural. F means that it's a frankenfood. It means that it doesn't exist the nature and you absolutely would be better off avoiding foods in this category.
So to give you an example, think about an apple. You can walk outside and you can pick an apple off the tree. You can wipe it off or you can wash it and you can eat the apple directly. It's natural. It's fresh. It’s unprocessed. That gets an A. That's the best kind of food you can consume. But, you can take that apple and you can cut it up and you can put it in a blender. When you do that, you can make baby food or applesauce. The apple has been
processed just slightly. It's been blend but it's still only apple. There is still only one ingredient. Now, if you take another step, you can take that apple and you can put it in a juicer. When you juice an apple you separate out the meat from the juice. When you do that separation, you begin to remove some of the natural benefits of the food. You begin to remove some of the fiber and vitamins and minerals. What you are left with is basically sugar water with some vitamins in it. Now, if you take another step, you can take that same apple and you can cut it up and you throw in a pan. You put some butter and some cinnamon with it and you make stewed apples which taste really yummy. But, it begins to reduce some of the health benefits of the apple because of the other things that you've added in with it. You cooked it and you added some butter with it and it just changes it a little bit. Not as healthy for you as eating a natural fresh apple. Then there are things like apple pie a la mode. You eat some ice cream on top your big slice of apple pie. Again it's a natural apple but it's being used in such a way that there are no real health benefits for it at that point. So, it's best that you avoid that for the most part.
Now another example, think about meat. If you take a nice steak and you put it on the grill and you cook it maybe medium if you like it maybe medium-rare. You can enjoy that really nice steak. That's a natural food that has been processed slightly. It's been cooked but most people don't like to eat raw meat. You can also think about taking that same piece of meat and you can cut it and you can put it in the dehydrator. You can remove all the water and you make beef jerky. That that's still pretty natural. It’s just had one step of processing. Now, you can also take that meat and you can chop it up or grind it up. You put it in with some tomatoes and onions and garlic and you can make a nice tomato sauce or pasta sauce. That's not bad in any way. It is fine. The meats still there and you have some additional benefits of the vegetables or the fruit from the tomato and the garlic and onions. It's still ok but you begin to move away from just the natural meat itself. Then, there’s another step. You can take meat and you can make a Meat Lover’s Pizza. Now you have begun to add a lot of ingredients. You begin to process it in such a way that it may not be so healthy for you anymore. Then you can take meat, I guess it still meat, and you can make something like Vienna Sausage. I honestly have no idea what that is made from, but I would strongly advise you not to make a habit of eating that every day. Or maybe something like spam - canned meat. It’s meat to some degree but has been processed to such a degree it’s in no way healthy for you at this point.
So, to summarize, the easiest way to remember this is if you can pick the food off the tree or you can walk outside and pluck it out of the ground or you can kill it and cook it it's probably okay to eat in moderation. Those foods are natural and fresh. If the food that you are looking to eat is something different than that, then you probably want to avoid it to a large extent. Again, about eighty percent of your diet needs to come from fresh natural foods. That doesn't mean that you can't ever have a bowl of ice cream or you can never enjoy some treat or dessert or some food that you like that is processed. It's okay. Just make choices to where the majority of your food is coming from fresh natural sources. When you do that, it will have a direct effect on your health and well-being.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions and I'll help guide you through this food quality scale. Until we meet for the next time, my name is Dr. Matthew Blaylock. Be strong and live well.