There is a lot of variation within the plant-based world and while some of that is a result of marketing, some diets truly do have some differences, and it’s important to know what different variations you have available to find the right one that works for you. This article on Dr. Fuhrman’s “nutritarianism” was originally posted on BreakingMuscle.com but I wanted to make it available to my readers as well.
What Is a Nutritarian?
The term nutritarian was invented by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of the popular books Eat to Live and Super Immunity, to describe an eating style that focuses on maximizing micronutrient intake (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals) at all times. Instead of toying with various macronutrient ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, Fuhrman argues that we should make micronutrients the focus of our food choices.
The entire eating style can be described using an equation: health = nutrients / calories. In other words, a nutritarian would eat large amounts of foods that contain the highest amount of nutrients per calorie, while avoiding more calorically dense foods that only contain small amounts of micronutrients. You can take a look at the nutritarian food pyramidhere for a visual representation of this eating style.
What Does a Nutritarian Eat?
So, what are the most micronutrient dense foods? There’s actually a score sheet for foods called the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) that Dr. Fuhrman created, and you might have seen these scores in the produce section of Whole Foods. Here’s a list of the most nutrient-dense foods, according to Fuhrman’s team.
As you can see, leafy green vegetables reign supreme, followed by other non-starchy vegetables, fruits, seeds, beans, and nuts. Animal products don’t rate highly on this list, but they are not forbidden within this eating style. Animal products are merely an option to be used in small amounts to flavor vegetable-based dishes. Fuhrman also uses the acronym “GBOMBS” as a reminder of the most potent disease-fighting foods to include in your diet – greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds.
Nutritarianism and the Athlete