ANDI stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index,” a scoring system that rates foods on a scale from 1 to 1000 based on nutrient content. ANDI scores are calculated by evaluating an extensive range of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities.
Nutrient Density according to Dr.Fuhrman and the CDC
At the center of Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian diet is a simple health equation:
Your health (H) is predicted by your nutrient intake (N) divided by your calorie intake (C).
This straightforward formula defines the nutrient density of your diet. It is the basis of nutritional science and nutritional healing and is a critical concept that Dr. Fuhrman uses in his dietary recommendations.
Food supplies both nutrients and calories (energy). All calories come from only three elements: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are noncaloric food factors, such as vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals. These noncaloric nutrients are vitally important for good health. The key to optimizing your health and achieving your ideal body weight is to eat predominantly those foods that have a relatively high proportion of nutrients (noncaloric food factors) to calories (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins).
Dr. Fuhrman’s dietary style is based on choosing an adequate amount of foods that have the highest nutrient density. Adequate consumption of foods high in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals is essential for a healthy immune system and to empower your body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms to protect you from cancer and other diseases. If you need to lose weight, you will find that the more nutrient dense food you consume, the more you will be satisfied with fewer calories and the less you’ll crave low-nutrient, empty calorie foods.
Aggregate Nutrient Density Index Controversy and Flaws
If you take watercress – 100 grams of watercress is probably 95 grams of water and has exactly FOUR calories (yes, 4 calories)… you can ignore the water in the equation.
So if it has enough vitamins to equal 400 (quite a lot of vitamins), you divide by the number of calories and you get a nice score of 100. Sounds great, right?
Except you’ll starve to death on a watercress diet because there’s no energy in it.
A lot of the foods the CDC lists are indeed very good for you due to high vitamin content – lots of greens and cruciferous veggies of course – but you can’t subsist on them alone.
Truly high nutrient foods, like liver or butter or egg yolks, are penalized because they’re high calorie.
|1. Mustard/Turnip/Collard Greens||1000|
|3. Swiss Chard||1000|
|5. Bok Choy/Baby Bok Choy||865|
|6. Chinese/Napa Cabbage||714|
|9. Lettuce, Green Leaf||585|
|4. Acorn Squash||444|
|7. Bell Pepper, Yellow or Orange||371|
|2. Pinto Beans||86|
|4. Great Northern Beans||77|
|5. Adzuki Beans||74|
|7. Lima Beans||69|
|8. Kidney Beans||64|
|9. Black Beans||61|
|10. Chickpeas (Garbanzos)||55|
|Nuts & Seeds||ANDI Score|
|1. Flax Seeds||103|
|2. Sesame Seeds||74|
|3. Sunflower Seeds||64|
|5. Chia Seeds||46|
|6. Pumpkin Seeds||39|
|1. Cranberries, Fresh||207|
|14. Apricots, Fresh||75|
|11. Bay Leaves||271|