The ANDI score system is the brainchild of medical doctor Dr Joel Fuhrman. It is essentially a means by which followers of the system can select the most nutritious foods, while consuming as few calories as possible.
Dr Joel Fuhrman is effectively starting a whole new way of life based around eating the most nutritious foods possible. He even came up with a name for followers of his philosophy – nutritarian.
What exactly is the ANDI score system?
ANDI stands for Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. And as the name suggests it’s basically a scale by which the foods that you eat are given a score based on their nutrient density. It is quite a large scale on which foods can be rated at anywhere from 1 to 1000.
The ANDI score is determined by a very simple formula. The healthiness of the foods is defined as the ratio of the nutritional benefits of said food against the number of calories it contains. In other words, Health = Nutrients / Calories.
By this definition, foods with the highest ANDI score are ones which are very nutrient dense, or in other words have lots of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, but contain very little in the way of calories.
And at the other end of the spectrum, you get foods that are very high in calories and low in nutritional value, with a much lower ANDI score.
What is the Nutritarian diet like?
To be honest it would seem that the nutritarian diet has very much in common with the Paleo diet. And it features a lot of leaves, vegetables, fruit and grains, and avoids most animal products.
Benefits of the Nutritarian Diet
The nutritarian diet is great for those who want to lose excess weight, because it promotes consuming as many nutrients as possible for as few calories as possible.
It has also been known to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and to balance blood sugar levels. Dr Fuhrman also maintains that the diet can boost longevity, but this is yet to be scientifically proven.
What Foods Have A High ANDI Score?
Although the ANDI score is an index that goes up to 1000, there are actually very few foods that score over 500.
The foods with the highest ANDI scores are kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and watercress, which all have a score of 1000. Spinach meanwhile has a score of 707.
Here are some scores of more modest foods:
- Carrots 458
- Broccoli 340
- Mushrooms 238
- Tomato 186
- Onions 109
What Foods Have Low ANDI Scores?
Some foods feature ridiculously low scores. These include:
- Chicken breast 24
- White bread 17
- White pasta 16
- French fries 12
- Corn chips 7
- Cola 1
About Dr Joel Fuhrman
Dr Joel Furhrman has been in the business of diet and nutrition for over 25 years now. He is a vegan and as such does not eat any animal products.
He has a number of books in the field of diet and nutrition, including diet plans for weight loss, diet plans to reverse diabetes, diet plans to reverse heart disease, and diet plans to boost immunity.
He is also a strong proponent for intermittent fasting as a means to boost your health.
Dr Fuhrman typically speaks out against the modern day typical American diet, and what it does to the body.
Addressing bias in the ANDI scores
At first, the ANDI score system seems very scientifically sound. What could be better advice than to get as many nutrients as possible for as few calories as possible?
But you have to ask the question of how Dr Furhman works out the nutritional benefit of foods per calorie for use in his ANDI formula. Well there are several important micronutrients taken into account, and the score also takes care of how much fiber is present in the foods.
However, as Dr Furhman is a vegan, you have to question whether he is overly biased against animal products, and does not truly recognise their nutritional value.
For example, eggs are commonly considered to be of a very high nutritional value. However, on the ANDI score system, eggs are only ascribed a score of a measly 34 points, in stark contrast to kale which scores 1000 points.
Who should follow the Nutritarian ANDI score plan?
As we have already made reference to Dr Joel Fuhrman’s ANDI score is somewhat biased against the use of animal products in our diets. So if you love to eat meat on a regular or frequent basis, then you’ll likely find the nutritarian diet quite unappealing.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan already however, then we would argue that this could possibly be the best diet for you. Especially if you are concerned about losing weight or maintaining a good healthy weight.
By following the nutritarian diet as a vegan, you give yourself the best possible chance of getting all the micro and macro nutrients that your body needs, without ever having to eat meat or other animal products.
It’s also a good diet for those who suffer from diabetes, since the low number of calories in the food will mean negligible spikes in blood sugar levels.
Resources to find out more about nutritarianism and the ANDI score
If you like the sound of following the ANDI score system and trying the nutritarian diet, there are plenty of resources out there to help you along the way.
The most important of which is the one featuring the ANDI index itself, Nutritarian Handbook & ANDI Food Scoring Guide. This book lists Dr Fuhrman’s ANDI score for a large number of foods, going into over 100 pages, so it’s very thorough.
But just knowing what foods to eat is not enough, you also have to know how to prepare them. Luckily however, there are also several recipe books based around the nutritarian diet and the ANDI score system, such as the Eat to Live Cookbook and the Eat to Live Quick and Easy Cookbook.