Diet and Nutrition 101: Part 2 The Food Scale

Defining ‘food like products’ and ‘food’

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In the first post in this series on food (diet and nutrition 101) we looked at ‘food’ and ‘food like products’. In this post we look at a ‘food scale’ to continue making this definition more and more useful.


Making Sense of ‘Food’

Defining ‘food like products’ and ‘food’

In the last section, ‘What Is Food?’ We looked at a couple of definitions that I find useful in determining whether something is worth eating; ‘Food’, and ‘Food like product’. The basic difference between the two was that a ‘food like product’ had been processed to an extent that it would take more effort from the body to use and process it than it got back from that processing!

So let’s take the idea of ‘food’, and ‘food like product’ a little further and refine how we use it.

I like to think of foods as being on a scale, a scale that allows me to judge whether something is likely to be good for me or not.

I see this scale as being from 0 in 2 directions. 0 to 10 for ‘food’ and 10 being the best it can be.
Then also from 0 to -10 (minus 10), where you start at 0 with a food being precariously balanced between ‘food’ and ‘food like product’.
The further away from 0 you go down the scale to -10 the more of a ‘food like product’ it becomes.

Let’s put some numbers in here, to help us all understand how this works.
Disclaimer: This is a scale that I made up, it doesn’t really exist anywhere apart from in your mind, and as such is only as useful as your ability to make a good decision (which we’re coming to), and where I place the foods is totally arbitrary and may be wrong some of the time, and will certainly be wrong for some people some of the time (due to biochemical individuality, which we’re also coming to).

Here’s a food scale:

10 : Organic, Biodynamically grown vegetables, meat and fish (whole meat, not just muscle meat) and fruit (all prepared appropriately).
9 : Organic, Biodynamically grown nuts and seeds, beans and legumes. Organic grown vegetables, meat (whole meat, not just muscle meat) and fruit.
8 : Organic vegetables, meat (whole meat, not just muscle meat) and fruit. Organic dairy products (no added sugar, natural and traditional preparation methods).
7 : Vegetables, meat (whole meat, not just muscle meat) and fruit. Nuts and seeds, beans and legumes. Organic Coconut Oil.
6 : Mis-prepared meat, fruit and veg. Organic meat and fish (not the whole animal, but just the muscle parts, think chicken breast, no bones, tendons, ligaments or cartilage, and no organ meat.
5 : Organic, Biodynamically grown grain products. Normal Organic grain products properly prepared at home. Organic Palm Oil.
4 : Organic grain products prepared at home. Most dairy products (no added sugar yet though)
3 : Overcooked veg and fruit.
2 : Regular grain products properly prepared at home. Most commercial meat and fish, filled with hormones and fed an unbalanced and unnatural diet.
1 : Regular grain products prepared at home.
0 : Organic manufactured grain products.
-1 : Mixed numbers foods (think sandwiches, cooked meals, where the ingredients can come from both ends of the scale, with the resulting number being a factor of all the ingredients being averaged)
-2 : Mixed numbers foods (think sandwiches, cooked meals, where the ingredients can come from both ends of the scale, with the resulting number being a factor of all the ingredients being averaged)
-3 : Mixed numbers foods (think sandwiches, cooked meals, where the ingredients can come from both ends of the scale, with the resulting number being a factor of all the ingredients being averaged)
-4 : Regular manufactured wholemeal grain products (cereals, breads, pasta etc)
-5 :
-6 : Regular manufactured white flour only grain products (cereals, breads etc)
-7 : Most frozen food (freshly frozen veg and meat being exceptions)
-8 :
-9 : Most microwave and tinned foods (tinned organic veg without added sugar, salt, additives, preservatives and flavourings being the exception)
-10 : Sugar, crisps, doughnuts, fizzy drinks, most alcohol products, cakes, biscuits, sweets, ice cream, vegetable oils (coconut and palm oil are the exceptions)
So that’s the food scale.

Over the next few days take your time to use this scale to figure out where the majority of your food comes from. Any foods you’re not sure about, just e-mail them to me and I’ll give an estimation of where I think they would be.

In the next section we’re going to look at what isn’t ‘food’ a little more in depth.