To optimize body and brain function most foods consumed must cover three critically important parameters.
● Be low glycemic. High glycemic foods are foreign to body function and cause weight gains and fungal issues that negatively impact the body.
● Eat foods that are low in Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and higher in Omega-3 EFAs. Seek a 1:1 ratio. A balance of 2:1 or less is critical for an effective nervous system, strong immunity, and better brain function.
● Eat nutrient dense and diverse foods. A diet heavy on nutrient lite foods can not significantly contribute to the needs of the body?
The first table below is a summary of the food groups in the analysis. In the tables below it are the particular foods in each group. The data utilizes a four-ounce (113.4g) serving size for all foods. The headings are: glycemic index, glycemic load, milligrams of Omega-6 EFA, milligrams of Omega-3 EFA, the EFA ratio, and the all-important Omega-3 deficit number. Next are fat, net carbs, protein, and sugar as a percent of the nutrients in the food. The last column is the estimated comparative nutrient diversity and density with 100% being best.
The healthiest foods are nutrient dense and diverse with balanced EFAs. They are also low glycemic, low net carb, with some protein, and considerable fat. Foods with a Glycemic Index above 50 and/or a Glycemic Load above 10 are worrisome. Review the food group table and take note of the various averages for each food group. Pretend you were going to eat only one group. How does its various stats compare with your goals? Of course, in some cases one may eat so little of something, such as a spice, that the stats are not highly meaningful. But as the quantity of whatever food consumed increases, the impact on body function also increases.
When shopping, keep in mind that the data on some food products may be wrong because the food products themselves were improperly selected or labeled. This happens frequently with grass-fed and grain-fed meats. Some grain-fed meats are not from fully grain-finished cattle and some so-called grass-fed meats are from cattle “supplemented” with grain.
Additional commentary follows the tables.
You can get these tables in a printable pdf format HERE.
Slanker Grass-Fed Meat Food Nutrition Tables
Ten years ago the most popular diet was primarily the Paleo Diet. But as time went by marketers bastardized the science behind Paleo in order to be more popular and were soon recommending foods that were nutrient lite, high glycemic, and loaded with inflammatory Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Recently there has been a shift toward the ketogenic diet. This is a great diet, but its proponents are also starting to recommend nutrient lite foods that are loaded with Omega-6 EFAs. Without calling for actual changes in foods, tastes, and traditions marketers can sell more of what they market.
Both the classic Paleo and Ketogenic approaches are low carb, but the latter powers the body with more fat, less protein, and far fewer carbs. For instance, keto calculators suggest that a middle-aged, 160-pound man in average condition standing 5' 10" who does a moderate amount of exercise, will achieve mid-range ketosis when consuming 27g net carbs (grams of carbohydrates minus grams of fiber), 111g of protein, 181g of fat, and 2,185 calories per day. The protein/fat ratio is 38%/62%. Humans eat three to five pounds of food a day.
Assume four pounds (1,814 grams) per day of food.
● 27g Net Carbs is only 1.4% or one ounce of net carbs out of the food consumed
● 111g Protein is 6.1% or four ounces of protein out of the food consumed
● 181g Fat is 10% or 6.4 ounces of fat out of the food consumed
Those estimated amounts may not be realistic. Also, nailing down the ratios with raw food data is not easy. For people who want to achieve ketosis, using a breathalyser to monitor ketone levels is far better than trying to calculate the nutrients of every food item consumed. Most people have very high Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios which negatively impacts their nervous and immune systems. They may have intestinal issues and other ailments that prevent them from properly digesting various foods. In time, with a strict diet those issues may moderate which is the reason for opting for the best diet for optimizing health and well-being.
Here’s is a Spreadsheet calculation for various foods totaling 3.5 pounds. From it you can see that you can drive yourself crazy trying to calculate meals to exactly meet your goals.
Glycemic Index vs Glycemic Load
Here is how the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University explains the differences between Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load.
Physiological Responses to High- versus Low-Glycemic Index Foods
By definition, the consumption of high-glycemic index foods results in higher and more rapid increases in blood glucose levels than the consumption of low-glycemic index foods. Rapid increases in blood glucose are potent signals to the beta-cells of the pancreas to increase insulin secretion. Over the next few hours, the high insulin levels induced by consumption of high-glycemic index foods may cause a sharp decrease in blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia). In contrast, the consumption of low-glycemic index foods results in lower but more sustained increases in blood glucose and lower insulin demands on pancreatic beta-cells.
The glycemic index compares the potential of foods containing the same amount of carbohydrate to raise blood glucose. However, the amount of carbohydrate consumed also affects blood glucose levels and insulin responses. The glycemic load of a food is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate in grams provided by a food and dividing the total by 100. Dietary glycemic load is the sum of the glycemic loads for all foods consumed in the diet. The concept of glycemic load was developed by scientists to simultaneously describe the quality (glycemic index) and quantity of carbohydrate in a meal or diet.
GI and GL data range from low, medium, to high. Most nutritionists agree that for the GI the low range is 0 to 55, medium is 56 to 69, and high is 70 to 100. For the GL the low range is 0 to 10, medium is 11 to 19, and high is 20 to 60. The healthiest foods are in the low ranges. I prefer foods with a GI of 40 or less.
Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio
Most consumers are not familiar with the all important Omega-6 to Omega-3 EFA ratio. It is believed that for land animals the ratio should be somewhere around one to one by weight in the membranes of all cells. Because of our grain-based food system most Americans have ratios that are 15:1 or even much higher. In laboratory experiments with rats and other critters researchers have determined that when the ratio exceeds 4:1 chronic diseases (both mental and physical) are measurable. So it’s no wonder healthcare costs are so high. Nearly everyone is sick and getting sicker.
There have been scores of studies in the past 40 years that show over and over again that people suffering from chronic diseases of all kinds experience improvement when they lower their EFA ratio. Consequently Omega-3 EFAs have earned anti-inflammatory and other positive labels. Of course, if people ate The Real Diet of Man nobody would discuss the Omega-3 EFA because everyone’s ratio would be less than 2:1.
One of the failings of the bare bones Omega-6 to Omega-3 EFA ratio is that it can fool you into believing some really bad foods are good. Take walnuts for example. They are advertised as being really good sources for Omega-3 EFAs. But look at the data. The EFA ratio for walnuts is a near-friendly 4.2:1. But a four-ounce serving of walnuts creates an Omega-3 deficit of 32,900 mg! That’s a huge deficit to overcome and the Omega-6 overload actually blocks the body’s absorption of Omega-3 fatty acids.
The short table below shows some of the best foods. But it’s a trap. Inexpensive Iceberg Lettuce looks pretty good with it’s only downfall being a theoretical 98% Nutrient Load. Unfortunately, Iceberg Lettuce only has about 20% of the quantity of individual nutrients one gets from Spinach or Kale. Consequently, for the same level of nutrients one must eat five times as much Iceberg Lettuce as they do Kale. That would be impossible to do if one wanted to eat enough Iceberg Lettuce and nothing else to sustain life. This also means that in terms of food value Iceberg Lettuce is very, very expensive and Kale is cheap.
Nutrient Load Table
For overall nutrients and best value, grass-fed and Omega-3 meats plus wild-caught seafood blow everything away. When it comes to digesting food stuffs meats are tops. For instance, the protein in red meat is highly digestible, around 94% compared with the digestibility of 78% in beans and 86% in whole wheat. Protein from meat provides all essential amino acids (lysine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, valine) and has no limiting amino acids. Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score is a method of evaluating the protein quality, with a maximum possible score of 1.0. Animal meats like beef have a score of approximately 0.9, compared with values of 0.5-0.7 for most plant foods.
Since grass-fed animals are grazing green leaves 24/7 they have all the nutrients required for optimal body function already and they are in “perfect” balance. Consequently, one can eat grass-fed and Omega-3 meats exclusive of all other foods and end up with optimal health.
In April 2000, an advisory group in the National Academy of Sciences (the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine), reported that Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids like beta-carotene should come from food, not supplements. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, and beta-carotene are the “Big Four” antioxidants.
The reason the advisory group emphasized the need to get antioxidants from the foods we eat is because when people take antioxidant supplements they can overdose and create health problems.
Interestingly, Vitamin E and beta-carotene levels are higher in grass-fed beef compared to grain-fed beef. The Vitamin E levels can be four times higher. The beta-carotene levels can be twice as high. For that reason I believe grain-fed Americans are also experiencing similar Vitamin E and beta-carotene deficiencies in their own bodies. And that may also mean the Vitamin E and beta-carotene levels in grass-fed meats are the exact levels we need in our own bodies.
Grass-fed beef has Vitamin C and selenium. But vitamin C is very volatile, consequently to acquire adequate Vitamin C levels from beef one would have to eat it virtually raw.
Currently, there are many antidotal studies that indicate adequate levels of antioxidants are extremely important in fighting off chronic diseases and even aging. So foods that contain antioxidants rank high in terms of being anti-inflammatory. So, it seems to me that grass-fed meats may be a perfect source for antioxidants.
Fungus Among Us
There is yet another source of inflammation. That is from fungal infestations within our bodies. Certain fungi in our bodies will put out mycotoxins, especially when we eat high glycemic foods. Also some foods, such as grains and nuts, are more likely to be contaminated with mycotoxins. Straightforwardly mycotoxins are toxic chemicals produced by fungi. When fungi reside inside a body heavy mycotoxin loads can be very disruptive of normal body function, especially if a body has a compromised immune system. These “disruptions” are diagnosed as chronic diseases!
Consequently, many foods are considered very inflammatory because when these foods are ingested the fungi within our bodies thrive and spew out mycotoxins to mark their territory and prevent other parasites from eating their food. So it’s not really the food so much as it is the body’s response to fungal infestations and the mycotoxins they produce that cause people the greatest grief!