Food Classification System

An Overview

The Food Classification System is based on a food rating system from level 0 to level 10.  It was devised for the purpose of placing foods in groups ranging from the healthiest (level 0) to the most “toxic” (level 10). This 0-10 scale was devised to eliminate the need for reading food labels, counting calories or points, or measuring portion sizes. Additionally, this classification system allows for accuracy when measuring compliance in the clinical setting and replication in the research setting.  Certain food levels of similar health value can be grouped into zones (detoxification zone, maintenance zone, and disease progression zone) for further simplification.

Background

Our current terminology and classification of nutrition in the medical literature relies on labels of different “diets”.  Examples include: The Mediterranean Diet; The Keto Diet; The Paleo Diet; The Vegan Diet; The Whole Food Plant-Based Diet; as well as others.  Such labels lack adequate specifications about the foods included in them such as preparation, place of acquisition, extent of processing.  Hence, individuals consume diets under the same “dietary label” but consume foods of completely different levels of health.

Both our clinical experience and the medical literature support “diets” that consists of either mostly plant foods or only plant foods are the healthiest.  However, this characteristic alone isn’t enough to determine the level of health of the “diet”.  We have seen many individuals in our clinical practice who state that they have followed a whole food plant-based diet for many years without adequate improvements in their health.  With further inquiry, we find that the foods they are consuming are overly processed.  We further find significant improvement in their health by removing excess processing of their food.   

Our long clinical experience and scientific evidence has shown that the most nutritious foods to consume are characterize as being whole, plant-based, and as close to their natural state as possible.  Hence, over the years, we have developed a classification for foods as a more accurate way of precisely describing the specific type of food and its level of processing at the time of consumption.

Detox: Level 0-4B

Maintenance: Level 0-6

Danger Zone: Level 7 or higher

THE FOOD CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM: THE “NUTS AND BOLTS”

Our Food Classification System is based on three fundamental characteristics:

Minimally processed
Whole
Plant Based

It is important to note that we do not use the labels, vegetarian, vegan, or raw vegan food to describe our food choices. This is important because, although there is considerable scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of these diets compared to diets that include meat, there are also unhealthy foods included in these diets I want to avoid. For example, deep fried, breaded okra is classified as vegan, but it may not be much healthier than sautéed chicken. To be certain that even plant-based food is healthy, we must consider how it was developed and prepared prior to our consumption. The science-based evidence that supports the position that minimally processed, whole, plant-based foods provide the most optimal nutrition is the foundation for our Food Classification System.

Our classification system takes into consideration that foods are complex chemical structures with many features that we understand and can characterize. However, we acknowledge that foods have many more characteristics that we do not understand and hence cannot classify.  Hence, our classification system is designed (and expected) to evolve over time.

As a result, our classification system does not limit its approach to simple finite factors such as calories, sugar content, or fat content, nor arbitrary classifications such as carbohydrates, fats, or proteins. We try to assess the “global” aspects of food:

  • 01.

    Basic characteristics - Plant, animal, inorganic mineral (i.e. salt), or synthetic foods
  • 02.

    Conditions of development
  • 03.

    Level of processing (with the understanding that some levels of processing may be beneficial to the nutritious value of the food)
  • 04.

    Basic chemical characteristics
  • 05.

    Potential effects on the human body

Our Food Classification System (patent pending) is a proprietary system of assigning foods and other nutritional substances to categories, based on their ability to facilitate optimal human body healing and function. Various properties of foods are utilized to categorize them within the system. Five basic characteristics are described in the Food Characteristics Design below.

Food Characteristics Design

Food Classification Factor 1:

Fundamental Characteristic of the Food

  1. Plant-based—Superior
  2. Natural Mineral in Inorganic State—Possibly Beneficial
  3. Animal-based—Inferior
  4. Synthetic—Inferior (i.e. vitamins, supplements, cloned animal products)

Food Classification Factor 2:

Processing Category A—Physical or Chemical Changes to the Food

GROUP 1
(Beneficial effects from processing)

  • Juicing
  • Blending
  • Ripening
  • Chopping
  • Freezing
  • Drying ( < 105°F)

GROUP 2
(Neutral)

  • Poaching
  • Warming ( < 155°F)
  • Drying/Dehydrating ( < 155°F)
  • Steaming (for duration of < 4 mins)
  • Boiling (for duration of < 10 mins)

GROUP 2
(Neutral)

  • Warming (155-200°F)
  • Drying/Dehydrating (155-200°F)
  • Steaming (for duration of 4-10 mins)
  • Boiling (for duration of 10-45 mins)

GROUP 4
(Neutral to mildly adverse effects from processing)

  • Warming (temp > 200°F)
  • Drying/Dehydrating (temp > 200°F)
  • Steaming (for duration of > 10 mins)
  • Boiling (for duration of > 45 mins)

GROUP 5
(Adverse effects from processing)

  • Jarring
  • Canning
  • Baking (temp > 400°F)

GROUP 6
(Very adverse effects from processing)

  • Sautéing (or stir frying)
  • Frying (deep, or shallow in a pan)
  • Grilling
  • Microwaving
  • Use of heat or chemical solvents to extract or separate components of a whole food (example; extracted vegetable oils)

Processing Category B—The Extent of Mixing or Combining of the Food (No direct application of Category B will be used in this version of the classification system)

Mono-Food—One ingredient

Pauci-Food—Five ingredients or less

Complex Food—Greater than five ingredients

Food Classification Factor 3:

Baseline Nutritional and/or Chemical Characteristics of the Food

01.
Glycemic Index- a major sub-factor

  • A.

    Low < 55
  • B.

    Medium 56 to 70
  • C.

    High > 70

02.
Nutrient Content- phytonutrient, vitamin, and mineral - minor sub-factor; a subcomponent of Nutrient Density

03.
Glycemic Load—minor sub-factor; a subcomponent of Glycemic Index

04.
Macromolecular Profile—percentage fats, carbohydrates, and proteins—a minor subfactor

Food Classification Factor 4:

Origin of Food’s Development

Development in “Wild Conditions” remote from polluted environments - Superior

Naturally Cultivated (remote from polluted environments) - Good

Unnaturally Cultivated - Inferior.

The above classification scheme is not meant to be memorized in detail. The purpose for providing it here is to show the various factors that are used to classify foods into the various food levels. Notice the absence of factors such as caloric content, portion size, protein amount, etc.

FOOD RX PROGRAM

A unique food classification system founded on the science of medicine and nutrition and clinically tested over time.

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