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Stratifying My Foods By Nutrient Density

I thought it would be fun to figure out a way to stratify the foods in my diet by nutrient density. So, I created this spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VnG4oMoHyjMZLvSVgoKYzNFnZUKXlAuvipIghhUk-QQ/edit?usp=sharing. Contained within it is virtually every food I typically eat, and a few that I eat on occasion.

I started by cataloging all of the foods I eat, then going through their nutrient profiles and assigning them a score. I assigned points to a food based on how much of a nutrient the food provided relative to that nutrient's DRI based on a 100g serving. If the food provided over 5% of a given nutrient, the food would get 1 point. Over 10%, then 2 points. Over 20%, then 3 points. Over 40%, then 4 points. Over 80%, then 5 points. If the food yielded 100% of the DRI per 100g, it would get 6 points. For example, a food that provided 5% of the DRI for choline and 20% of the DRI for folate would get a score of 4. The average score per food was around 30 points, ranging from around 1 to 80 points across all of the foods.

The next step was to figure out the nutrient density by calories, which was easy. But I ran into an issue. The scores ended up favouring foods that were really low in calories per 100g despite not being terribly nutrient dense. I needed to figure out a way to separate the caloric weight vs non-caloric weight, because the water and/or fiber content of a food could bloat its score. For example, black coffee has a nutrient density score of 2, but 1 calorie per 100g because it's 99% water. So, it shot up to the top of the list. Sorry, coffee is not more nutrient dense than liver, haha.

I ended up taking the weight of each food, minus the fiber and water, divided by calories, and then divided by the nutrient score. Then you have a reasonably clean stratification of nutrient density by caloric weight, which is listed as the Final Score on the spreadsheet. The only issue now is that low water foods are favoured. Which means high fat foods and dehydrated foods have an artificially higher score. So, cashews and popcorn are unusually high on the list. But, whatever. It's pretty good all things considered.

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