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nutrient dense superfoods for maintenance

These foods will help you maximise nutrient density and sustain it for the long term.

“A nourishing, balanced diet that provides all the required nutrients in the right proportions is the key to minimising appetite and eliminating hunger at minimal caloric intake.”

Paul Jaminet

2016-07-06 (11)

Simply focussing on nutrient density can leave you with low energy density foods that may be unnecessary if you are happy with your current bodyfat levels.  The foods listed below are ranked using nutrient density and insulin load to increase the fat content a little for weight maintenance.

The chart below shows that these foods still rank at #4 of the 13 approaches analsed in terms of nutrient density in spite of containing a little mor efat!

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This chart shows the nutrients provided by these foods compared to the average of all foods in the USDA database.

nutrient-dense-maintenance

These foods still have a fairly low energy density (#4 of 13)  but not as much as the more aggressive weight loss approach.  The addition of some nuts and dairy brings up the energy density which means it will be easier to maintain body weight and satiety, especially if you are active.

2016-10-20-1

For completeness I’ve also included the nutrient density score, percentage of insulinogenic calories, insulin load (per 100g), energy density (per 100g) and the multicriteria analysis score score (MCA) that combines all these factors.

vegetables and spices

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food ND % insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g) calories/100g MCA
broccoli 23 36% 3 22 2.62
zucchini 19 40% 2 17 2.17
coriander 17 30% 2 23 2.16
watercress 24 65% 2 11 2.13
endive 15 23% 1 17 2.12
spinach 20 49% 4 23 2.08
chicory greens 14 23% 2 23 2.03
basil 18 47% 3 23 1.93
beet greens 14 35% 2 22 1.77
asparagus 17 50% 3 22 1.75
escarole 11 24% 1 19 1.72
Chinese cabbage 17 54% 2 12 1.70
parsley 15 48% 5 36 1.64
lettuce 15 50% 2 15 1.60
alfalfa 9 19% 1 23 1.59
cauliflower 15 50% 4 25 1.58
chard 14 51% 3 19 1.53
okra 14 50% 3 22 1.51
summer squash 13 45% 2 19 1.49
paprika 9 27% 26 282 1.49
mustard greens 11 36% 3 27 1.45
chives 13 48% 4 30 1.43
portabella mushrooms 14 55% 5 29 1.42
banana pepper 10 36% 3 27 1.35
turnip greens 11 44% 4 29 1.34
arugula 11 45% 3 25 1.33
cloves 9 35% 35 274 1.31
sage 7 26% 26 315 1.29
dill 13 59% 8 43 1.28
brown mushrooms 16 73% 5 22 1.28
white mushroom 13 65% 5 22 1.19
red peppers 8 40% 3 31 1.17
curry powder 3 13% 14 325 1.17
dandelion greens 11 54% 7 45 1.16
shiitake mushroom 11 58% 7 39 1.14
celery 10 50% 3 18 1.13
collards 7 37% 4 33 1.12
cucumber 7 39% 1 12 1.09
pickles 7 39% 1 12 1.09
edamame 7 41% 13 121 1.00
radishes 7 43% 2 16 0.97
sauerkraut 6 39% 2 19 0.96
yeast extract spread 9 59% 27 185 0.93
spirulina 11 70% 6 26 0.90
jalapeno peppers 5 37% 3 27 0.89
eggplant 4 35% 3 25 0.88
cabbage 8 55% 4 23 0.87
Brussel sprouts 7 50% 6 42 0.86
thyme 4 34% 31 276 0.86
chayote 5 40% 3 24 0.83
seaweed (wakame) 12 79% 11 45 0.83

seafood

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food ND % insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g) calories/100g MCA
salmon 19 52% 20 156 1.98
fish roe 18 47% 18 143 1.94
trout 16 45% 18 168 1.82
caviar 13 33% 23 264 1.72
oyster 16 59% 14 102 1.57
anchovy 12 44% 22 210 1.46
sturgeon 13 49% 16 135 1.46
cisco 9 29% 13 177 1.42
crab 17 71% 14 83 1.39
mackerel 6 14% 10 305 1.39
halibut 15 66% 17 111 1.31
sardines 9 36% 16 185 1.26
flounder 13 57% 12 86 1.25
herring 8 36% 19 217 1.25
tuna 11 52% 23 184 1.23
sardine 9 37% 19 208 1.2
rockfish 13 66% 17 109 1.15
lobster 14 71% 15 89 1.15
shrimp 13 69% 19 119 1.12
pollock 13 69% 18 111 1.07
crayfish 12 67% 13 82 1.05
perch 10 62% 14 96 0.91
cod 11 71% 48 290 0.87
whiting 10 66% 18 116 0.86
haddock 10 71% 19 116 0.82

animal products

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food ND % insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g) calories/100g MCA
lamb liver 19 48% 20 168 2.01
lamb kidney 19 52% 15 112 1.91
turkey liver 16 47% 21 189 1.72
veal liver 17 55% 26 192 1.71
beef liver 17 59% 25 175 1.63
chicken liver 14 50% 20 172 1.52
beef kidney 14 52% 20 157 1.48
beef brains 8 22% 8 151 1.42
lamb brains 6 27% 10 154 1.17
lamb heart 10 48% 19 161 1.15
ground turkey 6 30% 19 258 1.13
ham 12 59% 17 113 1.13
chicken liver pate 7 34% 17 201 1.12
turkey heart 9 47% 20 174 1.09
rib eye steak 8 41% 21 210 1.09
pork liver 11 59% 23 165 1.07
lean beef 11 61% 23 149 1.07
lamb chop 8 42% 25 234 1.06
roast beef 7 38% 21 219 1.06
roast pork 7 41% 20 199 1.05
beef heart 9 52% 23 179 1.04
chicken 10 60% 22 148 0.99
salami 2 18% 17 378 0.99
veal 11 65% 24 151 0.96
beef tongue 1 16% 11 284 0.95
turkey meat 8 52% 21 158 0.95
turkey drumstick 8 52% 21 158 0.95
pork chop 9 57% 23 172 0.94
T-bone steak 3 26% 19 294 0.94
ground pork 9 54% 25 185 0.94
lamb sweetbread 6 43% 15 144 0.92
pepperoni 0 13% 16 504 0.90
pork shoulder 9 56% 22 162 0.90
leg ham 8 56% 22 165 0.89

grains and cereals

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food ND % insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g) calories/100g MCA
baker’s yeast 15 53% 16 105 1.52
wheat bran 10 38% 34 216 1.38
All Bran 13 56% 55 259 1.33

dairy and egg

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food ND % insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g) calories/100g MCA
egg yolk 7 18% 12 275 1.47
whole egg 9 30% 10 143 1.40
Swiss cheese 5 22% 22 393 1.20
cheddar cheese 5 20% 20 410 1.18
cream 1 6% 5 340 1.14
butter 0 2% 3 718 1.11
sour cream 2 13% 6 198 1.09
cream cheese 2 11% 10 350 1.08
mozzarella 6 34% 26 304 1.04
parmesan cheese 4 34% 35 420 0.91
feta cheese 2 22% 15 264 0.86
limburger cheese 1 19% 15 327 0.83

legumes, nuts and seeds

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food ND % insulinogenic insulin load (g/100g) calories/100g MCA
peanut butter 2 17% 27 593 0.96
sunflower seeds 1 15% 22 546 0.92
tofu 5 34% 8 83 0.92
pumpkin seeds 1 19% 29 559 0.89
macadamia nuts -1 6% 12 718 0.87

other dietary approaches

The table below contains links to separate blog posts and printable .pdfs detailing optimal foods for a range of dietary approaches (sorted from most to least nutrient dense) that may be of interest depending on your situation and goals.   You can print them out to stick to your fridge or take on your next shopping expedition for some inspiration.

dietary approach printable .pdf
weight loss (insulin sensitive) download
autoimmune (nutrient dense) download
alkaline foods download
nutrient dense bulking download
nutrient dense (maintenance) download
weight loss (insulin resistant) download
autoimmune (diabetes friendly) download
zero carb download
diabetes and nutritional ketosis download
vegan (nutrient dense) download
vegan (diabetic friendly) download
therapeutic ketosis download
avoid download

If you’re not sure which approach is right for you and whether you are insulin resistant, this survey may help identify the optimal dietary approach for you.

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