Food quality rating system

Base your food choices on 4 criteria:

Sugar and Starch Content (Low is Good)

Fiber Content (High is Good)

Water Content (High is Good)

Essential Nutrient Content (High is Good)


Assign a rank for any given food for each criteria:

(Good) +1

(Okay) 0

(Bad) -1


Add the rankings for all 4 criteria for a given food. This final score should range from -4 to +4. -4 would be the worst food imaginable, short of poison. +4 would be the best. So the higher the number, the better. Make sense?

Here's a few examples:

#1 BREAD

Bread, even supposedly healthier "whole grain" bread, is loaded with starch. BAD -1

Believe it or not, compared to other foods, it is also low in fiber. BAD -1

Drier than fruit, but more moist than crackers or chips. OKAY 0

Like other cooked grains, it is so nutrient-poor it has to be fortified. And the baking process destroys much of that. BAD -1

-1 + 0 + -1 + -1 = -3

Not quite the worst food imaginable, but close.

   

#2 ORANGES

Fresh, raw oranges have some sugar (obviously), but fewer overall carbohydrates than bread. OKAY 0

They are a decent source of fiber. OKAY 0

Clearly, they have lots of water. GOOD +1

Plenty of vitamins and minerals. GOOD +1

0 + 0 + +1 + +1 = +2

Not quite the best food source, but okay.


#3 STEAK

Very low in carbohydrates of any kind. GOOD +1

Poor source of fiber. BAD -1

Even the juiciest meat has lost some water content by cooking. OKAY 0

Good source of protein, iron, etc. GOOD +1

+1 + -1 + 0 + +1 = +1

Not as good as fruit, but substantially better for you than bread.

#4 SPINACH
Low in sugar and starch, even more so than fruit. GOOD +1
Excellent source of fiber. GOOD +1
Raw spinach, like most vegetables, has a high water content. GOOD +1
Pound per pound, one of the best all-around nutrient sources. GOOD +1
+1 + +1 + +1 + +1 = +4
Like many vegetables, spinach is one of the best food choices you can make.

So, to wrap it up, here's an ASCII "food pyramid" with the above examples ranked a bit differently than you'd expect from the "traditional" Food Pyramid:
    
                                                                       ^
                                                                    /      \
                                                                 /BREAD\
                                                               /--------------\
                                                             /    STEAK     \
                                                           /---------------------\
                                                         /      ORANGES      \
                                                       /-----------------------------\
                                                     /           SPINACH            \
                                                   /-------------------------------------\