I’m always emphasizing the value and importance of the protective micronutrients in High Nutrient Dense (HND) foods. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, the flavonoids and catechins, and others that science is discovering have significant impact on our bodies’ ability to fight disease, and particularly help prevent and reverse chronic conditions like arthritis, heart disease and diabetes.

It’s quite revealing why the HND diet we recommend has such a positive impact on our health when we compare it to different diets.

To start, let’s look at what is often referred to as the SAD diet, or Standard American Diet. This is the “meat and potatoes” diet that is so common on American tables and fills most restaurant menus. It’s what I grew up on.

Next is what I call the MAD diet, or Moderate American diet. This is the diet people often shift to when they start becoming more health conscious. They eat less meat, shift to whole grain products, eat fewer “empty calorie” sweets, and often add vitamins and other supplements. We call it the MAD diet, because people are eating more healthy, but they’re still catching colds regularly and experiencing chronic symptoms like arthritic pain, high blood pressure or cholesterol or diabetes. It drives them “mad” that their healthier habits aren’t having more significant results.

Finally, let’s look at the High Nutrient Dense diet that we’ve been promoting. This is the diet made up of a wide variety of organic, HND whole foods that have the highest proportion of protective micronutrients per calorie.

Here is a sample of the different diets and the foods they might contain:


All the major research studies show that the SAD diet sets the stage for the common ailments in North America like heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. It’s high fat, high cholesterol, and very acidic. Shifting to the MAD diet then, seems like it should make a significant difference. But when you chart it in terms of High Nutrient Density whole foods, it tells a different tale.

You can see how the MAD diet is still a large proportion of processed foods and dairy. In the processing of food,  many of the protective micronutrients are removed or destroyed by the processing, and this makes a huge difference in what our bodies have to work with. Any food that comes in a box, can, package, or bottle that has a label on it is processed.

As you can see in the chart below, the HND diet is almost all HND food, the food that provides the protective nutrients. The only processed food is the ume vinegar and olive oil, both of which have great nutritional value for our bodies!

This dramatic difference in the amount of protective nutrients we get when we eat a HND diet is why we believe the people we are working with who make the shift to HND foods are seeing such great result.

Here is what the different diets look like as a chart.

ChartSAD-MAD-HNDA picture is worth a thousand words. As you can see so graphically, with the HND diet all the low nutrient dense foods in the red and orange categories are gone. Everything we put in our bodies is rich in the nutrients that they need to restore health and stay healthy. And what we love the most is how great these foods can taste. Try some of the recipes in the previous blogs or check out the cookbook I wrote just to make the shift to HND foods fun and delicious. Click on “Cookbook” at the top of this page.

6 thoughts on “SAD, MAD and HND DIETS

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