The ANDI Scale: Thrive vs. Burger King

thrive_treats.jpg
via Thrive
Treats at Thrive.
A friend and I recently lunched at Thrive (1239 Alton Rd., Miami Beach). We split two entrées and a fresh juice. Our bill came to about $32. For $16, we each had half a portobello mushroom "pizza" topped with cashew nut cheese, a half portion of sweet potato and black bean stew with brown rice, a small side salad that comes with each entrée, and half a beet, carrot, and spirulina juice. Each of our meals totaled somewhere around 600 calories. That's a generous estimate. So if you do the math, that amounts to about 2.7 cents per calorie.

Compare that to a meal at Burger King (110 Fifth St., Miami Beach). A small Whopper Value Meal, consisting of the sandwich, a Coke, and fries, costs about $5.50 in Miami Beach and contains about 1,200 calories. That's .46 cents per calorie, which means that a calorie at Thrive costs about six times the price of a calorie at the Burger King seven blocks down the street.

Better deal? Maybe. But Whole Foods and many authorities on nutrition have recently looked to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) to calculate the value of a calorie.

burger-king-stackeredited.jpg
scrapetv.com
Stack 'em high as you want--- they still won't rank well on the ANDI
It considers food from the "nutritarian" perspective. Basically, it measures the amount of nutrients a food packs per calorie -- nutrients that do things such as prevent disease, boost energy levels, improve organ function, prevent bone loss, and contribute to healthy skin, nails, and teeth. According to the ANDI scores website, nutrients considered include:

Calcium, Carotenoids: Beta Carotene, Alpha Carotene, Lutein & Zeaxanthin, Lycopene, Fiber, Folate, Glucosinolates, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Selenium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, plus ORAC score X 2 (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity is a method of measuring the antioxidant or radical scavenging capacity of foods).
Foods can score anywhere from less than 1 (nutritionally bankrupt items, such as most sodas, score in this range) to 1,000 (cooked kale scores that number on the index). So let's look back at those two meals, considering the ANDI scores of the foods in each.

Burger King meal:
Ground beef: 29
White bun: 18
Iceberg lettuce: 110
Tomato: 164
French fries: 7
Total: 328*

Thrive meal:
Portobello mushroom cap: 135
Cashew nuts: 26
Alfalfa sprouts: 130
Sweet potato: 83
Black beans: 83
Cabbage: 420
Shredded carrot: 336
Tomato: 164
Field greens: 300
Beet/carrot/spirulina juice: approx. 365
Total: 2042*

By this measure, eating at Thrive gives more than six times the nutritional benefit as does eating at Burger King. At Thrive, the patron spends .008 cents per ANDI point, as opposed to .017 cents per ANDI point at the drive-thru -- so basically you pay almost five times as much for every little scrap of actual nutrition you buy at Burger King... and those scraps are buried under loads of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, fillers, preservatives, and additives.

So is it more expensive to eat healthfully? Maybe if you're eating only to get through the day. But you might want to weigh the long-term health costs of eating a cheap, nutrient-poor diet today before deciding where to buy your lunch.

*ANDI scores are based on a ratio of calories to nutrients, so portion sizes do not affect the scores. That means this demonstration is inexact, but we hope still useful to illustrate the value of a nutrient-rich diet.

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Thrive

1239 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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3 comments
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cottermannelson
cottermannelson

I don't believe you can add the scores. If 1000 is max, then you can't break that etc...

I could be wrong, but at the most you could maybe avg it. But I think it's based on what is causing the scores. Calcium in two different items doesn't increase it. But calcium in one and riboflavin in another would add together. Etc...

NickR
NickR

"So is it more expensive to eat healthfully? Maybe if you're eating only to get through the day."

How callow, how bourgeois. The people eating cheap, nutrient-poor diets don't do it because they think it's good eating; they do it because it's what they can afford. The look at their wallet, they look at who they need to feed, and it's Whoppers all around, because in their world, $16 can feed 3 people, as opposed to a single entitled prick.

Alex Cuevas
Alex Cuevas

Or you can spend $4 dollars for a bag of beans and brown rice and feed a family of six. I don't buy the "i can't afford to be healthy"..Where there is a will, there is a way... i do understand that people are not yet fully aware of the impact of a crap diet, just look at the stats of the numbers of U.S. and % of fat population... once people become aware, the next obstacle to overcome is the motivation to trade a food addiction in for health, energy, vitatlity, life and happiness...

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