Foods | Simple Science Fitness


SSF Food Pyramid

Simple Science Fitness Food Pyramid

Did you know?
Corn is a grain. Peas and peanuts are legumes.

The suggested SSF Food Pyramid is an epidemiological common sense approach to consuming whole foods while limiting refined foods. Plant and animal sources are supplemented with dairy, legumes, nuts & seeds, and whole grains. Spices, herbs, and seasonings add to palatability.

This food pyramid is the foundation of the SSF Diet.

Pills for everything is a very Western thing. Anonymous

Why Does This Food Pyramid Work?

By comparing the nutrient density per calorie of major food groups, we can plot them on a graph. Foods that are nutrient-dense contain micronutrients that are required by the body, and are thus health promoting. Lack of nutrients and inflammation are linked to health risks. Overconsumption of calories and poor health are correlated with obesity.

Energy-Health Graph

At its essence, food is nothing more than water, macronutrients, and micronutrients consisting of calories.


Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium, and organic acids such as citric acid. Each micronutrient contributes to our body's functioning, repair, and growth.

For instance, vitamin A helps with immunity and vision. Vitamin A is abundant in carrots and sweet potatoes. Vitamin A is also fat soluble, which means the body absorbs the micronutrient with fat.

Allergies and Intolerances

Common food allergies are peanuts, eggs, milk, fish, soy, shellfish, tree nuts, and wheat.

Food intolerances, which include symptoms of inflammation such as heartburn, cramps, and diarrhea, are common after consuming corn products, dairy, and wheat gluten.

Did you know?
65% of the population is lactose intolerant, with as much as 90% in East Asian ancestry. However, cheese and yogurt are easier to tolerate since it goes through a fermentation process that breaks down the lactose in milk.

Cholesterol and Sodium

Despite the controversy cholesterol and sodium (salt) receive, they are not problematic. Food products high in dietary cholesterol such as eggs actually improve blood cholesterol. This is because dietary cholesterol is not the same as blood cholesterol.

Sodium is a mineral that is required by the body and becomes harmful when the individual has existing high blood pressure (hypertension), which is a consequence of a poor lifestyle.

Did you know?
An 88-year-old man who consumed 25 eggs a day for many years was found to have normal cholesterol levels.

Essential Foods

Essential foods bar chart

Suggested: Consume double portions of vegetables for every meat portion in each meal. Consume least one type of fruit a day.


Food listed in italics are among the most nutrient-dense food sources.

  • c Low Calories
  • V Vitamins
  • M Minerals
  • P Protein
  • F Good Fats
  • Ω Omega-3 (EPA & DHA)
  • f Fiber
  • S Starches
  • T Improves Testosterone

This section lists some of the most accessible and nutrient-dense foods that are abundant in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties, along with healthy low-calorie beverages. Also, calorie for calorie, it will keep you more satiated than other types of foods.

Use this section as a grocery shopping list.

If your goal is to lose weight, raspberries make great snacks since each raspberry contains only one calorie. They're also filled with fiber and nutrients.

Grass-fed beef contains a higher ratio of omega-3 fatty acids compared to corn- and soy-fed cattle. Beef products include steak, roasts, ribs, ground beef, sausages, and beef jerky. Pork products include bacon, sausages, ribs, and ham.

Try to limit processed meat such as sausages, salami, ham, and bacon, and ensure they are consumed with vegetables such as broccoli, which inhibits the carcinogenic effects of processed meat.


  1. KalecVMfT
  2. Collard GreenscVMf
  3. Bok ChoycVM
  4. ArugulacVM
  5. SpinachcVMfT
  6. ChardcVMfT
  7. BroccolicVfT
  8. Brussels SproutcVfT
  9. GarlicVMT
  10. MushroomcVMf
  11. AsparaguscVMf
  12. SquashcVMf
  13. CabbagecVf
  14. LettucecV
  15. TomatocVf
  16. CauliflowercVf
  17. RadishcVf
  18. Bell PeppercVf
  19. OnioncV
  20. LeekcV
  21. CarrotcV
  22. CucumbercV
  23. Sweet PotatoVMfS
  24. YamVMfS
  25. BeetcVf
  26. PotatoVMS

Take advantage of the low-calorie and high-nutrient benefits of vegetables.

Meat, Seafood, and Eggs

  1. SalmonVMPFΩT
  2. EggsVMPFΩT
  3. LiverVMPFΩT
  4. BeefVMPFΩT
  5. MackerelVMPFΩT
  6. TroutVMPFΩT
  7. SardinesVMPFΩT
  8. AnchoviesVMPFΩT
  9. BisonVMPFT
  10. OystersVMPT
  11. ClamsVMPT
  12. ChickenVMP
  13. VenisonVMP
  14. PorkVMPF
  15. TurkeyVMP
  16. LambVMPFT
  17. TunaVPΩT
  18. CrabMPT
  19. LobsterMPT
  20. ShrimpMPΩT

Limit processed meats and opt for fresh whole cuts, poultry, and seafood.

Oils and Fats

  1. Virgin Coconut OilF
  2. Extra Virgin Olive OilF
  3. Avocado OilF
  4. TallowF
  5. GheeF
  6. ButterFΩ
  7. Palm OilF
  8. Walnut OilF
  9. Flax OilF


  1. AvocadoFf
  2. All berriescf
  3. CoconutF
  4. Cherry
  5. Applef
  6. Bananaf
  7. Orangef
  8. Pomegranate
  9. Lemon/Lime
  10. Guava
  11. Kiwi
  12. Pearf
  13. Mango
  14. Peach
  15. Cantaloupe
  16. Pineapple
  17. Plum
  18. Grapes
  19. Watermelon


  1. Water
  2. Tea
  3. Black Coffee
  4. Coconut Water

The beverages listed are virtually calorie-free.

Spices and Herbs

  • Allspice
  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Fennel
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ginger
  • Mustard Powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric

Did you know?
Spices and herbs are extremely effective antioxidants.


  • Lemon/Lime Juice
  • Salt (Kosher or Sea)
  • Vinegar

The listed spices, herbs, and seasonings are very low in calories.

Foods in Moderation

Foods in moderation bar chart

Suggested: Pick from one group as a side for each meal. Try to use only one group source per day. i.e. A side of almonds for one meal and a side of cheese for another meal.

While not as nutrient-dense as the essentials above, these supplementary sides give your meals variety, flexibility, and satisfaction.

Nuts and Seeds

  1. AlmondsfPFT
  2. WalnutsF
  3. Macadamia NutsF
  4. FlaxseedsfF
  5. HazelnutsF
  6. PecansF
  7. Brazil NutsFT
  8. Pumpkin SeedsT
  9. Squash SeedsT
  10. Cocoa
    (Dark Chocolate)MT
  11. Sunflower Seeds
  12. Sesame Seedsf
  13. Cashewsf
  14. Pistachiosf

Nuts and seeds should be unsalted and unsweetened.


  1. Greek YogurtPF
  2. CheesePF
  3. Whole MilkPF
  4. Cream CheeseF
  5. CreamF


  1. Coconut Milk
  2. Red Wine
  3. Beer
  4. Hard Liquor

Did you know?
Red wine contains properties that are health-promoting.


  1. Green Beansf
  2. LentilsfS
  3. PeasfS
  4. ChickpeasfS
  5. Kidney BeansfS
  6. Alfalfaf
  7. Peanutsf
  8. Natural Peanut Butterf
  9. Soybean (Tofu)Pf

Did you know?
Legumes are among the highest sources of fiber.


  1. OatsS
  2. QuinoaS
  3. BarleyS
  4. Rye BreadS
  5. BuckwheatS
  6. Rice (Long-Grain)S
  7. Whole Wheat BreadS
  8. Corn on the CobS

Making your own bread ensures that there are no added sugars or preservatives.

Foods to Limit

Foods to limit bar chart

Suggested: Try to treat yourself a meal and beverage in this section once a week on your "cheat day" without going over your calorie limit.

Foods that are commercialized, pre-prepared, refined, processed, and manufactured are likely to be unhealthy, even when they try to make a health claim. Mixed beverages are easily consumed and are packed with dense calories which adds up very quickly. By looking at the ingredients list on processed food packages, you will often see some form of sugar, wheat, corn, or soy combined with polyunsaturated oils, along with several additives designed for preservation, texture, palatability, or colour. This section contains common inflammatory empty-calorie foods and beverages that are fattening, disease-promoting, and thus, should be restricted.

Occasional indulgences are encouraged when it's not part of your regular diet or compromising your goals.

Having no junk food inside your home can be enjoyed more outside the home as a treat.

Instead of eating living things designed by nature, we started doing the designing. Mark Schatzker, The Dorito Effect


  • Agave Nectar
  • Cane Juice
  • Dextrose
  • Glucose-Fructose
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Honey
  • Jam
  • Malt/Maltose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sauces
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Syrups

Did you know?
There are about 4 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon.

Artificial Sweeteners

  • Aspartame
  • Neotame
  • Rebiana (Truvia)
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Stevia

Despite having no calories, artificial sweeteners still alter gut microbiota linking it to type-2 diabetes. Sweet properties are also addictive, contributing to appetite cravings and promoting poor dietary habits.


  • Coolers
  • Energy Drinks
  • Fruit Juice
  • Low-Fat Drinks
  • Milkshakes
  • Pop/Soda
  • Sweetened Alcohol
  • Sweetened Coffee

Did you know?
1 tbsp of butter has less calories than 1 can of Coca-Cola.

Oils and Fats

  • Canola (Rapeseed) Oil
  • Cottonseed Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Margarine
  • Partially
    Hydrogenated Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Trans Fats
  • Vegetable Oil

The above oils are very high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, where consumption in excess contribute to several diseases.

Junk Food

  • Bagels
  • Biscuits
  • Cake
  • Candy
  • Cereal
  • Chocolate Bars
  • Cookies
  • Corn-Based Products
  • Corn Chips
  • Crackers
  • Doughnuts
  • Ice Cream
  • French Fries
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • "Gluten-Free" Products
  • Hamburgers
  • Hot Dogs
  • "Low-Fat" Products
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Pastries
  • Popcorn
  • Potato Chips
  • Pies
  • Pizza
  • Pretzels
  • Waffles
  • White Bread

The above are a combination of sweet, salty or fried. 2/3 of the list are sugar and wheat flour products. All are very high in calories.

Copyright © 2017 Simple Science Fitness/Joachim Lapiak.