How Foods are Chosen
Quality - How Foods are Chosen for the Guide
The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) is a nutrition education non-profit started in 1999, dedicated to research, education, and activism on health promoting, traditionally prepared, nutrient-dense, whole foods in the human diet. Their shopping guide has been released annually since 2004, and is the ONLY guide of its kind, which truly rates foods on their nutrient density and lack of additives and processing.
What determines the quality of a product?
Food quality is assessed based on proven nutrition principles including plants and animals raised in healthy ways on mineral-rich soil; and grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables that are packaged in ways that preserve and enhance their naturally occurring nutrients. Key ranking factors include: nutrient density, organic, bio-dynamic, seasonal, raw, fermented, grass-fed, pastured, humanely raised, wild, and sprouted. Foods must be in their whole form, have no additives, artificial flavors, MSG, or trans-fats. Each of the 30 food and beverage categories have their own unique set of criteria to determine if the product should be ranked as BEST , GOOD , or AVOID.
Who chooses these products?
Since 2004, the non-profit Weston A. Price Foundation s team of food experts has scrutinized thousands of products and brands from small local farms to big ones who retail their products in grocery stores.
What products are rejected and why?
Foods suggested by users or brands for inclusion in the guide are constantly being reviewed by the experts at the Weston A. Price Foundation. Due to the high quality standards, many (or even most) are rejected. To see a list of rejected products and the reasons for rejection, click here
How foods are chosen in each category
- Cookies, Bars & Muffins
- Dairy: Butter & Ghee
- Dairy: Milk
- Dairy: Fresh Cheese
- Dairy: Aged Cheese
- Dairy: Cream
- Dairy: Ice Cream
- Dairy: Yogurt & Kefir
- Fats & Oils
- Fish Liver Oils
- Flour & Baking Supplies
- Grains & Legumes
- Lacto-fermentation Starters
- Meat: Bacon, Ham & Sausage
- Meat: Beef, Poultry, etc.
- Meat: Pemmican & Jerky
- Nuts & Seeds
- Salt & Spices
- Snack Foods
- Soups & Stocks
- Vegetables & Fruits
- Vegetables: Lacto-fermented
Organic lacto-fermented beverages (in glass jars) such as kombucha (made with organic black tea) and kvass; plain mineral water in cans or glass bottles without added sweeteners and flavorings.
Herbal coffee substitutes; organic herb teas without natural flavors, alfalfa, cocoa, chocolate, cacao, citric acid and caffeine, in moderation (and be careful of herb teas, some can have drug-like effects); organic unpasteurized beer and organic wine.
Soft drinks; diet drinks; fruit and vegetable juices; fluoridated water; coffee; tea (except for organic black tea used to make kombucha); water in plastic bottles; beverages containing fructose, high fructose corn syrup, agave, artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, stevia leaf extract, natural flavors, hemp, alfalfa, citric acid, caffeine, ascorbic acid, added vitamins or minerals, chocolate, cocoa or cacao.
Sourdough, soaked or sprouted breads made from freshly ground organic whole grain flour, without additives such as gluten, soy, bran and partially hydrogenated oils.
Breads made with organic flour, at least 50% organic whole grain flour, without additives such as gluten, soy, bran and partially hydrogenated oils.
Breads made with non-organic grains (most of which are sprayed with Roundup); most commercial breads, which are based on white flour and containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, added gluten, soy, bran or numerous additives. Breads containing ascorbic acid, hemp, brown rice syrup, sugar syrup, oat fiber, chocolate, cocoa or cacao.
“Water,” “milk” and “cream” extracted from fresh coconuts; whole canned (not in aseptic boxes) coconut milk without additives; canned (not in aseptic boxes) coconut cream without additives; unsweetened desiccated coconut meat; raw coconut butter; raw coconut spread; raw creamed coconut; raw coconut creme; coconut vinegar. All canned products preferably in BPA-free containers. *Available in BPA-free containers.
Canned (not in aseptic boxes) whole coconut milk and cream with emulsifiers; canned (not in aseptic boxes) coconut water. *Available in BPA-free containers.
Lite coconut milk; sweetened coconut meat; coconut products containing preservatives; coconut products in aseptic boxes.
Organic raw vinegars; organic aged balsamic vinegars; organic raw naturally fermented soy sauce, tamari and miso; organic arrowroot; organic mustard; organic flavoring mixes; organic mirin; organic fermented ketchup and sauces; organic natto; fresh gelatin made from animals fed non-GMO feed.
Pasteurized naturally fermented soy sauce, tamari and miso without preservatives; ketchup sweetened with organic sugar or natural sweeteners; sauces with natural ingredients and without MSG; pasteurized vinegar without natural flavors or caramel; sheet gelatin and gelatin powder made from animals fed non-GMO feed.
Most commercial sauces, ketchup and other condiments; liquid amino acids; bouillon cubes; distilled vinegar; gelatin made from animals fed GMO feed.
Cookies, Bars & Muffins
Cookies, bars and muffins made with organic natural sweeteners, soaked or sprouted whole grain flour, soaked/dried nuts and seeds, and butter, coconut oil or other traditional fats.
Cookies, bars and muffins made with organic whole grain flour, butter, palm oil or coconut oil.
Cookies, bars and muffins made with non-organic grains (most of which are sprayed with Roundup); most commercial cookies, bars and muffins made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or refined sweeteners like sugar, high fructose corn syrup and agave; granola bars; energy bars, especially those containing soy protein; cookies, bars and muffins containing natural flavors, coffee, chocolate, cocoa or cacao.
Sourdough, soaked or sprouted crackers made from freshly ground organic whole grain flour, without additives, added gluten, soy flour, unsoaked quinoa, partially hydrogenated oils and agave.
Organic whole grain crackers, made without additives, added gluten, soy flour, unsoaked quinoa, partially hydrogenated oils and agave.
Crackers made with non-organic grains (most of which are sprayed with Roundup); most commercial crackers based on white flour and containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, soy flour or additives. Crackers containing unsoaked quinoa, agave, chocolate, cocoa or cacao.
Dairy: Aged Cheese
Whole raw milk cheese made with milk from grassfed animals, using animal rennet or non-GMO vegetable rennet. Many imported and artisan cheeses are of this type. If smoked, must be naturally smoked. Many artisanal cheeses can be found through websites such as www.cheesesociety.org.
Whole raw cheese made with milk from animals not grass-fed. Whole milk cheese made from heated or pasteurized milk, preferably from grass-fed animals. If smoked, must be naturally smoked. (Note: Some cheeses labeled “raw” are actually made from milk that has been heated. Some are heated to just below the pasteurizing point. We have included these in the “Good” category, rather than “Best.”)
Lowfat and processed cheese; cheese slices; cheese spreads and other cheese-like substances; imitation cheese made from soy, almonds, hemp, rice, etc.; cheese made from homogenized milk; smoked cheese made with smoke flavoring or liquid smoke.
Dairy: Butter & Ghee
Raw butter from grass-fed animals.
Pasteurized butter and ghee (clarified butter) without natural flavors, preferably grass-fed.
Margarines and spreads; partially hydrogenated vegetable oils; shortenings; spreads combining butter with vegetable oils; whipped butter; butter and ghee containing natural flavors.
Fresh or cultured raw cream from grass-fed animals. As with raw milk, this usually must be purchased directly from a farmer or through a cow-share program or co-op.
Pasteurized non-homogenized cream, cultured cream and sour cream without additives.
Ultra-pasteurized cream; homogenized cream, cultured cream and sour cream; cream, cultured cream and sour cream with additives; canned whipped cream; imitation whipped cream made with vegetable oils; non-dairy creamers.
Dairy: Fresh Cheese
Raw whole cottage cheese, cream cheese and fresh cheese from grass-fed animals, with no additives.
Cottage cheese, cream cheese and fresh cheese from pasteurized whole non-homogenized milk, preferably grass-fed, with no additives.
All lowfat and fat-free cottage cheese, cream cheese and fresh cheese, and those made with additives; cottage cheese, cream cheese and fresh cheese made from homogenized milk and/or cream.
Dairy: Ice Cream
Homemade ice cream (except chocolate and those with natural flavors) made with cream from grass-fed animals (preferably raw), egg yolks, real vanilla and natural sweeteners.
Simple flavors (such as vanilla or pistachio) of commercial ice cream made with rBGH-free milk, cream, egg yolks and real vanilla. (Note: Unfortunately, all commercial ice cream is made with homogenized cream and milk.)
All commercial ice cream brands contain a form of antifreeze called propylene glycol, which is not listed on the labels. Commercial ice cream brands should only be eaten in very moderate amounts. Avoid ice cream made without cream and those containing extenders, soy products, powdered milk, powdered egg yolks, agave, artificial or natural flavors, vanilla flavor, chocolate, cocoa, cacao or additives.
Clean raw whole milk from certified healthy grass-fed animals, cow milk preferably from old-fashioned breeds that produce high-fat milk, such as Jerseys and Guernseys. We are pleased to announce that raw milk is available for sale in stores in ten states (CA, WA, AZ, NM, ID, CT, PA, NH, ME and SC). Over the past few years, sources of retail raw milk have become too numerous to list. To find high-quality, unprocessed milk in your area, either in a store or from the farm, visit realmilk.com or contact a local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation (westonaprice.org or 202-363-4394).
Full-fat pasteurized non-homogenized milk from grass-fed animals, without added vitamins. This milk is best if made into cultured dairy products such as yogurt and kefir.
Lowfat and skim milk; ultra-pasteurized milk; homogenized milk; flavored milk like chocolate milk; milk from animals that are not grass-fed; milk with added vitamins; processed imitation milk made from soy, rice, almonds, oats, hemp, etc.
Dairy: Yogurt & Kefir
Raw plain naturally cultured yogurt and kefir, without additives, made with whole non-homogenized milk from grass-fed animals.
Plain, whole yogurt and kefir from non-homogenized milk, without added vitamins, preferably grass-fed.
Lowfat and sweetened yogurt and kefir; yogurt and kefir from homogenized milk; yogurt and kefir with added vitamins.
Fresh eggs from pastured poultry, preferably soy-free and GMO-free.
Organic or high-omega-3 eggs.
Most commercial eggs, but if this is all that is available, buy them anyway, but do not eat them raw.
Fats & Oils
Organic extra virgin olive oil; organic cold pressed macadamia, avocado, almond, high oleic sunflower and high oleic safflower oils; organic virgin coconut oil; unrefined organic palm oil; fat and lard from pigs allowed to graze; tallow and suet from grass-fed cows and sheep; poultry fat from pastured poultry.
Cold pressed or expeller pressed unrefined sesame, sunflower, peanut, macadamia, avocado, almond, walnut, pecan, pistachio, hazelnut, brazil nut, chia seed, pumpkin seed, camelina, flax and high oleic safflower oils in small amounts; refined palm oil; refined coconut oil; extra virgin olive oil.
Most commercial vegetable oils including cottonseed, soy, corn, canola, rice bran, hemp and grapeseed oils; all margarines, spreads and partially hydrogenated vegetable shortenings.
Fish Liver Oils
High-vitamin fermented cod liver oil and fermented skate liver oil; unheated cod liver oil with natural vitamins retained. Note: Many WAPF Chapter Leaders sell cod liver oil and skate liver oil in the Best category. See www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/fermented-cod-liver-oil-available-from-chapter-leaders-and-members/
Processed cod liver oil with synthetic vitamins in the right proportions: ten or fewer units vitamin A to one unit vitamin D, and with at least 2,500 IUs of vitamin A and 250 IUs of vitamin D per teaspoon.
Cod liver oil with low levels of vitamin A and/or low levels of vitamin D.
Flour & Baking Supplies
Freshly ground and then soaked, organic whole grain flours; freshly ground organic sprouted/dehydrated grains; aluminum-free baking powder; organic roasted carob and roasted carob powder.
Organic sprouted flours and baking mixes made with them; organic whole grain flours (which should be soaked); limited use of organic unbleached white flour.
Unsoaked whole grain flours, bleached white flour, soy flour and baking mixes made with them; baking powder containing aluminum; chocolate, cocoa and cacao. Sprouted grains, legumes and flours (even organic) from China.
Grains & Legumes
Organic dried beans (except soybeans unless used for making fermented foods such as natto), lentils, whole grain rice, whole grains (except bulgur) and whole grain hot cereals (which must be soaked before cooking); wildcrafted wild rice; organic popcorn (to pop at home); organic sprouting seeds except alfalfa and soybean. All grains should be soaked in an acidic medium to minimize enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid. Purchase brown rice and hot cereals in sealed packages, not from bins, to avoid rancidity.
Organic soaked granola; organic canned legumes (except soybeans unless used for making fermented foods such as natto), eaten only once or twice a month; organic whole grain, buckwheat, corn, brown rice and legume pasta.
All non-organic grains and legumes (most of which are sprayed with Roundup); extruded cold breakfast cereals; unsoaked granola; bulgur; quick cooking grains; white rice and white flour products including pasta; quinoa pasta; non-organic canned baked beans and similar products; puffed grain products, such as rice cakes; factory-made modern soy foods; soybeans unless used for making fermented foods such as natto; soybean sprouting seeds and sprouts; alfalfa seeds and sprouts. Grains, legumes and sprouting seeds (even organic) from China.
Natural culturing starters for kombucha, dairy products, bread and vegetables, except those containing maltodextrin.
Meat: Bacon, Ham & Sausage
Sausage, bacon and processed meats from (preferably soy-free and GMO-free) animals allowed to graze, processed without additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG). (Note: Products containing hydrolyzed protein, citric acid, “spices,” or “natural flavors” usually contain MSG.) Pastured meats cured with salt, a small amount of sugar and naturally smoked. Also fine, pastured meats cured with sodium nitrite and added sodium erythorbates or ascorbates, which are antioxidants required by the USDA.
Sausage, bacon and processed meats made with the help of celery juice, celery powder, celery seed, spinach juice, spinach powder, carrot juice, carrot powder, beet juice, beet powder, sodium nitrate or sodium phosphate but without MSG and other questionable additives.
Most commercial sausage, bacon and processed meats containing MSG, smoke flavoring, liquid smoke, torula yeast, sodium lactate, dry milk powder or high levels of additives; processed meats that are high pressure treated.
Meat: Beef, Poultry, etc.
Fresh or frozen beef, veal, lamb, poultry, goat and pork, including fat and organ meats, from (preferably soy-free and GMO-free) animals allowed to graze; venison and other game meat. (For a list of farmers providing grass-fed animal products, see www.eatwild.com or localharvest.org, or contact a chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation, westonaprice.org or 202-363-4394.) Note: It is important to consume organ meats and meat with the fat. Consumption of lean meats can lead to deficiencies.
Organic or naturally raised poultry, pork, veal and rabbit; beef, bison, lamb and goat.
Most commercial chicken, turkey and pork, which is raised in confinement on industrial farms.
Meat: Pemmican & Jerky
Pemmican, jerky and other meat snacks made from (preferably soy-free and GMO-free) animals allowed to graze, processed without additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG). (Note: Products containing hydrolyzed protein, citric acid, “spices,” or “natural flavors” usually contain MSG.) Pastured meats cured with salt, a small amount of sugar and naturally smoked. Also fine, pastured meats cured with sodium nitrite and added sodium erythorbates or ascorbates, which are antioxidants required by the USDA.
Pemmican, jerky and other meat snacks made with the help of celery juice, celery powder, celery seed, spinach juice, spinach powder, carrot juice, carrot powder, beet juice, beet powder, sodium nitrate or sodium phosphate but without MSG and other questionable additives.
Most commercial pemmican, jerky and other meat snacks containing MSG, smoke flavoring, liquid smoke, torula yeast, sodium lactate, dry milk powder or high levels of additives.
Nuts & Seeds
Fresh organic or wild raw nuts and seeds (except hemp) in sealed packages (not from bins); organic raw almonds by mail order (as store-bought organic raw almonds have been heat-treated); soaked/sprouted organic or wild raw nuts, seeds and butters (except hemp). Soaked/sprouted nuts and seeds must be soaked in salted water. Nut and seed butters must be made with nuts and seeds soaked/sprouted in salted water. Note: Soak raw nuts and seeds in salted water for 6-8 hours and dry in a dehydrator or in an oven at a warm setting. Store in airtight containers. Walnuts should be stored in the refrigerator.
Fresh raw and dry roasted nuts and seeds (except hemp); peanut butter made from roasted peanuts, and other nut and seed butters (except hemp) without partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, sugar, agave, chocolate, cocoa, cacao, flavorings or other additives. Note: Soak raw nuts and seeds in salted water for 6-8 hours and dry in a dehydrator or in an oven at a warm setting. Store in airtight containers. Walnuts should be stored in the refrigerator.
Peanut butter, other nut and seed butters and nut mixtures containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, sugar, agave, chocolate, cocoa, cacao, flavorings or other additives; hemp seeds and products. Nuts and seeds (even organic) from China.
Salt & Spices
Unrefined salt (which is light grey, pink, red or beige in color); fresh seasoning herbs; non-irradiated dried seasoning herbs, spices and blends without additives. If smoked, must be naturally smoked.
Non-iodized salt; dried seasoning herbs, spices and blends without additives; blends containing salt.
Iodized salt; MSG; salts, herbs, spices and blends containing MSG, citric acid, hydrolyzed protein or other additives. Spices and herbs (even organic) from China.
Fresh or smoked caviar and roe without added colorings; fresh or frozen ocean-going fish, especially herring and mackerel; shellfish (crab, lobster, oysters, clams and mussels) in season; fresh or frozen wild shrimp (US shrimp from Maine is wild); Pacific or Alaskan salmon, fresh or frozen; kippered (naturally smoked), dried or pickled herring, eel, mackerel and salmon that have not been canned; dried, salted small fish (available in Asian markets); trout and catfish guaranteed from clean waters; canned cod liver.
Canned tuna without hydrolyzed protein and other additives; canned sardines or anchovies in water or olive oil; canned Alaskan salmon; canned shellfish; canned roe and caviar without added colorings.
Farmed salmon, catfish and trout; seafood containing soy oil, vegetable oil, hydrolyzed protein, citric acid, smoke flavoring or liquid smoke; seafood from China.
Organic potato chips, plantain chips and popcorn cooked in pastured lard, ghee, coconut oil or palm oil; organic popcorn home-popped in pastured lard, ghee, coconut oil or palm oil.
Organic chips and popcorn cooked in lard (but may contain additives), avocado, olive, palm, high oleic sunflower or high oleic safflower oil; plain pork rinds.
All chips, popcorn and snack foods cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils; microwave popcorn; snack foods containing agave, citric acid, unsoaked quinoa, chocolate, cocoa or cacao; snack foods made with non-organic grains (most of which are sprayed with Roundup); non-organic chips and popcorn.
Soups & Stocks
Stock made with bones of pastured poultry, beef, veal, water buffalo, lamb, goat, game meats and pork fed non-GMO feed; stock made with wild seafood or bonito flakes; GMO-free homemade soups based on homemade stock (bone broth).
GMO-free canned broth or stock without additives. Add 1-2 teaspoons gelatin (recommended brands) to these canned broths and stocks.
Most canned and all dehydrated soups, which are loaded with MSG; stock sold in high-temperature aseptic boxes; bouillon cubes. Soups and stocks that are not GMO-free.
Organic natural sweeteners such as molasses, green stevia leaves and green stevia powder, dehydrated sugar cane juice, malt syrups, coconut sugar, palm sugar, date sugar and sorghum syrup; maple syrup, maple sugar; organic sugar for making kombucha; raw, unfiltered honey from hives that are free of pesticides, antibiotics and non-organic sugars. (Note: Raw honey should not be given to babies.)
Raw, unadulterated honey, preferably unfiltered. Organic jams made with natural sweeteners, and without ascorbic acid and citric acid. Water-extracted pure monk fruit that is not combined with sugar alcohols.
White sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, fructose, agave, yacon syrup, imitation syrups, heated honey, concentrated fruit juices, monk fruit that is not water-extracted, stevia extracts (liquid and powder), artificial sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal), sugar alcohols, such as xylitol; jams made with sugar, ascorbic acid or citric acid.
Vegetables & Fruits
Fresh organic, biodynamic or wild fruits and vegetables, preferably local and in season. Dried organic, biodynamic or wild fruits and vegetables with no added sugar, oil, additives and preservatives, and not from China. Unsprayed whole sea vegetables not from China. (Lists of organic and biodynamic produce farmers can be found on many websites, such as localharvest.org.)
Fresh fruits and vegetables in season. (Note: wash well to remove as much pesticide residue as possible.) Frozen organic fruits and vegetables without ascorbic acid and citric acid, and not from China. Canned organic tomato products without sugar and citric acid in BPA-free containers that are not aseptic boxes.
Most canned fruits and vegetables; most Hawaiian papaya (which is genetically engineered); goji berries. Fruits, vegetables and seaweed (even organic) from China. Any fruits and vegetables coated with Apeel. (Apeel is often used on organic fruits and vegetables.)
Unheated, organic lacto-fermented vegetables (in glass jars) made with unrefined salt and/or a culture, not vinegar.
Unheated, non-organic lacto-fermented vegetables; vegetables cultured with raw vinegar.
All pasteurized or heated pickled vegetables and sauerkraut. Lacto-fermented vegetables containing additives such as calcium chloride.