Dan Kittredge – Local, regenerative and organic have no connection to nutrient density, soil health does

A long-overdue check-in interview with Dan Kittredge, founder of the Bionutrient Food Association. We discuss their involvement in the revolutionary beef study, all the research they have been doing and where they have been showing absolutely no connection between the labels, local, organic, regenerative, farmer’s marketetc., and nutrient density.

What has been shown is a correlation between soil health and nutrient density. All the claims about regenerative agriculture that leads to more nutrient-dense food, they are only true if it leads to healthier soil, and in some or many cases, it actually doesn’t. It all starts with the soil. Plus, very interestingly, the potential of nutrient density: most of the crops they researched scored very very poor compared to what they could have scored. The pessimist would say: look at the empty crops we are eating depleted of nutrients, the realist would say look at the amazing potential. Crops could be (on certain aspects) 10x or 20x more nutrient dense. Let’s get to work!



Dan explains the beef study’s purpose: disrupting agriculture globally through a nutrient density strategy.

”In the beef study, we just said OKAY; no one’s ever defined nutrient density before. This is a really complex project. We don’t really know how to do it, but we think we’ve got some ideas. Let’s start with a crop that has some meaningful effect. So, cucumbers are nice. But beef— there’s basically more land in the world used to produce beef than any other crop. A: So, if you’re worried about the ecological implications of agriculture and economic incentives to shift health, that crop is managed, and you’d want to work with one that’s got a major global impact. And B: there’s more money used to purchase beef than any other crop, right? Sugar, rice, milk, whatever. It’s the largest global, ecological, and economic footprint of any crop. So that’s why we started with it—not because it was the easiest thing, but because it had the biggest bang for your buck.”
Dan Kittredge


Dan describes the design of a project to assess the samples independently from various experts, including microbiologists, biochemists, human nutritionists, agronomists, and soil scientists.

”Nutrient density is the point where all these things connect. Right? We don’t know what it is. So, we’re going to look deeply at nature and see if we can find patterns. And if we can find a pattern, then we’ll say that’s what it is. Because who are we to say we know what it is? Let’s let nature be our guide and let the scientific method be our process. So, we’re at the point now where we’re establishing the Bio-Nutrient Definition Standards Board (BDSB) and bringing in microbiologists and giving them the microbiome data and saying, look at this microbiome data, and you tell us which animals you think are most well, at least well, and we give the human nutritionists the human data and say, which responses were most beneficial, least beneficial. And then you get the agronomists, the management data, and the soil scientists, the soil data, and the idea is to bring in those who have specialised insight in each of these realms and ask them independently to assess the samples, one to one to 100. And then put them all together and see if there’s a pattern.”
Dan Kittredge


According to Dan, the first job is to define nutrient density. You can’t build a metre to test nutrient density until you define it.

”All we’ve done so far is find nutrient variations. And this drives to the question of the meter. And so, if we show him that variation exists, it is massive, and it connects the soil health like we thought it did, and metres can be built to test it. Now, the question is: What is nutrient density? Because you can’t build a metre to test nutrient density until you’ve defined it. And so, that’s what we’ve been working on since 2021. With the beef project, and here in 2024, this is April, I think we will have all of the data from the school project completed completely in our database by a month or month and a half from now. And now we can actually begin to hand that data over to the scientists to say, okay, now can you give us at least a regular green about what nutrient density is in beef? So, and then once we’ve got that, once you’ve got biochemical markers, which correlate with this complex, holistic definition of nutrient density, then we can hand those biochemical markers over to people who want to engineer metres, and they can build nutrient density metres.”
Dan Kittredge


The organisation, Dan tells us, has made a strategic decision to prioritise community engagement and education, starting with an online conference in May.

”We’ve been spending a lot of time and almost all of our money and effort in the last couple of years really trying to define nutrient density in a crop, and so the conferences and the education and communication with the movement have really been put on the backburner. And we made a strategic decision at the board level in the organisation in January to say, Let’s really get back to our roots. Because doing science in a silos without keeping the community engaged is really defeating the point, it’s got to be much more connected. We are really excited to have our next Soil & Nutrition Conference online starting in May.” Dan Kittredge


Koen and Dan also talked about:

  • Omega-3 and omega-6 ratios in animal health and welfare
  • The nutritional benefits of sprouted grains
  • Ultra-processed foods and their impact on health




Feedback, comments, suggestions? Reach me via Twitter @KoenvanSeijen, in the comments below or through Get in Touch on this website.

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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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