I was exposed to a philosophical idea about the three types of food from Indian tradition. Remarkably they seem to make a perfect fit with our modern understanding of foods.
Sattva - Purity
These types of foods calm the mind, and sharpen the intellect. These are pure foods without preservatives, or artificial ingredients.
Rajas - Stimulating
These foods are stimulating. They arouse animal passions, make the mind restless, and make the consumer overactive. They can cause physical and mental stress, and encourage circulatory and nervous disorders.
Examples of rajasic foods are coffee, tea, garlic, heavily spiced and salted items, refined foods such as sugar, and soft drinks.
Tamas - Inertia
Foods that are tamasic result in inertia. They cause the mind to become dull and lazy, reduce motivation, remove focus, and cause the mind to lose purpose. They also cause the body to feel heavy and lethargic.
Tamasic foods are meat, fish, poultry, alcohol, and drugs. Foods that have been reheated a number of times are considered tamasic because the heating process destroys essential nutrients.
Overeating is considered a tamasic behavior.