Up For Debate: Are All Calories Created Equal?

Measuring Calories
In our never-ending search for effective diets, several weight loss programs have adopted the principle that what really matters is not the foods you eat, but how many calories you actually take in.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if you eat pizza and ice cream or salmon and vegetables. As long as you stay within an allotted number of calories—or certain amount of “points”—allowed per day, you will lose weight. (more…)

Liquid Calories Make You Fat

Health and Diet

Restaurants that refill your cup every time you empty it might not be offering you such a great deal after all — not when you count the calories that you consume from the beverage bonanza. For instance, each large glass of commercial iced tea contains about 180 calories. One refill brings you to 360 calories — more than six oreo cookies. (more…)

Dissecting the Energy Needs of the Body – Research Review

The majority of the resting energy expenditure can be explained by the energy needs of a few highly metabolic organs, making up a small percentage of the body by weight. The relationship of the specific size, individual metabolism, and proportional contribution to the actual body weight and total energy expenditure for each of these organs is a dynamic process throughout growth and development, the onset of disease, and changes in nutritional status. Defining the energy needs of the individual tissues and organ systems immeasurably enhances our understanding of the body’s response to these clinical processes, which otherwise could not easily be evaluated by focusing solely on total energy expenditure, fat-free mass, nitrogen imbalance, or actual body weight. Recently reported studies have served mainly to reinforce concepts described previously, and clarify some areas of controversy. (more…)

Calories II. Life is not fair: discuss

You are a conventional GP (dietician, nutritionist) who still believes that saturated fat is the work of the devil and that pharmaceutical
companies are charitable organisations whose raison d’être is to save lives. You have a new patient.

NM is 35 kg overweight. He used to exercise a lot in his twenties and early thirties, endurance training for up to 20 hours a week. In the last few  years life has been getting in the way, other priorities have replaced sport  from his mind. Now he exercises 3 times a week, each session lasting 100-120  minutes. (more…)

Start here….myths

Thanks for dropping by.

Before you starting reading my posts (aka my rants), here is a little sample of things that make me mad. I have made a list of several priceless pieces of Conventional Wisdom (CW). In italics below you will find my take on them.
Jump in, sit still and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times.
1. A calorie is a calorie. As long as you eat less and move more you will lose weight.
Our weight is regulated by hormones, not calories.

2. Cholesterol is evil. You need to avoid it in your diet at all costs and this will reduce your blood cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Cholesterol is a substance essential to life and health. Dietary sources of cholesterol do not have any correlation with heart disease. Blood cholesterol values are nearly useless in predicting a possibility of a heart attack or death.

3. Saturated fat clogs your arteries and makes you unhealthy and fat. You must avoid it by substituting butter with margarine, only consuming low-fat dairy and cutting fat off your steak.
Saturated fat consumption has no correlation with heart disease or obesity. Replacing natural animal fats with man-made highly processed vegetable and seed oils contributes to our bodies’ pro-inflammatory state.

4. You need several servings of healthy whole grains daily to provide necessary nutrients for health and fiber to keep you full and your bowels regular.
Grains are not a natural part of human diet. We are not birds. We have not evolved to process grain products and have no need for them. They can disrupt digestion and metabolism. They can also be downright toxic to some people.

5. You need to eat 5-6 small meals a day to rev up your metabolism, avoid spikes in insulin and maintain healthy weight.
Humans are not cows who graze all day. We can function perfectly well on 1-2 meals a day. The breakdown of muscle tissue after 3-4 hours with no food is a MYTH, perpetuated by the makers of protein shakes and cereal bars.

6. You need to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes to keep your heart healthy, maintain your weight and live longer (you lazy fat slob).
Exercise should be short in duration, high in intensity. There is no evidence that doing it 7 days a week is better than once a week. Do resistance training for strength, bone health and metabolic effect. Do random stuff for fun, sense of well-being and social interaction.

7. You need to have rigid x:y:z ratios of macronutrients in your diet. According to this new diet [insert the latest fad here], as long as you have x% of calories from protein [carbohydrates, fats, acai berry], it doesn’t matter whether it comes from a chemical cocktails (errr, I mean, a protein shake) or a piece of steak.
Stop reducing food to a sum of its parts. Eat real meals, made out of pronounceable ingredients, which you could easily find yourself on a farm.
The list is far from exhaustive, but it will do to start with.

Fats and Oils Made Simple

Someone recently sent me an article published in Food Navigator about low fat foods and diets. The article, based on an interview with Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Alice Lichtenstein, espoused the idea that ‘low fat’ is too simplistic a message from a nutritional perspective — and that the way high fat foods are being reformulated is not always appropriate. At first I was excited. After all, I’ve been promoting variations of this concept for several decades now. Unfortunately, barely a paragraph into the article, I could see that the world’s establishment nutrition experts still don’t get it when it comes to fat — and, dare I say, despite the title of the article, still subscribe to a “simplistic” understanding of fat despite their protestations to the contrary.