- The critical difference between nutrition quantity and nutrition quality
- How looking at nutrition per calorie flips much of what we think about nutrition on its head
- Why fortifying foods misses the nutrition boat entirely
- How everything that’s bad about refined carbohydrates are still in whole grain carbohydrates
- How calling whole grains healthy is a bit like calling a soda with a vitamin dissolved in it healthy
- How we have to look at the quality of calories we are consuming along with the vitamins and minerals we consume
- How whole grains are not a good source of any vitamin or mineral relative to SANE foods
- How to burn fat without slowing down the metabolism, feeling terrible, and burning muscle tissue
- Why trying to get nutrition from supplements is sub-optimal
- How everything that we’re already eating to maximize Satiety and minimize Aggression also maximizes Nutrition
- A simpler way to look at nutrition labels
- How the more water, fiber, and protein in a food, the more Nutritious it is
- How whole grains are less bad for us than refined grains, but still not good for us
- How whole grains are not good sources of fiber relative to fruits and vegetables
Fiber Per Calorie in Whole Grains Compared to SANE Foods
Calories Needed to Get 46 Grams of Clog-Clearing Fiber
- How the message around whole grains should be: “Whole grains, not as bad for you as refined grains.”
- How getting a healthy amount of fiber from whole grains requires overeating
- Why all bran type of cereals are also not good sources of fiber relative to SANE foods
- Delicious and incredibly nutritious breakfast options
- A SANE substitute for cereal
- What the most nutritious foods in the world are
- How seafood is a critical component of a nutritious diet
- How some fruits are much more nutritious than others
- How nuts, beans, and milk are not good sources of protein
Grams of Protein in 250 Calories
- How serving sizes can lead to all sorts of nutrition confusion
- What foods are actually good sources of protein
- Which dairy products are good sources of protein
- Why protein is such a critical component of a nutritious and slimming diet
- How fat is a critical component of a nutritious and SANE and slimming diet
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- Calorie Quality Factor 3: Nutrition Part 1 (The “N” in SANE)
- Calorie Quality Factor 3: Nutrition (Part 2)
- FAQ - The Smarter Science of Slim cites dozens of international research studies that show natural fats aren’t bad, but then goes on to recommend lean meats, a blend of egg whites with whole eggs, and low-fat or fat-free plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Is this a contradiction?
- FAQ – Why should I eat egg whites vs. whole eggs? Why should I eat low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat plain Greek yogurt vs. the full fat variants?
Trailer: Jonathan Bailor’s Smarter Science of Slim
Jonathan: Welcome to Living the Smarter Science of Slim, where we provide a scientifically proven lifestyle for long-term health and fat loss by eating more and exercising less, but smarter.
Carrie: Eat smarter, exercise smarter, live better – I am so ready for that.
Jonathan: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor, Carrie Brown here, living the Smarter Science of Slim. We’re going to talk about the third factor that determines the quality of a calorie today or the N in SANE: Nutrition.
Carrie: You know I studied Nutrition at school – that would be about a hundred years ago – I thought I would get that in before you did. And since I’ve met you I’ve discovered that everything they told me was pretty much wrong!
Jonathan: Well, it’s like most of the things we talk about, Carrie, where there is a bit of truth there but the challenge is that everything we’ve heard about Nutrition has to do with Nutrition quantity rather than Nutrition quality. And when we pivot Nutrition on a quality basis rather than on a quantity basis it does flip quite a few things on their head.
Jonathan: So the key distinction here, like I already said, is the difference between Nutrition quantity and Nutrition quality and intuitively we all kind of know this. For example if I would say that 10 doughnuts are 10 times as nutritious as 1 doughnut, of course that doesn’t make any sense because we all know intuitively that along with 10 doughnuts comes 10 times more of the things that are not great about doughnuts and that is why they are not 10 times more nutritious. We have to look at the ratio of bad stuff to good stuff. Not just the raw quantity of good stuff which is what Nutrition typically does, right. You look at the side of a sweetened cereal box and you see the quantity of Nutrition. What we don’t talk about is the quality of the calories we are getting along with that Nutrition, and that gives us a pretty inaccurate picture of Nutrition.
Carrie: So it’s not necessarily better to eat, you know, 10 times as much cereal because it has been fortified with Vitamin B12?
Jonathan: Exactly, Carrie, and the whole concept of fortification is actually wonderful for what we are talking about. It’s saying: Here’s food which is not nutritious and we’re going to try to infuse it with Nutrition. But everything that makes that food not nutritious is there. It’s like taking a Vitamin C pill and dissolving it in a Pepsi. It doesn’t make the Pepsi healthy now because it contains vitamin C. Everything that makes white bread bad for you is still in whole wheat bread. It’s just that there are also some other things. We seem to have lost sight of that. We think that we can just add Nutrition into foods and that’s all that matter and sadly it’s not.
Carrie: Hm, I’ve never thought about it like that. But now I have on that rare occasion that I eat bread I’m just gonna eat white bread and be done with it!
Jonathan: Ha ha, well I hope you are kidding. But yes, I guess on the rare occasion… It’s not about being…
Carrie: I’m kind of kidding.
Jonathan: It’s not about being perfect. But when we start to think about just the sheer quantity of Nutrition in things, again we can end up with a really weird state of affairs where you have, you know, sugar, smack, puff, charms, just so I don’t get sued by anyone, and you know it’s a great source of whole grains and it provides a 100 percent of your Vitamin A, B, C and D. If I take a 5 lb. bag of sugar and drink it and then take a vitamin pill it doesn’t make what I just did healthy. Even though I just got a 100 percent of all of my daily vitamins and minerals because of all the other things I took in with that Nutrition makes it not nutritious at all.
Jonathan: And this is the very roundabout way of getting to this very simple equation which is: When we look at Nutrition labels and when we say things like 10 doughnuts are not 10 times more nutritious than 1 doughnut, we have to think about nutrients per calorie, rather than just total number of nutrients.
Carrie: OK. Got it.
Jonathan: And when we talk about nutrients per calorie that’s really more of a quality measure there and that really does flip things on its head. For example if we were to look at just, let’s say a cup of enriched wheat flour versus a cup of spinach, I have a nice graph here and I’ll put it on the website, the enriched wheat flour actually looks like it has quite a bit more Nutrition than the spinach, and it’s a cup compared against a cup so from a quantity perspective, that wheat flour looks like pretty good option relative to that spinach, doesn’t it Carrie?
Carrie: Looking at that chart, yes it does.
Jonathan: But here’s the challenge, Carrie, that cup of enriched wheat flour contains 495 calories, and guess how many calories the cup of spinach contains?
Jonathan: Ha ha, well almost. Seven. But here’s the problem with that quantity comparison: We were taking 495 calories worth of enriched wheat flour and comparing it with 7 calories of spinach. That’s not a fair comparison. If we compare 250 calories of enriched wheat flour versus 250 calories of spinach we can get Nutrition per calorie. What we see here and what you can see if you visit the show notes is that spinach just crushes enriched wheat flour. I’m talking, like spinach has 2,000% more vitamin A and 500% more vitamin C and 6,000+% more vitamin K. It’s just no comparison.
Carrie: Yeah, looking at that chart that is kind of crazy. Good crazy.
Jonathan: It is good crazy, but think about it Carrie, that is how… when people talk about Nutrition they often say these whole grains are a good source of X. What’s missing from that again, that’s Nutrition quantity. Yes, that 400 calories serving of pasta does have some riboflavin in it, but what else could we have done with those 400 calories. If we have 400 calories of organic grass fed beef and kale, we’d have a heck of a lot more riboflavin, a heck of a lot more everything because we have to look at Nutrition per calorie, not just raw quantity of Nutrition.
Carrie: Got it. That’s a whole new way of looking at things, though.
Jonathan: It is a whole new way of looking at it and it’s… the good news… a couple of good things. First, it’s pretty easy to do. We don’t just look at the percent of Nutrition or the percent of vitamin C, we look at the percent of vitamin C on the Nutrition label, then we look at the number of calories and we just do a quick comparison.
Carrie: So you’re using this a part of how to tell how SANE a food is. Is that right?
Jonathan: I am, I am, and actually forget about the equation I just mentioned, don’t forget about it, but don’t feel like you need to use it because most people don’t like doing math and we can provide some more general guidelines that will help you make the most nutritious decisions possible here in a few minutes.
Jonathan: But circling back, the really key reason it’s important to look at Nutrition this way and when I say this way, I’m saying Nutrition per calorie, is two things. One, it gives us a more accurate view of which foods are nutritious, we just did an example of this: wheat flour versus spinach. It also helps us to understand how we can get our body to burn fat instead of suffering from the side effects of starvation that we covered in earlier podcasts such as slowing down metabolism or burning muscle.
Carrie: Got it.
Jonathan: And those are very important, right, knowing which foods are nutritious and not slowing down the metabolism and burning muscle, but instead burning fat, that’s what we are all here to do. So it really is a key thing for us to understand.
Carrie: So those ads where, and I don’t have a TV so it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one, but I remember there being some ads which would kind of have, you know, if you eat a bowl of this cereal, then it’s like eating, you know, 58 bowls of buckwheat or something like that, they’re actually really misleading.
Jonathan: They are very misleading and you could create a similar commercial that says: Taking this vitamin pill is like eating some truckload of food, but we all know that just eating a vitamin pill is not the same, we all know intuitively that’s not the same and years and years of research have basically shown that despite how much we think we understand about Nutrition, the more we learn, the more we find out we don’t understand. And pretty much everyone in the exercise, health, fitness community, there’s… of course people disagree on a lot of things, but one thing that pretty much everyone agrees on, even, you know, people… the vegans versus the carnivores, everyone pretty much agrees that eating food is critical. And that this idea that we can just extract out nutrients and take pills and that that somehow can do all of the things food can… pretty much anyone who are in this arena and knows what they are talking about realises that human ingenuity, no matter how smart we think we are, we are not going to outsmart millions of years of evolution. So back to Nutrition quality. We talked about it, it’s about nutrients divided by calories, but we can simplify this, Carrie, and we talked in earlier podcasts about the first two factors of calorie quality being Satiety and Aggression and how foods high in water, fibre and protein are very satisfying and they’re unaggressive and that’s great because we just like water, fibre, protein – that’s all we need to think about. The good news, Carrie: That holds for Nutrition as well. Foods that have the highest ratio of nutrients to calories are high in water, fibre and protein, so everything that we are already doing, all the food that we have already identified as SANE, same things apply: Water, fibre, protein makes them high in Nutrition.
Carrie: That’s pretty handy.
Jonathan: It’s very handy and here’s why.
Carrie: Because it keeps it simple, right.
Jonathan: Very simple. Very simple.
Carrie: I’m not juggling with this list of food is good for these reasons and this list is good for those reasons, and… I… it’s all the same list.
Jonathan: It’s all the same list. And it really simplifies… people often ask me, Jonathan how should I look at Nutrition labels. Two things I’ll mention: One, most SANE foods don’t actually have Nutrition labels on them because for example when you buy spinach at the grocery store, if you buy in bulk you just take it and you put it in a plastic bag, it doesn’t actually come in a package, it doesn’t even have a Nutrition label. And if you get fresh meat from a farmers market or you get fish from the fish market it’s not going to have a Nutrition label on it, so if you’re truly eating maximally SANE foods, non-starchy vegetables, high quality protein, whole food natural fats, you may not even see a Nutrition label and that’s OK because they’re water, fibre and protein packed. So instead of looking at Nutrition labels and worrying about them just ask yourself is this food rich in water, fibre and protein and if it is, it’s very Satisfying and unAggressive, it’s also high in nutrient quality and here’s why: Nutrient quality we already talked about, it’s nutrients divided by calories. Water has no calories so the more water in a food by definition the higher Nutrition to calories ratio and the more fibre in a food we talked about in the last podcast, fibre isn’t digested by our body, it is non-caloric, so again the nutrients to calories ratio is higher if there is more fibre in the food. Finally we’ll talk about this in the next calorie quality factor is protein. Protein is metabolised very inefficiently by our body so it’s less caloric than carbohydrate or fat. So if we have water, no calories, fibre, no calories and protein, less caloric, that makes the food more nutritious because there is less calories to divide the nutrients by. Does that make sense?
Carrie: Yep it does. Now you’ve explained it.
Jonathan: Now that I’ve broken it down, let’s do an experiment, Carrie, because this does really flip some elements of Nutrition on its head. Most noteworthy is the discussion around starches like cereal, bread or even healthy whole grain starches. Water, fibre, protein, whole grains are dry, no water. They don’t really have much protein in them, and fibre, now here is where the markers hang their hat. They say they are great sources of fibre. Carrie, have you heard that?
Jonathan: What do you think about that?
Carrie: Compared to some other things they are.
Jonathan: Yep. Absolutely.
Carrie: Compared to doughnuts, it’s all good.
Jonathan: It is all good. But the thing I like to say is: Comparing whole grains to doughnuts or sugar is a bit like comparing two broken legs to one broken leg.
Carrie: Ha ha.
Jonathan: Just because it’s less bad for you doesn’t necessarily make it good and that’s a problem we see a lot in Nutrition where people will identify A is bad and B is not as bad so eat more of B, it’s not good logic. We should say: Is it good or not? Not: Is it less bad than something else. And if it’s good then we want to eat more of it and certainly if the choice is between a doughnut and whole grains, eat whole grains. But if you’re simply trying to identify the most nutritious foods in the world whole grains are not them. Let’s do the analysis, Carrie, we already talked about they’re dry, they’re low in protein so what about fibre. Well again, if we compare whole grains, if you look at 20 common whole grains, 20 common fruits and 20 common non-starchy vegetables’ average fibre intake, whole grains have about 6 grams of fibre in 250 calories which is much better than doughnuts which have 1, but it’s terrible compared to non-starchy vegetables which have 46!
Carrie: We have really been railroaded by the whole grain brigade, haven’t we, I… well… maybe railroaded is not fair, maybe they really don’t, or haven’t looked at it the way you presented it. Maybe they don’t understand it’s really not a lot of fibre compared to other things. But we really do, we all have this motion that whole grain is king and really it’s not at all.
Jonathan: Just to try and empathise with the people who advocate whole grains, my father and sister work in addictions counselling and there is a technique in addictions counselling where if someone is smoking a lot of a very bad drug and they start using a less bad drug that is progress. But here, and I can imagine a logic in traditional Nutritional wisdom of the past 40 years being something like: Well instead of eating sugar and white bread you should eat whole grains because they are better for you. And they are. But just because they are less… So if the message was “whole grains – not as bad for you as refined grains”, it’s much different from “whole grains – sooo good for you. Like fill your plate up with whole grains. In fact eat so many whole grains you may not have room for non-starchy vegetables or high quality protein and you definitely should be eating them in place of whole food natural fats.” What?! Like that is a totally different message.
Carrie: Yeah, it is.
Jonathan: But that is not the message we’ve been told. I would love to see an advertising campaign that says: “Whole grains – not as bad for you as refined grains”. And I would sign off on that advertising campaign but it’s not what we hear.
Carrie: Got it.
Jonathan: Got it?
Carrie: It makes sense.
Jonathan: So back to our comparison of 250 calories worth of non-starchy vegetables. Again, those have 46 grams of fibre, I’ll put this graph up on the show notes, versus whole grains which have 6. Another way to put that in perspective, Carrie, is when we talk about the critical importance of nutrient density is the technical term for it, where it’s nutrients divided by calories. Let’s say, for some arbitrary reason, that we wanted to eat 46 grams of fibre. In one day our goal is to eat 46 grams of fibre. If we did that with non-starchy vegetables, we would only need to consume 250 calories of non-starchy vegetables. However, if our goal was to eat 46 grams of fibre and we wanted to do that by eating whole grains, guess how many calories of whole grains we have to eat, and don’t look at my notes!
Carrie: I can’t actually see… I can see the graph but I can’t read the text from this distance!
Jonathan: Ha ha. OK, OK. So I wanna get 46 grams of fibre from whole grains. How many calories do I have to eat?
Jonathan: Close-ish. 1917.
Carrie: Wauw! Wauw!!!
Jonathan: I know! Right! I mean a lot of people can get by very easily on 1800 calories per day. If you wanted to eat 46 gram of fibre, which is not a huge amount, you’d have to eat 2000 calories worth of whole grains.
Carrie: Holy cow! That’s mad!
Jonathan: It is mad, Carrie, and it’s sad.
Carrie: I wonder what that looks like in volume. I wonder if you could actually eat that amount. I mean that’s… wauw…
Jonathan: The sad thing though, Carrie, is that you… going back to Satiety, the first factor, you could actually relatively easily, because remember whole grains they’re dry, they’re low in fibre and they’re low in protein so they’re small.
Carrie: Yeah, I guess I was thinking, I mean, in terms in a loaf of bread would just be the hardest going thing ever, could you imagine eating that amount of bread.
Jonathan: Oh yes, I get what you’re saying.
Carrie: I mean, wauw!
Jonathan: Phenomenal. But if you were going by for example, I know it’s very common, one bowl of cereal usually doesn’t fill most people up. I mean if you’re eating cereal for breakfast it’s usually a couple of bowls of cereal. And it’s not too hard for those to add up across three, four meals and for us to be taking in 2000 calories just from starches. It’s really not a challenge.
Carrie: That’s amazing.
Jonathan: It is amazing. It is unfortunate, Carrie, because actually I keep hearing stories like one of my friends, actually friend of my mother, so kind of my friend, an acquaintance, let’s say, she recently went to her physician and she has been trying to go SANE but hasn’t really done it, I mean she is just kind of dabbling with it. Even in doing that she has seen improvements in her cholesterol which is an issue she has been struggling with with her physician and her physician was like “OK, you’re doing well but you need to do better” so the physician handles her some sample boxes of all bran and she walks out and she sends me an email that says: “Jonathan, I’m really excited because I just started experimenting with SANE eating and I am doing better, but my doctor says I need to eat more fibre so he gave me all bran.”
Carrie: Ha ha.
Jonathan: Which, well, that’s what everyone would do.
Carrie: Right, but given what you’ve just told us over the last minutes, that’s kind of funny, really, when she could be eating spinach or lettuce or any number even some fruits and vegetables and just have a gazillion times more fibre, it’s kind of funny he gave her all bran.
Jonathan: Absolutely and if she is going to start eating that all bran as an effort to boost her fibre intake, well she may inadvertently overeat too many calories and now she is overeating and she is going to gain weight which is going to make her sad and have other negative impacts on her health, when she could just eat non-starchy vegetables or SANE foods and she would get way more fibre, because again they are water, fibre and protein rich.
Carrie: Hey! I’ve just realised that I’ve spent three years at university eating bran flakes for breakfast every day and that was kind of a waste. I am kind of mad about that now! And I thought I was eating a ton of fibre!
Jonathan: If you would have had an omelette with a bunch of non-starchy vegetables, because remember to… leafy greens like spinach, when you cook spinach, three cups of spinach turns into nothing when you cook it down. So you could easily have an omelette with four cups of spinach in it. Easily. And have a more delicious and a more satisfying breakfast than you would with this dry cereal that we think we all need to eat.
Carrie: Wauw. I had a lot of bran flakes. I’m kind of bummed about that now.
Jonathan: No, it’s true and we even, we see, even in health food stores, right, we see things like wheat germ or these bran flakes they sell in bulk which again, oh my gosh, look at all this great fibre. Again, yes, they have fibre in it and if you’re going to have a few choices between eating rice puffs and bran flakes, bran flakes are better for you but why not just eat a delicious non-starchy veggie filled omelette. I mean that’s going to have even more fibre and it is way more delicious.
Carrie: I’ll tell you why.
Carrie: It needs cooking.
Jonathan: Well, that is a part of it. But smoothies… we haven’t talked about smoothies yet.
Carrie: I get why, especially in the mornings, if busy family da-da-da tip in a box of cereal versus cooking an omelette with a bunch of veggies in. I see the appeal in that. But then I don’t think people realise how little fibre they’re getting when they pick the cereal versus you know, and if they knew that really there was no comparison then maybe that would help them get past the cooking thing.
Jonathan: I love that you make that point, Carrie, because I definitely don’t want this to come off as holier than thou or like wraaarh, you shouldn’t be eating cereal but what I think is a travesty is when people do things in an effort to better their health and because they’ve been given bad information by people who make money of that bad information, they’re basically wasting their time. If you want to eat cereal and you are eating all bran and you are choking it down and it’s terrible and you’re doing that because you think you’re getting a lot of fibre. If you could wake up 10 minutes earlier and just throw some non-starchy vegetables in a pan and make a delicious omelette you would be doing even better and you would enjoy it. So there is also a bunch of things I… Personally I don’t cook in the morning, I do smoothies, all kinds of cool options we can talk about in later podcasts where you just take, you know frozen fruit, potentially some frozen veggies, throw them in a blender together, put some whey protein in there, it takes about 5 minutes and you’re going to get more fibre and more Nutrition in that, you know, glass of a green smoothie than you would in any reasonable amount of whole grain cereals. Sound good?
Carrie: Sounds awesome to me.
Jonathan: All right. So…
Carrie: I’m a bit of an omelette fanatic, though, so you’re preaching to the choir in the omelette department.
Jonathan: So… no, it’s good. I love omelettes. There are all kinds of other breakfast options. Another one which is as easy as cereal, is taking a Greek yoghurt and adding potentially some blueberries to it, raspberries, strawberries and potentially some milled flax seeds and some chia seeds. It’s basically like cereal. You’re just using the Greek yoghurt in place of milk because it has much higher protein content. Therefore it’s much more SANE, has a much lower sugar content, more SANE, put the berries in there, put some milled flax seeds in there and you have a, basically SANE cereal and you’re going to get way more fibre.
Carrie: Now you’ve made me want to go eat some of that!
Jonathan: Ha. No, it’s quite delicious. I… Greek yoghurt is second to non-starchy vegetables probably the second highest consumed food in my diet just because you can do sooo many things with it. It’s very, very versatile. So Nutrition quality per calorie, researchers of Colorado State University did all this math for us and created a handy dandy chart which I’ll again provide online that stack rank foods in term of Nutrition quality per calorie and as we would expect non-starchy vegetables have far and away highest Nutrition per calorie. And remember non-starchy, so not potatoes, not corn, we are talking about green leafy vegetables, peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, things you put in salads. Second on the list which might surprise some people is actually seafood and seafood is much higher than the next three, or the next two which are lean meats and fruit, so from a Nutrition per calorie perspective non-starchy vegetables is in a league of its own, then seafood is kind of in a league of its own behind non-starchy vegetables, then come lean meats and fruits. Most people don’t think of seafood as just being this bounty of Nutrition but it really is. If you want to go completely SANE the two most important aspects of doing that are consuming just a huge amount of non-starchy vegetables and also enjoying seafood, not just every day but potentially multiple times a day. Seafood is fantastic for you. And then we look down that list and whole grains are on the list and they are actually relatively close to fruit because not all fruit is created equal. If we looked at things like berries and citrus fruits they’d be much higher than whole grains but this is an analysis of common fruits so things like grapes and bananas and apples which are not very nutrient dense. So water, fibre and protein, and Carrie, is actually kind of fun because when we start of doing the Nutrition math. If you’re a geek like me you start to have some fun it. You start to say let’s look at some foods and let’s do some of this math, let’s take a serving size and let’s look at protein for example and let’s divide the amount of protein in a serving size by the amount of calories in a serving size and let’s actually see what are good sources of protein. We already kind of did this for fibres, do it for protein.
Jonathan: So when we look at grams of protein in a 250 calorie serving and folks I am sorry if I am repeating myself but this is so important, again when you see the serving on the side of a box, take that with a grain of salt because I can say whatever I want is a serving. What we need to do is compare 250 calories of X to 250 calories of Y. Because again, right, a serving of whole wheat flour is in no way, shape or form the same as a serving of spinach from a per calorie perspective. So looking at grams of protein per 250 calories, what are three things we commonly hear are good sources of protein, Carrie? Nuts milk and beans.
Carrie: Milk for sure.
Jonathan: Milk for sure and then I am eating some nuts for snack because they are a great source of protein. So not knocking nuts, not knocking milk and not knocking beans, but let’s just look at them at a protein per calorie perspective. Now, 250 calories of mixed nuts has 7 grams of protein in it. To put that in perspective 250 calories of white bread has 8 grams of protein in it.
Carrie: That’s wild.
Jonathan: And to further put that in perspective, spinach has 33 grams of protein per 250 calories. So, let’s keep going on the list here, Carrie, so I’m going to go from least to most grams of protein per 250 calories.
Carrie: That’s just amazing that spinach has significantly more protein than nuts. That’s a bit mad.
Jonathan: And why, Carrie, the nuts, and this doesn’t – really clear here, folks – this doesn’t mean nuts are bad for you. Nuts have a lot of fat in them and because they have a lot of fat in them they are going to have a higher caloric density than something like spinach. So, if you look at 250 calories of nuts it’s much less food and it’s going to have much less Nutrition than something like, say, spinach, but people can’t live on just spinach so we have to combine food. But yeah, things like mixed nuts, 7 grams of protein per 250 calories, 2% milk 15 grams, kidney beans 18. OK. 7 for nuts, 15 for 2% milk, 18 for kidney beans. Here are foods that are better sources of protein than those: Whole eggs 20 grams, broccoli 22, soybeans 25, filet mignon 25, salmon 27, chicken thigh 31, spinach – the shocker – 33, chicken breast 34, top sirloin 34, whey protein powder 50, cod 54, egg whites 56 and tuna 56. So, let’s say we wanted to get the amount of protein from mixed nuts that we would get from 250 calories of tuna we would have to eat thousands of calories worth of mixed nuts and that’s not a good idea.
Carrie: Right. I got to tell you the teachings from my youth are hard to get past because I still look at milk and think protein and I’ve known for… well, how long have I known you, I don’t know, eight months… I’ve known that it’s not. I still look at think protein and I just, it’s going to take awhile for the new message to get across.
Jonathan: It absolutely will and the good news though, Carrie, is that while it is new, in some ways it’s very old it’s not as this is some huge technological breakthrough or it’s some crazy fad. We’re just saying divide the amount of protein by the amount of calories and then do the same exercise for other foods and you see what I mean, it’s not a theory, it’s just like “let’s do math” instead of people just throwing out things like “milk is a good source of protein”. Well, is it mathematically? Actually no, it’s not but that doesn’t mean for example dairy is off the table because if you look at non-fat Greek yoghurt that has a huge amount of protein per calorie and just to be very clear, I just said non-fat Greek yoghurt and I mention the list of good sources of protein that egg whites were super high up that list, right, egg whites 56 grams of protein per 250 calories compared to an whole egg which has 20. And throughout the Smarter Science of Slim I say things like non-fat or low-fat Greek yoghurt and non-fat or low-fat cottage cheese. This is not because fat is bad for you, fat is absolutely wonderful for you when it is coming from whole food natural sources. Right now we are talking about protein and if your goal is to consume more protein, if you have the choice between eating full fat Greek yoghurt and eating non-fat Greek yoghurt common sense and math tell us that non-fat Greek yoghurt is a better source of protein simply because the ratio of protein to calories is higher.
Carrie: I’m glad you pointed that out because I think on the first pass of reading your book or reading about your stuff people may take away that you’re all about low fat, that this is a low-fat eating plan and it absolutely is not. When you talk about low-fat cottage cheese or non-fat Greek yoghurt or eating egg whites instead of whole eggs you’re talking about protein content. It’s actually nothing to do with the fat.
Jonathan: That’s exactly right, Carrie, and it’s just about being… What you’ll find is that it’s easy to eat fat. It’s generally not hard for most people to eat fat. We’re genetically wired to enjoy much like we enjoy sugar.
Carrie: You should see how fast I can down a pound of butter.
Jonathan: No, it’s very true…
Carrie: I’m teasing. Kind of.
Jonathan: You can eat 1000 calories of mixed nuts without trying. It’s not hard. I’ve probably done it myself. However, to try to eat a sufficient amount of protein or a sufficient amount of vegetables to trigger the hormonal reaction that we’re after that’s not going to happen accidentally.
Carrie: I must admit if there’s a struggle and I know that from reading the blog where you have your forums that one of the, especially for women for some reason, one of the biggest struggle with the way you eat is the amount of protein that you really need to be consuming on a daily basis to trigger that hormonal reaction.
Jonathan: Yeah, it’s not because protein is some magical substance but again remember from the research we know that Satiety, Aggression, Nutrition and, as we will talk about in the next section, Efficiency: water, fibre and protein. And it’s not as if I work for the protein council and want people to eat more protein that’s just what the research shows. That the more protein a food has in it the more it’s going to satisfy us, meaning the quicker it’s going to fill us up, the longer it’s going to keep us full. It’s going to trigger dramatically less insulin and glucose to be released into our body compared to a carbohydrate so it’s less aggressive and from a Nutrition perspective since protein calories are metabolised differently than fat or carbohydrate they are generally speaking going to provide much more Nutrition.
Carrie: Let’s be honest here. You do want people to eat more protein. Good sources of protein. But not because of any bad reason. You want them to do it because you want them to reap all the benefits that you’ve just talked about. You don’t want them to eat protein because you’re getting rich off of that.
Jonathan: Exactly or because I just said that at one point in time and now want to be consistent with it. The message has always been water, fibre and protein and to be clear: It’s about eating whole foods such as non-starchy vegetables, high quality sources of protein and whole food natural fats. And another aspect, because this is going to come up when we talk about this, is fat good or bad, fat is a critical component of a SANE lifestyle and in fact some facts are so high quality that I actually want us to go out of our way to eat them. Things like the fats found in seafood. Salmon, if we go back to this list here, salmon is actually quite low on the list of good sources of protein. They only have 27 grams of protein in 250 calories compare that to and egg white which have 56. The reason for that is that salmon has a lot of fat in it but it’s fantastically healthy for you. The fat found in seafood, the fat founds in nuts and seeds, are amazingly good for you. So I want us to be able to fully enjoy those fats. Put it this way, Carrie, just like we’re conscious about where we get our carbohydrate, right, we want to get them from certain vegetables and certain foods and we’re conscious about where we’re getting our protein, we want to get it from organic grass fed meats, seafood, I also want us to be selective about where we get our fat.
Carrie: So it’s all about balance. If you know that you’re going to eat that wonderful piece of salmon and you know you are going to get those wonderful healthy fats then maybe you wouldn’t choose to add another fat in another way that day.
Jonathan: Potentially or at that meal or another example is if you’re going to eat some bacon or a fatty meat with your breakfast maybe you have egg whites in your omelette instead of whole eggs, whereas if you weren’t going to have those fatty meats, maybe you enjoy the whole egg. You see what I am saying. You just, you make some trades, you may make some conscious decisions because at the end of the day, Carrie, we’re after maximising Nutrition and not over-eating and you have to be conscious to do that.
Carrie: I’m not the only person on the planet that will happily do a trade-off if it means we get to eat bacon!
Jonathan: Ha, ha. It’s true. Just pick where you, and again, Carrie, we’re not saying anything crazy here, just like no-one would say get your protein from eating slime and get your vegetables from potatoes. We’re just saying there are better sources of protein, there are better sources of carbohydrate and there is better sources of fat and let’s ensure that we are eating all of those better sources. So we talked about at the beginning, Carrie, that Nutrition quality was so important because it redefines what’s nutritious and I think we have covered that well. We also talked about how it enables us to burn fat instead of slowing down our metabolism and burning muscle, why is that, Carrie? Well when we eat more of water, fibre and protein packed food we good more Nutrition while avoiding overeating. Why? Because those foods are satisfying we also avoid overwhelming the body with glucose or the hormone insulin because they are also unAggressive because water, fibre and protein are the common thread that runs through all of them. So if we combine more nutrients with less glucose and less overeating then we burn body fat without the negative side effects of starvation and we have more Nutrition and a surplus of Nutrition is the opposite of starvation.
Carrie: Got it.
Jonathan: Make sense?
Carrie: You’re going to make me want to go out and eat again.
Jonathan: So again the star system that we went through in previous podcasts for Satiety and Aggression we can also apply here to nutritious foods. Most nutritious foods in the world when we look at it from a Nutrition density perspective unequivocally non-starchy vegetables, second on the list is seafood, high quality meats, eggs, egg whites and select dairy products such as cottage cheese and Greek yoghurt, certain fruits such as berries and citrus fruits. Next category down is going to be legumes, nuts and seeds. And then we get into the inSANE choices such as sugar-saturated dairy products, starches, sweeteners, things like that. Because again, it’s not that I have anything personally, they’re dry, they’re low in fibre and they’re low in protein per calorie. So, that’s Nutrition. What do you think, Carrie?
Carrie: I’ve just noticed that oils is also like has a zero star rating down there but I think it’s important to point out to people that if you’re, you know, using a tablespoon of coconut oil to stir-fry all those non-starchy veggies, it’s fine.
Jonathan: Absolutely. It’s also important to note that things like oils are very easy for people to sell and for example coconut oil. Everyone hears “coconut oil is so good for you, coconut oil is so good for you”. Coconut oil is good for you relatively to other oils. You know what is even better for you than coconut oil? Coconuts. The actual whole food. So there’s nothing against oils. We’ve talked about that in previous podcasts but remember oil is a whole food with all of the water, all of the fibre and all of the protein processed out. So by definition it’s less SANE, less nutritious, less satisfying than the whole food equivalent but it is fine in moderation. But clearly we don’t want to go out of our way to eat more oil like we do want to go out of our way to eat more non-starchy vegetables.
Carrie: Right, I just don’t want people to kind of, feel like, life is going to become really weird because you can’t use oils to sauté veggies or whatever you know. If you want to use some butter before you scramble those eggs or make that omelette then it’s all good.
Jonathan: It’s absolutely all good and in fact, those eggs and that omelette have so much more Nutrition than the starch and sugar equivalents that we are used to eating…
Carrie: Even with the coconut oil.
Jonathan: Even with that coconut oil you are going to be way, way, way better off.
Carrie: And you use such a small amount that it’s just, it’s really, you know, in the scheme of things it’s all good.
Jonathan: It is all good, folks, the common denominator for Satiety, for Aggression, for Nutrition – all the same: water, fibre and protein. If you stick with those three things you’re going to be happier, you’re going to be healthier and you’re going to be enjoying all kinds of wonderful foods. Because frankly, most food, and when I say food I mean things you find in nature, are water, fibre and protein rich. It’s these processed food-like junk substances that are the dry, fibre-free and protein-poor things and those are the inSANE foods you want to stay away from. Next week, Carrie, it’s all about the fourth and final factor which is Efficiency which is pretty exciting.
Carrie: I like being efficient.
Jonathan: Carrie like being efficient. We’ll actually find next week that we’ll want to be inefficient when it comes to metabolising food because it helps us to avoid storing fats so we’re going to try to be inEfficient in addition to being Nutritious, unAggressive and Satisfying. Jonathan Bailor, Carrie Brown. We’re living the Smarter Science of Slim. See you next week.