Ranting About Calorie Myths with Sean Croxton
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Shawn: Up next a real food con is Jonathan Bailor. The title of Jonathan’s presentation is The Calorie Myth: The New Science of Eating More and Exercising Less to Burn Fat and Boost Health. Jonathan Bailor is a nutrition and exercise researcher, author, and speaker who specializes in using high-quality food and exercise to simplify health and fitness. He has registered over 25 patents, invented the marquis feature in Microsoft Word 2010, started two companies, author of the internationally-acclaimed Smarter Science of Slim book series as well as revolutionary, upcoming The Calorie Myth. Bailor serves as a senior program manager at Microsoft, hosts a popular, syndicated radio show, and consults for organizations around the world. A summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of DePaul University, Bailor lives outside of Seattle with his wife, Angela, and works to enable others to live better through simple, proven science. You can learn more about him at his websites bailorgroup.com as well as smarterscienceofslim.com. Jonathan Bailor, welcome to Real Food Con.
Jonathan: What’s up Shawn. Thanks for having me.
Shawn: Thanks so much for being here. I’m really excited about this calorie myth topic you’ve got going on. Jonathan, when it comes to most things in live, we really welcome science. I mean we love the convenience of it all, we love the efficiency, productivity, and it kind of leads us to lead better lives. I’ve mean we’ve got cell phones these days, we’ve got all these life-saving technology, and all these scientific advances that we definitely take advantage of. So my question for you is why are we following fat-loss, eating and exercise advice from the 1950s?
Jonathan: It’s crazy, isn’t it Shawn? I mean we don’t use the same cell phones we used a year ago, and it’s just like every other area of our lives we seek out the most modern knowledge, but when it comes to eating and exercise, we continue to get told the same stuff we were told, literally, in the 1960s. That’s when the Senate came out and told us we needed to eat less and exercise more to address the overweight issue, which at that time, compared to right now, was nothing. So it’s just mind boggling, it gets me out of bed every single day because for these two just fundamental parts of our life. We’re all familiar with the Maslow’s Hierarchy. And right at the bottom, food and health. It’s literally the same stuff for 40 years, and that’s the same 40 years in which we’ve seen record-breaking levels of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. So it’s not like, well, we got it right, so let’s just keep going the direction we’re going. In the face of the worst disease epidemic we’ve ever seen as a civilization, and I do mean ever, this is the first time, today’s generation of kids, is the first generation of kids in modern American history expected to live shorter lives than their parents. I don’t want to turn this session into a downer, but that is the most horrific thing ever. And I’m not a parent, but I can imagine that any parent in the world just wants their child to live a happier, healthier, longer and more fulfilled life than them. That’s their only wish. And we’re living in a world where that isn’t happening. And that’s heartbreaking. And the most heartbreaking part of it, Shawn, is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
There have been dramatic technological advancements and scientific advancements in the fields of nutrition and exercise. It’s not like those researchers just shut down shop and said, oh, we got it right in the 60s, might as well stop now. There have been dramatic advances. But it hasn’t been shared with us because we established this protocol, we established this eat less, exercise more, high-starch, low-protein, low-fat diet. And then we established a pharmaceutical industry to support the disease that causes. And then we established a billion and billion dollar fitness industry to help treat the symptoms of that improper diet. And it’s just perpetuated itself over and over and over again. But there is a smarter way. But we need to look beyond the spandex. We need to look beyond the glossy magazines. We need to look beyond the infomercials and the daytime talk shows and look to the actual experts. Not me. I’m not a researcher. I’m a mouthpiece for researchers. There are experts, even primary care physicians.
Where are our primary care physicians getting their information from? In a lot of cases, they’re getting it from pharmaceutical sales reps. And a primary care physician is busy. They’re seeing patients day in and day out. There is an entire other field called research. There are people that just do research. They don’t even talk to people. They just do research, and then they write their research up in academic journal articles that nobody, other than other researchers, read. Until now. That’s what I’ve made my personal mission is to read this stuff and to make the modern science, the modern science of food and eating and exercise and healthy living accessible to all of us. Because Lord knows we need it. We’re literally dying for it. I’ve got to calm down here, Shawn. I’m getting a little too riled up.
Shawn: I love the passion, man. I love where this is coming from. Tell us exactly what exactly is the calorie myth?
Jonathan: The calorie myth is the cause of these modern disease epidemics. We’ve trivialized and we’ve leased common denominator-ed, if that’s a word, all things exercise and all things eating to one metric. Calories. How many calories did you eat today? How many calories did you burn? And because of that, we’ve lost sight of what is real. Because calories, again, we’re not bomb kilometers. We’re not simple machines. We’re biological organisms. So the calorie myth is this idea that one, understanding calories and that two, counting them is required for health and fitness. And we can get into the science in detail of why that has been proven wrong. But just common sense. And Shawn, you know this better than anyone else with your “just eat real food” message. Up until the 1970s, nobody in the mainstream knew what a calorie was, let alone count them. And we were slimmer and healthier. And no one in the world knew what a calorie was until in the 1800s, because that term wasn’t even coined in the scientific community until then. And the rates of obesity, Shawn, the earliest records we have, are from military records, and they show that in the early 20th Century, the rates of obesity were sub three percent. So how in the heck could counting calories be required to be healthy and fit, when every single generation that ever lived in any culture anywhere, in any time period prior to us, didn’t even know what a calorie was, let alone count them, and they were all healthier and fitter than we are today?
Shawn: Well I can’t help but ask. Do calories actually count then?
Jonathan: Calories count, but they’re irrelevant. This is definitely a key critical topic. Because some of these people here “calorie myth,” and they confuse that with maybe some books that came out in the 1950s and 60s, say Dr. Herman Taler, I believe is his name, came out with a book called Calories Don’t Count. And his argument was literally that calories do not count. Calories exist. They’re not like unicorns. They do exist, and they’re a real thing. But the fundamental confusion is that we need to understand them and think about them. For example, if you were to eat 10,000 calories of nutrient-dense foods that you can find directly in nature, and you were to do that consistently, you would be consuming more calories than you are burning, and you would therefore be overeating, and you would therefore by definition gain body fat. But here’s the catch. Nobody does that, and nobody will ever do it because your stomach would literally explode if you tried to put 10,000 calories of non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, and low fructose fruits into it. It simply wouldn’t fit. In fact in studies where they tried to make people gain weight through whole foods, they can’t. There have been overfeeding studies done in prisons. There have been overfeeding studies done all over the country. And in every case, weight gain is a struggle, because again, this is not gradual weight gain, this is like try to gain weight. And then when they stopped forcing people to overeat, everyone automatically returns to their baseline weight.
And that’s the key point here, Shawn, is that our body is not a passive vessel. Our body is not stupid. Our body is not broken. Our body is brilliant, and it is self-regulating. And we know this. If we drink more water, more water in means more water out. We go to the bathroom more. If we eat foods that spike our blood sugar, our body does things to bring our blood sugar back down. If our blood sugar falls too low, our body does things to bring it back up. If we don’t sleep enough, our body drives us to sleep more. If you try to keep your eyes open, it will become harder. Right? Every living organism works to maintain a state of balance, otherwise known or taught in our high school biology class as homeostasis. We get this, and we accept this in every other area of life. Or at least every other area of biology. But we are led to believe that this one part of our physiology works differently. That this one critical part, energy balance, preventing us from becoming overweight which contributes to disease, and the ability to avoid starvation that the body just sits back and doesn’t do anything.
That is mind boggling, Shawn. We know there’s two parts — many more parts of the brain — but the two that are relevant to this conversation are we’ve got our medulla. We’ve got this more basic, animal part of our brain that takes care of instinctual things and puts us on autopilot and just takes care of stuff for us. We don’t have to think about blinking our eyes or beating our hearts, because if we did, we wouldn’t be able to get anything else done. And when we talk about thinking about things, we’re talking about using our neocortex. And this is the part of our brain that is uniquely human. It allows us to have podcasts and real food conferences. It allows us to do things like language and counting. And it is not things that are designed to maintain life do not require or should not require conscious intervention. They can’t. If they did, we’d spend all our time trying to balance calories in with calories out, and we wouldn’t be able to get anything else done. Not to mention, that we’re pretty dag-on smart as a species, and I’m not aware of any other species that consciously needs to count calories in order to avoid obesity. So are we to be led to believe that we are less capable than cats or than rats? Because when they’re just left to their own devices, left in their natural environment, they don’t get fat. And that is because they’re eating the proper quality of food, and when we eat the proper quality of food, our homeostatic regulation of weight takes care of our weight for us. Just like it would take care of our respiration for us, and just like it would take care of our blood sugar balance for us. You don’t get heart disease from eating too much food; you get a breakdown of your cardiovascular system when you eat the wrong types of food. You don’t get diabetes from eating too much food; you get diabetes, the breakdown of your pancreas, when you eat the wrong types of food. And you don’t become overweight from eating too much food; you become overweight from eating the wrong types of food which causes your body to balance you around a heavier setpoint automatically.
This is why overweight people also don’t gain weight forever. While we may have a growing number of individuals — in fact, morbid obesity is the single, fastest-growing portion of the obese population, those who are morbidly obese — we still don’t see people weighing 4,000 pounds. Right? The body always seeks balance. It’s just that some people are seeking out balance at a higher setpoint because they are experiencing a breakdown in that regulatory system. Whereas others, like naturally thin people, of which we all know many, eat and eat and eat and don’t really exercise and seemingly stay slim. Why is that? That’s because their body is balancing them at a lower setpoint. So the question is not how do we fight this system, how do we try to beat our bodies and eat less and exercise more because we will fail battles against our body, Shawn. Like try not to sleep. See how that works. Try not to blink, try not to breathe, try not to go to the bathroom, try not to eat. But that’s what we’re told. We’re told to go through life hungry and tired. And that’s unreasonable.
And that message is tired. Especially when the most brilliant actual experts all around the globe have proven, for years, this isn’t even new data, that our body weight is regulated. It’s regulated by our brain, specifically our hypothalamus, it’s regulated by the bacteria in our gut, our second brain, and it’s regulated by our hormones. Our genetics also have a huge impact. So at this point saying that it’s just about counting calories and eating less and exercising more, to those who have seen the research is a bit like saying the earth is flat. It makes sense on the surface. Like if you look out your window, it makes sense to say the earth is flat. It looks pretty flat to me, and if it wasn’t flat, wouldn’t we fall off? But just because something seems true, just because it seems true that if you eat less, you’ll lose weight, and if you eat more, you’ll gain weight. It’s not. And once we understand that the body will work to counterbalance us, the last thing we want to do is eat less and exercise more. And the first thing we want to do is just eat real food. Dial up the quality of our eating, eat more but smarter. And dial down the quantity of our exercise, but do it with higher quality.
Shawn: Typically when I get into a discussion about fat loss or even weight regulation, we’ll say, people tend to bring up the law of thermodynamics. Doesn’t that law prove that if I eat less, I’ll burn fat?
Jonathan: Shawn, the best way to answer this question, because all of our wonderful listeners are going to get it. They’ll hear this, they’ll read the research, they’ll hopefully check out The Calorie Myth book when it’s out, they’ll check out the Smarter Science of Slim podcast, they’ll see the science, they’ll understand the neurobiology of weight regulation. And then they’ll talk to someone who just hasn’t been exposed to the science yet. It’s not their fault; they just haven’t had that opportunity. And they’ll say if you eat less, you exercise more, the law of thermodynamics proves you have to lose weight. So let’s deconstruct this. Because again, it’s not crazy, it’s just a misunderstanding, and once we bring the real science to the surface, it becomes very quickly.
So first of all, there is not a law of thermodynamics. There are four. And two of them have nothing to do with fat loss. They have do with things like defining absolute zero. So those are not relevant. There are two that matter. And when you put those two laws of thermodynamics together, they tell us that energy cannot be created nor destroyed; it can only change forms. That is interesting. That’s very interesting. That tells us that if we’re able to create an energy deficit, meaning that if our body needs more calories than we are eating, energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms. So, it tells us that something has to happen in that state. So question or point number one: If we’re able to create a state of caloric deficit, the applicable two laws of thermodynamics do prove that the body must do something. But they do not prove what that something is. They actually say nothing about what that something is. That has nothing to do with thermodynamic law and everything to do with biological law. And we’ll get into what the actual biological law is in a second. But the first part is, first and foremost, if we eat less, are we getting in a state of caloric deficit? That’s an assumption. People are just like, oh, thermodynamics, if you’re in a caloric deficit state, you’ve got to burn fat. Right? Well, no. We’ll get into that in a second.
But first, who said that eating less causes a caloric deficit? Eating less causes us to burn less. In fact, studies have shown that dropping caloric intake to just as low as 1,600 calories… and this is not an accidental reduction of caloric intake. Maybe someone would experience these spontaneous reductions of caloric intake when they increase the quality of their diet. This is just taking someone’s existing diet and chopping it down. Our base metabolic rate, our calories out, can drop upwards of 40 percent. So if you were eating 2,000 calories a day and your calories dropped to 1,600 per day, and then your base metabolic rate drops 40 percent, you’re not in a state of caloric deficit. So myth number one, eating less, does not necessarily at all create a state of caloric deficit. This is why no matter how long we take the stairs or cut 50 calories a day like the USDA tells us, that will never make us weigh zero pounds. But according to this interpretation of the “law of thermodynamics,” it should. Because if we’re in a state of caloric deficit, and we’ve got 50 fewer calories per day, well then just do the math. How long will that take to make us weigh zero. It never will. And the same things that prevent it from making us weigh zero are the same things that prevent us from losing ten pounds if we just eat 50 fewer calories per day.
So the first question is, we cannot assume that eating less causes this caloric deficit. But even may more importantly, let’s say we do create this caloric deficit. Let’s say we go on one of these really aggressive starvation diets. Let’s say we then exercise excessively, like that television show we’re probably pretty familiar with, and we do create a state of caloric deficit. Okay. Those two laws of thermodynamics do tell us, they do, they definitively do prove that the body has to do something. But remember, that’s all they prove. They do not, do not prove that the body must burn fat. What the body does when faced with a caloric deficit has nothing to do with thermodynamics. Bottom line. What is has to do with is biology, and this has been studied and demonstrated in countless studies. If you’re able to take your body into a state of caloric deficit, as I already alluded to, the first thing that happens is your body slows down. And we’ve all experienced this. We go on a starvation diet, or we exercise a lot. Like we go on a really, really long hike. What’s the first thing that happens? You get tired, your brain’s in a fog, you can’t think straight. Your body’s just downshifted into second gear. Less in means less out. That’s just the way the body works. So step one, you get in a state of caloric deficit, your body doesn’t burn body fat, it slows down. Burning body fat is a pain. Why would it do that when it can just slow down? And fat’s there to protect you from starvation, so burning it is really going to be a last resort. And it is, because what the studies have also shown is if we’re still in a state of caloric deficit after we’ve slowed down as much as we can, our body will burn tissue. But it’s not burning fat tissue. It wants to burn the tissue that’s using the most calories. After all, there’s a deficit of calories. Well it can’t burn our liver, thankfully, and that’s burning 500 to 600 calories per day. It can’t burn off our brain, that’s burning a bunch of calories. It can’t burn off our heart. But it can and it does burn off our lean muscle tissue. In fact, studies have shown that up to 70 percent, Shawn, of the nonwater weight we lose when we go on these traditional calorie myth-based eat less, exercise more diets is coming from lean muscle tissue.
So we’ve basically, so far, shown that the applicable laws of thermodynamics, rather than proving the old calorie myth models, show us that first, we slow our metabolism down if we eat less and exercise, and then secondly, we burn off our muscle tissue. Now if there’s someone you don’t like, and you could wave a magic wand and curse them to a life of weight struggles, you would slow down their metabolism and you would burn off their muscle tissue. Those are literally the two last things we would ever want to do if our goal is long-term fat loss. Will we lose weight? Yeah. We’re going to lose weight; we’re burning off our muscle tissue. But that’s not what we want. So we’re burning off our muscle tissue, we’re slowing down our metabolism, we’re setting ourselves up for long-term fat gain and disease. And at that point, absolutely, Shawn, if we are still in a state of caloric deficit, then we will burn fat. But what’s going to happen? We’re going to become a statistic. We’re going to become one of the 95.4 percent of the population for which eating less and exercising mores fails long-term. It’s been demonstrated in studies that eating less and exercising more fails 95.4 percent of the time. And that really isn’t all that surprising when we realize that the first thing that happens when we do it is we slow down. The second things that happens is we burn muscle tissue. So at that point, and, Shawn, this is scary. At that point, if we ever, if we ever stop starving ourselves, we will become fatter than we started. We have less muscle tissue, and our body is running slower. So it’s not like we even need to overeat. We just need to not starve.
And that’s why we yo-yo diet. And yo-yo dieting is one of the least healthy things you could ever do. So it breaks my heart, because people throw around these it’s the law of thermodynamics, and these are usually naturally thin people. These are usually people that don’t know what it feels like to be heavy and to eat less than everyone around you and to still be heavy. They don’t know what that’s like. They don’t know the sense of helplessness that that causes people. And we just need to take a step back. And we need to understand that two-thirds of our population aren’t just lazy gluttons that need to eat less and exercise more. I mean, come on. That’s just a mean thing to say. So let’s stop attacking the vast majority of our population.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper into the science, which once we see it, it’s actually common sense. And let’s understand that we’re not broken, that our bodies are actually beautiful and capable and designed to balance us out as long as we don’t break them. And Shawn, people will sometimes say, well if our bodies are balancing us out, and if what you say about thermodynamics is true, which it’s hard to argue against, doesn’t obesity disprove this automatic balancing system you’re talking about Jonathan? Well, no, not at all. If it’s too warm in your house, does that mean thermostats don’t exist, or might it mean that your thermostat is broken, or maybe that someone bumped your thermostat and it’s turned up too high. Diabetes doesn’t disprove that the body seeks to automatically balance out blood sugar. It simply shows that if we stop eating food, as defined by things you find in nature, and we start eating edible products, processed starches and sweets and processed fats, our body, our beautiful body that seeks to keep us healthy and slim, can lose that ability. And just like we can lose the ability to automatically regular our blood sugar, and just like we can lose the automatic ability to beat our hearts, we can lose the ability to automatically regulate our body weight around a slim and healthy setpoint. And that’s the disease known as obesity. And the “law of thermodynamics” just needs to go out the window.
Shawn: So Jonathan, why isn’t a calorie a calorie.
Jonathan: There are four proven factors differentiating one source of calories from another. Before we get into the science, let’s stop off at the common sense detour here. We all know that 140 calories of Coca-Cola as we see advertised on these billboards — oh, it’s only 140 calories — makes us feel different, makes our children act differently, than 140 calories of non-starchy vegetables or delicious low fructose fruits or maybe some nutrient-dense proteins. We know 300 calories of Doritos and a Snickers bar does something different to our body than 300 calories of some delicious wild-caught salmon and some asparagus. We know that. So, again, anyone who says a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, you might just want to turn the other direction. Not to be mean, but because this person just isn’t seeking out the truth. So the truth that the research community has established unequivocally — like this is not controversial, it’s just not well know — is that the quality of a calorie, which again is paramount here because we want to maximize the quality of our calories so that our body maintains that ability to balance us out automatically, is determined by four factors.
I abbreviate these factors using the acronym SANE S-A-N-E. The S stands for the first factor, satiety. How quickly a calorie fills us up, and how long it keeps us full. For example, a “food” with low satiety would be Pringles which advertises “once you pop, you can’t stop.” They openly tell you that if you eat this thing, it will not satisfy you. Right? “There’s always room for Jell-O.” That’s not a good thing. Light beer. The whole point of light beer is it doesn’t satisfy you. So we want to eat satisfying calories not unsatisfying calories. So clearly, calories are not the same when it comes to how much they satisfy us.
The second factor is Aggression. A lot of people know about this one by a bit a of a different name. It has a lot to do with the insulin response that food causes. How quickly and how severely it causes our blood sugar to go up. It has a lot to do with glycemic index and glycemic load. Five hundred calories, high-quality unaggressive calories, slowly creeping into our bloodstream are much less likely to overwhelm our metabolism or provide us with more energy than we need at any given time and, therefore, be stored as fat. So we want 500 unaggressive calories slowly trickling into our bloodstream so that our body can efficiently manage them. So we want to eat satisfying calories, we want to eat unaggressive calories.
The N in SANE is nutrition. And this is the one we’re most familiar with. But like most things, it’s not represented correctly because it’s focused on quantity rather than quality. We turn over the box of one of these sugar-soaked cereal product things, and it says it’s a good source of whole grains because it has three grams of fiber in it. Or it’s a good source of fiber because it has three grams of fiber in it. But then if we look at the quantity of calories and the quality of calories that we’re getting along with those three grams of fiber, you have to ask yourself, why don’t I just eat some non-starchy vegetables considering that those provided eight to ten times more fiber, along with way more other vitamins and minerals. So it’s not about the quantity of nutrition we’re getting. If it was only about the quantity of nutrition we were getting, then ten donuts would be ten times as healthy as one donut. Obviously that is false, and we know that is false. That’s the cool thing here, Shawn. We know this, we just have to be reminded of it. And like most things, we know the truth. We know what’s true. But not everyone wants us to believe that. So we know ten donuts are not ten times healthier than one donut because we know the quality and quantity of calories that come along with nutrition matter, and that’s why we want to make sure we eat nutrient-dense foods. Foods that have high nutritional quality that provide us with the most of what we need — essential fats, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals — and the least of what we don’t. Things like sugar. So we want to eat SANE, unaggressive, nutritious calories.
One letter left. E, efficiency. This is the least well-known factor, and this is the most exciting for me simply because it took me the longest to uncover the truth in the research. And that’s our body does not process all sources of calories in the same way. So there’s essentially three sources of calories, essentially. Protein, fat, carbohydrate. And we’re all familiar with the fact that fat has nine calories per gram, and protein has four, and carbohydrate has four. And, of course, that has led to all sorts of misunderstanding about fat being fattening, which it’s not, and everyone who’s listening to this knows that.
But let’s dig into what is not as obvious. And that, for example, let’s look at protein versus carbohydrate. This one factor, efficiency, or how efficiently our body can store a given macronutrient as body fat, explains why diets higher in protein isocalorically, so take diet A of X calories and diet B of X calories. The diet that has more protein, all other things being equal, will cause a greater amount of fat to be lost. And that’s because protein is dramatically less efficient at being stored as body fat than carbohydrate. Why is this? Well, the food we eat has to go through a bunch of chemical changes in our body to be understood or utilized by our body. We don’t have little bits of broccoli floating around in our bloodstream. So when we eat something, it’s got to go through a series of changes. When we eat fat, it gets broken down to fatty acids. When we eat protein, it gets broken down to amino acids. When we eat carbohydrate, it gets broken down into glucose. But now, when we talk about how efficiently something can be stored as body fat, let’s take carbohydrate for example. So carbohydrate, we eat it, we eat a Pop Tart, it goes into our stomach, leaves as glucose. At that point, the glucose needs to be converted into triglyceride if we have too much glucose, and if it’s converted into triglyceride and if insulin is present, then it will be stored as fat.
But protein doesn’t work the same way. There is a whole other step involved in protein. So first of all, when protein leaves our stomach broken down as amino acids, we’ve already burned off about 30 percent of it just breaking it down. Protein is not easily broken down by the body. So if you were to conceptually eat 300 calories of protein, 100 calories would be spent just turning that into amino acids. So like right off the bat, protein has a 33 percent sale on it. So protein leaves your stomach as amino acids, then it works to rebuild your body. Amino acids are not used as an energy source. The body’s either running on fat or it’s running on carbohydrate. Ketones or glucose. It’s not running on amino acids. So if there’s more amino acids than we need to fuel our brain and to rebuild our body, then our body will take those excess amino acids and convert it into glucose.
So now we’re at the same point of carbohydrate, but you’ll notice that one, we burned a bunch more calories just turning protein into amino acids. And then we have to burn a bunch of calories transforming amino acids into glucose. This all breaks down into the following, Shawn. If, hypothetically, we could just lay in bed and somehow cause our body to not burn any calories which, of course, is impossible. The only way you cannot burn any calories is to be dead because 70 plus percent of the calories you burn throughout the course of the day have nothing to do with physical movement. But let’s say you were able to do that. If you then ate 300 calories of protein, the most that could ever be stored as fat is about 100 calories. Literally two-thirds of the protein calories you consume are burnt off through the enormously complex and inefficient process of the chemical change from protein into triglyceride, which is then stored as body fat. Whereas if we do the same thing for carbohydrate, it’s not as if carbohydrate 100 percent of it would get stored. It wouldn’t. About 200 calories of carbohydrate could be stored as fat. But you can see there that carbohydrate is significantly more efficient at being stored as fat than protein is. It’s actually twice as efficient at being stored as fat as carbohydrate is.
So a calorie is clearly not a calorie. We want to eat satisfying, unaggressive, nutritious and efficient calories. Because when we do that, we will literally create, first of all, a hormonal environment in our body that facilitates fat loss. Second of all, it will be impossible, literally impossible, for us to overeat. One, it would be painful, and two, our brain will fight against it tooth and nail. And finally, it will heal our body. Because it will provide us with a radical abundance of nutrition. And if you want to stay healthy and slim long-term, having the hormonal environment that facilitates fat loss, great. Avoiding overeating without trying, great. Having an abundance of nutrition so that your body can properly function and doesn’t think its starving, great. We’re three for three, and we can make slim simple when we just eat more but smarter. More, but SANE calories.
Shawn: I love the SANE acronym. I love the way you just broke that down. So I’m sure our audience is wondering, so what do I eat. What’s the SANEst approach to carbs, proteins and fats?
Jonathan: The good news is that while we just covered a bunch of seemingly complex but intuitive biology, we can identify SANE foods by keeping three simple things in mind. Water, fiber, and protein. The more water, the more fiber, the more protein, the more SANE a food is. So think of food as falling on a SANEity spectrum where you have the most water, fiber, and protein-packed foods on the SANE side of the spectrum, and the most dry, low fiber, and low-protein foods on the INsane end of the spectrum. We want to eat as many SANE water, fiber, protein-rich foods as we can. In fact, we want to eat so many that we’re too full for INsane foods. We want to fool ourselves into health and slimness. And again, very easy.
Four basic food groups. The four SANEst food groups in the world presented in order of volume of food we would be best off consuming. First and foremost. Easy. Everyone agrees on. Non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables are vegetables you could eat raw. You don’t have to eat them raw, but you could eat them raw. Things like asparagus, broccoli, leafy greens, cucumbers, onions, mushrooms. All the delicious, colorful goodness. Stuff you could eat raw. Stuff you often find in salads. This should make up at least 50 percent of your plate at each meal. And if that doesn’t seem reasonable, make a green smoothie. Delicious, convenient, fun. Non-starchy vegetables. SANEst substance in the world. Plants, whole plants you could eat raw. Next, about a third of our plate. Nutrient-dense proteins. These are foods that get the majority of their calories from protein. Not because foods that don’t get the majority of their foods are bad, that’s not at all the case, it’s just that they’re not good sources of protein. A good source of protein is a food that has more of its calories coming from protein than anything else. So those foods are very simple to remember because it’s actually a very short list. In terms of whole foods, you’re looking at non-hormonally poisoned, corn-fed beef. You’re looking at basically any kind of seafood. And of course you want to steer away from the seafood containing heavy metals. So think about things like wild-caught salmon. Good stuff. So basically any kind of nontoxic seafood. Any kind of nontoxic red meat. Also looking at free-range poultry. Also some dairy products. Dairy products that are low in sugar. So things like cottage cheese and things like a greek yogurt. These are going to give us the vast majority of their calories from protein, and they’re going to provide us with wonderful nutrition. So half of our plate is nonstarchy vegetables, a third of our plate is nutrient-dense protein. Humanely raised animals, mercury-free seafood, and select low-sugar dairy products. The remainder of our plate should consist of the next two food groups. Whole food fats. Whole food is critical. Things like nuts and seeds, avocado, cocoa, coconut, macadamia nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds. These are phenomenally healthy. We’re eating the whole food, and the food is predominantly fat. In fact, an egg is a whole-food fat. I know that might sound a little bit odd, but an egg gets over 60 percent of its calories from fat. That makes an egg a good source of fat and healthy fats at that. So nonstarchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats. And then last but not least, low-fructose fruits. Just like every source of protein isn’t the same — a hot dog is certainly not the same as a piece of wild-caught salmon — not all fruits are the same. Some fruits provide us a lot more of what we don’t need and a lot less of what we do need, say grapes, when compared to something like blueberries. Any kind of berry or any kind of citrus fruit. Berries and citrus fruits are going to provide us with dramatically more of what we need — vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals — and dramatically less of what we don’t — damaging sugars such as fructose. Half of our plate nonstarchy vegetables, a third of our plate nutrient-dense protein, and the remainder whole-food fats, low-fructose fruits. And eat two of those plates, eat three of those plates. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and just fool yourself into slimness by eating so much water, fiber, and protein-rich SANE food that you’re too full for starches and sweets.
Shawn: Amazing presentation, Jonathan Bailor. Truly enjoyed it. You’ve got some free goodies for our audience. You’ve got a three 28-day eating and exercise program s well as some free tips and recipes. Talk about that and where they can find them.
Jonathan: The website is bailorgroup.com, and you’ll see there are banners all over the place saying the three 28-day program as well as free daily tips and recipes. And the reason we put this program together, you sign up with your email address, and then for… it’s actually four weeks. It’s actually 35 days. The secret’s out. We’re going to send you a curriculum. We’re going to help to educate you because that’s really the problem here. The problem isn’t that we’re weak, the problem isn’t that we don’t care, the problem isn’t that we’re lazy. The problem is that no one’s told us about the last 40 years of research that’s gone on. So we do our best to, in four or five weeks, educate you on that 40 or 50 years of research to reprogram your mind to fundamentally change the way you seed food and the way you see exercise so that you understand and appreciate and feel the freedom of knowing that you can eat more and exercise less as long as you do that smarter. And, in fact, not only can you. But you should. It’s incredibly liberating and incredibly healthy. And while we’re doing that, we’ll also keep it light and every single day shoot you one, quick, simple tip. Sometimes they’re info graphics, sometimes they’re recipes, sometimes they’re a fun interview with an expert. Just so every single day you’re getting just one little nugget that you can apply. So go over to bailorgroup.com, check out that free 28-day program, and enjoy those daily tips.
Shawn: You’re also a fellow podcaster. You have a Smarter Science of Slim podcast. Tell our audience about that as well.
Jonathan: So trying to live in the shadows of the great Shawn [indiscernible 00:46:47]
Jonathan: Actually, Shawn, I think you were the second podcast I was ever on, brother, so mad love and respect. So we started our own podcast, myself and my lovely cohost, Carrie Brown, who’s an ex-British pastry chef who now instead of preparing INsane treats has figured out how to SANEtize — play on the word sanitize, but we’re a little lame on our podcast — anything out there. So you can eat whatever you want, just eat it smarter. We joke around about practicing safe sweeteners. For example, because it’s not about abstaining from sweets completely, it’s just about practicing safe sweeteners. So once a week me and Carrie have a good time, and then another four times a week — I love podcasting. Another four times a week, we bring on special guests like Shawn who came on the show, and we’ll have wonderful conversations so providing a bunch of great content. That’s the Smarter Science of Slim podcast.
Shawn: I had a really good time on your show. Thanks so much for that. And thanks so much for this wonderful presentation. We really appreciate your being part of Real Food Con.
Jonathan: Thank you for all that you do, Shawn, and for the opportunity.