Wisdom of the Ages. Well, ok, maybe not, but still, it’s good stuff. Take a few moments to watch this series of short videos about nutrition, training, fat loss, etc. Yes, there are nine of them, but they are each pretty short and worth the time.
(If you prefer to read rather than watch and hear, you can find the article on which these videos are based here: The Fat Loss Hierarchy by Nate Miyaki.)
Use your headphones as there are brief moments which include language which is NSFW.
Summary: There are lots of ways to achieve health and proper body composition. This is his opinion, based on his research, training, and experience.
II: Food Choices
Summary: Real food is right. Refined foods are the problem.
The answer to America’s health problems and obesity epidemic – and the majority of your fat loss questions – is quite simple: cut out refined foods and just eat nature’s foods, in their unaltered state. Nuts (fat) are better for you than high fructose corn syrup (carb), but equally so is a potato (carb) better for you than refined vegetable oil (fat). That’s my stance, and I’m sticking to it.
III: Client Example
Summary: He spends a moment talking to a client who could eat anything and be in great shape. But when he started eating well, he felt better, looked better, and was healthier.
Also, different diets are better for different people and circumstances. No one approach can claim to be The Answer™ to all people at all times for all goals.
Crash diets can work short-term. Real foods satisfy and can be done long-term.
IV: Total Calories
Summary: He believes that Total Calories is important and offers an explanation of why.
You can cut your fat intake to zero, but if you’re eating above your total calorie limits with refined carbs, you’re going to get fat….Today’s low-carbers are making a similar mistake….This brings me to something every low-carber needs to understand: being in a state of ketosis itself does not ensure fat loss….The other rules of body fat loss still apply, not just the metabolic condition your body is in. Ensuring you’re in a relative calorie deficit is still the most important step in winning the fat loss war.
….”Macro-bashing” plays to people’s desires. These plans seem like they require more discipline – you have to eliminate certain food groups. “No carbs today, Dude.” But these diets actually require less discipline. They demonize a certain nutrient and point to it as the cause of all of our body fat problems. Eliminate that nutrient, and you can eat as much as you want of everything else.
That’s what people really want to hear, isn’t it? You can eat as much of “X and Y” as you want, as long as you don’t eat “Z.” Eat vegetable oil, cream, and cheese to your heart’s desire as long as you don’t have that carb gram from a carrot stick. In a world of overindulgence, the lazy want to be able to gorge on something.
V: Problems with Extreme Diets
Summary: Short-term crash programs (e.g. getting ripped for a competition) can work. After that, however, people often find that they rebound to worse shape when they revert to their previous eating habits. This is because they’ve hurt their metabolic processes.
VI: Calorie Formulas and Tracking
Summary: If you just want to reach a healthy bodyweight, eat the right foods and you won’t need to bother with this. If you want to achieve a specific goal (e.g. 5% BF), you have to track and limit. Real foods make this easier. He gives a simple formula to calculate caloric intake:
|Your Goal||g per lean #||My Ranges|
My lean mass right now is about 153 pounds, giving me numbers for the third column. My guess is I hit between 1800-2100 calories a day. As I mentioned Wednesday, I’ll need to do another round of tracking to get a better understanding of my real situation.
A quick caveat: He acknowledges that these numbers are highly subjective and require tweaking to match any particular person’s situation. No static chart is perfect for everyone.
VII: Organic Foods
Summary: Do these real foods have to be “organic”? They don’t have to be but it’s often better (e.g. wild salmon has a much better Ω6:Ω3 ratio than farm raised salmon). Also, while organic is nice, you still have to eat good foods. “Organic crap is still crap.” Go organic if you can, but start with real food then make it organic as time and money allow.
He also goes more into Ω6:Ω3 ratios and why it’s important. In sum, Ω6 is inflammatory and causes problems.
I don’t care if you’re not eating carbs, if you’re eating a bunch of refined oils, you’re not going to be very healthy.
He thinks flaxseed oil is bullshit. Watch the video to find out why.
VIII: Low Carb vs Carb-based Diets
Summary: “It depends on the individual.” Low-carb diets are good for insulin-resistant or sedentary people. Carb-inclusive diets are better for high intensity, anaerobic athletes. With either one, you still have to do #1: eat real foods.
He talks about low-carbing and sleep problems. Carbs effect → serotonin effects → sleep. Low-carb eating can, therefore, lead to insomnia. He suggests eating what few carbs you do eat at your evening meal. Given that I have this problem on occasion, I found this to be interesting.
And he discusses the connection between Paleo diets, testosterone, cortisol, and high-intensity workouts. Very interesting.
In one of the comments on the article linked up there, he says:
If you are severely overweight/obese, low carb is definitely the way to go. There is a ton of research that backs that up. However, my whole thing here is that no one approach works for everyone, and starchy carbs definitely have a place in the diets of leaner, anaerobic athletes.
IX: Meal Frequency & Food Distribution
Summary: If you don’t eat real food, control total calories, and eat proper macronutrients (for your circumstances), frequency doesn’t much matter. Do those correctly, and frequency doesn’t much matter. Are you starting to see a pattern here?
For most folks, three meals (and/or including IF) works better because it’s easier. If you just really feel like it is The Secret™ to solving all your health issues, eat 130 microscopic meals each day. No problem: It. Doesn’t. Really. Matter.
Do the first principles. Then find the frequency pattern which is easiest for you to follow.
The only advice he gives in this area is to eat most of your calories and carbs at night. Why? Because that’s when you are hungry and that’s when most cheating happens. Bow to the reality of it, plan it that way, and it’s easier to stay on the straight and narrow toward success.
Conclusion. He advocates a Paleo-style diet for most folks, with Sports Nutrition adaptations for athletes and bodybuilders.
More specifically, and more simply, his basic advice for everyone is something we paleo and primal folks can readily agree with: eat real foods.
He advises avoiding refined or processed foods and, surprisingly (for me anyway), this includes oils. Pretty much any oils.
As he puts it: Fat, in nature, comes with protein or fiber.
Thus it helps us feel more satiated, longer. Adding a few tablespoons of oil to a salad, for example, increases the calories but doesn’t induce this long-lasting satisfaction, leading us to eat more later on.
If you simply eat real foods, you probably won’t have to track calories. Eating right will do it for you if all you are looking for is reaching a healthy body weight. Plus it will keep your metabolism in balance, making it easier to keep at it.
He seems to be macronutrient agnostic, not really caring what foods we eat so long as they are not refined foods. Low-carb is fine so long as you’re eating real foods (ensuring satiety and thus, naturally, eating fewer calories).
See also: Fat Loss and T-Man Bullets