Monday, April 2, 2012

5 Ways To Spot A Good Nutritionist


I was asked to write a follow up article to last week's "20 ways to identify a bad nutritionist". The article was well received, although a few individuals expressed confusion at a few of the quotes, not understanding why they were signs of a bad nutritionist.

This article will look at 5 examples from the previous article and explain why these are signs of a bad nutritionist, as well as offering explanations of the errors. A good nutritionist will never give you the following advice:


1. "To lose weight, eat less calories than you burn. It's that simple!"

This is one of the most pervasive statements repeated by nutritionists who simply don't do their own research and just regurgitate what they read from the latest "MyPlate" related website, or simply have no real knowledge on the topic at hand. 

A good nutritionist understands that it isn't simply a mathematical equation of:

Less calories consumed + more calories burned = weight loss


If only our bodies were as simple to understand as a machine. Michael Pollan has stated that our current understanding of human nutrition is about advanced as medicine was in the 17th century. To make the claim that a calorie is a calorie, and they are all created equal is nothing less than a pompous, uneducated claim with no substance to back it up. Fats are not all the same fats, proteins are not all the same proteins, and calories certainly are not all the same calories. 

One major issue I repeatedly come across when reading conventional wisdom about nutrition is how simple they perceive the human body to be. It is believed that it is simply all about macronutrient ratios when it comes to weight loss, when this couldn't be further from the truth.

Different food release/block different hormones and chemicals in our bodies, causing reactions that can't be reduced to a statement short statement about calorie counting.  It's not simply about the calories consumed, but what your body decides to do with those calories. The body can either store it, use it immediately, or let it proceed undigested into the bowels.

3000 calories of bread vs. 3000 calories of meat and veggies will yield tremendously different results. Age, sleep, stress, alcohol/cigarette use can all play into the scenario as well.
To learn more on this subject, please click here and here.

2. "Eat at least 5 small meals a day to continuously stoke the metabolic fires."


Here is another quote that will probably never die, and I will admit that when I first started out, I even believed it. A few moments of research will prove the exact opposite, however. Studies have repeatedly shown that the thermic effect of food is no different when comparing 6 small meals to 1-3 large meals a day. In fact, the opposite has been shown to be true.  It is all about monitoring the all-powerful insulin secretion released by the pancreas when food is consumed. A pancreas becomes exhausted it is constantly releasing insulin every 2-3 hours, much like you would be if you worked out 5-6 times a day vs. once or twice.

It has also been stated that the human body can only absorb 30 grams of protein at once, and the rest is wasted. This has been shown to be a fallacious argument again and again. A good nutritionist knows that the stomach is more than capable of handling 30 grams of protein (after all, I ate over 300 grams in one sitting yesterday). This myth has more to do with the rate at which protein is emptied from the stomach; not how much can be absorbed. The stomach may empty at a rate of 30-40g per hour, but that doesn't mean the rest is simply wasted.


3. "Olive oil and canola oil are equally healthy."

devooliveoil.com

While olive oil and canola oil are both lauded for their low saturated fat content and presence of Omega-3 fatty acids, one only has to do a little digging to debunk the claims of a healthy canola oil.  Canola oil comes from the rapeseed, which is processed at very high heats with hexane (gasoline by-product) which is then bleached and de-gummed, finally being poured into a clear plastic bottle for the grocery shelf. The full production description is provided here.

When reading claims for the healthy aspects of canola oil, it is important to understand the source of this information. Canola oil is promoted as a healthy product because it is much lower in saturated fat than palm oil, although most readers of LBEB should know that saturated fat is something to be pursued, not avoided. Any Omega 3's that were present in the rapeseed were most likely destroyed in the production process.


4."Cholesterol is like plaque that clogs your arteries."

Streaky's bloodwork after switching to a high cholesterol diet

Cholesterol is one of the most demonized chemical compounds of the last century, and wrongly so. It has been blamed for nearly every heart malfunction in existence, and along with saturated fat, it sends small children scurrying for cover at the mere mention of the word.

According to JonBarron.org,

"On May 15, 2001, the National Cholesterol Education Panel (NCEP) issued major new clinical practice guidelines on the prevention and treatment of high cholesterol levels in adults, lowering the target optimum level for LDL to less than 100. This was the first major update of the NCEP guidelines since 1993. The NCEP has predicted that the new guidelines will increase the number of Americans requiring treatment for elevated cholesterol levels (from 52 million to 65 million) and will nearly triple the number of Americans who will need to take cholesterol lowering drugs (from 13 million to 36 million).

But for many doctors, 36 million people under experimental drug therapy are not enough. Many “experts” are now pushing to set target limits for LDL to less than 80, which would mandate that tens of millions more Americans be on moderate to high doses of statin drugs for the rest of their lives – despite the fact that these drugs are known to cause significant liver damage."

That, in a nutshell, is the core of the cholesterol scare. "Normal" cholesterol levels are constantly being lowered in order to force more and more people to take cholesterol-lowering medications. 

Cholesterol is a precursor to all of the steroid hormones, without it we can't make testosterone, estrogen, cortisone, etc... It is a vital component of every cell membrane on the planet. The theory that high cholesterol causes heart disease is bunk and begs the question: why do so many individuals with low cholesterol get heart disease? Cholesterol is not a plaque, it is a steroid with a fat-like substance.

A good nutritionist will tell you to eat as much cholesterol as you can, for your heart, your hormones, for your body's ability to absorb Vitamin D from the sun, for everything.


5. "Meat rots in your colon"


Everybody has heard a variation of this, whether the meat supposedly rots in the colon, the intestines, or the stomach, it rots somewhere. I have actually read recommendations for a protein intake of less than 20 grams, anything more than that and "our risk for heart disease and liver failure triples". Here is a tip: be skeptical of any argument that uses percentages (unless we are talking about % of 1RM).

We have enzymes in our bodies that break down the fats, carbs, and proteins that we eat. Trypsin, pepsin and other proteases break down the animal flesh we eat, while bile salts and lipase break down the animal fat. As Bill Dorell would say "Eating meat is why our brains grew to the size that they did".

Guess what rots in the colon? Grains, vegetable fiber, and beans. Our bodies lack the enzymes to break these down and we do not possess the multiple stomachs of a cow to break down the cellulose, so the fibrous material is defecated out of our bodies.

"Humans don’t have gut bacteria that can digest cellulose. That is why we can’t eat grass at all, why there is so little caloric value for us in vegetables, and why we call cellulose “insoluble fiber”: it comes straight out the back end.
 
This fact alone proves that humans, while omnivores, are primarily carnivorous: we have a limited ability to digest some plant matter (starches and disaccharides) in order to get through bad times, but we cannot extract meaningful amounts of energy from the cellulose that forms the majority of edible plant matter, as true herbivores can. We can only eat fruits, nuts, tubers, and seeds (which we call ‘grains’ and ‘beans’)—and seeds are only edible to us after laborious grinding, soaking, and cooking, because unlike the birds and rodents adapted to eat them, they’re poisonous to humans in their natural state."- From gnolls.org


Hopefully this article helped clear up a few of the topics from last week for all inquiring minds. Click on the links throughout this article to learn more.



22 comments:

  1. To be fair you should try not eating meat one month, or eat only small amounts of meat 150g and 100g daily to see if you lose muscle mass and if you feel worse or better. If you feel any strength loss.
    It would be an interesting experiment.

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  2. Great points! My cholesterol was never as high as it was when I was vegetarian

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  3. I agree but there's a small caveat to fact 4. If you have damage to blood vessels (inflammation, high blood pressure, etc...) this can allow LDL to deposit there causing a build up of atherosclerotic plaque leading to potential clotting.

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  4. Interesting post. So many nutritional and medical practices are being debunked by recent studies. Obviously whatever we've been doing has -- collectively -- made us fat and weak. For example, it never made sense to me to replace real foods like eggs and butter with fake processed foods like margarine and egg products from a carton. I tried to follow the "healthy" diet for a while, but I didn't feel better and I got fatter. Well, duh. And don't even get me started on the cholesterol craze!

    Thanks for putting it out there. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

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  5. One of your better articles. Good job.

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  6. I think I just got classified as a good nutritionist before I've even finished my nutrition degree, win!

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  7. You don't need any cholesterol - your body can synthesize 100% of what you need. That being said, it only turns to blood cholesterol in about 30% of people. So most people don't need to avoid it.

    Also, sodium is not as bad as has been said.

    But all calories are the same, when it comes to how much weight you lose or gain.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19246357/

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  8. Can you recommend, or point me in the right direction? - I fully agree with the above, and basically, everything else I have read nutrition wise on this site. My husband on the other hand, is blessed (or cursed) with the ability to literally eat whatever he wants and maintain a lean, fit physique (like a tall bruce lee). I know that having a great looking body doesn't translate to great health and am totally worried that one day the chips ahoy and entennmans will catch up to him - inside, and out. Try telling him that though!....My evil plan is to find a doctor (hopefully just a family practice) to side with me, because he hangs on to thier every word. I am halfway between boston MA and Providence RI - if anyone can recommend a solid practice to send him to for bloodwork and a serious discussion on food choices, or where to begin to look for such a thing, I am all ears.

    Thanks! Lisa

    Oh yeah - not a chance at all that I could get him to see a nutritionist, this will have to be a regular doc. visit for yearly checkup type of thing

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  9. " To make the claim that a calorie is a calorie, and they are all created equal is nothing less than a pompous, uneducated claim with no substance to back it up. Fats are not all the same fats, proteins are not all the same proteins, and calories certainly are not all the same calories."

    Saying that a calorie is a calorie is no more pompous or uneducated than saying a degree Fahrenheit is a degree Fahrenheit, or a centimetre is a centimetre. It's just a unit of measurement - in this case, energy. Schoolboy error to get calories and macro-nutrients confused.

    "Different food release/block different hormones and chemicals in our bodies, causing reactions that can't be reduced to a statement short statement about calorie counting. It's not simply about the calories consumed, but what your body decides to do with those calories. The body can either store it, use it immediately, or let it proceed undigested into the bowels."

    Yes, and the amount used, stored, or excreted determines how much fat you gain or lose.

    "3000 calories of bread vs. 3000 calories of meat and veggies will yield tremendously different results."

    Yes, but this is because of all the other cofactors and differences of the macro nutrients which CHANGE the energy equation. So for example (with some ready made assumptions) 3000 calories of bread will make you LESS efficient at burning fat for fuel, thus causing you to burn less energy than you take in and gain fat. Whereas 3000 calories of meat and vegetables will make you MORE efficient at burning fat for fuel, causing you to burn MORE energy than you consume, and thus lose fat.

    The fact that these foods change your body's energy patterns does not contradict the fact that burning more energy than you consume will result in weight loss.

    "Age, sleep, stress, alcohol/cigarette use can all play into the scenario as well."

    Well duh, because all of these things affect how your body utilises food for energy, and change how efficient or not you are.

    Great job on the other four points.

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  10. ^this
    Owned. Andrew Miles wins.

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  11. Robert Silvers and Andrew Miles. If you are not hear to learn from some VERY HIGH LEVEL strength athletes then why are you here?
    Who are you helping by second guessing, questioning, and debunking coaches that so many people love and trust? Do you have a better system to get a #500 squat, #200 log press, or #800 yoke walk?
    If not, then SHUT UP AND LISTEN!!!

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    Replies
    1. yeah, 'cause we all know that nothing good ever comes of second-guessing voices of authority.

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  12. Neil Allman,

    Don't be so quick as to just follow the flock. Although they are knowledgable about moving large amounts of weight, that does not mean they are the know-all end-all of nutrition.

    Nobody gets anywhere by blindly believing. This is a forum to engage in thoughtful conversation; not to blindly not and say "yes-hum".

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  13. This article is full of pseudoscience. If you make a claim, show the evidence to back it up. This statement is indicative of the problem.
    "It is all about monitoring the all-powerful insulin secretion released by the pancreas when food is consumed. A pancreas becomes exhausted it is constantly releasing insulin every 2-3 hours, much like you would be if you worked out 5-6 times a day vs. once or twice."
    You need proof to back this statement up. Otherwise you're just playing chess against a pigeon.

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    Replies
    1. This is a thought-provoker, not a textboook. Pseudoscience? No. Just because studies aren't cited doesn't mean the information wasn't culled from credible sources. One should do some unbiased research for themselves and reach their own conclusion, but still be respectful of the opinions of others.

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  14. Grains, vegetable fiber, and beans rot in our colon, eh? That is the most preposterous statement I think I've ever read. Perhaps those food items rot in YOUR colon because it is full of disease. Humans evolved from apes. Apes live off of a largely plant-based diet consisting of things they can pick and eat with their hands. Humans have long intestines as do other herbivores. Carnivores have short intestines so that the meat doesn't have time to rot in there. If we were carnivores then we would have sharp teeth and claws and it would be common to see us all chasing rabbits and squirrels around outside when we got hungry. If we were carnivores then there would be no link between meat consumption and heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. It's not rocket science, people. True carnivores also don't cook their meat but we have to because we can't defend ourselves from the dangers of raw meat consumption BECAUSE WE'RE NOT CARNIVORES. The list goes on.

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  15. Not to mention the horrific things we allow to go on in the world of factory farming. We don't have the right.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32IDVdgmzKA

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    Replies
    1. You do realize that small animals die every day in the harvesting of your precious wheat and the deforestation to create more farmland displaces millions of forest inhabitants every year. Imagine all those rodents being crushed to death at the hands of tractors and logging equipment. Yep, that's ethical alright. It's no less cruel than factory farming. The big question is, why are you here? If you disagree, GTFO. This place is not for your kind, nor will most of us actually listen to your blathering.

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    2. Thanks for your completely uneducated, immature response. It's interesting that you garner so much anger toward a person you've never met. Enough so that you've already categorized me into a "your kind" vs "my kind" arena. We're all the same kind, my friend. Our bodies all require the same thing. We should respect the earth and the creatures on it. If you want to pretend like you're a carnivore that's your choice but you should think about asking yourself why- when your personal choices are questioned - do you respond with anger? If you felt good about what you do and who you are I don't think that would be your default. Anyway, good luck to you.

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  16. Naysayers...Please write a better article covering the same points (perhaps as "misconceptions") that is educational, entertaining, and brief. Submit the well-written article to LBEB and I'm sure they'll post it. You would also be given proper credit for your contribution. Until then, shut the fuck up. Cheers!

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