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.
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.”
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.”
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.