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Part 3- Fiber and health/weight: How solid is the evidence?


Posted on October 29th, 2010 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

This week I discuss the research relating to fiber and colon health. In general, it seems that fiber is not protective against colorectal cancer (CRC) and surprisingly it does not have much benefit in preventing or helping with digestive disorders, like IBS or constipation.

What's in your weight loss meal? – Lean Cuisine nutrition facts


Posted on October 28th, 2010 by Matt Schoeneberger

I’ve been wanting to dig into some popular weight loss products that provide pre-made meals to see what was hiding in their nutrition info and ingredients lists. I’m hesitant to even open this can of worms. I feel like I’m a major-league slugger being asked to hit a baseball that’s resting on a tee… and I’ve got one of those over-sized bats.

Read more »

Part 2- Fiber & Health/Weight: How solid is the evidence?


Posted on October 26th, 2010 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

This is the second video on fiber, there will likely be 6 videos in all. In this video I discuss the recent paper titled Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber published in Nutrition Reviews in 2009. The authors are James Anderson, Pat Baird, Richard Davis Jr, Stefanie Ferreri, Mary Knudtson, Ashraf Koraym, Valerie Waters and Christine Williams.

My 4-Day 800-Calorie Weight Loss Experiment – Part 2


Posted on October 25th, 2010 by Matt Schoeneberger

A few weeks ago, Monday through Thursday, I ate 800 calories/day.  You can read the first post from this experiment here.

Before I forget, I was asked “What’s Paleo Meal?” Paleo Meal is a meal replacement product from Designs for Health – a freakin’ awesome company! We have no financial ties to Designs for Health, we just really like most of their products.

Why My Stats are Inaccurate

I promised I’d speak more in-depth about the numbers I got from the Tanita scale.

Weight Start: 163.7 Finish: 157.6
% Start: 10.6% Finish: 11.3%
Fat Mass Start:17.4 Finish: 17.8
Fat Free Mass Start: 146.2 Finish: 140.1
Total Body Water Start: 107 Finish: 102

I mentioned in Part 1 that a loss of water would skew the results of the Tanita. While I normally adhere to a low-carbohydrate eating style, my CHO intake was much lower than normal during the experimental period. I was also working out intensely, so glycogen stores may have been depleted. What I’m getting at here is that I almost certainly lost water due to glycogen loss. You see, when we store glycogen (sugar) in our muscles and liver, it gets stored with water. No sugar, no water.

Without going into much detail, I’ll tell you that after 4 days I could see lines on my abs that I couldn’t see before I started. I lost some fat, for sure. Body fat measuring methods available to the consumer aren’t really meant for short-term applications. Body fat % is a long-term trend. You can see by the numbers above that I supposedly lost lean tissue and no fat. As I’ve explained, this is highly unlikely and can be explained by the loss in water. Over a longer period of time, however, these variables would be overcome by fat loss and a body fat measurement would be more applicable.

Bitten by Leptin

There is a hormone secreted by fat cells called leptin. Leptin helps regulate our appetite – an increase in leptin should decrease our appetite and vice versa. When you lose fat, especially quickly, it causes a sharp decrease in leptin and appetite increases, making it hard not to over-eat. This could be a large part of yo-yo dieting. I most certainly experienced an increase in appetite in the days following my experiment, and I’m guessing it was related in-part to leptin.

I wanted to eat everything in sight!

Let me make an important point while I’ve got your attention. Your weight loss plan doesn’t end when you reach your goal! You need to plan far passed your goal and keep tracking your intake well into your maintenance phase. Over time, your appetite should adjust and you’ll be able rely on your appetite.

I weighed-in on Monday morning and Thursday morning on a Tanita scale which measures weight and bodyfat. The scale prints out these nifty little receipts with total weight, fat mass, fat free mass, total body water, BMR and a couple other things. They’re not the most accurate method of body fat analysis, but good enough for most people’s needs. One of their drawbacks is the affect that hydration has on the measurements, and this is important for my little experiment.

Stats – Start to Finish

Things to consider about the numbers below First, my starting weight was taken Monday morning, after a Sunday night of a salty beef and broccoli dish. I was also in pants and shirt while doing my best impersonation of an office worker. At finish, I was in shorts and a t-shirt after 4 days of very low carb and possibly somewhat dehydrated. (I know, I know, I screwed up the integrity of my experiment – “wear the same damn clothes at weigh-ins, Matt!”) What I’m getting at is that some of the weight lost was most likely water fluctuation and could have possibly been skewed by the weight of clothing.  I was weighing in an office, by the way, so nude weighing was not an option.

Second, my body fat percentage actually goes up, and because of this the scale says I lost all muscle and no fat. While I did think it was possible I was going to lose some lean tissue, this seems highly unlikely to me and lends more weight to my hydration theory. The body fat scale I was using measures body fat through means of bioelectrical impedance. This means that the scale sends a low-level electric current through your body and measures the resistance, or impedance. Being well-hydrated will skew the results toward a low body fat when compared to the same body being dehydrated.

Weight Start: 163.7 Finish: 157.6
% Start: 10.6% Finish: 11.3%
Fat Mass Start:17.4 Finish: 17.8
Fat Free Mass Start: 146.2 Finish:  140.1
Total Body Water Start: 107 Finish: 102

As you can see, whether I lost water, muscle or fat, restricting calories to 800/day dropped some serious weight. Even if you add 2 lbs. for clothing differences, I’m still down 4 lbs. in 4 days. However, the Tanita scale actually measures Total Body Water (TBW) and I started with 107 lbs of water and ended with 102 lbs of water. That’s 5 lbs of water weight loss!… according to the Tanita, of course.

It’s now a week after I started and I guarantee if I got on a scale, all that weight is back on. I’m not going to get on one because I don’t care. I didn’t do this because I wanted or needed to lose weight, I did it just to see what it was like to eat 800 calories/day. It sucked, btw. For a guy who is used to eating 2500-3000 calories/day, 800 was a struggle. This is mostly because I wanted to get a good amount of protein, so my fat intake was very low. You know how Jeff and I feel about fat (we love it and think everyone should eat lots of it – seriously!), so it was hard to keep fat so low.

Steak and eggs and eggs and steak, that's what you should have for breakfast…


Posted on October 21st, 2010 by Matt Schoeneberger

Steak and eggs and eggs and steak…
That’s what you should have for breakfast.
(Delicious!)
Steak and eggs and eggs and steak…
Just making sure you heard.
(I got it!)

-from Family Guy

Steak and eggs. A great-tasting, very nutritious meal. Have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Whey protein and the Paleo Diet


Posted on October 20th, 2010 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

The Paleo diet is gaining in popularity and there is good evidence that a Paleo eating style can have many positive health effects for many people (Frassetto et al; Jonsson et al; Lindeberg et al). What I find interesting is that some of the people and companies recommending Paleo also recommend whey protein. This is interesting because a true Paleo diet is typically said to be devoid of dairy products and definitely did not included any powdered protein powders, so technically whey protein is not a Paleo food (Eaton, SB. et al). However, I am not implying that a high quality whey protein is unhealthy.  In fact, I think a high-quality whey protein has many health promoting nutrients/benefits (Frestedt et al; Hoffman et al; Luhovyy et al). My point is that whey and Paleo really do not go together in the strict sense. To clarify my point, I will briefly review two products, which are the Paleo Meal by Designs for Health and the Primal Fuel product sold by Mark Sisson the author of the recent book Primal Blueprint.

The Paleo Meal by Designs for Health is a comprehensive meal replacement powder that uses a high-quality whey protein for its protein source. I think it’s a good product, but it is not Paleo, so the name is really a misnomer.

Primal Fuel looks like a very good product, I have not tried it myself yet, but from what I can tell from the ingredients list it is a clean product. However, the price, $99 per container, seems a bit pricy to me. As with the Paleo Meal, the protein source for this product is whey protein, which, again, is not a Paleo food. To be a Paleo food, they would need to use some type of dried beef or some other animal food or maybe dried nuts/seeds, although to get enough protein would be challenging from the latter foods, due to their high fat content.

My point here is that if you are going to sell a product that is Paleo it should contain only Paleo ingredients. Otherwise give it a different name that is more congruent with the ingredients.

References:

Eaton, SB., et al (2002). Evolutionary health promotion. Preventative Medicine; 34: 109-118.

Frassetto, LA., et al (2009). Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Euro J Clin Nutr: 1-9.

Frestedt, J., et al (2008). A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical trial. Nutr & Metab; 5:8.

Hoffman, J. & Falvo, M. (2004). Protein- which is best? J Sports Sci & Med; 3: 118-130.

Jonsson, T., et al (2009). Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovascular Diabetology; 8:35.

Lindeberg, S. et al (2003). Biological and clinical potential of a Paleolithic diet. J Nutr & Environ Med; 13(3): 149-160.

Luhovyy, B., et al (2007). Whey proteins in the regulation of food intake and satiety. J Amer Coll Nutr; 26(6): 704S-712S.

My 4-day 800-Calorie Weight Loss Experiment – Part 1


Posted on October 18th, 2010 by Matt Schoeneberger

Last week, Monday through Thursday, I ate 800 calories/day. Here’s a rough sketch of what I ate, with a cumulative calorie amount following each item.

Monday

.5 Paleo Meal – 50

1 Paleo Meal – 150

1 tblsp CocoChia – 230

Roast Beeft/Sauerkraut – 800

Tuesday

7.5 oz celery – 35

.5 Paleo -85

1 Paleo – 185

10 oz Chicken Gizzard – 575

RB/Sauerkraut – 800

Wednesday

3 oz spinach – 30

2.5 oz celery – 40

4 oz ground chicken – 210

.5 paleo – 260

2.5 oz celery – 275

In –n –Out Double Double Protein Style w/o onion

Thursday 3 oz spinach – 30

2.5 oz celery -40

4 oz gound chicken – 210

4 oz ground chicken – 380

.5 tbls butter – 430

1 Paleo Meal – 530

Roast and Sauerkraut – 800

I weighed-in on Monday morning and Thursday morning on a Tanita scale which measures weight and bodyfat. The scale prints out these nifty little receipts with total weight, fat mass, fat free mass, total body water, BMR and a couple other things. They’re not the most accurate method of body fat analysis, but good enough for most people’s needs. One of their drawbacks is the affect that hydration has on the measurements, and this is important for my little experiment.

Stats – Start to Finish

Things to consider about the numbers below First, my starting weight was taken Monday morning, after a Sunday night of a salty beef and broccoli dish. I was also in pants and shirt while doing my best impersonation of an office worker. At finish, I was in shorts and a t-shirt after 4 days of very low carb and possibly somewhat dehydrated. (I know, I know, I screwed up the integrity of my experiment – “wear the same damn clothes at weigh-ins, Matt!”) What I’m getting at is that some of the weight lost was most likely water fluctuation and could have possibly been skewed by the weight of clothing.  I was weighing in an office, by the way, so nude weighing was not an option.

Second, my body fat percentage actually goes up, and because of this the scale says I lost all muscle and no fat. While I did think it was possible I was going to lose some lean tissue, this seems highly unlikely to me and lends more weight to my hydration theory. The body fat scale I was using measures body fat through means of bioelectrical impedance. This means that the scale sends a low-level electric current through your body and measures the resistance, or impedance. Being well-hydrated will skew the results toward a low body fat when compared to the same body being dehydrated.

Weight Start: 163.7 Finish: 157.6
% Start: 10.6% Finish: 11.3%
Fat Mass Start:17.4 Finish: 17.8
Fat Free Mass Start: 146.2 Finish:  140.1
Total Body Water Start: 107 Finish: 102

As you can see, whether I lost water, muscle or fat, restricting calories to 800/day dropped some serious weight. Even if you add 2 lbs. for clothing differences, I’m still down 4 lbs. in 4 days. However, the Tanita scale actually measures Total Body Water (TBW) and I started with 107 lbs of water and ended with 102 lbs of water. That’s 5 lbs of water weight loss!… according to the Tanita, of course.

It’s now a week after I started and I guarantee if I got on a scale, all that weight is back on. I’m not going to get on one because I don’t care. I didn’t do this because I wanted or needed to lose weight, I did it just to see what it was like to eat 800 calories/day. It sucked, btw. For a guy who is used to eating 2500-3000 calories/day, 800 was a struggle. This is mostly because I wanted to get a good amount of protein, so my fat intake was very low. You know how Jeff and I feel about fat (we love it and think everyone should eat lots of it – seriously!), so it was hard to keep fat so low.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll discuss more specifically the numbers I got from the Tanita scale and what they mean to my 4-day experiment, as well as what we all can learn from them.

Fiber and Health/Weight: How solid is the evidence: Part 1


Posted on October 15th, 2010 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

I discuss the “fiber hypothesis” and my project of going through the fiber research and finding out if there is good evidence that eating fiber is really necessary for good health. This video is the first of a series of videos that will be posted over the next 4 to 6 weeks as I explore the fiber research. The final conclusions will be put forth in our latest Reason Report. Comments and suggestions are welcomed and will likely be helpful in finalizing my conclusions on the topic. Hope you enjoy the journey and find the information interesting and useful.

Ground Chicken, Celery, Spinach, Butter, Repeat


Posted on October 14th, 2010 by Matt Schoeneberger

3 oz spinach

2.5 oz celery, chopped

4 oz ground chicken breast – seasoned to your liking

1 tbls melted butter

354 calories, 21 grams fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 37 grams protein.

How to "survive" dinner with the family on a weight loss plan


Posted on October 13th, 2010 by Matt Schoeneberger


I had a SPEED Weight Management Coaching client email me this:

My weekend was bad [she means her diet] because I went to dinner with friends on Firday and had breakfast with my family on Sunday.

My response was something like “… so get to the part that makes your weekend bad.” Are we supposed to never eat out again? We’re making a lifestyle change, right? That’s the catch phrase now, isn’t it? Well, freaking out every time you’re asked to eat out is not a healthy lifestyle decision.

You can literally eat out every meal and lose weight. If you don’t believe me, check out Fat Head. Not only did Tom Naughton eat out 3 times/day for an entire month, he ate mostly at fast food restaurants. And he lost weight while doing it. Tom’s big on personal responsibility and I agree.

Here are the steps you want to take when deciding to eat out:

1. Try to pick the restaurant. Choose a restaurant that provides their menu and nutrition info online.

2. Before you go, look at the nutrition info and choose a meal you’ll enjoy and figure out how much of it you can eat.

For example, if you choose a Hummus and Goat Cheese Salad with Salmon from Gordon Biersch you’ll see there are 1800 calories in this meal. Since that may very well be more than you typically consume in a day, you won’t be able to eat the whole thing. By the way, this salad comes with a hefty serving of bread. Avoid the bread and you avoid a pretty good chunk of those calories. I’d estimate at least 400 calories from bread alone, and that’s being conservative.

3. Follow the plan. That’s it. Your mind is made up, now instead of having to worry about what you’re going to eat and how this whole trip is going to ruin your attempt to lose weight, you can just sit back and enjoy the company of your friends and family.

4. When you get home, journal about the experience. Celebrate the fact that you were able to enjoy a great meal with great people and it fit perfectly into your plan. Remember this for next time.

What to do if you can’t plan ahead:

Sometimes people will choose the restaurant for you or you won’t have access to nutrition info. The first thing you want to do is stay calm. Seriously. People get all nervous about this stuff and it’s really no big deal. Nervousness shows that you really care and are trying hard, but it’s counterproductive to get all worked up. So, step number 1 is:

1. Take a deep breath, smile, and pick up the menu.

2. Order a simple item. Think “meat and veggies.”  Keep in mind that restaurants add calories to things in ways you can’t fathom (see Gordon Biersch salad above). The more lavish the meal, the more opportunities the restaurant has to sneak in calories, sugar, etc. Try to stick to water with your meal. If you’re bothered about having a drink, say you’ll be the designated driver and you’re not comfortable having even one drink.

3. When the food comes, eat slowly and enjoy every bite. Eat until you’re comfortable, not stuffed. And most importantly, have a good time.

4. Go home and journal.

The big picture

Remember that it’s all about the big picture. If you go out to eat and the meal you choose puts your calories over your weight loss threshold and into a maintenance area for one day, big deal. Try to picture a graph of your weight loss over time. There will be little bumps, spikes, dips, and flat areas, but overall the line will travel from the high left to the low right.