Back when I answered some reader questions the other day, I forgot to address a couple of things. Trygve had asked:
Also read that you eat less fat now? why is that? and how much are you eating now of the different nutrients?
He also asked how to get down to 6-8% body fat, a question I’ll answer in the immediate: I’ll let you know when I get there.
First I should clarify that I really don’t know, for sure, that I’m eating appreciably less fat. It certainly seems so (I don’t count anything), but it’s also the case that I no longer obsess over it. That is to say: I just increasingly go with what I have an appetite for and I don’t try to single out animal fat for consumption most times. Sometimes it’s a ribeye smothered in melted butter — or a fat-dominant sauce of my own creation — and sometimes I slightly gorge myself on fruit. There’s an aspect of this that takes time — that is: a year to two. I have a clue on that score, which I’ll save for a future blog. Hint: your body fat composition; i.e., what is your own body fat made of in terms of fatty acids: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated, and how long does it take to shift those ratios? Think about that.
I make myself laugh, sometimes. While I was never one to sit in front of a TV and munch on pure junk (well, very occasionally), I did used to munch on sunflower seeds by the pound, in shells. You see, when I was a kid, my dad ate sunflower seeds. He tossed a small handful in his mouth and shelled, ate them, and spit out the seeds one at a time — all “see mom, no hands” style. All very impressive to a five-yr-old. In short order, I could do it too (it’s all in the tongue), and that habit persisted for decades (hundreds of pounds worth). But I’ve never sat regularly and munched sweets, potato chips, or any of the related products. In spite of that, I ballooned to 230 pounds, at least 50 pounds overweight.
But now, if I do munch or graze over a period of hours in front of the tube — which is less and less — I’m just not that desirous, anymore — it’s gonna be nuts and fruit. For fruit, various grapes are my absolute favorite. It’s my new candy. Cherries, sweet and in season, will certainly do too.
The question really raises a much larger issue: the conflation of adequate healthful diet and optimal healthful diet. I describe my diet as “Paleo-like,” which means I generally ascribe to The Paleo Diet as espoused by Loren Cordain. However, I have a really huge problem with his stance on animal fat — which review of his book I’ll definitely get to later. Why? Because the way I eat is in fairly true “paleo” fashion in terms of quality. But he’s telling me that in term of quantity (relative macro-nutrient ratios: protein, fat, carb), I’m not eating paleo. I’m eating too much fat: “artery clogging saturated fat.” He’s full of shit. To wit:
While Stephan is far too much the detached scientist and gentleman, I — on the other hand — suffer no such limitations. That’s why Stephan would never claim to have put Cordain in short pants, but I believe he has.
You really owe it to yourself to get a load of that. It’s really simple mathematics. We really can’t eat that much protein for very long (I have tried). For nearly a week I was eating around only 1,000 calories per day, 95ish% protein and I was stuffed — and probably nutritionally starving. My wife had the same experience.
As a result, I will never even experiment with an unsustainable diet ever again (wait until my Oprah post — maybe tomorrow). Why?
The phrase “low-carbohydrate diet” is a no-no in some circles, because it implies that a diet is high in fat. Often, the euphemism “high-protein diet” is used to avoid the mental image of a stick of butter wrapped in bacon. It’s purely a semantic game, because there is no such thing as a diet in which the majority of calories come from protein. The ability of the human body to metabolize protein ends at about 1/3 of calories (1, 2), and the long-term optimum may be lower still. Low-carbohydrate diets (yes, the ones that are highly effective for weight loss and general health) are high-fat diets. [emphasis added]
Stephan always knows how to give you the overview in the first paragraph. Let me get to my point, mix up another cocktail (not paleo), and admonish you once more to read and grasp Stephan’s — what I consider – inviolable deduction.
I think there’s a huge conflation going on. Remember: it only takes one single observation that contradicts the hypothesis to send you back to the drawing board. I’m not going to take time at the moment to cite examples, but what we know is that we have observed healthful primitives (generally no cancer, heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, etc.) from both extremes. You have the Inuit at about 80-90% animal fat with all but about 1-2% of the balance protein, and you have — on the other extreme — the Kitavans and Kuna, upwards of 50-60% cabohydrate.
What’s the difference? They don’t eat derivative, processed crap produced by large, state-protected corporations marketed via TEEVEE to your kids, subsidized through the euphemism of “taxation” (in the Animal world: theft; try it: you’ll see what I mean).
Five minutes later: I forget to make my point about the conflation of adequate with optimal nutrition. The point is, we don’t really know. I question whether it’s worth really finding out. My strategy is intermittency in the relative quantitative consumption of naturally occurring fat (animal) and carbohydrate (fruits). Most vegetables are pretty irrelevant to the equation – so eat up.