Calorie Science the new "fad diet" to hate?

Fritos corn chips is 60% fat energy wise, most of which is processed seed oil, highly inflammatory and disrupts metabolism through various pathways. Something like ugali, which is also highly processed corn, has ~10% of calories from fat, and zero processed seed oil, with a very favorable metabolic outcome. Calorie for calorie, the energy availability and hormonal responses to ugali will be much better than Fritos, despite both being highly processed corn, and yes, even if you eat the same amount of “calories” of each. =)

I absolutely understand your point, but isn’t corn kind of a bad example since a lot of it comes back out unprocessed? (Not trying to be a funny guy, just thinking about the earlier discussion about what comes in and what goes out)

Agreed it’s overly simplified, but is easier way for people to understand how processing relates to digestibility and in turn availability.

And to hit on the a point that’s been made ad nausium in the thread, even all minimally processed foods are not equal in availability. I’d even venture to say that the reason why we don’t have a lot of studies for this in particular is because it’s really freaking hard to do.


Everyone is looking for a “unified theory”, a simple method or truth that is easy to grasp, apply, and succeed with. If that only existed…


Already posted at least twice on this thread, but Michael Pollan’s unified theory is pretty good:

Eat food*, not too much, mostly plants.

*This means avoid highly processed stuff. Few ingredients, recognizable, made from scratch if possible etc.


I hadn’t realised this was a fairly recent video.

I very much enjoyed Ollie’s takedown of Huel. Repeatedly.
In the middle of the Diary with a CEO podcast was a Huel product placement. It’s so incongruous given the content of the podcast. Interestingly, Steven Bartlett is now popping up in Zoe adverts - the commercial service that Tim Spector is a part.

Critique of GCN video:

  • Tim Spector (interviewee of Diary of CEO pod linked in this thread) advises that iceberg lettuce to be a nutrition-free waste of space because it’s been bred into nothingness in the interest of shelf-life.
  • Ollie got confused about the bomb calorimeter - went off on a rant about it ignoring his poo. But Calorie calculations do attempt to factor for this, just imprecisely and non-individually.
  • He talks about exercise immediately after food attenuating blood sugar spikes, but fails to mention in addition that an athletic lifestyle improves blood sugar control in general. So athletes have probably a little more wiggle room.
  • He referenced using “natural” ingredients in on-bike nutrition. I think he then mentioned Precision? Anyway, ignoring GCN’s product placements and the fact that they’ve been pushing SIS for ages, he didn’t expand on this or explain. Why are natural ingredients important in fuelling? As opposed to anything else. It’s not general health, it’s fuel.
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Why 30?

It was something a VA dietician mentioned to me this year. It was also called out in that GCN video.

fruits, veggies, grains, even spices/herbs count. The general idea being give your gut biome a bigger verity of stuff to help keep it as diverse as possible. My wife mis-heard me the first time I repeated it back to here and she said “30? a DAY!??” :joy:

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The suggestion that eating this number of plant foods every week can lead to improved health comes from a large study I worked on back in 2019. The British & American Gut Project looked at the diets of thousands of people, assessing how different dietary patterns were associated with different health outcomes.

One of the most interesting findings was around fibre. The recommended portion of fibre for an adult is 30-35g a day, but what the study was showing us was that the amount of fibre is not as important as the variety. Different plants have different fibres, so eating more plants diversifies the types of fibre you eat.

The study showed us that people who ate the largest variety of plant foods were found to have the healthiest microbiomes (the microbe environment that exists naturally in our guts) and were likely to report the best health outcomes. The study suggested that 30 was the optimum number of different plants for fibre diversity, as there wasn’t much improvement when you increased from 30 to 35 or 40.

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I’ve come to realize that fad diets are what they are because they expect people to upend their entire diets and make drastic changes.

Most good things happen gradually.

I think the first thing to do is to not change anything, and simply identify where you currently are, just like an FTP test, then make gradual changes to get to where you want to be.

I don’t know anything about the “30 plant foods” thing, but if you’re starting from 5, maybe go to 10 first before jumping to 30, not because people can’t open their mouths and shove it down, but because finding the buying all these different foods can be quite a chore.


and unless one has the habit in place, buying 30 out of the gate is likely to lead to food waste and GI distress.

I’m personally looking at the stuff that I already have that I don’t eat often enough (less than once a week)
a serving of dates, dried fruit, add chia to oatmeal, there are lots of little ways to increase the count a little bit at a time.


My easy wins have been:

Mixed herbs (~4)
Mixed spices (4+)
Cinnamon on breakfast
Mixed frozen berries on breakfas (4)
Buy as many cheap vegetables as I can find in the supermarket and then try to workout how to use them. Vegetable sautees often.
Mixed seeds.
Quinoa and any other cheap grains as well as rice.
Tinned legumes - black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, mixed beans in sauce.
Mixed nuts for snacks.

You get close quite quickly.

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Yes. People who need to change their diet due to weight or other health issues, need to commit to changing how they perform a basic daily activity. For the rest of their lives.

Fads are fads. They aren’t forever and they’re not sustainable.

It’s usually more effective to approach diet changes as a new interest or hobby. Slowly learn new things, slowly incorporate and make easy and sustainable changes based off of them.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.



Start by adding a small salad to the side of your lunch, then maybe add a carrot and hummus snack, then maybe start roasting some broccoli for dinner, etc etc. Over the course of many many months.

If you try to go from Mcdonalds for every single meal to a fully homemade, veggie forward lifestyle you’ll explode, waste a bunch of food, and go back to eating fast food saying “healthy eating is too hard”.


I was actually thinking of the whole 30 plants thing today, and started making a mental note…

Just today…

Chili peppers
Green bell pepper
Shishito peppers
Olives (oil…)
Kidney bean
Cannelini bean
Red potato

I’m sure i’m missing something…but that’s 20, 30 doesnt seem hard for a whole week…

Edit: Just remembered black pepper berries, corn, and strawberries :joy:

Edit edit: And mustard seed. And hell i’ve got a couple hours still haha

Editx3: chocolate, that counts! Oh coffee too. I’m pretty sure I’m actually over 30 for the day :joy:

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Honestly, I think starting from the other end is way easier.

The first choice should be that you’re going to stop eating McDonalds, and cook at home. Everything else falls in line after that…at least to a large degree

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I think the 30 thing is funny. I’m pretty sure there are lots of bars out there with 6 kinds of seeds 3 fruits 3 grains and some spices, so there’s 15 in a bar. Sooo healthy :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Ok, who the F is Diary of a CEO? Just some tech / business bro that made a few bucks and decided to be a podcaster?

I had never heard of him before but was surprised to see that he actually gets some names on his podcast and has 5M followers. I just can’t stand all the click bait titles. I’m not willing to sort through them just to find a good interview.

And n=1 this is why calorie counting has worked for me. At the start, it was really just portion control, and then my diet has gradually evolved as I learnt and made choices. And my palate adjusted.

Regardless of the overall approach that works for someone, I really can’t see immediate very significant changes being sustainable or even necessary.

I’m really not a believer in excluding foods or food groups, but regardless whether we believe a calorie is a calorie in the overall scheme of a diet, I think we can agree that processed foods are tasty as f*ck. And you can take my relatively infrequent treats from my cold dead hands!


Why are we the only animal on earth that needs this varied diet?

8.7 different species of animal and the vast majority of them literally eat the same thing the entire time and are totally fine.

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