This presentation by Jeff Novick, was probably the most helpful to me of everything at the weekend, because although the principles are simple and obvious, I had never considered them before when deciding how and what I would eat.
As a side note, I observed that everyone on the panel, plus the attendees that had been following this way of eating for a good while, were T-H-I-N! No stomach at all. Definitely lean looking individuals. But definitely healthy looking. I'd like to look that lean.
Back to the discussion--the 4 main topics in this program were (1) Carbohydrates, (Calorie Density, (3) Satiety, and (4) Longevity. And Calorie Density is the secret behind this diet. It's the secret for why all these people looked so nice and slender. It's the secret behind not having to count calories. Understanding this can give one freedom from dieting! That was music to my ears.
Like some earlier speakers, Jeff used charts on the big screen to illustrate his points and make what he was saying very easy to understand. One chart illustrating weight showed two lines going across the graph. One line curved gently downward as it went from left to right, and the other line curved fairly sharply upward. The lower line represented the weight of those eating unrefined carbohydrates and the upward curving line represented the weight of those eating more white flour and sugar. That caught my attention.
Regarding carbs, Jeff showed us through charts that the evidence shows that glycemic load is not associated with body weight. There is no association between the glycemic load of foods and cancer. Same with diabetes 2. That is, eating low glycemic foods (he showed us the chart where Snickers is lower on the GI chart than brown rice) is not the panacea for cancer or diabetes type 2. He showed us the chartsfor the study of 1/2 million people in 8 European countries which showed that dietary glycemic index, glycemic load, and digestible carbs are not associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, complex carbs (eg. beans, veggies) vs. simple carbs (eg. fruits) are equally good or bad. The difference is in the PROCESSING.
He went on to state that refined carbs are eaten 90% of the time in the US, and that only 12% of our calories are unrefined, unprocessed carbs. Refining eliminates the water, fiber, and nutrients, he said. So, to eat a healthy diet, I want to eat unprocessed, unrefined carbs, both simple and complex.
Now to calorie density. Calorie density is the number of calories in a given weight of food. It is usually expressed as calories per pound. It is an excellent indicator of how easy it is to over-eat on a food. He had a chart/graph that showed the differing calorie density of various foods, each weighing one pound. On the far left, and moving left to right, was broccoli, with a CD of 128 for one pound, next was an orange with a CD of 211, then oatmeal- 325, potatoes-425, red beans - 550, whole wheat bread - 1120, oreos - 2197, almonds - 2600, olive oil - 4000. So, why does all this make a difference? Well, the olive oil will ALWAYS have a higher calorie density than broccoli. I am more likely to overeat on stuff to the right of the chart. (The fascinating reason for this was discussed in the next topic by Doug Lisle.) If I have a choice between snacks of carrots, bell peppers and nuts, I am more likely to overeat on nuts because they have a higher calorie density. But, regardless of whether I eat high calorie density food or low calorie dense food, I eat the same amount of food by weight daily. (We could all see by now that choosing to eat foods from the left side of the chart would fill us up but would keep the calories a lot lower than choosing foods from the right hand side. No need to count calories; just be aware of the calorie density of the foods I was choosing.)
Now, on to Satiety, which he described as a feeling of fullness and the opposite of hunger. Equal calorie foods don't represent equal satiety. For example 2 chicken nuggets vs. 1 1/4 C veggie lentil soup both contain 100 calories. But the lentil soup will fill me up better because there is more of it.
•There is more water in it. Water has volume and weight.
•It is higher in fiber and creates bulk when fiber mixes with water.
•It is high in nutrients, but this doesn't matter as much to satiety as water and bulk.
He talked about the calorie density-satiety connection.
1. Factors that decrease calorie density (foods to the left of the chart, like broccoli)
-High water content
-High fiber content
2. Factors that increase satiety
-High water content
-High fiber content
3. Factors that INCREASE Calorie density (foods on the right side of the chart, such as olive oil) and DECREASE satiety
-high fat content
-high sugar content
-high refined carb content
He gave several examples:
1. Both having 800 calories--1 cup cashews vs. 6 small baked potatoes. The cashews have more fat and protein but don't fill me up as much as the 6 potatoes. The water and bulk make the difference.
2. Both having 450 calories--A 2-pound pineapple vs. 4 oz. gummy bears. Both contain the same amount of sugar, but the pineapple has more water and bulk.
His calorie density chart:
veggies -- 100 calories per pound
fruits -- 300 per pound
grains -- 500 calories per pound
beans -- 600 per pound
steak -- 1000 per pound
refined carbs -- 1400 per pound (including refined cereals, water missing)
So, to lose weight, eat 400 calories per pound or less of food on average.
To maintain, eat 400-800 calories per pound of food
To gain weight, eat 800-1200 per pound of food.
Eating lower calorie dense food is recommended for cancer prevention. To reduce body fat eat, on average, 550 calories per pound of food consumed. I should fill my plate 1/2 full of fruits and veggies and 1/2 full of grains and beans. However, liquid calories, such as juices and sodas, don't fill you up like healthy soup, because chewing is part of satiety.
Finally, longevity. He had more statistics and examples. He showed several studies of people groups that had noted longer lives than the general population. They all had the following instinctual health practices:
•Plant based diet
•Constant moderate physical activity
•Social engagement with others
•Legumes in their diet
One example he gave was the Okinawa diet. They ate less; total calories were 1785 with 9% of their diet from proteins, 6% from fat and 85% from carbs. Ninety-five percent of their carb calories are unrefined and fish is only a "condiment."
1. Focus on foods low in calorie density.
2. Sequence foods. That is, start with the soup and lower density food first at your meal and then finish with the higher density (beans, grains) after those.
3. Don't drink your calories. Don't have smoothies, for example. CHEW your food.
4. Substitute. eg. 4 cups pasta at 700 calories vs 2 cups pasta (350 calories plus 2 cups veggies (80 calories) That's 700 calories vs. 430. Significant!
5. Adding veggies always lowers calorie density and raises satiety. (veggies vs. fat)
This was a great talk and I learned a lot. I am trying to put these things in to practice in my life. Now, here's another picture, a lovely salad with those greens Dr. Esselstyn talked about, along with beets and oranges, topped with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts, drizzled with some gourmet balsamic vinegar that was sold at the conference, plus some no-fat dressing from Whole Foods.