If you're trying to count calories as a way to lose weight, you'll want to hear why calories don't count and how to lose weight the right way with Dr. Giles Yeo.
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Let's Say Hello
[00:03:46.920] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How are things going?
[00:03:49.030] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:03:50.980] – Allan
I'm doing all right. Sort of. I did the requisite face plant that you did earlier.
[00:03:56.930] – Rachel
[00:04:00.270] – Allan
Yeah. We were celebrating Thanksgiving, and then at night, I was like, okay, I've had a few glasses of wine, and I know I'm not going to want to get up at 6:00 in the morning and take these dogs out, so I'm going to take them out right before I go to bed, which means they might just let me sleep till seven. And I went to take them out and it was raining and it had been raining. And so I walked in this field, and it's sort of like someone jerking your hands when you're standing on an ice skate on ice.
[00:04:28.500] – Allan
And so my feet went completely out from under me when the dog decided he wanted to go in a direction, and I wasn't quite positioned for it. And when you have two leashes in your hand and you're falling, there's no breakage except the face. So I did a really good face plant, and Tammy was nice enough to patch me up with some bandage and stuff. So, yeah, just a kind of a face plant. There's no other way to say it, because it was just that, but I'm recovering.
[00:05:02.190] – Allan
It's fine. It's just some scrapes and scars and scrapes and stuff, and I'm probably going to have a nice little scar above my eyebrow for a little while, maybe for a long while, but it's just one of the kind of those things you say. Okay, I need to work on my balance. I need to work on my strength. I need to make sure that I'm not put in that position again as I get older. So it's just kind of one of those reminders of being aware of your environment, doing the right things so that we don't take those bills as often.
[00:05:36.170] – Allan
And if we do, our body has the resilience to get through it and protect us.
[00:05:41.460] – Rachel
Yes, absolutely. Just like you mentioned, I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago, and I'm recovering. I still have a tiny little bruise on my cheek, but it seems to be going away. But I was just mentioning with one of my running partners, like, I think this winter I'll be practicing my gait and learning how to lift my feet up a little bit better, making sure that I pay closer attention and do all those same things, too. Yes, it's a reminder and not a fun reminder to take care.
[00:06:13.830] – Allan
And actually, I kind of follows along with that method I put out there that slip to success, which is okay something happened in our cases, face plant and forgive yourself.
[00:06:26.380] – Allan
It happened. It happened. The circumstances were what they were. And then the second stage is learn from it and then apply it. And so you're going to be training your gait. I'm going to be working a lot more on balance and continue to work on strength. And then we'll hopefully not have to deal with another face plant.
[00:06:46.350] – Rachel
Absolutely. Fingers crossed. Absolutely.
[00:06:49.830] – Allan
All right. Well, you're ready to get into this discussion with Dr. Yeo?
[00:06:52.970] – Rachel
Sure. Let's do this.
[00:07:21.280] – Allan
Dr. Yeo, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:07:23.850] – Dr. Yeo
Thank you so much for having me, Allan.
[00:07:25.930] – Allan
Now the book you have very compelling title, I might add, Why Calories Don't Count: How We Got the Science of Weight Loss Wrong. And that's a very compelling title.
[00:07:37.350] – Dr. Yeo
Thank you. Some people might even call it controversial. I don't think it is. I don't think it's a controversial title.
[00:07:43.380] – Allan
I don't either, especially when you go through the book several times saying, I'm not saying Calories don't entirely count. They do. If you eat in excess of the energy output, you are going to gain weight. And if you eat less than the energy output, you are going to lose weight. It's just really on how we kind of put this all together. But you had one statement in a book that it was towards the end. But I have to see this out front because this was probably the best sentence I've read a long, long time and it said, Rather than wasting our lives obsessing about our weight and how we look, we should instead focus on our health. If you focus on your health, your weight will take care of itself.
[00:08:22.830] – Dr. Yeo
[00:08:24.390] – Allan
And I just love that. I'm going to use that over and over. I'm going to take that quote. And Dr. Yeo, and I'm going to post that everywhere because I think that's really the important thing of what we're after here. We take weight and we consider it some proxy for being healthy and fit and everything else is great in our lives. When it's usually just a side effect.
[00:08:47.910] – Dr. Yeo
It'S not only is it just a side effect, it's also, sadly, what we create to with beauty. And so people are going to say, Well, no, that's rubbish. I can lose a lot more weight. I don't look like how I look, but there's a difference between wanting to look like what you look in a mirror. Look, I want to look like Brad Pitt, but there are any number of reasons why I can't look like Brad Pitt. But if you actually get to the point where you're healthy, you can carry your kids.
[00:09:13.870] – Dr. Yeo
You can go up and down the stairs without getting out of breath. You can cycle to whatever you want to do and you can live your life and not feel that something is holding you back. So what if you're a little larger? I guess that's the point. Can you live your life? Can you do what you want to do and you need help for that rather than looks per se?
[00:09:30.770] – Allan
Absolutely. Now to start this off, you start off the book and you have a supposition here that talks about calories. And this is really kind of the principle of the book, and it's A does not equal B does not equal C, and I'll go through that. A is the number of calories actually in the food that does not equal the number of calories on the side of the pack, which does not equal the number of usable calories we finally get out of the food. So the trouble is this is if I'm going to look at the input, the calories that I'm eating and none of those numbers line up, then it's an impossible math for me to do, even if I have the information on the pack, even if I had a bomb called Kilometer in my house to burn everything I want to burn to figure it out, which I don't, and I'm not going to invest in one of those anyway.
[00:10:26.360] – Allan
But doesn't that create this complication to the calories in calories out model that we really can't overcome with math?
[00:10:34.560] – Dr. Yeo
I think so, at least not with the math that we're using right now. And I think that's the critical thing, as you said in the very beginning. Clearly, they count in some description to 200 calories of French fries is twice the portion of 100 calories of French fries. Clearly, obviously that's the case, but I guess so is 200 grams of French fries greater than twice the portion of 100 grams of French fries. And no one's out here trying to compare 200 grams of French fries to 200 grams of carrots.
[00:11:05.030] – Dr. Yeo
So I think there is this thing we got to get around where we need to be thinking about, sort of like the food we're eating. And while the calories have their use, I think they're complicating matters, because now you talk about people equating their weight to their health. People are equating the number of calories in a food to how good a food is. That is just not the case.
[00:11:30.270] – Allan
Because I can get a little packet of snacks and it's 100 calories, or I could eat 100 calories of chicken breasts.
[00:11:37.290] – Dr. Yeo
[00:11:38.110] – Allan
And it's a whole different dynamic. It's a whole different dynamic.
[00:11:40.680] – Dr. Yeo
It's absolutely different dynamic because of the amount of protein because chicken breast hasn't been processed, it's been cooked, it's been processed by being cooked. So I guess that equation, which I actually put out what it does mean is that the calories everywhere are wrong. That's the first piece of information that everyone gets out. But the issue is we eat food and we don't eat calories, and this is absolutely critically important. And our body has to work to differing degrees in order to pull the calories out after the food.
[00:12:15.730] – Dr. Yeo
And so when you actually eat something like a chicken breast, a piece of steak, a piece of fish. Ok. Like a whole food, you have to chew through it. It's either got a lot of protein or a lot of fiber depending on what you're eating. And so you have to kind of make your way through and your body takes time and takes energy. It takes energy to break down food. Whereas if you have something that's ultra processed, that's out of a pack and that has a shelf life of a million years.
[00:12:42.960] – Dr. Yeo
All right. It's been so ultra processed. And remember when I say ultra process, I'm not talking about fermenting. I'm not talking about the stuff you do in your kitchen. This is stuff that's done in a factory that we cannot replicate at home. Then, in effect, this procedure of auto processing is like an external stomach. So a lot of energy has already been in to the food and made the calories more available. So if you have 100 calories of chicken breast, as you said, versus 100 calories of an ultra processed foods, you will end up with a lot more calories from 100 calories of an ultra processed food.
[00:13:18.640] – Dr. Yeo
And naturally, an ultra processed food because of what's been happening to it has less protein and or less fiber, and it's higher in salt, sugar and fat. So this is the problem. Whereas if you have a chicken breast, you have a chicken breast, you can put salt on it if you wish. Pepper, soy sauce, whatever you want, you control what you add to it because you see the chicken breasts, you're doing something to it. Whereas when you get something out of a pack, we don't know what's in it.
[00:13:44.560] – Dr. Yeo
We just don't. And I think it's important to understand this fact.
[00:13:50.970] – Allan
Because in the key of what you just said there was we're eating food, we're not eating calories.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.
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[00:15:40.310] – Allan
Our ancestors before they invented calories in the I guess the late 1800 started talking about them. They didn't have calorie counts on their food. They ate till they were satiated, and then they stopped eating. And then they went back to work.
[00:15:56.320] – Dr. Yeo
So the whole concept of the calorie actually was not originally invented. It eventually became to look at human food, but was originally put together for farmers because what farmers were interested in was how much would you feed a cow or your chicken or your sheep and get good quality meat or eggs or milk or what have you that's a product. And so you could see why the farmers really cared. They really would care the calorie content of the food, what was coming out the other side of the animal.
[00:16:29.390] – Dr. Yeo
And so they could say, Well, we're going to change the food. We're going to make better investments in the food. It was only laterally that people said we can do this to human food, too. And that is when it became weaponized. Suddenly the calorie became not something about agriculture and talking about the food supply, but suddenly becoming equated to human beings. And then we worry about our health. And there we go.
[00:16:53.490] – Allan
Yeah, and all of it seems to get weaponized. I think that's what's actually kind of scary here is they'll say, okay, calories are weaponized and then, okay, fat, because fat has more grams more calories per gram than the other two. Then we've got to demonize fat. And then it's like, Well, no fat helps a little bit. But now we've got a demonized cholesterol. It's not the fast cholesterol. And then we got to demonize sugar. And then we got to demonize salt. And that's all the stuff that actually makes the food palatable in the first place, but in the right proportion in the right way.
[00:17:28.610] – Allan
The key of it to me, and you talked about this in the book was, can I eat less actual calories and be satiated? And there are certain foods that do that. And there are other foods that don't. And the first one I want to bring up is protein. Why is protein so important for weight loss?
[00:17:50.990] – Dr. Yeo
Okay, there are two different reasons, two broad reasons why, clearly, they're going to be associated. Famously, a calorie of protein makes you feel fuller, more satiated than a calorie of fat than a calorie of carb in that order. All right. And there are two different reasons why. Sorry. Like I said, we need food and not calorie. Freudian slip. And there are two stages your body goes through to extract calories from food. The first stage is digestion, which we talk about chewing, autochemical digestion. And there is a golden rule here, really quite a good golden rule, which works not only for protein, but also for fiber, but the longer something takes to digest, the farther down your gut it will go.
[00:18:41.240] – Dr. Yeo
And the farther down it goes, different hormones are released and you feel fuller. Okay. And so protein just happens to take longer to digest. It's more complicated. It's just more difficult to take it apart and something else. And so it tends to travel further down the gut, different hormones are released and you feel fuller. So that's the first thing. Now, protein is broken down into amino acids, the building blocks within your gut. And then that gets transported across the gut wall into your blood. And amino acids and sugar and fatty acids are themselves, not energy.
[00:19:16.890] – Dr. Yeo
They're few still. So they then transported to your organs, your cells, wherever you need them. They're then metabolized. And this is the second part of how we actually get the energy, digestion and metabolism. What happens with the metabolism is it takes a lot of energy to metabolize protein. For every 100 calories of protein that you eat, this is unusual. You don't normally do this. I'm just using it as an example, so that we understand. But for every 100 calories of protein we eat, we only ever use, on average, 70 calories.
[00:19:57.470] – Dr. Yeo
So it takes 30% of the protein calories you eat to handle protein. So just out of the blocks, all the protein calorie counts everywhere are 30% out because they don't take into account the 30% of energy it takes to actually deal with protein. And so it's a mix of the fact that protein takes longer to digest and more energy to metabolize together. It makes protein more satiating for us. It makes us feel fuller, even though we need exactly the same number of calories of protein and fats or carbs.
[00:20:31.210] – Allan
Yeah. Now the satiation is the important part. The 30% doesn't mean you get to eat 30% more.
[00:20:39.570] – Dr. Yeo
That's not what I mean. That's the wrong message.
[00:20:42.750] – Allan
Yeah. So just realizing that, yes. If you're looking at your macros and you're saying, okay, this meal is giving me a certain amount of protein. I think you said optimal is probably about 16%. And then I'm getting good carbs. And we'll talk about the good carbs in a minute and some fat. Then each of those is going to digest at their own pace. And because the protein takes longer to digest and uses more energy in the digestion, it makes it easier for you to stay satiated longer, eat less and lose weight.
[00:21:16.170] – Dr. Yeo
Now, that is absolutely right. But there is one thing. So if you happen to be trying to build your muscle and this could be because you're older or it could be because you are actually lifting and trying to bulk up, then there is a case to be made for thinking about how much protein you're actually getting in terms of protein calories and whether or not you need to alter whether or not you need to alter that. Now, this is not the case for everything, but I think there is a case to be made for.
[00:21:43.540] – Dr. Yeo
Maybe I need to up my protein a little bit more if I'm trying to bulk up.
[00:21:47.420] – Allan
And as a trainer, I would tell you if you feel like you're losing muscle mass due to sarcopenia because you're older, yes, you probably need more protein. And if you decide you want to take on a resistance training program for the sake of building muscle, you definitely need more protein. But as a basic, getting by 16% is probably a good number to start with. And then just see how you recover from your workouts, whether you are building muscle, losing muscle and change it out from there. Now the next one,
[00:22:18.250] – Allan
And we talked about carbs because there's different types of carbs. And I think many of us get conflated and saying, Well, okay, this is obviously a healthy carb because it grew in the ground. It's a plant. But then, of course, we dice it up and Fry it or batter it and Fry it.
[00:22:33.520] – Dr. Yeo
[00:22:35.310] – Allan
Like in San Francisco, you talked about the baseball games, the garlic fries, where there's as much garlic as there are fries. We ruin good things all the time. But fiber and fiber, similar to protein, has a compelling path through our digestive tract that changes the way we digest it, which also metabolize it, which also again helps us with satiation.
[00:23:05.200] – Dr. Yeo
So yes, the first thing is it's quite clear we don't digest most fiber, so some fiber we're able to digest. We'll do that in a second. But the vast majority of fiber that's the stringy stuff we see in the pulp and Orange juice and celery. And what have you we don't digest. It comes out sweet corn, corn on the cob, it comes out the other side. And so as we were discussing with the protein, because the fiber, therefore slows down the digestion of everything it takes longer to digest, it makes you feel fuller.
[00:23:32.990] – Dr. Yeo
The other thing about fiber that is very useful is fiber tends to be found almost exclusively in plants, almost exclusively. The type of macros you'll find in a plant tends to be largely carbohydrates, and maybe a little bit of fat, depending on what kind of plant we're actually dealing with. And the crucial thing is the fiber slows down the extraction of the carbohydrates and therefore the absorption of the sugar. And so you'll have exactly. This is the equivalent of drinking Orange juice versus eating an Orange.
[00:24:06.290] – Dr. Yeo
Right. It's the same kind of comparison where you're getting exactly the same amount of sugar, exactly the same amount of sugar. But if you drink Orange juice, it just gets absorbed the moment it hits a small intestine, whereas the fiber takes time. And so you then have a different glucose profile. Blood sugar profile after you eat something with fiber versus not. And that plays a very big role in terms of not only satiation, but also the eventual feeling of hunger again later as well.
[00:24:36.040] – Allan
Yeah. We call that the roller coaster where basically blood sugar spikes up, insulin kicks in. It sucks that sugar sometimes sending it to the muscles and sometimes sending it to the liver. But most of the time storing it as fat. And then your sugar crashes. And now you want some more Orange juice.
[00:24:54.100] – Dr. Yeo
That's right. And the fiber, evens this whole thing out, even though you get exactly the same. And this is the thing. This is the thing you try and explain to someone says, look, I'm not saying the foods are different. I'm not saying that they are magic, and I'm not saying the different types of sugars, the actual rate and speed and kinetics. Shall we say it is everything. It's absolutely everything to how your body manages its energy.
[00:25:18.770] – Allan
Yeah. And then the fiber goes further because we're not going to be able to digest most of it into our system. So it's ending up all the way down in the large intestine and some magical things happened down there.
[00:25:30.340] – Dr. Yeo
Some magical things happened down there because fiber, as we know, keeps you regular. And that's a good thing we don't want to be storing in us unnecessarily, but more crucially or equally crucially rather. It is very important for your gut microbiome, for the bugs in your gut that actually live there, and it keeps them happy. It keeps them happy. And what do I mean by happy? It means it keeps a nice variety of bugs. That pretty much is what healthy means. When people say, What's a healthy gut microbiome, the bugs variety.
[00:26:03.330] – Dr. Yeo
You only end up with one mono, very few varieties that tends to be meaning that you eat a very boring and very uniform type of diet, which is not great for you. So variety is the spice of life, and fiber is the spice for these bugs. And it's very important for your overall health, for your gut health. For your immune system, there is hardly any body system because, look, if you have bad guts, you feel awful. You're not having a good day. So having healthy guts is important to your overall health.
[00:26:41.910] – Allan
Now, one of the fundamental problems with nutrition. And I wish we could fix this is that there are labels on processed food, and there's seldom labels on the foods that are high in protein and fiber. Because you're picking those up at a farmer's market. You're picking those up in a produce stand in a meat market, and they're not wrapped and packaged the way that's required, particularly in the United States, for them to be labeled. And so if you find yourself eating more processed food, sometimes, I don't think I'm not even sure we recognize how processed our foods are.
[00:27:17.140] – Allan
There's a scale you talk about. It's not your scale. It's a scale that's been out there for us called the Nova scales, Nova classifications. And there's four of them. Could you go through those four real quick? So we would have an understanding, because in my opinion. And again, I'm just a guy that eats and try to get choice to take care of myself is I'm always trying to eat in that number one category, most of my foods. And then if there's a two or three, it's a little bit or it's a way to flavor the one or two.
[00:27:47.650] – Allan
And then I try my best to stay away from the four as much as possible. But could you go through that scale of what that actually means?
[00:27:54.250] – Dr. Yeo
Okay. So this was actually come up from a Brazilian scientist. Oh, gosh, I'm going to have to remember his name. That's terrible. I'm going to forget it, but I'll come up with it in a second. Brazilian scientist actually came up with this Nova system of one to four relatively recently. Actually, we're probably only looking at something like 2011 to 2016 year. So what are the four Nova categories? And this is to talk about how processed the food is. So Nova one, these are what we would recognize fruit, what we recognize as whole food, a piece of steak, a chicken wing.
[00:28:29.510] – Dr. Yeo
All right. So these are just food, whole foods that we would actually go and buy from a market. And what have you now? Nova two are flavorings ingredients. Okay. So, for example, this could be ground black pepper because the pepper has been toasted. It could be oil. It could be, for example, olive oil. It could be purified salt. It could be sugar from sugar cane or otherwise. And these are there for Nova type two. Now, what happens when you mix Nova type one and two together?
[00:29:09.810] – Dr. Yeo
You get a Nova type three. So three are the processed foods that we recognize as processed, for example, bread. Because bread has gone through the process of you put yeast, some fermentation, it goes up, you do things you can drink, beer. Okay. Now beer has gone through the fermentation process. So those are Nova group three and other foods that you might Cook. So pickling. Okay. So Kimchi or Sauerkraut, that would be a Nova group three. So that is the vast majority of food. And actually Nova groups one to three are all pretty much fine, because together they form what we would call whole foods to just minimally processed foods.
[00:29:54.780] – Dr. Yeo
Then there's no group four. And the problem with Nova group four is that that is where in North America, in Europe, in the high income countries, we get more than 50% of our calories from. And these are pretty much every prepackaged foods that are out there that have gone through a process that we cannot replicate in a domestic kitchen or even a restaurant. When you go to a restaurant, you're not getting a proper restaurant, not a fast food restaurant. If you go to a proper restaurant where there's a chef and kitchen and cooking your food, those are never going to be Nova group four.
[00:30:29.590] – Dr. Yeo
Okay. Whereas if you actually have to go through a factory process, it's everything that is in there. And so that's a lot of things. Just to be clear, I'm not demonizing them per se. We eat too much of them. Ice cream is going to be nova group four, croissants are going to be Nova group Four. Pastries are going to be Nova group Four. So there are those, but they at least look something resembling sorts of Nova group four. But then you can go really extreme.
[00:31:01.050] – Dr. Yeo
Right. And you can get these cheaper Nuggets where, for example, the meat is not really meat. Meat is even a strong word.
[00:31:12.970] – Allan
I will never eat another chicken McNugget, as long as I live.
[00:31:18.250] – Dr. Yeo
I don't want to get sued by them, but it's true, but that's the way they actually make it. So those are the four Nova groups. What we've got to do. Why does the Nova group four exist? This is a question to ask. I think it's helped keep 7 billion people in the world alive. Okay. There was a reason why it came about because of the industrial processes. They have economies of scale to make. They typically have very long shelf lives and they're very easily movable, and they're very cheap calories.
[00:31:51.340] – Dr. Yeo
And so as a result, we can actually survive on food. Certainly in the UK, you can now get up to 900 calories in the old school for less than a pound, depending on where you're getting. And a pound is a dollar 20 or one dollar 30 something like that. Yeah, really cheap calories. The problem is the amount we're eating now, that's the first thing. And the second problem is that because it's cheap, the poorer among society, people in the lower socio economic classes end up eating the cheaper food.
[00:32:26.440] – Dr. Yeo
Why? Because that is what's available in their food that they happen to be living in, for example. And it is also what they happen to be able to afford. And so I think it's a double tragedy. It's a tragedy, in a sense, where it is bad for us to eat too much of it and actually the poorest amongst us who are already at risk of diseases and things anywhere also end up eating it the most. So I think there's a double tragedy that we need to try and fix.
[00:32:51.600] – Allan
Well, I think there's a third piece in there that the food companies are responsible for. They're hiring scientists to make the food hyper palatable to make it addictive. I'm going to be talking to someone in a week or so about food addiction and how we deal with that. But the reality is if you find yourself there's just this food, and I like to term it as kryptonite, like your Superman, it's going to kill you. But you can't stay away from it. You can't do anything about it.
[00:33:18.450] – Allan
They make these foods like Kryptonite, they're so delicious. Even they advertise it. You can't eat just one, stack your chips, eat three of them because different flavors, and you're going to eat a whole two of them. And that's more calories than you should have had for your dinner. And they're hyperpatable. They're going to basically become blood sugar as soon as they hit your system. I think that there's a third piece there.
[00:33:46.210] – Dr. Yeo
And it's an arms war, because what's interesting is obviously there is no Advertisement campaign for strawberries. Not that I know. Or the Advertisement, maybe sometimes the Orange juice company, but even that. But then the Advertisement campaigns that go out to support these foods are incredible. And it's weapons grade. We talk about weaponization. It's weapons grade. And so you're someone selling from the local farm because there is no way you can compete against that. Certainly when it comes to kids, I think a lot of it is adults.
[00:34:21.950] – Dr. Yeo
We are obviously impressionable, but it's the kids. It's the kids that they're looking at and watch the cartoons. And they buy the happy meals. And they do the thing.
[00:34:31.550] – Allan
And the Super Bowl, which is coming up, which Congratulations on San Francisco's win this week.
[00:34:37.190] – Dr. Yeo
[00:34:38.300] – Allan
Super bowl. They'll spend millions of dollars. And you think, how many bags of potato chips do they have to sell? But they obviously are because they've been doing these commercials forever. So it obviously sells more potato chips.
[00:34:56.850] – Dr. Yeo
Otherwise they won't do it right. These guys are mercenary. Of course they are. They're not going to be spending the money if they're not getting a return from this.
[00:35:04.870] – Allan
Yeah. So that's the other side of just recognizing that these ultra processed foods are food stuff. They're built to be hyperpatable. They're built to be addictive. And, yes, they are low cost. They're easy to transport. They're self stable for a long, long time. So there are benefits from a feeding the world perspective to having this technology. But I kind of think it's gone a little on the other direction. And that's part of why we're in the problems we're at. And if we can flip back and we can start thinking about this scale of how processes my food and the less processing for the most part, the better.
[00:35:43.540] – Allan
One, two, three and trying to weigh your food and think of your food in that order, the more I have in category one, the better category two is next and then three. And then occasionally, if you want that Mars bar, have a Mars bar, but recognize where you are and what you're doing and enjoy the heck out of it and then be done. Get back to protein and fiber and your weight loss goals.
[00:36:11.070] – Dr. Yeo
I mean, there is another which I do raise in the book and sort of middle ground because I do think we need somehow a society to reformulate our food system. I think somehow we've managed to in trying to keep 7 billion people alive. I do think we've broken significant elements of our food system. Okay. And we're not here to necessarily discuss that. So we need to fix that. But in the meantime, however, in the meantime, how do we try and be pragmatic? And so what I do say is yes, if we want a Mars bar, we can have a Mars bar, but can we make a better Mars bar?
[00:36:46.380] – Dr. Yeo
I think that's the question, right? Can we convince at least in the interim. So this is not the be all and end all. But can we get the companies to put in more nuts, more dates and figs to try and up the fiber and protein content of a chocolate bar or a frozen lasagna or something? And every time I say this, what's interesting is I'm not trying to countenance all of us moving to Nova four as. It's just not my point. But my point is, how do we help the people who through no fault of their own, are almost forced to live on Nova Four Foods?
[00:37:23.210] – Dr. Yeo
Can we get the companies to improve their Nova Four foods? And that's another thing I'm quite passionate about in trying to. And whenever a company, a food manufacturer, for example, speaks to me, okay. I never take money from food companies for the reason, so that I can go in and speak to the food companies and be honest with them. They can listen to me or not listen to me, but I can say, look, you guys can continue making your chocolate bars or lasagna, what have you but can you make it better?
[00:37:52.930] – Dr. Yeo
Can you up the protein? Can you up the fiber? Can you do that? Surely you can. Surely you can do it without really that much of a significant rise in cost.
[00:38:01.570] – Allan
I suppose they can, especially when you think about it. We have a tendency to think of protein as being meat coming from an animal. And we think of fiber as coming from a plant and more of this could be plant based, and you can get there. Fiber is easy. It's practically nothing from a density perspective and almost no flavor from a cost perspective.
[00:38:25.970] – Dr. Yeo
It doesn't cost anything, right?
[00:38:28.710] – Allan
Because they stripped it off of something else. It's sitting there. It's sitting there. It's ready so they can. I know they can. And hopefully they will. They'll see the problem and realize, okay, if I want my clients, my customers to live longer and eat more, I actually have to not kill them.
[00:38:45.660] – Dr. Yeo
Keep them alive. Don't kill your customer.
[00:38:52.170] – Allan
Dr. Yeo, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:39:00.240] – Dr. Yeo
Well, oh, my goodness. That's a very good question. Actually, I'm not going to start with nutrition. Obviously, nutrition is one of them. The first is moving and literally moving. Now the interesting thing. And this could be if you are able, going long distances running or cycling or pumping. It could be that. Or it could be going in your garden, walking your dog, mowing the lawn. They're doing something like that. And while moving per se. And maybe sometimes people don't notice. Moving per se is not a great way of losing weight per se, but it is fabulous for you.
[00:39:40.760] – Dr. Yeo
You will never, ever be able to replace the goodness of moving. And so we don't move enough. And so we got to move. So that's the first thing I would say, move. And then the second thing is really think about nutrition, not in an evangelical and puritanical fashion. You talk about it. You sound just from our conversation here. You have the right approach. Look, sometimes you want a Mars bar. Sometimes your kid has a birthday party, you want to have a slice of cake, but we have too much of that.
[00:40:08.770] – Dr. Yeo
So I think thinking about the nutrition and simply if you consider protein and fiber in the diet that you eating, even as a shorthand as a proxy. Obviously the other thing. But even if we consider protein and fiber and moving, I think those three things would actually get you a long way to getting healthier.
[00:40:31.530] – Allan
If someone wanted to learn more about you and your book, Why Calories Don't Count. Where would you like for me to send them?
[00:40:38.820] – Dr. Yeo
They can send all good bookshops. I know some people don't like Amazon, and I don't want to push people there, but all good bookshops should sell the book, Why Calories Don't Count. There's also one. And if you want to hear anything more, just me bibling on and interviewing various people. I also have a podcast called Dr. Giles Yeo, Choose the Fat and it's available at Apple and Spotify and all your favorite places.
[00:41:07.690] – Allan
Okay, well, this is Episode 516, so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/516, and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Yeo, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:41:20.730] – Dr. Yeo
Allan, this has been a pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
[00:41:27.970] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:41:30.030] – Rachel
Allan, oh, my gosh. I don't even know where to start. There's a lot we can talk about. But I do want to mention that back when I started my weight loss journey a long time ago, pre Internet days, counting calories was a nightmare. It was just something I never wanted to do, and it's just difficult. It's just a pain to do, especially before smartphones and apps that are so helpful today. But just like a lot of people who start their weight loss journey, that's the only thing I knew about at that time.
[00:42:00.700] – Allan
Yeah, I've been on my fitness pal and some of the others, and I've talked to different people over the years that are tracking and some of them, it's quite literally, like they're doing the accounting for General Electric. I mean, it's just crazy measure every calorie, calculate these numbers, and then you're looking at your weight and they're trying to evaluate and you're like, okay, well, maybe I was off by a pecan the other day. If you find that doing the calorie counting is stressing you out. You're doing it wrong.
[00:42:38.120] – Allan
Now, full disclosure or Disclaimer, or however you want to look at it. If you have a food addiction, if you have an eating disorder or you just find that the gamification of this actually is helping you stick with it, that's great. There are a lot of people that are like that, and that's cool that the whole world is made up of different people. So I'm not going to say there's one way fits all. That'll never be the case. But if you're stressing over the calories, oh, I can't eat this.
[00:43:09.220] – Allan
It has too many calories in it. It's chicken breasts.
[00:43:17.290] – Rachel
Well, that's a good point. I mean, think about what you're eating. I think one light bulb moment that I had many years ago when I did have my fitness pal was one of the foods I did like to eat after a half marathon. I used to go to McDonald's and get the Quarter Pounder meal because I craved the salt and the fat in that meal. And one day I realized that the calorie count for the Quarter Pounder with cheese meal was the equivalent of my total calorie intake for that day.
[00:43:49.700] – Rachel
And it was a big light bulb moment for me because obviously, I can't live on one meal per day, especially running half marathons. But that probably wasn't the most healthy choice that I could have picked for that time.
[00:44:05.750] – Allan
Yeah, one, I think if you read Doctor Yeo's book, you're not going to eat fast food ever again.
[00:44:18.170] – Allan
he actually taught you a lot of people don't want to know how they make the sausage. And I'll just say, you don't want to know how they make the burgers, and you don't want to know how they make the chicken McNuggets. So sue me, McDonald's if you have to. But I'm just going to say, okay, no. Just no.
[00:44:41.470] – Allan
It's okay to have those kinds of things if you start assessing about things and get granted if you have a food issue or things like that, then yeah, I'm going to have Dr. Susan on in a few weeks, probably right around the beginning of the year. And we're going to talk about that because she has these very strict rules in her life. And everybody she coaches very strict rules and those work. But she also has this resume process, which is when you go off kilter, you understand it, you learn from it, and you kind of get yourself back into your box.
[00:45:19.930] – Rachel
[00:45:21.950] – Allan
That approach works. Now most of us can't live in a calorie counting box. We have jobs, we have children, we have friends and family, and we have things that pop up. Like you said, I finished this run. I'm hungry.
[00:45:38.060] – Allan
What's there? McDonald's. Okay. Is it McDonald's or banana? And I'm sorry, but back in the day, McDonald's tastes better than the banana. You need the potassium. Okay, great. But I'm going to go for the burger, too, back in the day. But I think what we're trying to come out with this is number one. Look for the foods that serve you. And we talked with Dr. Yeo about how protein and fiber are going to be your friends in this pursuit. And if you're eating the foods that provide the best quality of that, then you're not necessarily eating a whole lot of meat to get your protein, because you can get that from a vegetable source, which is another thing he talks about in the book.
[00:46:28.330] – Allan
But you look at getting protein because it takes longer to digest and it's more energy burning as you do that. So you're getting less calories out of what appears to be a lot of calories, and it's going to keep you fuller longer. The other side is the fiber. And whether you want to go keto or you want to go as far as carnivore, he doesn't like those ways of eating. From the perspective, you're not getting the fiber. And so if you find that you try keto and you're just not pooping and taking a little bit of magnesium, which we're going to have Thomas DeLauer on the show in a week or so.
[00:47:03.090] – Allan
And we're going to talk about mineral deficiencies. So if you're having trouble at the loo, as Dr. Yeo would say, then you might want to try some magnesium. But if those things aren't working, what you're doing is not serving your body and you're not feeling good and healthy, then we're missing the point. The point is to try to get healthy. The weight loss is the side effect.
[00:47:26.110] – Rachel
I love that part when you and Dr. Yeo mentioned the weight losses, the side effect and also not obsessing. If counting calories becomes too much of an obsession, if it's distracting you, then it's really not the greatest tool in the toolbox. But also, I think focusing on the protein and the fiber and the healthy vegetables that'll give you the nutrients that you need to feel energetic throughout the day and satisfy whatever activities you do as well.
[00:47:56.510] – Allan
I couldn't even imagine sitting down at, like, a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and there being like, pumpkin pie there. And you're on my fitness pal trying to figure out how much is a slice to get the 100 grams and you're like, mom, do you have a scale so I can weigh this pumpkin pie? If you want some of the pumpkin pie, heat the pumpkin pie.
[00:48:22.560] – Rachel
Well, that's perfectly acceptable, especially during these holiday times when all these wonderful family traditional foods are coming out and you want to try your mom's recipe or your grandma's recipe or something important. I mean, there's so much meaning to that, and if you just enjoy it and have a taste of it and not overdo it, you're less likely to feel those after effects. Thanksgiving is my favorite meal. I tend to eat a little bit more than I normally do, and I feel the after effects later, so enjoy what you can and then get back to your normal eating and you'll feel much better in the days ahead.
[00:49:01.280] – Allan
Now, one of the cool things about Doctor Yeo's book is that when he gets into this, it is a lot of biochemistry, but he says it in a way that is actually follow able. Okay, he still has to use the words mitochondria, Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle and all the words because the words are the words. It's not like he can come up. But he comes up with a lot of ways to think about how that works and why things work the way they work. And then in the end, when he's explaining why protein is a better choice, why fiber is a better choice and those types of things, it clicks, you're like, oh, of course.
[00:49:45.750] – Allan
Why is it that you can eat sugar and your blood sugar shoots up and you can eat protein and it doesn't. Or you can eat sugar with fiber. And it doesn't like he was talking about the Orange juice and the Orange. And so he gives you all the background to understand. He didn't just make this up and say he doesn't want you drinking Orange juice. He's just trying to explain to you, if you're trying to lose weight, the Orange is the better deal.
[00:50:13.480] – Rachel
Sure, it makes total sense. That's so helpful, too. It's hard to imagine the glass of Orange juice being so much different than the actual Orange itself. But it does make sense when you discuss that in your interview.
[00:50:25.750] – Allan
It's not as convenient. And honestly to me, if you're trying to lose weight, drinking your calories is the worst way to do it, because again, if it's a liquid, your body is going to digest it very quickly. It's going to be out of your system and in your blood, and therefore it's not going to satiate you. It just won't. Whereas if you have to go through your system and you have to digest. Actually, physically digest that you're burning calories. Doing that digestion. If it's liquid, the digestion is over.
[00:50:55.060] – Allan
It's just flowing through and saying, okay, ha ladi da and then sugar. And it's in your system. So good. Pick me up in the morning, Orange juice and coffee. But then you're going to be hungry by 10:00am if you ate at seven because you didn't give your body that long term full feeling that it's going to get with the fiber and protein.
[00:51:20.130] – Rachel
It's important that we pay attention to how we feel after we eat these different foods. Because I think that once you find what you enjoy eating and you get a good feeling afterwards, you feel full. It's a better way to plan your meals, especially if you plan them around protein.
[00:51:39.830] – Allan
Yes. Absolutely. All right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you and I'll talk to everybody else next week.
[00:51:46.540] – Rachel
[00:51:47.450] – Allan
[00:51:48.320] – Rachel
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