How Much is Enough?
One the first topics my clients ask me about when wanting to loose weight is, “how much should I eat?” Should I eat 4oz, 8oz or 12oz of meat and how many vegetables? What about fruit? How much is enough? The answers are relatively simple; however, they have been over analyzed and broken down so much that the American people are utterly confused.
If you Google anything about portion size, you will find a lot of content about sodas, breads, candy, and fast food. Guess what folks, these portions shouldn’t matter! If you are trying to get into great shape and look good naked then you should not be eating these foods!
Vegetables and Protein
What about eating too much broccoli or celery? Come on people! When was the last time you said, “Oh, I’m so stuffed from eating all of that broccoli.” I dare you to try over-eating vegetables!
When it comes to protein I still have not found any legitimate research saying that too much protein is bad. None. So my carnivore friends, eat your meat and love it! The only caveat to this is if you already have a conditioning affecting the kidneys or detoxification system. For the average person, I like to see protein at about 30-40% of daily intake. This will vary depending on activity level and metabolic health.
Is Fat Actually Bad for You?
Fat. Why does everyone hate fat so much? Has anyone ever eaten a nicely marbled hanger steak and said that it tasted horrible? Now we have “experts” like the American Heart Association saying that coconut oil is bad for you. Really? I doubt it. Fat is essential to life and looking lean….yeah, you need fat to loose it!
Oh, the most researched diet, the Mediterranean Diet, is recommended by doctors (conventional and functional) to reduce inflammation and heart disease, is high in fat. SO which is it people?!
Alright, all kidding aside, there have been numerous studies debunking the fat myths. The most notable study so far is a meta analysis done by the Harvard School of Public Health. Their results showed that when saturated fats were replaced with carbohydrates, there is a decrease in HDLs and an increase in triglycerides. This combination is very significant because it increases the chance of heart disease. The researchers stated, “These meta-analyses suggest no overall effect of saturated fatty acid consumption on coronary heart disease events.”
If you are like me and want more than one study, look at the list below which include several studies debunking the fat myth and the association to heart disease. If you didn’t know, coconut oil is nearly 100% saturated fat. The same oil that is now being criticized as being unhealthy because it is a saturated fat.
Does this mean that you can go to town on bacon? No. These studies did not include processed meats. Meaning that processed meats may or may not be great for you. I am going to go with not great. Eat avocados, nuts, and eggs for some great fats that positively affect hormone balance. Fats can also work as an anti-inflammatory, so eat your Omega-3s!
This leaves carbohydrates to consider when making portion size decisions. While vegetables are a carbohydrate, I will leave them in a separate category. Discussed here will be fruits and grains.
We can start with fruit. According to Robert Crayhon, a world-renowned integrative health expert, humans are not designed to eat more than 10g of fructose a day, 25g for active individuals! A single banana has about 5g of fructose and an apple has about 6g. By having 2-3 servings of fruit a day like the USDA recommends, you may be setting yourself up for insulin resistance or an increase in triglycerides! If you are a healthy, active individual, this may be satisfactory. However, most of this country is not and that is the very problem!
Grains and other processed breads (even “healthy” whole wheat) is absolutely horrible for you and there is no research proving otherwise. You may find research saying that the fiber is great for you, and I agree. Eat some vegetables! Therefore, I have nothing to say about portion size because you shouldn’t be eating any of these foods! I know, I know, gluten free diets are also being demonized as dangerous to your health. I’ve already written about that subject.
Before answering your question, how much should I eat, I highly recommend books such as, Why We Get Fat, Sugar Nation, and Wheat Belly written by conventional medicine MDs using real research. Stop reading Google and listening to mainstream media, and start thinking for yourself.
1. Malhotra A, Redberg RF, Meier P. Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions. Br J Sports Med. Published Online First: 25 April 2017. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-097285. Accessed June 6, 2017.
2. Siri-Tarino P, Sun Q, Hu F, Krauss R. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. January 13, 2010, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725. Accessed June 19, 2017.
3. Yusuf S, Hawken S, Ounpuu S, et al. Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): case-control study. Lancet. September 2004 11-17;364(9438):937-52.
4. Hajjar D and Gotto, Jr A. Biological Relevance of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in the Pathogenesis of Arterial Diseases. Am J Pathol. 2013 May; 182(5): 1474–1481. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2013.01.010
5. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967778. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2013;6:129-132. Originally published January 15, 2013. Accessed June 19, 2017.
6. Santos FL, Esteves SS, da Costa Pereira A, Yancy WS Jr., Nunes J. Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors. Obes Rev. 2012 Nov;13(11):1048-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01021.x.
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.