Podcast Transcript Episode 8 – Flexible Dieting

The Ideal Nutrition Podcast

Aidan

00:00:00 – 00:00:39

Hello and welcome to episode eight of The Ideal Nutrition Podcast. I am Aidan Muir and I am here with my co-host, Leah Higl, and today we’re going to be talking about flexible dieting. So flexible dieting is something that I’m passionate about to a certain degree, not necessarily so much the tracking macros side of things, which we’ll talk through all of that, like not necessarily so much that, more so the overall concepts that come alongside flexible dieting. Um, did you want to get straight into it and give a bit of background on what flexible dieting is?

Leah

00:00:39 – 00:01:25

Let’s get into it. So, we talked a lot about this, and we aren’t sticklers for a definition on what flexible dieting actually is, because it can be interpreted in so many ways and it can be applied in so many different ways. But we tend to interpret it as kind of like an If It Fits Your Macros style approach to dieting, but with some focus on food quality as well. So, If It Fits Your Macros is a dieting concept that kind of came about around the time that bodybuilding dot com was popular um, so when I was, like, first getting into nutrition and this was the big thing that was around at the time, this is what everybody was doing. Um, and it basically means that as long as you’re hitting your macros, you know, that’s all matters.

Aidan

00:01:25 – 00:01:26

You’re results will be the same.

Leah

00:01:26 – 00:02:12

Exactly like you’re still going to reach your ideal body composition as long as you hit your macros. Doesn’t really matter what kind of food that’s coming from. Flexible dieting, the other hand, we like to view it as it has that kind of macro and calorie focus where you are at, most of the time, you’re going to be tracking calories and protein to a certain extent. Potentially, there’s some kind of flexibility when it comes to fat versus carbohydrate and like letting that be a little less particular and specific in the numbers that you’re trying to hit. Um, but there’s also this concept of maybe even like the 80/20 rule, um, where you’re eating like, 80% of the time, whole foods, very nutrient dense,

Leah

00:02:12 – 00:02:56

and then 20% of the time you’re having, I guess, more free foods that potentially are less nutrient rich. Um, so there is that little bit of focus on food quality, so it’s not like I’ll go out there and, um, eat McDonald’s for every meal of the day. Um, but as long as you hit your macros, you’ll be fine. So, there is that little bit of focus, or we tend to put that focus on food quality as well as part of the flexible dieting process and that’s for many reasons. Um, so flexible dieting is most often used in the way that you may be tracking your calories and macros via an app. So something like MyFinessPal is super popular. So that’s where you’ll typically find flexible dieting, like, within that context of tracking.

Leah

00:02:56 – 00:03:38

Um, but to be truly flexible, we feel that it’s probably a good idea to not be strictly guided by these very specific macro targets. Like If It Fits Your Macros typically is, um, so obviously you want to stay within a certain range of your target calorie intake, like if you’re in a calorie deficit, it makes sense that you want to stick to that calorie deficit. Um, but, you know, potentially your fat and carbohydrate intake does differ day to day, depending on what foods you’re choosing. Although there’s definitely an argument if muscle retention or muscle building is important to you, that you’d hit some kind of minimum protein target.

Aidan

00:03:38 – 00:04:08

Yeah, and like adding onto that as well like because, as we said, we’re not sticklers with definitions, there could be people listening to this being like no, flexible dieting is pretty much just interchangeable with If It Fits Your Macros, it’s just a different name. And like I get that, that’s fine. This is just how we’re gonna be talking about flexible dieting and, like, even adding on so as well the whole calorie deficit thing, there’s no reason you can’t be in a calorie deficit six hours a week and one day, overshoot your targets and go to high calorie and still make progress for the week or however long. You can extend this flexibility as much as you like within reason, like

Aidan

00:04:08 – 00:04:37

it’s still a way to reach your goals. Going back to like some origin stuff of If It Fits Your Macros, something I found very interesting, because even if it fits your macros, I think there’s even a little bit before our time, like I got into bodybuilding dot com in 2011 I think it was, maybe 2007 at first like it kind of emerged. It was quite quite early. So, like I saw on Instagram Alan Aragon, I think he reposts this every year, but he talks about the origins of If It Fits Your Macros, and

Aidan

00:04:37 – 00:05:05

basically, it was a tool that they used on bodybuilding dot com to answer silly questions to a certain degree, as in the one that comes to my mind is if people would ask the question being like does it matter for my gains if I eat chicken breast or steak for dinner? And they used to write out really long-winded answers that address a whole bunch of aspects basically boiling down to if you hit your macro nutrient targets in the context of that question, it doesn’t matter – like that’s what they were talking about.

Aidan

00:05:05 – 00:05:29

And I noticed very much so that, like a lot of the big early proponents of If It Fits Your Macros, like the creators of it even used to use lines in terms of being like your fibre intake is sufficient. And they’d even say stuff about how that can offset some of the insulin spikes, so to speak, that come alongside consuming sugar and all those kind of things. And one of the other things that I found fascinating as well in the origins of If It Fits Your Macros in

Aidan

00:05:29 – 00:06:10

using the USA data because this is where it’s most popular and the recommended daily intakes of micronutrients. On average, it takes about 80% of your calorie requirements, like maintenance calories, to reach these recommended daily intakes of micronutrients, which is part of what firstly supports the 80/20 rule. But part of what also supports If It Fits Your Macros being like if you just make some flexible choices with some of your foods, as in, you don’t have to stress over wherever it’s chicken breast or steak or like whatever, you’re going to hit your micro nutrient targets anyway because you’ve hit that with, like, 80% your calories. And that’s an arbitrary number because, like what if you choose really super foods like super nutrient rich food? So, you had a tonne of vegetables or whatever, it would take less than 80%.

Aidan

00:06:10 – 00:06:47

What if, um, you know, like it goes a lot of ways, basically, but I find that whole kind of logic interesting because it’s like when If It Fits Your Macros is viewed in that kind of light, it means a lot of the same stuff we’re talking about. But the reason I prefer the terminology personally of flexible dieting is just because it takes away some of the negative connotations of If It Fits Your Macros. If It Fits Your Macros can be turned into quite literally if it fits your macros, you can have anything. Um, never mind how it was originally intended but kind of what it turned into is why I prefer flexible dieting. Definitions don’t really matter. Yeah, I

Leah

00:06:47 – 00:07:06

just say, I think it’s funny that we went from, like, If It Fits Your Macros like that was pretty popular, you said around, 2007, and we really kind of went to the very extreme of what that meant, and that it was predominantly made up of junk food if you wanted to. But then what came after that was clean eating as a way to diet, so I just think that’s kind of funny.

Aidan

00:07:06 – 00:07:10

Yeah. Like I can say like, yeah,

Aidan

00:07:11 – 00:07:53

like a lot of influencers would like eat chicken, broccoli, and brown rice for most of their meals. And then they post the doughnuts or whatever on Instagram or ice cream or whatever. Like, because posting chicken, broccoli and brown rice is boring, so people would consume that content be like, “Oh, my favourite bodybuilder has ice cream for dessert”. So, next thing I wanna talk about is like so why does this work? How can how does ice cream fit into a bodybuilder diet as an example. So, touching on why that works. First, I’m going to touch on is sugar. I spoke about this two podcasts ago, so episode six, basically there’s no real difference between sugar in terms of its impact on body composition and other forms of carbohydrate.

Aidan

00:07:53 – 00:08:32

Inherently, we would assume, brown rice is going to be better for muscle gain and fat loss than sugar is. That’s how we’ve always thought it through. If you hit your calories and your macros and everything like that as I talked about that, so that Surwit et al 1997 study where they compared 43% of calories coming from sugar versus 4% coming from sugar in the other group, 43% versus 4% massive difference in sugar intake. They had the same fat loss because their calories and macros were matched. Um, that’s the most extreme example, and it’s obviously a more nuanced topic than that but that’s enough to just kind of point out that, like, it doesn’t really matter that much. And that also explains why if somebody had ice cream at the end of the day

Aidan

00:08:32 – 00:09:09

with, like 5% to 10% of their calories and macros, they’re going to get the same results. It’s not gonna make any difference. Um, the trick with all of this, though, is that sugar is easier to over-consume. If you start trying to bend the rules of If It Fits Your Macros or flexible dieting, it gets out of hand. Um, I remember on one of these forums I was on, somebody was talking about how they taught their mum how to handle If It Fits Your Macros and she are her calories by 12 PM. She would just have like the equivalent of like Coco Pops for breakfast like this massive bowl of it, and only have protein left to hit for the day and then, like no calories to hit it with, um,

Aidan

00:09:09 – 00:09:47

and that really sunk home for, like, some of the flaws we’re going to talk about later. Fat is a complex one, because once again, inherently, we assume if you’re having salmon, avocado, nuts, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil or whatever you’re into, like if you’d assume these things will be better for body composition. Going through that research, I had to reach really far to actually find stuff that showed that fat made a difference for body composition. If you’re listening to this, you might actually be aware of some studies and stuff like that that supporting this. But like there’s only a few that came up from what I could find out from looking pretty hard. One of the most popular ones, one that cited everywhere where they’re trying to make a claim that fat

Aidan

00:09:47 – 00:10:28

matters for body composition in terms of the type of fat where it’s unsaturated, polyunsaturated – all those kind of things or monounsaturated versus saturated. Um, one study really supported for that that a lot of people’s cite is a 2014 study from I could mispronounce this but Rosqvist et al. It was a Swedish group, basically, and they compared large amounts of palm oil to sunflower oil in a matched 750 calorie surplus. Um, the weight gain for both groups were equal as a calorie surplus of calories were matched, but the sunflower oil group gained three times as much lean mass as the other group, the palm oil group. Therefore, gaining three times as much lean mass, same total mass. You’re gaining less fat.

Aidan

00:10:30 – 00:11:06

That sounds incredibly promising. It’s like so oh the type of fat does matter. But the total fat mass or total body mass change over seven weeks was 1.5 kg. Not a massive change. Not really a big difference. And I spoke about this with coaches and stuff like that. But like sometimes good coaches get lucky because they get strong people who are just like genetically blessed. When we’re looking at studies like this, sometimes it’s just like distributions like there’s people in Valhalla out at the gym that we train at like they gain muscle very easily. And I’m like, you put me in a study and you put them in a study

Aidan

00:11:06 – 00:11:30

and there’s gonna be very different results even if the training programme is the same. And sometimes I think about this with studies like this, where we’re looking at a study that has like a small number of participants, and there’s differences between groups for like a tiny amount of fat gain versus muscle gain or whatever. And we’re trying to be like that because of palm oil or something, I don’t know. The whole point I want to come back to with all of this is that I had to look really hard to find any compelling research to start off with. And

Aidan

00:11:30 – 00:11:52

let’s be real. I haven’t just looked at it in preparation for this podcast. I’ve been going down this rabbit hole for 10 years, like I haven’t seen much to convince me that there’s a big difference. It’s enough there that I’m keeping my eyes on it. I’m paying attention to it, but it doesn’t seem to really matter which comes back to the point of being like if you hit your fat target from a body composition and muscle gain and all those kind of things or fat loss, the results are gonna be pretty similar.

Leah

00:11:53 – 00:12:15

Yeah, I think that’s interesting, because a lot of people would assume that the healthier fats would result in a better body composition when that’s not necessarily the case. Um, but obviously there’s nuance in that. There’s a health aspect to dieting, and you probably do want to maintain fairly good health. So, you want to probably make sure that most of your fats aren’t saturated fat just from that perspective.

Aidan

00:12:15 – 00:12:16

I forgot to add that in.  

Leah

00:12:16 – 00:12:16

As a little caveat.

Aidan

00:12:16 – 00:12:27

Bit of a no brainer. Like if you’re listening to this, you know we’re health focused people, don’t just go and have a bunch of rubbish based on this, but like it’s more so to just explain why this works for body composition.

Leah

00:12:27 – 00:13:15

Totally. So, the biggest thing when it comes to protein intake is, we talk about this all the time between the two of us, is that it’s the total daily intake of protein that really matters for changes in body composition. Um, so when it comes to the quality, sure, there could be some focus on that if you’re plant based but outside of being plant based, it really doesn’t matter where you’re getting your protein from. Hitting that total daily protein target is going to be at least 90%, maybe more, of the fight in improving lean muscle mass. So, when it comes to things like If It Fits Your Macros or flexible dieting, you can hit your protein intake however you want. Realistically, um, and it’s not going to make an overall difference to body composition

Aidan

00:13:15 – 00:13:54

100%. There are exceptions to this rule like, for example, collagen and protein are pretty poor for muscle protein synthesis. Wheat protein once again, pretty poor for muscle protein synthesis. If we go back to like biological value, which a lot of people use to determine protein quality, collagen is near zero and, uh, wheat is around 50 and then, like eggs are like 100 and whey’s like 99 or somewhere along those lines. It’s like super close and, like chicken breast is up there with all those kind of things. But like if you’re not like exclusively trying to get your protein from like bad quote unquote quality sources, in terms of biological value, you’re going to tick the box and, like one of the ways to guarantee is just by having

Aidan

00:13:54 – 00:14:25

more than one option, just having a variety of options. And it’s gonna you just kind of provide this abundance of overall amino acids, which is going to cover all of your needs. And I suppose, the last thing we’ll touch on with that as well as timing in terms of, we were speaking about this a little bit before, being like it’s probably a good idea, spread your protein intake out across the day. I agree with the 90 plus percent of it coming down to total protein intake. That’s a statement 100%, maybe questionable. But maybe spreading protein out across like that makes a difference. This is where all that research that goes through stuff like

Aidan

00:14:26 – 00:14:58

to maximise muscle protein synthesis in a single sitting like 20 to 40 grams of protein maximizes it. Going above that doesn’t really seem to add anything additional onto it. That’s cool, and that’s relevant. That’s why I’m saying spread it out across the day. It’s just that we also have the research showing that total daily protein intake matters more and an example I like to use a lot, which comes back to once again, why flexible dieting works, is if somebody is intermittent fasting when we compare them on a calories and protein matched diet or calories and macros matched diet, um, to a group that’s spreading out the protein

Aidan

00:14:59 – 00:15:36

out across the day, and they’re in a calorie deficit because, firstly, the studies aren’t really done in a calorie surplus, because if you’re fasting, it’s hard to get into a surplus. Possible but hard. Um, the results in terms of body composition come out pretty much the same. There’s almost no difference. I wouldn’t take it to an extreme. I wouldn’t go and tell a bodybuilder who’s about to get on stage, like doing competition prep, I wouldn’t tell them to intermittent fast and not spread their protein intake out,  I’d spread my protein intake out. It matters, but this is explaining why flexible dieting works. The fact that we have to reach through the research to find that last 10% shows why flexible dieting works.

Leah

00:15:36 – 00:16:06

and I think it’s good to be aware of these things that could give you an extra 1% here and there. But at the end of the day, if you’re trying to lose weight and retaining as much muscle mass as possible isn’t your goal – it’s not everybody’s goal, particularly if you’re like gen pop. You don’t really like to unless you’re an athlete or, you know, it matters to you, then utilising spreading protein across the day and, um, being really focused on the quality source of protein that does matter less in that case.

Aidan

00:16:06 – 00:16:37

Yeah. Somebody hit me up on Instagram just in the comments, it was a very difficult question for me to answer. I was talking about whey protein versus casein protein. It doesn’t really matter. I know one’s quick one slow, but like if you look at it over 24- or 48-hour period it doesn’t really matter. Which is part of why coming back to why all this works. The research shows that over that time frame, it doesn’t really matter. And somebody asked the question basically on the point that you’re saying that it’s like why does this matter? Because I only do mild intensity workout. I don’t know how to answer, because it’s kind of like you’re clearly not trying to optimise muscle gain. It depends

Leah

00:16:37 – 00:17:22

on how much muscle matters to you if you do these extra things. If you’re just trying to lose fat mass and you don’t care about your lean mass that much, like your body will prioritise saving the lean mass anyway to a certain extent, and then anything you do on top of that like in regard to protein quality, spreading your protein throughout the day. They’re really just kind of just bringing that up by a couple of percent in regard to muscle retention. So, if this doesn’t matter to you, then kind of skip these rules. The number one reason a lot of people are drawn to flexible dieting or the reason that it can work under so many circumstances is that it reduces the overall dietary restraint of a particular diet. So when you feel less restricted,

Leah

00:17:22 – 00:18:03

the compliance, like long term, is probably going to be better. Um, we know that restriction does lead to noncompliance. So, if you feel like a flexible dieting allows you to not feel that restriction, it just makes sense to diet in that way. And that’s why I think it did become so big and why it does work for so many people. Um, so compliance is really the bottom line, too, if a diet works or not. So that really should be a main focus. I think that the thing I like to compare this to is the noncompliance that we see in people taking up something like Keto, something that is really restrictive. Um, and there’s a very low chance of long-term compliance versus flexible dieting, which has,

Leah

00:18:04 – 00:18:46

you know, you’re still allowed to have bits and pieces of the food you enjoy, still allowed to have a certain level of variety as long as you’re hitting that calorie and protein goal. It just makes sense why it works for so many people. Um, another point would be that it works in a lot of different contexts. So, a lot of diets can work well in isolation and that everything needs to be perfect for them to work. So, your lifestyle needs to be in a certain place where, you know, maybe stress is low, and you have a chance to meal plan every week. Um, and you know, you’re not really going out into a social setting. It requires all these different things for that diet to actually be for you to be compliant to that actual plan.

Leah

00:18:46 – 00:19:36

Um, but flexible dieting, I feel like it takes into account life. So going out on dates or going out with friends, going on holidays, times when you just don’t have a chance to be prepared. Flexible dieting can still work in all those context because you have a variety of foods that you can choose from, and you can just kind of make it work, no matter the context that you’re in. Another reason would be that it’s easy to adjust. So, this is what I like about flexible dieting and that when you’re working from, I guess, a food-based approach. So again, something like Keto, we were talking about this a bit before, like what happens when Keto doesn’t work? I think you made a really good point is that you don’t keep the harder. I think that’s a really good saying,

Aidan

00:19:36 – 00:20:09

like if you’re like most people looking to lose weight doing ketogenic diet, you will lose weight if they stick to it. But what happens if you don’t like? What are your options? Like as you’re saying, like, do you just keto harder? Like you add more butter to your coffee? Do you just go deeper down the rabbit hole? Like at least having some form of calorie awareness is the first step kind of gives you some form of answer. But even using Keto as an example, say you do that, and you’ve got calorie awareness, it gives you, if you’re not tracking or having any kind of like clear calculation, it gives you

Aidan

00:20:09 – 00:20:31

a guide. But what if you try to reduce calories, but you still don’t reduce it by enough for you? Reduce too much? Or like there’s a lot to think about in terms and it can work, but so can flexible dieting. Like flexible dieting, if you were tracking, you know your calories, you know that if your weight is not decreasing, you just decrease the calories and that solves the problem. It’s mathematical.

Leah

00:20:31 – 00:20:54

Yes, it’s easy when you have numbers, and you have data. So, if you know you’re eating 2000 calories a day and that worked for a while, and you lost a bit of weight but now it’s no longer working. Uh, you know that you are consistently having that amount. Like if you’re not being compliant, that’s a whole different kind of ball game there. But you know, you are being consistent to that calorie amount. Then you can

Aidan

00:20:54 – 00:20:55

easily decrease that

Leah

00:20:55 – 00:21:16

to, say, 1800 calories and keep going. It’s a very, um, like linear process in a way in that it has that next step and that next step where you know what to do when things stop working for you, as opposed to other dietary approaches where it reduces calories in other food-based ways. But you don’t have that data to work from

Aidan

00:21:16 – 00:21:55

for sure, leading into some downsides that I want to talk about, because I think we both share similar opinions on both the benefits and the downsides. But like one of the things about like with that data just being like – you know as a fact that you decrease the calories, weight will drop – all those kinds of things. That’s part of what can feed into some disordered eating habits. For example, in terms of like if you go low calorie without this data and you get hungry, your body tells you to eat, and you probably eat if you trust the data too much and it gives you a low number and you feel really hungry. But you’re like this is all my body needs because that’s the number.

Aidan

00:21:56 – 00:22:31

You might take it further and there’s a lot to go on. I’ll come – I’ll probably double down on that right now as well. There’s even a study by Dr. Linardon. I think he’s in Victoria is a dietitian, and he measured this on males, and I’m sure there’s data on females, but the male numbers surprised me and somewhere around 40 maybe close to 50 – there’s like 43% and that’s coming from my mind, 43%, sorry, I’m sounding really confident with that, 43% of males who used My Fitness Pal reported that they felt it contributed to some form of disordered eating symptoms for themselves,

Aidan

00:22:31 – 00:23:11

and there’s like 10% who felt like they weren’t really sure. And then like the rest of them, so like another 40 or so percent, were like not noticing disordering symptoms, had a great relationship with food. I find it really fascinating because, firstly, I could be wrong, I’d make the assumption though, in women it’s probably a higher number than in men. And if the number is 43% or around 40% in men, that’s a messed up stat. And that’s something that we need to be aware of if we are recommending tracking calories to people. And this is an interesting one for me to say, because I am quite pro tracking calories. I have a bias towards it. But we’d be idiots to ignore that data

Aidan

00:23:12 – 00:23:41

at the other end of spectrum because I feel like even people in the nutrition profession don’t appreciate nuance to full spectrum. It’s kind of like there was 40 plus percent who felt like they had no issues with it. It was great. It works for some people. It doesn’t work for others. I think leaving that kind of discussion of that topic being like it’s almost like another line. I heard someone being like dieting is a contact sport. As in there is a risk that things go wrong. Um, they don’t always, you can place for and not get injured like there’s a good chance. Um,

Aidan

00:23:42 – 00:24:26

maybe some other downsides. Um, I suppose the first one that I think about is this is going back to the whole discussion about If It Fits Your Macros to a certain degree, there’s a lack of emphasis on fibre and micronutrients. You probably should still emphasise those things but doubling down on that as well people often find they do weird things when they do flexible dieting. Heck, I’ve even done this one tracking calories and macros where like, I’ve made certain decisions because I’ve got these macros left that I wouldn’t have made under normal circumstances. Um, not one specific to me, but like an example that comes to my mind is say, you’ve got the choice between a cafe breakfast or Macca’s, and you’re doing If It Fits Your Macros and acai bowl as an example super nutrient dense, stupid high calorie as well.

Aidan

00:24:27 – 00:24:50

You compare that to like a small meal from Macca’s. You get more protein from the Macca’s meal, it fits your macros better, but it’s like under no other circumstances would you consider that healthier eating. But it fits your macros, and the body composition results will come out better. Food for thought. I don’t know. It’s a downside of it to a certain degree. Tracking is time consuming to a certain degree,

Aidan

00:24:50 – 00:25:15

degree. I didn’t track calories for a long period of time, and I used to let clients get away with a bit of stuff. Now, in hindsight, in terms of they’d be like, I just take so long to track as in like, as in their plan was to track. But then they didn’t track, and I recently tracked, I’m not tracking right now, and I was like, Oh, it’s actually not that much time to me. If you track every time you eat, it’s very quick, particularly once you get good at it. Slow at the start. But it does get quick,

Aidan

00:25:15 – 00:25:35

but like at the end of the day, it still requires thought, and it’s a bit time consuming and you have to plan it out, as we were talking about in two podcasts ago. We’re talking about meal planning and stuff like that. Checking calories and macros still requires some form of planning because you’ve got to get to the end of the day and have something that fits your macros or calories or whatever. The more flexible you are,

Aidan

00:25:35 – 00:26:14

the better, in terms of it, if you’ve got a calorie range instead of a set number and the range is say 2000 calories, like between 1600 to 1800 or whatever. That makes it easier if you’re just aiming for a certain amount of protein. Acknowledging that in terms of body composition, the carbs and fat breakdown really doesn’t matter. It’s just hitting your protein and calories that matter. Then that gives you a lot more flexibility, takes time out of the equation, but still requires a bit of, um, bit of thought. And another thing I wanted to touch on, though as well, which complicates things, I’ve tried to really simplify this, but there’s even more to think about. We don’t absorb 100% of the calories of every single thing we eat.

Aidan

00:26:15 – 00:26:49

Once again, no study I’ve got up in front of me, but there’s one example where they compared – they call it comparing processed foods to unprocessed foods and if he was like wholemeal bread versus white bread and then there was like plastic cheese versus like an unrefined form of cheese. And there was a difference in how many calories was absorbed from that. It was like a 20% difference or something like that. Nothing crazy. This is another example. Nuts. We seem to absorb about 60% of calories from nuts. You have white sugar, you probably absorb 100% of calories. Does this matter? Does this affect results? I don’t think so. Like if you’re consistent eater and whatever you do, do consistently it doesn’t matter.

Aidan

00:26:50 – 00:27:31

Another study I want to talk about was by Kevin Hall in 2019. So, he does a lot of like incredibly controlled research to answer some pretty tough questions. And this study involved 20 participants comparing um, process versus ultra-processed foods that were matched for calories, macros, fibre, sodium, and sugar. That’s actually really hard to do. It’s actually really hard to design a study like that when you actually think about it, because normally processed foods and stuff like that are probably going to have more sugar and all those kind of things. It was matched for all of these things, and these participants were able to eat at libitum as they could just eat as much as they wanted. And this is the most – this is probably one of the most important things we wanted to talk about here. In terms of

Aidan

00:27:31 – 00:28:14

in this study, participants ate 500 calories more in the ultra-processed food group. If you were eating less of these kinds of nutrient rich whole foods, all of those kind of things, you’re probably gonna eat more calories. That’s just a commonly accepted rule. And going through that study in particular, they didn’t even have fibre, sodium, and sugar different. They had those matches just processed versus unprocessed. If you eat lower fibre, you’re not going to be as full. It’s less satiating. If you eat higher sodium, you want to eat more food. That’s a trick. Like any restaurant and fast-food company knows, like add salt to food, people want it more. Same thing with sugar. Another example I want to use is Powerade, so

Aidan

00:28:15 – 00:28:55

I’m just going to add the numbers up. I think it’s 36 grams of sugar, but I’m gonna round up to 40 grams of sugar. So, sugar has four calories per gram so 40 times 4, that’s 160 calories. So, sugar is the same amount of calories as carbs. Carbs is also 4 calories per gram and sugar is a carb. So 160 calories for 600 mil bottle of Powerade. Compare that to a 600ml bottle of water. Does one really feel you got much more than the other? Not really that much difference. One is also a little bit more appealing to drink. And that is part of how explaining how sugar adds in additional colours and stuff like that as well. And if you go to flexible with this entire approach, it makes it easier to eat more calories.

Leah

00:28:56 – 00:29:13

So, let’s wrap things up for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. Follow and subscribe on whatever platform you get your podcasts on. And I really hope you’ve enjoyed our podcast so far. Thank you.