Weeks 5: Conventional Food Labels & Dietary Structure – Perception and Ignorance – The Mentality of Excessiveness

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Objective 1 (of 3):

Understand what makes classifying a food ‘healthy’ or ‘not healthy’.

The infographic to the right (or first graphic below on a phone or tablet) compares experts’ ratings to American citizens’ ratings of food as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’. We explore perception, inconsistencies and incorrect classification of foods deemed ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’.

Objective 1 Content

The infographic reflects both scientists’ and American’s failure to properly rank what makes a food healthy or unhealthy – based on ignorance of the components of food.

The essential result of ignorance is inability to recognize how a specific component may make 2 seemingly distinct, disparate foods ‘virtually identical’ or similar to one another. This means:

If one food (say food A) is ranked healthy or unhealthy – then the other (food B) made out of the similar component(s) must be ranked similarly or somewhat close.  In other words, if two foods are made of the same essential thing(s) one cannot be ‘unhealthy’ and the other ‘healthy’ – as is the case with the following:

  • Food A: Almonds vis-a-vis  Food B: Almond Coconut Kind Bar
  • Food A: Bacon vis-a-vis  Food B: Olive Oil

vis-a-vis means ‘face to face’ (with another thing)

It is essential to understand whole foods in terms of the components they are made from.

For example, all fat is made from components called fatty acids which give specific whole fat-foods a specific profile. More specifically, the primary fatty acid of olive oil and lard is the same component, called oleic acid. Each food must be ranked in accordance with the component and not a perception based on ignorance in order for higher thinking to occur.

  • The only way to understand if each food is actually different or similar is to look at the profile. Until then and regardless of your education or degree, you will remain ignorant and unable to understand the true difference between fats like coconut oil, fish oil, lard, olive oil, or any fat in nature, plant, or animal.

I pointed out and we discussed how the foods below may be ranked incorrectly based on:

1. Failure to understand the interaction of food combinations – e.g. the protein and carbs in a bun of a hamburger.

  • In this case, the protein slows down the absorption of glucose from the bun – nullifying the idea the bun is ‘bad’ in terms that it would spike blood sugar.
  • Also, I looked up how much fat 20% lean 1/4 lb chunk of beef supplied to provide scale for seeing the exaggeration and mistaken belief that a burger is a high fat meal. Later, we’ll examine the fatty acid profile of beef – which clarifies ignorance and/or mistaken thinking.

2. Perceiving a demonized food as ‘unhealthy’ or component of a whole food as ‘bad’ – e.g. coconut oil, bacon, lard, sucrose, glucose, fructose.

Objective 2:

Understand the basic structure of food labels, specifically:


  • Know what DRI (daily recommended intake) and DV (daily value) are.
  • Know how to calculate the DRI for carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Objective 2 Content

Basic Structure of Food Labels and Institutional/Conventional Diets

Most labels indicate the Daily Value (DV) for carbs and fat – strangely not protein – which is another matter of discussion. The Daily Value is the percentage of the whole amount of grams or calories ‘needed’ for one day’s intake.

In other words DV is the percentage of the (DRI) Daily Recommended Intake based on the proverbial 2000 cal/day diet.

For example, consider a coconut Kind Bar Below:

7% is DV amount listed for carbohydrates on the Kind Bar label.


The whole bar is one serving.

  • The total carb content is 21 g.
  • The %DV says 7%.

This means 21 g of carbs IS 7% of the whole or total amount of carbs needed for a day, or 7 % of Daily Recommended Intake (DRI).

To calculate what experts suggest is the total carbs needed per day (or DRI) – we divide 21 by .07.

21g/.07 = 300 g


You can use ANY food label and you will get the SAME result off 300 g by dividing the total carb count by the %DV. In fact, you MUST get the same result because DRI for carbs is 300g

  • If the %DV in a food is 50% for carbs then it must have 150 grams.
  • 50% of 300 is 150

We calculate the DRI for fat similarly:

Divide the total grams of fat by the percentage DV. The label lists 12g fat. DV is 18%.

12g/.18 = 66.6 g


You would think the %DV for protein is listed as well on food labels, but it is not.

At any rate, since we know the DRI for carbs and fat – we can calculate the DV for protein. But first, before calculating it, we’ll just look it up (Google it) and then compare the ‘official’ DRI compare to our calculation.

Googling the key words “Protein Daily Recommended Intake” – gives us the DRI for protein below:

  • 46 to 56g (women/men respectively)


Our calculation below absolutely should give us a figure between 46 and 56.

Based on the proverbial 2000 cal/day diet and from the DRI’s from above, we have:

  • DRI Carbs: 300g
  • DRI Fat: 66.6 g

Total calories from Carbs: 300g x 4 cal/g = 1200 cals.

Total calories from Fat: 66.6g x 9 cal/g = 600 cals

Take the sum of calories for Carbs + Fat

  • 1200 + 600 = 1800 cals

Based on 2000 cal/day this leaves 200 cals to get from protein.

  • 2000 -1800 = 200 calories
  • 200 cals/4 cals/g = 50 g protein.

The DRI figures for each are:

  • Carbs: 300 g (per day for each)
  • Fat: 66.6 g
  • Protein 50 g

The ratio of Carbs to Protein is:

Carbs 300/Protein 50 = 6/1 ratio

NEXT: we compare these numbers and rations to numbers we established earlier based on glycogen depletion.

Objective 3:

Compare the characteristics of the conventional structure to the functional structure we explored over the last 4 weeks.

Objective 3 Content

Characteristics and Guidelines of the Conventional Structure

  • Ratio of Carbs/Protein = 300g/51g = 6/1 ratio.
  • Do not exceed 30% of total calories from fat



1. Ironman competitors, cyclists, and other ‘extreme depletion’ athletes ingest a 3/3 to 4/1 ration of C/P for post-training replenishment.

  • 6/1 is a recipe for weight gain and/or diabetes, especially for sedentary people.


2. Compared to the first reduction from max carb intake: 294 g carbs. 

294 g of carbs is the amount of carbs to replace 1 hrs worth of intense cycling – in one day.

  • MAX = 587 g.
  • 294 g (1hr very intense cycling)
  • 162 g  (1 hr moderately intense cycling)
  • 105 g (Little to no exercise)

Extremely doubtful these male cyclists would eat the DRI of only 56g of protein a day. Let’s assume said cyclist eats at least 100 g of protein.

  • Ratio of Carbs/Protein = 294 g/100 g = 3/1  approximately


This next section critiques and provides perspective to the conventional guideline:

  • Do not exceed 30% of total calories from fat

Here, we’ll compare the difference in total fat intake – using 30% total calories from fat to 40% calories from fat.

We’ll do this for a person who exercises moderately intensely for 1 hour/day. As a reminder, the ‘exercise-lifestyle’ features of this structure are:

  • Exercise intensity is not above lactate threshold most of the time.
  • Resistance training is strength training oriented – meaning, no glycogen depletion-reps/failure workouts.
  • Recreational sports – some intermittent high intensity. Exception would be if there’s appreciable volume of intervals due to the sport (e.g. hockey, competitive full court basketball) and to the time spent.

Assume 70kg or 154lb lean man. (this is close to the average weight of elite cyclists used in studies we looked at)

For carbs – we use the amount needed to replace glycogen for 1 hour of moderately intensely per day:

  • 162 carbs

For protein – we use a 2/1 ratio of Carbs/Protein. This means Carbs are double that of protein. 162/2 = 81g.

  • 81g protein
  • Add a post-workout shake with simple carbs and protein, say this supplies 30 grams protein.
  • 81 + 30 = 111 g protein

Sum Carbs + Protein: 

  • 162 + 111 = 273 g. Both have 4 cal/g, thus:
  • 273 g x 4 cal/ g = 1092 cals


Fat: at 30% of total calories overall.

This means total calories from carbs and protein = 70% of the total or .7

To get the total calories for the day: divide calories from Carbs and Protein by .7

  • 1092/.7 = 1560 cals from all 3 macronutrients, C,P,F

Subtract total calories (1560) from the sum of C & P (1092) gives us the total calories from fat.

  • 1560 – 1092 = 468 cals from fat.
  • 468 cals / 9cal/g = 52 g / day
  • per meal 52/4 = 13 g

NOTE: 52 g per day is short of the DRI of 66.6 g. Apply critical thinking and discussion.


Fat at 40% of total.

note: Sum of C & P (1092 cals) are now 60% of the total amount from all three macronutrients.

  • 1092/.6 = 1820 cals from C,P,F
  • 1820 – 1092 = 728 cals from fat
  • 728 / 9 = 81 g fat / day
  • per meal 81/4 = 20.3 g


That’s more like it. 81 grams of fat per day exceeds the arbitrary 30% limit (66.6g) of total calories from fat.

Under this scenario:

  • Carb intake is relative to activity level or glycogen depletion.
  • Protein intake slows down glucose absorption and is more ‘optimized’ for protecting immune system, preventing muscle loss, controlling appetite.
  • Fat is the primary fuel – and is now adequate. Additionally sates the appetite and satisfies a person’s physiological needs.

We now have – at a total caloric intake of 1820 – for a person who exercises moderately intensely, the following:

  • Carbs: 162 g or 648 cals = 36% of total calories (648/1820 = .36)
  • Protein: 111 g or 444 cals = 24% of total calories
  • Fat: 728 cals = 40% of total calories







INFOGRAPHIC: Comparing experts to ‘all other Americans’

Appeared in this New York Times article July 5, 2016





Fueling the Modern Athlete

Secret Foods of Athletes: Inside the Olympic Training Center’s Nutrition Lab

Excerpt of Secret Foods of Athletes

March 2013 Issue of Outside: Secret Foods of Athletes

Step 1: Know your numbers:

“assess hydration, body composition” – basic blood work… particularly anemia (low iron)

Step 2: Address your issues

“Biggest problem” – correct iron deficiencies (low iron).

  • “Female athletes are particularly susceptible to iron loss through menstruation”
  • “High mileage runners… foot strike hemolysis”
  • “As many as 90% of my female athletes and 50% of the males have low readings when we first test them.”
  • “Vitamin D is another keen area of interest.”
  • “80 to 90% of the athletes she has screened have turned out to be low in Vit D”
  • “sunscreen blocks vitamin D absorption”

Step 3: Embrace whole foods

“The quality and quantity of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals provided by fresh whole foods can’t be matched by processed alternatives, no matter how sophisticated that protein shake may appear.”

“1) Get more veggies, nuts, seeds.. 2) Adjust the amount of carbohydrates you’re eating based on activity level. 3) Add a lean protein to every meal”

Ed’s comments, critical thinking:

Number 2 above: No duh… by now, this is something you know by heart. Glycogen depletion and glycogen storage is the most plastic, fastest changing energy form within your body.

  • Recall… last lecture… I asked, what happens to your fat stores and protein stores (muscle) if you starve for 2 to 3 days. The answer is practically nothing; the amount of fat and muscle – which is energy – will be virtually the same 3 days later.


  • 3 days later – your body (the muscles and liver) will be virtually wiped out of its glycogen supply.


Number 1 above: She is really saying, “get more fat” – by eating nuts and seeds (and the accompanying Vit E, the primary fat soluble anti-oxidant) BUT, this is NEVER defined and quantified…. Often even by the ‘so called best’ scientists and sports nutritionists.

Moreover…. nuts and seeds don’t necessarily digest easily, and if they are roasted, they have been ‘peroxidized’. Recall, heat, light, and oxygen destroys fat. Store in a cool, dark, sealed place! Message – raw is better… but quality oils are far better.

Hence… elsewhere in the article:

  • ‘Triathlete Jorgenson tries to get in good fats by gulping down a spoonful of coconut oil after a hard workout or race”
  • Just a spoonful after a hard race?… how big is the spoon?

Eat more veggies? Why? For fiber or for the minerals?… this demands more scrutiny. Yes… we want minerals and some fiber… but the fiber story is poorly understood by many people. We’ll perhaps examine this another time.

MORE ON IRON AND NUTS: http://woman.thenest.com/foods-block-iron-absorption-1433.html

Dietary iron comes in two forms: heme and non-heme. Your body is much better at absorbing heme sources of iron, which include meat, poultry, fish and seafood. Non-heme iron is present in plant foods, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grain foods and green, leafy vegetables. In addition to your body’s difficulties with absorbing it, most foods that inhibit iron absorption act on non-heme iron. However, you can easily counteract these effects by avoiding iron inhibitors and combining non-heme iron sources with foods that increase its absorption.


Phytic acid is one of the strongest inhibitors of non-heme iron absorption. This compound is present in whole-grain, high-fiber foods, nuts, seeds, legumes and soy products. Particularly high sources of phytates include sesame seeds, linseed, almonds, Brazil nuts and tofu. Despite this inhibitory effect, dietician Dr. Reed Mangels and colleagues note that phytate-containing foods are typically good sources of iron. As this increase in iron intake counteracts the decrease in iron absorption, most high-phytate foods have a negligible impact on your iron absorption.

MEESAGE: Get heme-iron, especially if you are a female athlete/runner.

The author above fails to say heme-iron is the beneficial ‘ready to use form’. The non-heme iron is not as ‘bioactive’ and is ‘low quality’ in other words.

Step 4: Map out your meal plan

“A meal plan isn’t static. It’s based on activity… “    “That may involve raising or lowering total calories; manipulating ratios of proteins, carbs, and fats; or timing food based on energy output.”

Ok.. yes we know that now. A repeat of Adjust the amount of carbohydrates you’re eating based on activity level.


Step 5: Adjust the last one percent

  • Erggenic aids… coffee, supplements.
  • ‘gulping down a spoonful of coconut oil after a hard race’

Ed’s comments: Gulping down a teaspoon of coconut oils AFTER a race is senseless. Eating fat is a day long event… like eating ‘lean proteins every meal’.

Eating fat after a hard race is a fart in a windstorm. Get real… the critical thing to replenish is glycogen… and eating fat, initially will slow the absorption down. This is the ONE TIME you want to ingest ‘lots’ of sugar/simple/ fast absorbing carbs… i.e. maltodextrin drinks and such.

Step 6: Hydrate or bonk:

‘She tests the composition of sweat and formulates – with water, sodium and sometimes potassium, as well as glucose, fructose, or maltodextrin…”

  • No duh. Replenish with SIMPLE carbs.

Step 8: Commit (I skipped step 7)

“Sweets are my kryptonite” “And I love sweets”

“She had a particularly depressing Oreo bender” …. “Filling her diet with vegetables, lean proteins, and good fats like avocadoes and almonds.”  … “Lost a kilo a week”

Ed’s comment:

Thus… most of the calories came from fat… like 50%!

Eating veggies, lean protein and fat means carb intake was dramatically reduced. Basically, she quit ‘sweets’ but really reduced intake of gram count of carbs.

The same weight loss effect occurs when people reduce rice, potatoes, pasta. The age old advice, reduce starch and eat veggies and meat always works for weight loss. The quality of the meat matters of course…but ‘meat’ and ‘lean protein’ are essentially the same thing, unless you want to view meat as bad. Consider eating commercially corn fed animals = bad meat. But the original problem is still corn/carbs! Carbs made the animal fat.