Sal Di Stefano: Think Twice Before Going Vegan, Losing Fat Without Counting Calories, Thoughts on “The Game Changers” Documentary, and More – The Genius Life with Max Lugavere

Check out The Genius Life Episode Page and Show Notes

 Key Takeaways

  • Stop counting calories. Instead:
    • Eat more nutrient-dense foods
    • Consume more protein
    • Exercise
    • Optimize your sleep
  • Processed foods are designed to make you want to eat more – avoid them!
  • Think twice before going vegan. Here’s why:
    • Going vegan requires more meal planning
    • Nutrient deficiencies are quite high among vegans
    • When a person eliminates eggs, milk, and meat from their diet, they’re also eliminating the most non-processed foods from their diet
  • Going vegan may help lessen climate change, but…
    • “The worst thing we can do to the planet is to produce unhealthy humans” Sal Di Stefano

Intro

The Hazards of Calorie-Counting

  • Calorie-counting is an obsessive and a poor approach to diet
    • “Watch out for body-obsessed advice-givers who focus exclusively on calorie-counting” – Sal Di Stefano
  • The 4 stages of dietary learning:
    • 1) Unconscious incompetence – You don’t know what you shouldn’t eat
    • 2) Conscious incompetence – You know what you shouldn’t eat but do it anyway
    • 3) Conscious competence – You have to think about eating the right foods
    • 4) Unconscious competence (the goal) – You don’t have to think, you don’t want unhealthy foods
  • Stop counting calories. Instead:
    • Eat more nutrient-dense foods
    • Optimize your sleep
    • Increase your protein intake
      • (Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, and also the most minimally processed part of your diet)
    • Exercise
  • Counting calories is a misguided notion – behavior modification is the true goal
    • Willpower only goes so far

Avoid Processed Foods

  • The obesity epidemic became a problem in the 1970s when heavily processed foods were brought onto the scene
    • Lots of money goes into making processed foods super palatable – the way they taste & smell, how the wrapper feels, etc.)
      • “They’re designed to make us eat more, so we eat more!” – Sal Di Stefano
  • Takeaways:
    • Processed foods are designed to make you eat more – avoid them!
    • Consume more whole natural foods
    • Don’t snack while distracted ( i.e., when watching TV)
    • Don’t keep processed snacks in the house – create a barrier

Artificial Sweeteners

  • Studies show that when sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners people don’t lose weight
    • Because people believe they’re eating “healthier” with artificial sweeteners, they eat more

Sal’s Beef with The Game Changers Documentary

  • The Game Changers connects the vegan diet with morality and ethics (“Eat this way. Otherwise, you’re a bad person.”)
  • No diet is right for everyone
    • “The documentary could push people to eat in a way that is not good for their body”Sal Di Stefano
      • After watching the documentary, people may eliminate animal products from their diet, resulting in malnutrition
    • A vegan diet may work well for a subset of people, but not for the whole population
  • The documentary also makes the claim that being a vegan helps lessen climate change
    • That may be true in one sense, but in another: “The worst thing we can do to the planet is to produce unhealthy humans” Sal Di Stefano
      • “At the end of the day, the animal you have to take care of the most is you. A healthy you has more potential for doing good in the world.”

Think Twice Before Going Vegan

  • Going vegan requires more meal planning – vegans need a wide range of nutrients from limited sources
  • Nutrient deficiencies are quite high among vegans
  • When a person eliminates eggs, milk, and meat from their diet, they’re also eliminating the most non-processed foods from their diet
    • (Compare the ingredient list on a beef burger and a plant-based burger)

Plant vs. Animal Protein

  • Proteins: plant vs animal
  • The most complete set of essential amino acids are found in animal proteins
    • Essential amino acids = the ones your body can’t make

Additional Notes

  • Metabolism is complex!
    • Food affects you differently on a day to day basis
    • No two people respond to the same food in the same way

 

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