Most of the advice here can be summarized to moderate total caloric intake (i.e. quantity) and don’t consume refined, artificial, or highly processed foods (i.e. quality). Obesity is a driver of type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease. It’s best to do everything you can to avoid it.
There are two vocal nutritional camps online: those that argue quantity (i.e. calories) matters above all else and those that argue quality (i.e. insulin spiking foods) matters above all else. However, these viewpoints aren’t mutually exclusive and it’s evident that both quantity and quality matter — it’s important to optimize for each.
Food is deeply intertwined with all aspects of society (culture, environment, religion, etc). Even among scientists, optimal nutrition is hotly contested — high quality nutrition studies are notoriously difficult to conduct (i.e. self reported data), can conflate correlation and causation (i.e. observational studies) and, at times, are biased (i.e. food industry funded research). Moreover, the number of cells in the human microbiome exceeds the number of cells in the human body — as a result, two people can have very different metabolic responses to the same food!
For all of these reasons and more, it’s important to find the diet that works best for you.
How Much To Eat
- Moderate total caloric intake
- Use an online calculator to get an estimate of total caloric intake needed to maintain energy balance
- Aim to regularly consume dark leafy greens and vegetables
- Assuming resistance training is occurring:
- Moderate saturated fat intake
- Moderate non-refined carbohydrate intake and consume them last in a meal
- Moderate salt intake
- If an APOE4 carrier, aim to consume 1 serving of fatty fish at least once per week (e.g. wild Atlantic salmon)
What Not To Eat
- Don’t consume refined, artificial, or highly processed foods
- Don’t consume refined carbohydrates (e.g. cane sugar, white flour, white rice, etc)
- Don’t consume added sugar (e.g. high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, etc)
- Don’t consume refined vegetable and seed oils, especially those high in omega-6 fatty acids (e.g. canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, etc)
- Don’t consume unnatural trans fats (e.g. partially hydrogenated oils, fried foods, etc)
- Don’t consume sugar substitutes (e.g. sucralose, monk fruit extract, etc)
- Don’t consume artificial food additives (e.g. artificial food preservatives, artificial flavoring, etc)
- Don’t consume products that come from animals raised on unnatural diets (e.g. corn fed, soy fed, etc)
- Don’t consume processed foods or drinks (e.g. processed meats, sugar sweetened beverages, fruit juice, etc)
- Don’t consume alcohol
- Don’t binge eat or binge drink
- It’s better to allow oneself to have a small cheat meal, snack, or drink than it is to binge eat or binge drink when adherence fails
- My personal system: desserts are a treat, and are reserved for special occasions (e.g. birthdays, weddings, travel, etc). When I have a strong craving for something sweet, I allow myself to have a moderate amount of extra dark chocolate. I recommend finding a system that works best for you.
What To Drink
- Black Coffee
- Drink coffee from a paper filter, not a metal filter
- Don’t consume coffee after 12pm, as black coffee naturally has high amounts of caffeine which can cause sleep disruption
- Delay coffee consumption for 1.5-2 hours after waking up