Talking Nutrition

#76 - Steptember Q&A 2.1 - Ultra-Processed Foods, Protein, Low-Fat Foods, and More..

September 28, 2023 Johan Vesters
Talking Nutrition
#76 - Steptember Q&A 2.1 - Ultra-Processed Foods, Protein, Low-Fat Foods, and More..
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers
This week's bonus episode is part 1 of the Steptember Challenge 'Week 2: Nutrition' Zoom Q&A session.

Johan answers questions about low vs high fat foods, ultra-processed foods, flexible dieting and the 80/20 rule, guidelines for improving your diet, red meat, vegetarian protein sources, different foods for different scenarios, and more.

Enjoy, and feel free to join our online fitness community here:


0:00 Introduction
2:16 Full fat vs low fat / Ultra-processed foods vs less processed
8:42 The 80/20 rule
13:06 Advice for lowering ultra-processed foods
16:47 Truth about red meat & mixing up your nutrition
20:45 How to eat enough protein as a vegetarian
26:15 Healthy eating checklist (the essentials)
29:15 What to do if you struggle to eat more/ENOUGH

**This episode is brought to you by Odyssey Coaching Systems**

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IG: @talkingnutritionpodcast
IG: @johanvesters_ocs
IG: @kristineandali

Speaker 1:

What is up and welcome back to Talking Nutrition. We are back with our second Step 10 Merc Q&A call. Actually, this call I had to break it up into. It turned out to be another full hour. Now this time I added the timestamp so it's easier to navigate your questions. I tried to kind of like lump them together, you know, based on topic, but we had so many I mean, we do have 38 people in the challenge, so it's like it's a lot of questions to go through. I had five people actually six with me who lasted through the whole call and most people are watching the replay. But hey, like that's also why I wanted to share this with you. We touch on a lot of good stuff. We touch on protein quality, which actually got me going down a rabbit hole, which will be a new video blog I post, like I'll talk about this on a podcast too, I think, about the protein quality score. There was great chat. We talked about fiber, things like just processed foods versus, you know, minimally processed foods, high fat versus low fat foods, why it's important to really take care of your diet, like especially as we age. How stress, you know, impacts nutrition. Like we had a whole bunch of different topics, really good chat. Now here's the thing. I also don't want to overwhelm you with like too much stuff. You know what I mean. I'm listening to like a full, like an hour Q and A. I could imagine that at some point you're gonna be like ah, you know, it's like I get it Okay, cool. So for that reason I am splitting this up in two episodes. Today is gonna be a nice 30 minute episode, so let's dive in. Next week will be part two of this Q and A, and afterwards we're gonna talk, probably mostly mindset. I still have to kind of decide, but you'll find out. Anyway, let's get into it. I'll talk to you soon. First question Kaia says is it better to eat full fat versions of products instead of low fat, for example, milk, butter, cheese? There's so many options. Ultra process versus less process. I kind of hate the term ultra processed I. It is a term obviously, like I know what it means and it is a thing, but it's almost like a term that's being used currently to really fuck and like make people afraid of certain foods. But there's actually no bad food. Like there's not one single food that's inherently by itself gonna make your whole diet bad. You can have a good diet and a bad diet. Your good diet, right, would be mostly minimally processed foods, slash whole foods, where single ingredient foods are usually gonna be your best bet. So let's start there, right? And we're talking about kind of like an 80-20 ratio, and I mean people who've been here for a while like you've heard me talk about this over and over again 80-20, 80-20. It's part mindset, it's part hey. Your actual calories should be for 80% coming from minimally processed or whole foods, and then 20% you can literally just have whatever you want. Yes, including the ultra processed foods, and I do get it right. Obviously, we don't want your whole diet to be made up of ultra processed foods or even just processed in general. But I think we need to step away from the fucking fear mongering around specific foods and seed oils and all that stuff and sugar, whatever it is. That's the fault of the media as well as social media, the click baity shit. You know it's even with the diet sodas, which are also totally fine to drink Like. We need to kind of step away from the fear mongering and just focus on the good stuff. Can we add some protein? Can we add some fruits, vegetables, single ingredient foods for the most part, and then there's actually no reason to be afraid of any processed foods. And it's also like these days, it's almost like if something is processed it's bad. But let's understand too that there's a spectrum right From a single ingredient food all the way to what's called the ultra processed food, because obviously those are a thing. We have the foods that are consistent of a whole bunch of different ingredients, like half of what we don't even know what it is, the artificial whatever, like sure, and usually it's high in fat, high in sugar, high in sodium, and that's really that combination that makes us really want to eat a lot of it. But still then I, with not a single client, like we don't ever look at that specifically and I never have people remove stuff. We don't focus on that, we don't give it any attention. Of course food quality matters but, like I said, we focus on the addition of the good stuff and we also, over time, we work on actually being okay with including a little bit more processed foods. And that's almost weird to say as a nutrition coach. But, like I said, on social media, whatever, there's so much fear mongering, and I mean we know nutrition information is being like the research is like being cherry picked. Data is literally twisted for like vegan documentaries, like game changers and all that completely just lies and shit, which is not cool. I'm all for different diets, but people are literally using certain studies and twisting numbers and just to prove their point, to prove their agenda. But okay, getting specifically back to your question, is it better to eat more full fat versions or the lower fat? It actually doesn't matter. It actually doesn't matter at all. If you are in a fat loss phase, for example, it can be a really good idea to go with a low fat option. Why? Well, fat is the highest in calories. It doesn't make it bad. It doesn't make it bad. The fat is nine calories per gram. Carbohydrate and protein is four calories per gram. The thermic effect, which is how many calories you burn from digestion, is pretty much nothing from fats. For carbohydrate, that's five to 10%, which means that five to 10% gets burned off through digestion, and then for protein, it's even more 20 to 30,. That gets burned off through digestion, which means that you're actually getting even fewer calories. Anyway, long source words fats, highest in calories, which means that we can go for that lower fat option, that we still have our milk, our butter, our cheese, whatever it is, our yogurts, right, and enjoy those products if we actually like that. And a skier, for example, is a great idea, which is like pretty much no fat or depending on which one you get, but it's like no fat, very high in protein, amazing option. Have that with berries, boom, there you go. That's like the perfect snack or meal for when you're in a deficit diet. On the other hand and we actually have a question today for from someone who is currently in a reverse diet we're having her eat more. She's a client of mine. In those scenarios you'll hear me recommend this later we can switch to the higher fat option and benefit off that. I'm still usually gonna push for a moderate to high carbohydrate diet and we like to keep fats not completely at the minimum but on the lower end, because that seems to be best for most people. Little bit depending on the person. And you'll see too, like carbs or fat ratios, like it's gonna be very personal. So I hope that answers your question. It's really they're both fine. That's like the TLDR version of my fucking too long answer. It's like they're both cool, totally fine. You can use those different foods as different tools in different scenarios. Then we have Samantha. What's up Samantha Question? I like periodically reviewing my 80-20,. There you go. 80-20 rule, right, and she's a client, she knows her shit and what that looks like daily, because I can have tasty foods that aren't the most nutritious. Just moderation big word moderation, right. So she says moderation was a mindset shift that I really worked on this year because in quotes junk food was all or nothing for me for a long time. Reviewing the 80-20 idea helps my brain stay on track. Now I'm wondering what the question is, because it's more like a statement. But okay, anyway, let me just quickly double check in the group. I have to double check this one. But she brought up a really good point. Let me see real quick. Okay, so I don't see any further. Okay, all good. So let me just expand on this and then we'll continue. But I do really really like that she brought this up. This is a client and Samantha's been in our group coaching program. She was one of the first people, actually the first cohort, and basically with her we focused like the first bunch of weeks, I wanna say almost two months we had her. We brought her all the way up from shitty diets, like 12 in a category, whatever, all the way up to 2000. We just focused on having good foods in our diet, but then we worked through special scenarios, sometimes emotional eating and these kinds of things all or nothing, right. It's a shift that we need to make because we can actually, like she said, we can have some and be okay. Now, I'm not sure what the actual question was gonna be here. However, I can almost maybe guess or at least relate to what she's mentioned here. For example, what I could imagine is someone asking or wondering hey, would we actually calculate the 20%? And I've actually changed my opinion on this because I used to say, hey, it's not like we go out of our way and calculate it, and it's more of a mindset. It's more, hey, making better choices most of the time. This even goes for, like anything else, with your steps. Hey, as long as you hit your steps most of the time, you're good. Now, of course and the challenge is different, but, generally speaking, right, if you mostly sleep well, if you mostly drink plenty of water, right, you're good. There's lots. You can get really fucking good results, being 80% consistent. So it's also a mindset. It's also something that allows you to fuck up every now and then and be like, well, let me just pick it up. Cool, move on Now. And what did I change here? I actually did switch from basically always telling people, hey, we don't have to calculate that, but no, like, I'll pull up their food log and let's actually calculate this. And I've used this with multiple people and I talked to someone recently and I basically just had to be like hey, you know, right now we're like at a 50-50. We need to get our shit back together. And that's what we worked on and it took a couple of weeks, but then we're good again. Now to a hard point, right? The being able to have the tasty, fun foods in moderation. That is such a big lesson to learn and it's not easy, right? It takes time and I want you guys to know no matter what program you join, it's gonna be a process to work through. Hey, guess why we do six months with our one-on-one clients, right, at least Guess why we're actually bringing the group or we just did that to a three month minimum instead of month-to-month. It takes time. We need our time to work through shit, you know. So I hope that makes sense and I really want everyone even if this is the only thing you take away from this call that 80-20 principle is huge If you wanna learn more about this. By the way, it's also called flexible dieting. There's a book called flexible dieting which I highly recommend to everyone. Really good book by Alan Aragon. Highly recommend that one. If you like reading, check that out. If you like listening to audiobooks, go for it, right? Next question like I said, I should keep it a little bit more to the point here. Kelly says my questions are related to ultra-processed foods as well. In England most people's diets are made up of approximately 60% ultra-processed foods. What would you advise for trying to reduce this number? I kind of answered it already, but I don't advise anyone to reduce it, not directly at least. Like I said, instead of focusing on the scary, ultra-processed foods is like hey, we have our guidelines and I also call it like eating like a fucking grown-up where, hey, we need to get our fruits and vegetables in. That's a given and we all know that and with those as much as like there's like two green powders and all that you can't get around. It's not the same. It's fine to get a multifidement, it's fine to have a green powder, but it's not the same. We need to get our fruits and vegetables in, for example. We need protein, a good amount of protein, with every single meal. Like there's a couple of basics there, right, that we want to get in our fiber, our whole grains, our healthy fats from cold water, fish like salmon, or omega-3s in nuts and seeds, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, right, mostly complex carbs, meaning, like I said, those single ingredient foods like have a sweet potato, right, have those really good foods for us, just like minimally processed stuff. If we focus on that, we don't have to worry about the ultra-processed stuff, because 60%, yeah, like that's a pretty bad fucking ratio. That means basically 60%, 40% whole foods and 60% ultra-processed. So absolutely don't get me wrong either, right, absolutely, we need to bring you to that 80-20 ratio. And hey, by the way, if we go on a diet and we're in the fat loss phase, we have people do 90-10. Because, let's be honest, when you are in the fat loss phase, we're not gonna fuck around in like puzzle like alcohol and like go too crazy with the fun foods Like. No, it's a couple months, we'll be tightening the grip, we get a little bit more strict, we suck it up because guess what, if you do that, you're gonna get better results, which is more motivating. You lose more weight, and guess what? Then you can get to go back again and have the fun stuff a little bit more, in moderation. That's why in the diet I always say 90-10. But once again we have a more additive approach. Right? I actually don't waste any energy on someone who eats too much chocolate. I just had a talk with someone about this. They're like, hey, I really feel like I'm addicted right To sugar, to chocolate. I always crave this stuff. And guess what we did? We didn't focus on the chocolate at all. I saw that her protein and her fiber were both too low. We brought that up. Guess what happened? No more cravings, no more issue. I'm not saying this is the only solution. There's multiple factors. Sleep can be a big one. That really messes with our willpower. Making more hungry, less satiated, right, et cetera is gonna play into, hey, us being willing to make those healthy food choices. So, like I said, it's easier said than done. But still, yeah, 820, that's the way to go. Focus on 80%, focus on 80 to 90% and then you're good. And of course, that's a gradual change, that is, as balancing between light and dark meat. The researchers say that you shouldn't, that you should, be careful with red meat. If you eat fish twice a week for dinner, how would you have spent the rest of the week with a mix of dark and light meat? Yeah, so this is where we need to understand. The research needs to be understood correctly and used correctly, and we need to also understand that association doesn't mean causation and that's basically a fancy way of saying like, hey, it might go hand in hand when they look at specific groups in populations, right, but it doesn't have to be the root cause. Here's the thing I know. We tend to think that research shows that red meat is bad for you. That it causes cancer does not seem to be the case. Red meat is the most nutritious meat you can eat. You get the most vitamins and minerals out of that Way, more than chicken or anything else. So red meat is actually some of the best meat you can eat. It's not gonna cause cancer. You know what does? Having all of your red meat from all of the processed foods that's probably gonna cause it and a plethora of other unhealthy things that are usually combined with those kind of lifestyles. So red meat, totally fine. We should be eating red meat on a regular basis. Here's the thing too as much as I love chicken for example, chicken thighs, chicken breast it's also like when you contain like, let's say, that's your only protein source, which I do feel like in the fitness phase, it's almost like the go-to and, let's be honest, it's a really nice option. Of course I have a lot it's. You know, you can do a lot with it. You know like, I do like it. But when you have the same food over and over and over and over again, you can actually cause sensitivities to that specific food just from having it so much, which is a real thing. So that's why I always say just change it up. We can repeat stuff, definitely, but let's also change it up. Let's hey, maybe you mentioned your light meat, your dark meat and your fish. Right, you mentioned fish twice a week. Okay, let's just go, let's just repeat those three in a row. Let's say, let's call it dinner, right, one day light meat, one day fish, one day dark meat, et cetera. Just keep going like that, just alternate. That's a great way to do it, but I do want to, you know like, again, like state that, yes, generally like, people tend to think that research shows that, but it's actually not true, as misunderstood. Red meat is very healthy for many different reasons and it is totally fine. When it becomes an issue is when people really start to have a shitty diet. Like I said, it's not a bad food or whatever Like no, it's a bad or a good diet. Going back to the processed foods if it's not 80, 20, if it's like, let's call it like you know, like in the UK, for example, or 60% plus processed foods. Also thinking okay, like, let's say, someone eats at McDonald's every single time and that's where their red meat comes from. Okay, we're also drinking a whole bunch of, you know, sugary drinks and all those kinds of things. Okay, again, if it's the majority of your diet, that's when it becomes an issue. So, again, just alternate between the three. There you go. That's a great way to do it. Caroline says how to eat enough protein in a vegetarian diet. You put it on a plate and you grab a fork and then no, I'm kidding. So a vegetarian diet. You can still very easily get your proteins in much easier than vegan diet, by the way, which is still possible, but vegetarian diet. So Ag is going to be a big one. Ag's, by the way, kind of related to Terri's question. Ag's are also fucking demonized. Like you hear crazy claims like right, well, ag's are just as bad as cigarettes. I've heard clients of mine who used to go to a dietician who were told that 100% full of shit. Like that's the craziest thing ever. Like Ag's are super healthy. Same type of deal the like the Ag yolk is so full of vitamins, b vitamins, colleen like it's super good for us. The protein is one of the best forms of protein that we can get out of all the options out there. The same type of deal there. Like for some reason there's like these weird ideas around certain foods and I know this is not related to your question, but like that's something I want to bring up because Ag's, for example, great, great option. I will say this as much as Ag's are good for protein, they are higher in fats or calories you know from fats. So I like to see Ag's more as like a, an okay protein fat source. If that makes sense, hey, maybe you can add Ag whites. That's maybe one way to go about it. I'm thinking dairy products. If you're vegetarian you're going to have to rely on Ag's. On dairy, I'm thinking there's a lot of protein milks. We have, like the skier drink here now, skier yogurt which is like a 0% fat or very low percent fat, high protein yogurt, really good option, very nice, I love that stuff. Very affordable also. Just not when you live. When you live in Norway is like everything is expensive. Got this cheese, for example, very similar right Kind of similar kind of macro ratio. Not everyone loves the texture, but hey can work around that maybe. But those kind of things like dairy products are going to be great. That's also a very good option I do like. So I always tell people like hey, if you go with supplementation, it's cool, don't make it your main source. But especially with vegetarian, vegan diets, it can be very beneficial to have a quality protein powder and in this case it should vegetarian. I would go with a way isolate, as technically your your your highest quality options that you can get and also affordable. Great, great to have that one. So that would be. So dairy eggs. Then there's also your plant right options Beans, legumes, lentils, chickpeas those are great. I will say that they're fine. They're just not mainly protein sources. They're like car sources with an okay amount of protein, which is fine. We just need to remember that, because if we are in the phallus phase and we need to lower calories, maybe it's not the best to have those foods, because it's going to be way more difficult to play like macro Tetris to squeeze those in, you know. Then again, I've seen amazing options Lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, those kind of things. Those are great, and there was a there used to be a really good one here. They're fucking discot, discontinued it. There was, like this, lentil pasta. I used to love it, very high in protein, almost equal to carbs, and that was a really nice option. So those kinds of things do add up. It's just that. And this is my last point here to the vegetarian diet. It's or I think actually we have a question about vegetarian later, but yeah, in a few. But basically what happens to is people tend to think okay, now I need to eat these plant options for my proteins. However, those proteins are not fully broken down as well, which means that you're going to have to eat more of that product to get maybe the same amount of protein. You're not always going to get all the amino acids, which I will say. That's also one of those things where, when you eat enough protein, you're probably going to be fine. It's also one of those things that gets taken out of proportion right on social media. But what you're going to have to do is eat so much of those foods that now fiber gets way high, which is like a good amount of fiber is good, but when it's too much it causes digestive issues, right. So we really want to be smart about that. And last tip do not go for veggies for protein. If that makes sense, like don't rely on veggies for your protein. I will say that that's also a big misconception. People think broccoli for protein, like you're gonna have to eat a whole lot of it and your stomach is not going to be happy. So long story short dairy products are great. Most fake meats are not that great. Before I forget, tofu, tempeh those can be really nice, quality way, isolate, and then I think you have a good start. But yeah, let's stay in touch about that anyway. Robin says question how much veggies, meat, fish should I eat in a week? What is recommended? So I call this the essentials and feel free to maybe write this down. Do that if you want to do. Maybe I can even share this in a group, but the essentials will be almost like your flexible diet checklist where let's start with this right. So, one by one, protein with every meal. Like I said, take notes, right. If you do this every single day like you're killing it, protein with every meal. One to three servings of fruits per day. One to three, right, is probably best to be on the higher end. If you're dying, two to four servings of veggies per day, and with fruits of veggies, like what do I mean by a serving? Let's call it like a fist size portion, just to make it simple. And for your protein, maybe like the quarter of your plate. What else do we have? We have eating our omega three Fatty fish. If you don't like those, that's cool, let's call it. If we eat it like twice a week, we're probably good. We need those omega-3s very anti inflammatory, very healthy for us. If you don't eat those, make sure to get a fish oil. But we need that, right? No, so we've got the fruits, veggies, the protein, the fish oil. Hydration drink when you're thirsty. That's the easiest way to go about it. We can calculate it, but drinking when you're thirsty and then having some more around training, you're probably good Eating or getting at least a protein, carb, fat and color with every meal. So anytime you come out with a meal, make sure you get something for your proteins, something for your carbs, for your fuel, right? Your fats, which is mostly for health and hormones, and then either a fruit or vegetable. Use that as your guideline, right? Other than that, we want to make sure, again, you stick to that 80-20 rule and, to be honest with you, that's pretty much it in terms of what I would say. If you do that for almost all of your meals or most of your meals let's call it 80-ish percent of your meals or 80-90, and you're absolutely killing it and just stick into single-ingredient foods. You know what I mean. But I would start there specifically to your question veggies, two to four servings per day, meat daily, if you like that daily, yeah, you need to get your proteins in anyway, and meat is one of the best, if not the best, option for you. So fish same type of deal, cold water fish like salmon trout twice a week. That would be great. I would start there. And with all those changes, right, remember to make changes like once at a time. Katherine says nutrition question In your experience, what is the biggest pitfall when it comes to nutrition and getting in enough fuel for the body? I struggle a bit with the amount of food and it's almost easier just to go the unhealthy round to get more calories in. Also, what are some good alternatives to chicken and pork, lean and white meat? When we start with the last bit, because that's the easiest, I would go with turkey. That's a great option there. Other than that, if you like fish, then a cod is very lean, but in your case I'm going to be or by the way, or like ground beef very healthy if you go with, maybe like a low fat option. However, right, because you're asking for low and white meat here, and there's a reason. I start with this part of the question how about we don't look for those lean options? Because lean proteins are great, but they're by no means better than fattier meats or fish. So to your question having a hard time getting an oven, let's have higher fat ground beef or higher cuts sorry, higher fat cuts of beef. Have chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. That's a little bit higher fat. Have salmon, right, higher in fats, very healthy, right, but higher in fat, so you get more calories in. Swap the lean fish for something like that, or a trout or something also higher in fats. Put olive oil on your food, like you literally won't even notice, right, and it really adds up, and again it's healthy fats Going to carbohydrate sources. Because she's just coming out of diet During a fat loss phase. We want to have filling foods right Now. Here we actually want to flip that and we want to say, okay, let's still have healthy foods for the most part, but let's also make sure that, hey, we let's say the boiled potato, which is the actual most filling food, let's swap that for maybe something like pasta or bread or wraps or those kind of things. That is totally cool. So it's playing with different foods, with different scenarios, and in this case, I'd like to look into your food diary. So we should probably do that on Monday During your next check-in, like, let's look at your 20%. Are you actually having your 20% on a daily basis? Because, again, you know it's almost easier to go for those unhealthy foods and I don't want you to mostly have that. Right, you're in a reverse diet, like we're adding real foods in, but I'd still like to see that 20%. I still like to see that 20%. And, by the way, guys, a glass of orange juice, 30 grams of carbs, right, that is 120 calories. Boom, there you go. That's the easiest shit. Sabrina has a question later on, as she mentions hey, if you're busy and instead of having a meal, it's called after smoothie, boom, there you go, have that. Have a good you know a good smoothie with a lot of micronutrients, right, berries, maybe, spinach, protein, throw stuff together. Have like a milk I do really enjoy, like maybe a fatter one even. Right, make it easier to consume those calories it's less about. Again, like I don't want to see people reverse dieting and just add a whole bunch of shit, like we're still going to control it and the first two to three weeks, like I really want to see more single ingredient foods being added. But it doesn't mean that we can play with the more sorry, the more calorie, dense, slash, less filling foods that are still healthy Makes sense. And, of course, like you know, she's a client as well. So we're going to be working on this and I see this a lot. I see this a lot. People are doing great during a fat loss phase and guess what? Worldwide, we know that it's not the actual weight loss phase, right. That's the issue. People lose weight with crazy diets. It's what happens after and we do. It is the right way, right. That's why our people do keep it off. It's okay we do reverse diet. But here's the thing, it's ongoing collaboration. It's like something we need to work on, client to client, to coach, right. We need to hold you accountable and make sure that, hey, we go back and forth about these things because it's difficult. I've seen more people struggle with the eating more part right, compared to eating less during a diet. So I want everyone to know here as well wherever you are at in your journey maybe you're just getting started, maybe you're just trying to eat enough Be like, just know that it's okay to have a hard time with that, because it's very common, but share that with people, ask for help, try to be proactive and resourceful and figure it out, because everything is figure outable.

Full fat vs low fat / Ultra-processed foods vs less processed
The 80/20 rule
Advise for lowering ultra-processed foods
Truth about red meat & mixing up your nutrition
How to eat enough protein as a vegetarian
Healthy eating checklist (the essentials)
What to do if you struggle to eat more/ENOUGH