The Low-Confusion High-Nutrition Diet for Long-Term Fat Loss

By Jonathan Bailor, author of The Smarter Science of Slim, for

This week it's high-fat. The week before that it was low-fat. The week before that it was low-carb. Dukan says it's high-protein. Campbell says protein causes cancer. Paleo notes that we ate protein and fat long before cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease were issues. What's a girl to do?Jonathan Bailor's science-backed approach to nutrition simply make sense.

Let's start with four simple scientific statements and see where that gets us.

Vitamins and Minerals are Essential - We must eat vitamins and minerals or we get sick. For example, if you don't eat enough vitamin C, you will get scurvy.

Protein is Essential - We've all heard of essential amino acids. Amino acids are what our body turns protein into during digestion. Some amino acids are "essential" because if we do not eat them, we get sick.

Fat is Essential - We've all heard of essential fatty acids. Fatty acids are what our body turns fat into during digestion. Some fatty acids are "essential" because if we do not eat them, we get sick.

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Carbohydrate is NOT Essential - None of us have heard of an essential carbohydrate. That's because there is no such thing. During digestion carbohydrate is converted into glucose. If we never ate any carbohydrate, we would not necessarily get sick because our body would create glucose from other things we eat such as protein.

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Knowing that we must eat vitamins, minerals, protein and fat, can we add any clarity to the high-this, low-that world we live in? Yes. Why not figure out which foods are the richest sources of vitamins, minerals, protein and essential fats and simply eat those?

To do this, we start by dividing the amount of the nutrients in the food by the calories in the food. Many nutrients per calorie make a food a rich source of nutrients. Few nutrients per calorie make a food a poor source of nutrients. To save us some time, researchers have already run the numbers, and here are the richest sources of nutrients:

Non-starchy vegetables - vegetables you can eat raw and generally find in salads such as leafy greens, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, etc.
Organ meats - liver, etc.
Seafood - salmon, shrimp, tuna, etc.
Other types of naturally raised meats and animal products - grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, eggs, etc.
Low-sugar fruits - berries, oranges, grapefruit, etc.
Low-sugar and low-fat dairy - fat free plain Greek yogurt and fat free cottage cheese
Legumes - beans, etc.
Nuts and seeds - almonds, flax, chia, coconut, cocoa, etc.

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What About Whole Grains?

Whole grains are better for us than refined grains, but math and biology are clear: they are not as nutrient dense as the foods on this list and they can impact blood sugar more than sugar.

Haven't We Eaten Starch for Thousands of Years?

Yes. We've eaten starch for the last 12,000 years, or 0.2 percent of our five-million-year evolutionary history. It's interesting to note that starch's recent addition to our diet may be why so many of us react poorly to the gluten found within a lot of it. And it's important to note that a food missing from the nutrient density list doesn't mean it will kill us. It just means we would get more of what we need and less of what we don't by eating foods on the list.

Won't Eating Animal Fat Make Us Fat and Sick?

Researchers found that people in England have eaten about the same amount of animal fat since 1910. Meanwhile, the number of heart attacks there increased 1,000 percent between 1930 and 1970. Similarly, during basically the same period in the U.S., a similar increase in heart attacks occurred while the amount of animal fats consumed dropped. And we all know what's happened with obesity, diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases during those time periods. If we're eating the same or less animal fat as we were before our problems existed, it would seem odd for eating animal fat to be the cause of our problems.

Besides, Harvard doctors Dariush Mozaffarian and David Ludwig tell us clearly via The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA): "The proportion of total energy from fat appears largely unrelated to risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or obesity. Saturated fat-targeted by nearly all nutrition-related professional organizations and governmental agencies-has little relation to heart disease within most prevailing dietary patterns."

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The High-Nutrition Low-Confusion "Diet"

Why not forget about the high-carb, high-fat and high-protein confusion and simply enjoy the foods that give us the most of what we need, the least of what we don't, and that kept us free from that which ails us long before anyone even uttered the word carbohydrate, fat or protein? Long-term fat loss and health is not about high-carb, high-fat and high-protein, it's about high-nutrition and low-confusion.

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Jonathan Bailor is the author of The Smarter Science of Slim, which simplifies the analysis of more than 1,100 scientific studies to provide a proven lifestyle for lasting wellness - by focusing on the quality of food and exercise and then eating more and exercising less - but smarter. The Smarter Science of Slim is endorsed by many in the world-wide scientific community including top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins and UCLA, and approved as curriculum for registered dietitians (RDs) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.