One more question about Dr Fuhrman's view :-)

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One more question about Dr Fuhrman's view :-)

Postby Clairembart » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:22 am

Hi Jeff - I hope you don't mind discussing some controversial points here. I know from your past posts that you know Dr Fuhrman personally and that you two are collaborating on some presentations and discussions. I also know you do not always share the same opinion.

My understanding is that he is advocating a very high micro-nutrients diet with lots of green vegetables mostly from the cruciferous family, beans, fruits, nuts and seeds, some grains or carbohydrate rich foods like sweet potatoes, etc. His focus seems to be on packing as much micro-nutrient per calorie consumed. This is all well if large amount of micro-nutrients promotes better health. But does it?

My question is: is there any benefits from eating a diet that largely exceeds the daily micro-nutrients normally recommended ? Wouldn't be a reasonable idea to simply exceed the recommended quantity by just a little? And not overwhelmed our system? I understand our food must be somewhat nutrient dense and not filled with empty calories (sugar, oil, white flour, etc.) but is getting most of my calories from Kale and Bok Choi really a better choice than from Quinoa or oats for example?

Sometimes too much of a good thing becomes a not-so-good thing. Is that the case?

I would like to read your perspective on this.

Thanks -- Clairembart
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Re: One more question about Dr Fuhrman's view :-)

Postby JeffN » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:49 am

Clairembart wrote:This is all well if large amount of micro-nutrients promotes better health. But does it?

My question is: is there any benefits from eating a diet that largely exceeds the daily micro-nutrients normally recommended ? Wouldn't be a reasonable idea to simply exceed the recommended quantity by just a little? And not overwhelmed our system? I understand our food must be somewhat nutrient dense and not filled with empty calories (sugar, oil, white flour, etc.) but is getting most of my calories from Kale and Bok Choi really a better choice than from Quinoa or oats for example?t


Excellent point which I have discussed a few times in general but let me add in some additional comments on some of these misconceptions.

1) To begin with, starches are not low nutrient density. While they may not be as high as vegetables and green leafy vegetables, starches are a high nutrient dense food.

We can all do the comparison ourselves by using the CRON-O-Meter. This allows us to do both a nutrient by nutrient comparison and an overall nutrient comparisons based on the Standard of Reference used in studies which is the USDA SR 21.

However, in regard to second hand info and in the name of simplicity... You can also go to http://www.nutritiondata.com and use their online tools. They use a proprietary system to rate foods on Nutrient Density, Nutrient Balance, Protein Quality. Again, I am not a fan of proprietary systems, let's just see what is says..

Nutrient Density (Score 1-5)
Sweet Potato 4.5
Oatmeal 3.4
Almonds 3.3
Walnuts 2.4

Sweet Potato (starch) and Oatmeal (grain) are higher rated than Almonds and Walnuts.

Nutrient Balance (0-100)
Sweet Potato 65
Oatmeal 43
Almonds 42
Walnuts 26

Sweet Potato (starch) and Oatmeal (grain) are higher rated than Almonds and Walnuts.

Protein Quality/Amino Acid Score (higher is better)
Sweet Potato 82
Oatmeal 104
Almonds 54
Walnuts 55

Sweet Potato (starch) and Oatmeal (grain) are higher rated than Almonds and Walnuts.

The CRON-O- Meter, which I do recommend and which does not use any proprietary methods, will confirm all of these numbers.

In fact, Dr Fuhrman has his own proprietary system, which actually also confirms these numbers. From the actual ETL chart

http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article17.aspx

Dr. Fuhrman's Nutrient Density Scores
Sweet Potatoes 83
Oatmeal 53
Sunflower Seeds 45
Brown Rice 41
White Potatoes 31
Walnuts 29
Almonds 25

Sweet Potato (starch) and Oatmeal (grain) are higher rated than Sunflower Seeds, Almonds and Walnuts.

There are several threads in this forum where I have analyzed simple versions of this starch based diet (Going Nuts, Wendy's Mini, SNAP, etc) that show it is extremely high in nutrient density. I know of no evidence showing more than this, is ANY better.

2) we know that diet that are low in nutrients, can raise your risk for certain diseases. However, this is not what is causing most disease and death in this country. In fact, when we look at the long lived Okinawans, we see that their dietary intake was actually low in certain nutrients and they even showed symptoms of these deficiencies, yet in spite of them, they were centenarians.

Caloric Restriction, the Traditional Okinawan Diet, and Healthy Aging,
The Diet of the World’s Longest-Lived People and Its Potential Impact on Morbidity and Life Span Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1114: 434–455 (2007).

The data from 1949, which was reflective of those who would become centenarians. What i found most interesting is in spite of their nutrient dense diet, they were short on several nutrients.

Nutrient, Amount, % RDA
Vitamin D (mcg) 0.4 2%
Vitamin B2(mg) 0.5 45%
Niacin (mg) 13.2 93%
Vitamin B12: 0.6 27%
Calcium (mg) 505.3 82%
Zinc (mg) 6.2 62%

And while several reported experiencing some signs/symptoms reflective of these deficiencies, including 14% reported experiencing symptoms of Cheilosis, which is reflective of the B deficiencies, this didn't effect the overall benefit of their overall diet and lifestyle to their longevity.

So, where is the evidence that being a little low in a few nutrients is harmful or dangerous?

3) we have absolutely no evidence that once you have surpassed the general recommendations, that more is better and in fact, as consistently discussed here in the Where's The Harm thread and as Dr John discusses in his writins, more is not always better. This just recently came out and I am posting the general article for now as I have the abstract elsewhere.

No Matter How You Say It, Acai Comes With Some Pronounced Doubts
By Jennifer Huget
Washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009 ... tioxidants

How bad can the economy be if people are buying acai?

Surely you've heard of acai, even if you're not sure how to pronounce the name. (It's ah-sigh-EE.) The little purple berries have been touted for more healthful qualities than you'd think a simple berry could bear. Who'd have believed that this modest product of Brazil's Amazon rain forest could do everything from speed weight loss to correct sexual dysfunction -- while bolstering your immune system, too?

A lot of people.

According to Spins, a market research and consulting firm for the natural products industry, Americans spent more than $108 million on acai products in the 52 weeks ending Feb. 21, up from just over $62 million the year before.

That's a lot of berries. But are buyers getting their money's worth? That depends on what they expect.

Acai products have been spotlighted as super foods on Oprah Winfrey's and Rachael Ray's high-profile TV shows -- though not, Winfrey and Ray are quick to point out, endorsed by those celebrities, despite the fact that many ads for acai products bear their images. Mehmet Oz, in an "Oprah" appearance, listed acai berries at the top of his list of 10 most healthful foods before backing off and saying they belong on that list, but perhaps not on the top. Anybody with a Facebook or e-mail account has probably seen ads for this supposed miracle berry.

The fragile, highly perishable acai berries don't keep or travel well, so they're not available whole in these parts. But you can purchase powdered or frozen acai pulp to add to smoothies, bottled beverages featuring acai juice (usually combined with other fruit or berry juices) and dozens of dietary supplements purporting to contain key acai compounds. You can spend less than $10 on a bottle of 60 (supposedly) acai-containing supplement pills or about $40 on a 25-ounce bottle of MonaVie acai beverage. (Ray, who likely doesn't have to pinch pennies, seemed astounded at the cost of MonaVie when a guest presented it on her talk show.)

Introduced to the United States in 2000 by brothers Jeremy and Ryan Black after Ryan and a friend learned about the berries and their purported health benefits while visiting Brazil, acai has blown past the goji berry as the wonder fruit of the moment. (Goji berries, also touted for their health-promoting qualities, are still going fairly strong, with sales topping $9.5 million in the past year, up from $8.3 million the year before, according to Spins.) The Blacks' company, Sambazon, makes only modest claims for its products, simply noting that, in addition to being the rare fruit that offers heart-healthy omega fats, acai is rich in antioxidants.

To which many nutritionists will say, "So what?" Any dark-skinned fruit or bright-hued vegetable contains antioxidants -- compounds that keep potentially damaging "free radical" molecules from running rampant in the body, wreaking havoc on cells and DNA.

There's some dispute as to whether acai juice has more antioxidants than the juice of other fruits; the Washington-based food industry watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest notes that acai is only a middling source of antioxidants, providing more than, say, apple juice, but less than pomegranate or Concord grape juice. Sambazon's Jeremy Black disputes that, saying tests finding more antioxidants in pomegranate juice pitted pure pomegranate juice against acai juice blends containing juice from fruits less rich in antioxidants.

The point may ultimately be moot. While we almost certainly need some antioxidants, licensed nutritionist Monica Reinagel (who's based in Baltimore and writes a blog at http://www.nutritiondata.com) points out that after a certain point, we don't need more.

Eating the government-recommended daily course of five servings of vegetables and two of fruit -- which only one in five of us actually does -- likely delivers all the antioxidants we need, Reinagel says, at least if we vary the fruits and vegetables we choose. After that, any further antioxidants may well be superfluous. "You reach a point of diminishing returns," she says.

In any case, the mere presence of antioxidants in a food doesn't tell us much about that food's health benefits. Vitamin E and beta carotene are both antioxidants whose presumed utility in preventing disease has been called into question by major studies. Because we haven't made a dent in identifying all the compounds contained in fruits and vegetables -- much less assessed the value of those we do know about -- we don't know whether there's anything special about acai compared to other berries, Reinagel observes.

Mark Kantor, an associate professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Maryland, says he's scanned the scientific literature and hasn't found reputable research to support any of the health claims acai's marketers are making.

"Unfortunately," Kantor says, "lots of Americans like to take the easy way out. They're looking for a miracle food. But they'll have to keep looking, because I don't think one exists."

Having said that, acai's not likely to do harm. Except to your credit card, that is.

The questionable health benefits attributed to acai are only half the story. As CSPI warned at a press conference last week, consumers using credit cards to enroll in "free" trials of acai products advertised via e-mail and on the Internet are being bilked big time.

After sharing credit-card information to cover shipping and handling, consumers are being hit by surprise monthly charges, often before they even receive their trial shipment. Those charges, ranging from $59 to $89, are extremely hard to contest with the companies, whom CSPI reports are difficult to reach by telephone and otherwise uncooperative.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is working with CSPI to shed light on acai Internet scams. Sambazon, which sells its products in health food stores and on its own Web site, is not among the companies accused of dirty dealings and in fact helps scammed customers find their way to the Better Business Bureau.

If you're still keen on trying acai, better to buy products in person at your local health food store. Or you could skip the acai and stick with blueberries instead. They're packed with antioxidants, relatively inexpensive and available year-round; frozen's just as good as fresh.

And I've yet to hear of anyone's being bilked by a blueberry scam.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company

4) all of this is based on the anti-oxidant theory of disease which to this point, after decades of research, is not proving out very well. There is no evidence that a diet high in anti-oxidants will reduce your risk for disease and/or increase your longevity because OF the antioxidants. Maybe, in the end, they are just markers of otherwise healthy food.

I am copying a post from a colleague who has been involved in research for many years and I consider a brilliant mind and who has one of the best and most comprehensive knowledge of the literature.

"There is little or no evidence that ANTIOXIDANTS AS SUCH have health benefits. There is evidence that many fruits and vegetables, all of which contain antioxidants, have health benefits. In some cases, this is related to their content of SPECIFIC antioxidant nutrients in specific areas (eg, lutein in spinach against macular degeneratioin); in other cases, the health benefit is largely or totally unrelated to antioxidant components, as eg for cruciferous veggies, which contain 'antioxidants' but whose benefit is due to the effect of their isothiocyanates' effect on xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes in the gut, their indoles' effects on sex steroid metabolism, etc.

In many cases, these foods contain molecules which *are* antioxidants, but which do not in fact act to quench free radicals in the body, as eg because they are not appreciably absorbed; and there are even REALLY surprising cases of the exact opposite phenomenon where a food is packed with 'antioxidant' molecules, and consumption of that f0od actually does exert an antioxidant effect in the body, but it turns out that that antioxidant effect has NOTHING TO DO with the presence of the actual antioxidant molecules, but to molecules which are NOT, themselves, antioxidants.

For example: there are whacks of antioxidant polyphenols in apple skins, which might lead you to think that apples woiuld accordingly pack a big antioxidant wallop. Nope. In (1), "when six healthy volunteers ate five apples ... no significant increases in the resistance to oxidation of endogenous urate, alpha-tocopherol, and lipids were found" in plasma. Evidently, the super-high-ORAC polyphenols in their skins largely get conjugated into unabsorbable metabolites by gut microflora and our own livers (1).

Now compare (2), a study by the same researchers but assessing
antioxidant potential via FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant potential --
a measure of antioxidant capacity) "without or with ascorbate oxidase
treatment (FRAPAO) to estimate the contribution of ascorbate." "Apple
consumption caused an acute, transient increase in both plasma FRAP and FRAPAO". So eating apples DOES increase antioxidant capacity of one's serum (using these particular, flawed, partial measures).

But wait -- it gets crazier. It turns out that this increase has nothing
at all to do with the polyphenols in the apples! Instead, the increase
in antioxidant capacity is due to their FRUCTOSE content: "This increase ... was paralleled by a large increase in plasma urate, a metabolic antioxidant ... Consumption of fructose mimicked the effects of apples with respect to increased FRAP, FRAPAO, and urate, but not ascorbate. Taken together, our data show that the increase in plasma antioxidant capacity in humans after apple consumption is due mainly to the well-known metabolic effect of fructose on urate, not apple-derived antioxidant flavonoids." While I have not found the mechanism, a quick PubMEd does confirm that fructose does indeed elevate uric acid levels.

Yet fructose itself is not an antioxidant, & contributes ZERO value to
ORAC or any test-tube study of antioxidant capacity.

Again, what impact *any of this* ultimately has on actual health
outcomes is an ENTIRELY SEPARATE question. It just goes to show that screaming headlines of "THE MOST POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANT FOOD!!" are absolutely, hopelessly irrelevant.

There was a review on these kinds of issues, as regards flavonoids, a
little while back that was posted to the List in popular (3) and
scientific-abstract (4) form.

In no case can one say, a priori, that the presence of "antioxidants" in
a food tells us that there is a health benefit to people in general to
be gained from eating them. One can only run prospective studies of
people eating such foods, see if there's a benefit, and to whom, and
under what circumstances, and then see what compound(s) is/are
responsible for the effect -- and by what mechanism(s).

>>>>A chemistry would be sufficient to understand why, though whether something is an antioxidant in the chemical sense (as in the
widely-hyped ORAC test) doesn't tell you much of anything about
whether it is an antioxidant in vivo -- let alone under what
conditions, against which SPECIFIC radicals, in what compartments,
etc etc.

>>"Doesn't tell you much of anything"? Are you suggesting tests like
the ORAC test tell you *nothing* about behaviour inside the body

Yes. See the apple example above. And again, even if it has an 'antioxidant' effect, that doesn't mean that there is necessarily a health benefit.

>>>My impression is that the ORAC test measures oxidative degradation in the face of the peroxyl radical -

Indeed ... in a test tube, without coantioxidants, independent of the
body's endogenous antioxidant system, ignoring the vital role that some endogenously-produced free radicals play in cellular signaling and other important metabolic processes, etc etc ...

>>>Are there correlations between in-vitro and in-vivo behaviour

... not necessarily at all, at all: see the apple above, and also cases
like a food rich in gamma-tocopherol, whose benefits in fighting OTHER free radicals are ignored by the test; and, again, even if it has an 'antioxidant' effect, that doesn't mean that there is necessarily a
health benefit, or that the heath benefit is mediated by that effect.

>>>Thus, a biology background and a detailed understanding of the
complexities of the absorption, pharmacokinetics, and disposition
of even those antioxidants widely-alleged to be beneficial would
give a far more complex and nuanced insight into the silliness of
such widely-practiced nonsense as claiming foods to be healthier
based on its ORAC score (or antioxidant levels).

>>>>Right - though high ORAC foods include Acai, Cerasus (Montmorency tart cherries), prunes, raisins, blueberries, kale, spinach, various spices, cocoa, wild blueberries, pomegranates and black raspberries -ARE mostly fine foods - so the "ORAC diet" doesn't look as silly as all that.

This is just what I meant by "benefit by association." Yes, some of
these foods are healthy, and in some cases some of that health benefit is related compounds that have antioxidant properties, and in some of THOSE cases some of the benefit of those compounds is in fact their antioxidant effect. However:

- some of those foods have no evidence for actually being healthful in
real-world conditions despite their high ORAC value. Eg, I know of no
evidence of any real-world benefit to consumption of acai juice or berries.

- In other cases, their health benefits to the extent that they've been
documented are unrelated to their antioxidant content. Eg, the only
documented benefit to prune consumption of which I'm aware is their
laxative effect, which is related to their fiber content rather than to
antioxidants, tho' their insoluble fiber content may also confer
benefits via the particular compounds' modulatory effect on estrogen
metabolism in women (5). Notably, prunes' high in vitro ORAC score does NOT appear to translate into any in increase in antioxidant capacity in the plasma of people eating them (6): "Consumption of dried plums or dried plum juice did not alter either the [plasma hydrophilic (H-) or lipophilic (L-) antioxidant capacity] area under the curve (AUC)").

- And in some cases a food's well-supported benefits may be due to
compounds that are, coincidentally, antioxidants but whose benefit is not mediated via an antioxidant effect. I don't see any examples of this leaping out to me in the list you give above.

1. Lotito SB, Frei B. Relevance of apple polyphenols as antioxidants in
human plasma: contrasting in vitro and in vivo effects. Free Radic Biol
Med. 2004 Jan 15;36(2):201-11. PMID: 14744632 [PubMed - in process]

2. Lotito SB, Frei B.
The increase in human plasma antioxidant capacity after apple
consumption is due to the metabolic effect of fructose on urate, not
apple-derived antioxidant flavonoids.
Free Radic Biol Med. 2004 Jul 15;37(2):251-8.
PMID: 15203196 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

3. Lotito SB, Frei B.
Consumption of flavonoid-rich foods and increased plasma antioxidant capacity in humans: cause, consequence, or epiphenomenon?
Free Radic Biol Med. 2006 Dec 15;41(12):1727-46. Epub 2006 Jun 3. Review.PMID: 17157175 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

4. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 140834.htm

5. Kasim-Karakas SE, Almario RU, Gregory L, Todd H, Wong R, Lasley BL.
Effects of prune consumption on the ratio of
2-hydroxyestrone to 16alpha-hydroxyestrone.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Dec;76(6):1422-7.
PMID: 12450912 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

6. Prior RL, Gu L, Wu X, Jacob RA, Sotoudeh G, Kader AA, Cook RA.
Plasma antioxidant capacity changes following a meal as a
measure of the ability of a food to alter in vivo antioxidant status.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Apr;26(2):170-81.
PMID: 17536129 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]



5) Last but not least... let me give you my opinion on why there is such a push for this kind of information, other than everyone looking for the miracle pill (or now the miracle food).

The typical American diet is nutrient poor because people do not eat real food and instead they load up on processed refined foods. So, lets say they are not willing to totally change their diet, or even make any significant change. However, they are willing to admit they could eat better and benefit from this. And, lets say, in looking at their diet, we see that among other things, it is low in Beta Carotene and in Vit E (besides being very high in cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, salt ,and sugar). So, they say they are willing to make a small change and are willing to substitute or add in one or two servings of healthier food a day. Since, they are only willing to add in (or substitute in ) one of two servings a day, then it would be important to know which foods would be the highest in these nutrients for those one or two foods, since that is ALL they are willing to do. So, lets say we recommend superfood A and superfood B and they agree to add in 2 or 3 servings and yes, this will really raise their levels of beta carotene and vit e.

Great. However, where is there any real evidence that this is going to be good for them. Most real good data is based on dietary patterns and not isolated nutrients.

And, adding in these 2 superfoods has really done nothing to impact the real issues which were the fat, sat fat, cholesterol, salt, sugar, etc.

But, they now walk around thinking they are doing great because they have added in some superfoods. But, big deal! Because, in reality, they still have a super poor diet with a few super foods added in.

To me, that is where the real popularity of this whole approach comes from.

Having said all of this, the bigger picture of what is known and supported by research and actual long lived populations remains... aim for a BMI of 18.5 - 22, focus on low calorie dense, high nutrient dense foods, be moderately active, and enjoy life.

Regards
Jeff
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Postby Clairembart » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:43 pm

Jeff - Thanks so much for your data-rich response (as usual).

After all if people avoid eating all the bad stuff (high in cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, salt ,and sugar - all empty calories) and they eat real foods that are naturally occurring they will automatically fill themselves with all the nutrients needed for greater health. That makes everything very simple.

You mention also calorie restriction. This happens almost naturally too when one avoids all the bad stuff mentioned above - especially the high calorie fats and the simple processed sugars in desserts and colas.
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Postby JeffN » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:14 pm

Clairembart wrote:After all if people avoid eating all the bad stuff (high in cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, salt ,and sugar - all empty calories) and they eat real foods that are naturally occurring they will automatically fill themselves with all the nutrients needed for greater health. That makes everything very simple.


Correct. Eliminate the refined processed foods. Consume mostly fresh unprocessed unrefined plant foods as recommended here and you will have a very high nutrient dense diet. Focusing on specific individual foods which may be "richer" in one nutrient or another has not been shown to be of any benefit. We don't need super foods, we just need a good diet :)

Clairembart wrote:You mention also calorie restriction. This happens almost naturally too when one avoids all the bad stuff mentioned above - especially the high calorie fats and the simple processed sugars in desserts and colas.


Correct again. The studies on the Hawaiin diet (almost identical to McDougall plan) showed that when people when from a SAD to this program their caloric intake was reduced 40% while being allowed to eat whenever they were hungry till they were comfortably full.

In Health
Jeff
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Re: One more question about Dr Fuhrman's view :-)

Postby veithr » Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:39 pm

JeffN wrote:Having said all of this, the bigger picture of what is known and supported by research and actual long lived populations remains... restrict calories 10-20%, aim for a BMI of 18.5 - 22, focus on low calorie dense, high nutrient dense foods, be moderately active, and enjoy life.

Regards
Jeff


Jeff,

Isn't it true that one can achieve your recommended goals, ie, calorie restriction, a BMI of 18.5 - 22, a low calorie nutrient dense diet, be moderately active and enjoy life while following either a Starch-based diet or a diet that is "Nutritarian." Isn't is also true that one can eat a Starch-based diet one day and a Nutritarian diet the next day and achieve your goals?

When I analyze my diet with CRON-O-Meter, the Starch-based approach and the Nutritarian approach both produce good numbers. I am getting nice results from mixing up the two approaches. Don't we make too big a deal over the differences between these two approaches? Seems to me that Starch-based and Nutritarian are both excellent eating styles and one does not have to "drink the Koolaid" as followers of only one.
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Maximum nutrient density

Postby PamM » Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:41 pm

I’ve read your response several times now, Jeff, and every time I get new appreciation for it – it really *is* brilliant.

I do have a comment, though. To circle back to where Clairembart started, re the issue of maximum nutritional density, it seems to me from your response that there *is* an advantage to surpass an already adequately rich nutritional density – if by “adequate” we mean what the Okinawans ate, for example. It’s great that we can live to be 100 just by focusing on avoiding the bad stuff and making sure what we take in is unprocessed plant food (and I totally get you that that’s where most of the damage comes from, so that’ has to be Thing 1, and of course if we die early, none of the rest matters :)) – but I’d also like to avoid those symptoms of deficiency, too. So I *am* interested in maximizing nutrient density, at least in *breadth* – to try and cover *all* the RDAs.

And then coming to Howard’s point, it’s been my experience, running the numbers on both a “standard” McDougall day and a “standard” ETL 6-week-plan day (one starch serving), that neither one hits the RDA on everything. With ETL, even with large amounts of vegetables and 1oz of nuts, I’m short on certain minerals, like zinc and niacin; I need a couple of whole starches to make those RDAs. But if I don’t also raise the volume on veggies beyond what we ordinarily think of as “adequate,” and beyond what I did on McD myself the first time around, I don’t hit all the vitamin RDAs – I come in low on E, for example. So for me, I need both -- and if I then add in 1 oz of nuts to whole starches *plus* veg, I plug the last remaining holes. And voila, we end up at the model that you have advocated here many times. :)

But my point is that I don’t get there just by focusing on eliminating the refined processed foods, and consuming mostly fresh unprocessed unrefined plant foods – to get optimal coverage, I have to make sure I’m getting *both* lots of veggies and multiple starches. So my diet now is starch-based with Nutritarian flourishes. :)

Man, that got long, sorry. I hope it makes sense and doesn’t create a firestorm. :)
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Re: Maximum nutrient density

Postby JeffN » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:33 pm

PamM wrote:I’ve read your response several times now, Jeff, and every time I get new appreciation for it – it really *is* brilliant.

I do have a comment, though. To circle back to where Clairembart started, re the issue of maximum nutritional density, it seems to me from your response that there *is* an advantage to surpass an already adequately rich nutritional density – if by “adequate” we mean what the Okinawans ate, for example. It’s great that we can live to be 100 just by focusing on avoiding the bad stuff and making sure what we take in is unprocessed plant food (and I totally get you that that’s where most of the damage comes from, so that’ has to be Thing 1, and of course if we die early, none of the rest matters :)) – but I’d also like to avoid those symptoms of deficiency, too. So I *am* interested in maximizing nutrient density, at least in *breadth* – to try and cover *all* the RDAs.

And then coming to Howard’s point, it’s been my experience, running the numbers on both a “standard” McDougall day and a “standard” ETL 6-week-plan day (one starch serving), that neither one hits the RDA on everything. With ETL, even with large amounts of vegetables and 1oz of nuts, I’m short on certain minerals, like zinc and niacin; I need a couple of whole starches to make those RDAs. But if I don’t also raise the volume on veggies beyond what we ordinarily think of as “adequate,” and beyond what I did on McD myself the first time around, I don’t hit all the vitamin RDAs – I come in low on E, for example. So for me, I need both -- and if I then add in 1 oz of nuts to whole starches *plus* veg, I plug the last remaining holes. And voila, we end up at the model that you have advocated here many times. :)

But my point is that I don’t get there just by focusing on eliminating the refined processed foods, and consuming mostly fresh unprocessed unrefined plant foods – to get optimal coverage, I have to make sure I’m getting *both* lots of veggies and multiple starches. So my diet now is starch-based with Nutritarian flourishes. :)

Man, that got long, sorry. I hope it makes sense and doesn’t create a firestorm. :)
Pam


Hi Pam.

I appreciate your comments.

However, I think you making some assumptions, which while they may even be popular and promoted, there is no proof for them and existing proof they may not be necessary.

I never said all we have to do is eliminate the bad and not focus on what we eat. What i did say was...

Having said all of this, the bigger picture of what is known and supported by research and actual long lived populations remains... , aim for a BMI of 18.5 - 22, focus on low calorie dense, high nutrient dense foods, be moderately active, and enjoy life.

There is ZERO proof for high nutrient density above and beyond what may be deemed necessary.

And remember, all known recommendations are generic averages for populations of people over time and not individuals on a daily basis, And, as the Okinawan have demonstrated, minor deficiencies as part of a lifestyle that....

aim for a BMI of 18.5 - 22, focus on low calorie dense, high nutrient dense foods, be moderately active, and enjoy life.

May not matter. :)

In addition, I have given several examples of here with very simple easy diets far surpass all the recommendations for all the nutrients we get from out diet. Lastly, there are discussion on Vit E and Zinc showing why the RDAs may not be accurate.

In Health
Jeff
Last edited by JeffN on Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Maximum nutrient density

Postby veithr » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:57 pm

PamM wrote:And then coming to Howard’s point, it’s been my experience, running the numbers on both a “standard” McDougall day and a “standard” ETL 6-week-plan day (one starch serving), that neither one hits the RDA on everything. ......

But my point is that I don’t get there just by focusing on eliminating the refined processed foods, and consuming mostly fresh unprocessed unrefined plant foods – to get optimal coverage, I have to make sure I’m getting *both* lots of veggies and multiple starches. So my diet now is starch-based with Nutritarian flourishes. :)
Pam


My experience too is that we can get almost to 100% recommended vitamins and minerals by focusing on Starch-based with flourishes of Nutritarian or Nutritarian with flourishes of Starch-based, depending upon our desires. I lean towards Nutritarian, but consume many Starch-based meals because I like them and because they give me nutritious calories. For example, here is a typical day of my eating. I would classify it Nutritarian for breakfast and Starch-based for dinner.

Breakfast
Green and Fruit Smoothie

2 fresh oranges
1/4 cantaloupe melon
1 cup wild blueberries
5 dates
3 dried plums
1/2 ounce seed mix
1/2 ounce ground nut mix
1 TBSP ground flaxseeds
5 oz. raw organic baby spinach
5 oz. frozen kale
1 banana
5 oz. baby carrots
2 oz. bean mix

Orange Juice, banana, and raw trail mix while training on my bike

Dinner
Red beans and brown rice
Raw oatmeal, dates, raisins and blueberries (dessert)

Nutritional summary:

2500 calories
Fat 48 grams (4.4 grams Omega 3, 15.7 grams Omega 6) (17%)
Protein 67 grams
Carbs 491 grams

I am well over the RDA in vitamins and minerals except for Selenium, B12, Vitamin E and Vitamin D. Calcium is a bit short, but I don't worry about that.

I take a DHA Purity, multivitamin and vitamin D supplement and I fill in the deficiencies. Arguably, I don't need the DHA supplement, but the experts are divided on that issue, so I play it safe (I think) :D. I never get the recommended D and B12 on a vegan diet, regardless of how nutritious. Maybe I get it by being out in the sun alot. But, on most vitamins and minerals I am WAY over the minimum. I am about 1300% of required vitamin A, for example. Is being way over the minimum harmful? I hope not. :eek:

I keep salt to an average of below 1000 mg/day.

2500 calories may be too many for most people, but I train hard 5 days per week on my bike.

In summary, I mix Nutritarian and Starch-based plus I supplement to fill in the holes, especially for D and B12. I believe that there are many ways to get to Jeff's ideal. I exercise much more than recommended and my calorie intake probably does not qualify for calorie restriction. Given my love of cycling, I probably will not do much less than 2300/2500 calories per day on average. In fact, my average over the last two months is about 2400/day. My BMI is 23.6 and I am hoping to see 22-23 soon.

I have learned much from Dr. McDougall, Dr. Fuhrman and Mr. Novick. I am deeply indebted to all. Are they all always right on everything? Perfection still escapes me and probably always will.

BTW, I don't see anywhere where Dr. F. is against oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, especially for very active people. He says he eats oatmeal for breakfast, especially when he travels. Some of his recipes have brown rice and also whole wheat pita.
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Re: Maximum nutrient density

Postby JeffN » Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:10 pm

veithr wrote:I am well over the RDA in vitamins and minerals except for Selenium, B12, Vitamin E and Vitamin D. Calcium is a bit short, but I don't worry about that.


Vit B12 is a vegan issue and Vit D is well discussed here and is not really a vitamin but there are many long threads on that issue.

There are also discussions here on Selenium and Vit E and why the RDA's/DRI's may be to high.

veithr wrote:I have learned much from Dr. McDougall, Dr. Fuhrman and Mr. Novick. I am deeply indebted to all. Are they all always right on everything? Perfection still escapes me and probably always will.


Thank you. I appreciate the discussions we have had and your well thought out and intelligent approach to all of this.

In Health
Jeff
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Re: Maximum nutrient density

Postby veithr » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:13 am

JeffN wrote:
Vit B12 is a vegan issue and Vit D is well discussed here and is not really a vitamin but there are many long threads on that issue.......

There are also discussions here on Selenium and Vit E and why the RDA's/DRI's may be to high......

In Health
Jeff


I live in the Southeast and get lots of sun. Once or twice per week I go out on my bike without sunscreen. What I have not done is get tested for D hormone levels. I have now read through the threads on D and will now get the testing. I am no fan of taking supplements. As with Rxs. (I take none) I would love to take none. I need to get secure enough to eliminate the multi and D supplement. Guess we vegans are stuck with B12.

BTW, Jeff, thanks to your prodding, I have tried to increase the % of starches and decrease the % of fat from nuts/seeds. I have modified my raw trail mix, for example. It used to be dried fruit, raw seeds and nuts. I have added raw oats and cooked brown rice. It is delicious that way, easy to carry on my bike and has more complex carbs; good, I suppose for sustained energy.
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Re: One more question about Dr Fuhrman's view :-)

Postby JeffN » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:57 am

The following study came out recently, and I think really highlights this point and the misdirection and distraction that just focusing on Nutrient Density (as Clairembart originally asked) can be.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... ool=pubmed

The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors PLoS Med. 2009 April; 6(4): e1000058. Published online 2009 April 28. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000058.

Background:

Knowledge of the number of deaths caused by risk factors is needed for health policy and priority setting. Our aim was to estimate the mortality effects of the following 12 modifiable dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors in the United States (US) using consistent and comparable methods: high blood glucose, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood pressure; overweight–obesity; high dietary trans fatty acids and salt; low dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids (seafood), and fruits and vegetables; physical inactivity; alcohol use; and tobacco smoking.

Here is the full listing (the percentage is of the total of the 12)

467,000 --- Tobacco (23.6%)
395,000 --- Blood pressure (19.9%)
216,000 --- Overweight (10.9%)
191,000 --- Insufficient exercise (9.6%)
190,000 --- High blood glucose (9.6%)
113,000 --- High LDL (5.7%)
102,000 --- Excessive salt (5.2%)
84,000 ---- Inadequate Essential Fats (4.2%)
82,000 ---- Trans fats (4.1%)
64,000 ---- Excessive alcohol (3.2%)
58,000 ---- Low fruit and vegetable intake (2.9%)
15,000 ---- Low PUFA intake (0.7%)

If the nutrient density theory is correct, then a lack of the foods that are the highest in nutrient density, fruits and vegetables, should have been a major contributor to death.

However, as we see, even just not meeting the minimum recommendations of fruits and vegetables, was the 2nd to last item on this list of contributing factors. So, If not hitting the minimum is not high up on the list, then how much higher up would be focusing your whole diet on fruits and vegetables?

Lack of fruits and vegetable only contributed about 2.9%, This is about the same number that earlier studies found when they also estimated the burden of disease that low fruit and vegetable intake was responsible for. In New Zealand it was 2.4%, in Austria 2.8% and in the European Union 3.5%.

The Burden of Disease and Injury in New Zealand. Public Health Intelligence: Occasional Bulletin No. 1. Date of publication: January 2001

The burden of disease and injury in Australia. Bull World Health Organ. 2001;79(11):1076-84.

National Institute of Public Health, Stockholm (1997). Determinants of the Burden of Disease in the European Union, Stockholm: NIPH

The main issues in why we are overweight, obese and sick in this nation is not because we do not eat enough nutrient rich foods (ie, fruits and vegetables) but because we engage in so many unhealthy habits such as to many calories, fat, sat fat, cholesterol, hydrogenated fat, trans fat, salt, sugar, refined/processed foods, and not enough fiber or exercise.

In Health
Jeff
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