Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

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Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby JeffN » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:29 am

Sometimes, people are confused in regard to my 4th principle of calorie density. This is the one that says,

Dilution is the Solution (the 50/50 guideline) - Dilute Out High Calorie Dense Foods/Meals - Dilute the calorie density of your meals by filling 1/2 your plate (by visual volume) with intact whole grains, starchy vegetables and/or legumes and the other half with non-starchy vegetables and/or fruit.

For the record, this 50/50 guideline is the exact same recommendation as Dr McDougall makes for his Maximum Weight Loss Program. As he says, " If you are desperate, then you may push that amount to one-half of your plate (measured roughly by your eye)."

People often confuse the 50/50 guideline to mean calories. However, as stated above, the guideline clearly is in regard to visual volume.

However, for discussion sake, lets see what a 50/50 volume split relates to in regard to calories. And, while we are at it, we will also look at a 67/33 split and a 33/67 split. The 67/33 represent the regular McDougall program, where he often says, make starch around 70% or 2/3rd's of our plate. Also, in the original MWL book, Dr McDougall said for "extra-rapid weight loss" you could make your plate 2/3 green and yellow and 1/3 starch-based (though he no longer recommends this).

Here are 3 simple versions of a 50/50 meal split. Each has 4 cups of food, which is split 50/50 between 2 cups of starches (Starchy vegetables, intact whole grains and legumes) and 2 cups of fruits/non-starchy vegetables.

1) Oatmeal and Fruit

2 Cups Cooked Oatmeal 332.3
1 Cup Raw Blueberries, 84.4
1 Cup Raw Strawberries, 53.1

This meal is 470 calories with 70% of the calories coming from the "starch" and 30% coming from the fruit.

2) Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli & Kale

2 Cups Cooked Sweet Potato 360
1 Cup Cooked Broccoli, 54.6
1 Cup Cooked Kale, cooked, 36.4

This meal is 451 calories with 80% of the calories coming from the starch and 20% from the vegetables.

3) Rice, Beans and Veggies.

1 Cup Cooked Brown Rice, 216.4
1 Cup Cooked Red Kidney Beans, 224.8
1 Cup Cooked Red Peppers, 47.8
1 Cup Cooked Onions 92.4

This meal is 581 calories with 75% of the calories coming from the starch and 25% from the veggies.

Considering these three options, it might be safe to say a 50/50 split by visual volume results in about 75% of your calories coming from the starch foods with 25% coming from fruits & non-starchy vegetables.

I will post the results later for a 67/33 split also but I can tell you from past experience, it results in around 90% of the calories coming from the starch foods.

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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby JeffN » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:06 am

Here are the same 3 simple versions using a 67/33 meal split. Each has 4 cups of food, which is split 67/33 between 2.66 cups of starches (Starchy vegetables, intact whole grains and legumes) and 1.33 cups of fruits/non-starchy vegetables. Dr Mcdougall has often used the terms, 70% or 2/3rds, but to be exact, I used the 67/33 split. Shifting it to 70/30 would not make a huge difference.

1) Oatmeal and Fruit

2.66 Cups Cooked Oatmeal 441
.66 Cup Raw Blueberries, 56
.66 Cup Raw Strawberries, 35

This meal is 532 calories with 83% of the calories coming from the "starch" and 27% coming from the fruit.

2) Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli & Kale

2.66 Cups Cooked Sweet Potato 478
.66 Cup Cooked Broccoli, 34
.66 Cup Cooked Kale, cooked, 24

This meal is 536 calories with 89% of the calories coming from the starch and 11% from the vegetables.

3) Rice, Beans and Veggies.

1.33 Cup Cooked Brown Rice, 288
1.33 Cup Cooked Red Kidney Beans, 299
.66 Cup Cooked Red Peppers, 29
.66 Cup Cooked Onions 61

This meal is 677 calories with 87% of the calories coming from the starch and 13% from the veggies. I'm

Considering these three options, it might be safe to say a 67/23 split by visual volume results in about 85% of your calories coming from the starch foods and 15% coming from fruits & non-starchy vegetables, etc.

In regard to Dr Mcdougall's regular program, which he says is about 70/30 (I used 67/33), this 70/30 split by visual volume results in about 85% of you calories coming from the starch foods and 15% coming from fruits & non-starchy vegetables, etc.

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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby JeffN » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:27 am

In the original MWL book, Dr McDougall said for "extra-rapid weight loss" you could make your plate 2/3 green and yellow and 1/3 starch-based (though he no longer recommends this). To be exact, I used the 33/67 split. Shifting it to 30/70 would not make a huge difference.

For discussion sake, here are the same 3 simple versions using a 33/67 meal split. Each has 4 cups of food, which is split 33/67 between 1.33 cups of starches (Starchy vegetables, intact whole grains and legumes) and 2.66 cups of fruits/non-starchy vegetables.


1) Oatmeal and Fruit

1.33 Cups Cooked Oatmeal 221
1.33 Cup Raw Blueberries, 112
1.33 Cup Raw Strawberries, 71

This meal is 404 calories with 54% of the calories coming from the "starch" and 46% coming from the fruit.

2) Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli & Kale

1.33 Cups Cooked Sweet Potato 239
1.33 Cup Cooked Broccoli, 73
1.33 Cup Cooked Kale, cooked, 48

This meal is 360 calories with 66% of the calories coming from the starch and 34% from the vegetables.

3) Rice, Beans and Veggies.

.66 Cup Cooked Brown Rice, 143
.66 Cup Cooked Red Kidney Beans, 148
1.33 Cup Cooked Red Peppers, 64
1.33 Cup Cooked Onions 123

This meal is 478 calories with 61% of the calories coming from the starch and 39% from the veggies.

Considering these three options, it might be safe to say a 33/67 split by visual volume results in about 60% of your calories coming from the starch foods.

So, when we discuss the 50/50 guideline, we are discussing a 50/50 split based on visual volume. This 50/50 visual split results in about 75% of the calories coming from the starch foods.

In regard to Dr Mcdougall's regular program, which he says is about 70/30 (I used 67/33), this 70/30 split by visual volume results in about 85% of you calories coming from the starch foods.

In regard to the older 33/67 recommendation for the "extra-rapid," this 33/67 split by visual volume (roughly 1/3 to 2/3) results in about 60% of the calories coming from the starch foods.

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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby Katydid » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:47 am

Thank you for this explanation. This is how I normally eat to keep my BMI where I want it. I looked at my data from the CRONometer yesterday, and was at 50% starch, even though visually I am at 70 veg./30 starch. However, I don't understand your comment that
Shifting it to 70/30 would not make a huge difference.
Would it not add around 700 calories to you menu if you doubled the starch and halved the vegetables? I would gain weight on a 1900 calorie a day diet. :?:

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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby JeffN » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:59 am

Katydid wrote:Thank you for this explanation. This is how I normally eat to keep my BMI where I want it. I looked at my data from the CRONometer yesterday, and was at 50% starch, even though visually I am at 70 veg./30 starch. However, I don't understand your comment that
Shifting it to 70/30 would not make a huge difference.
Would it not add around 700 calories to you menu if you doubled the starch and halved the vegetables? I would gain weight on a 1900 calorie a day diet. :?:

Kate


First, the percentage I am using are based on visual volume of your plate. And, for discussions sake, I am using a 4 cup plate.

The comment you refer to is in regard to 66% vs 70% of the 4 cups.

To simplify things, Dr McDougall might often use the terms, "1/3rd" or "2/3rd's", or "70%" or "30%" but to be more exact, I did the calculations not at 70% but at 67%, and not at 30% but at 33%. My comment means that shifting the percent in a specific example from my 67/33 to 70/30 and from 67% to 70% and from 33% to 30%, would not make much of a difference in my final numbers.

For instance, lets look at a specific example from above.

In this one, I used 33% & 67% and got the following results.

1) Oatmeal and Fruit

1.33 Cups Cooked Oatmeal 221
1.33 Cup Raw Blueberries, 112
1.33 Cup Raw Strawberries, 71

This meal is 404 calories with 54% of the calories coming from the "starch" and 46% coming from the fruit.

If I shifted it to 30% and 70%, using the more general numbers, let's see what happens to the final numbers

1) Oatmeal and Fruit

1.2 Cups Cooked Oatmeal 199
1.4 Cup Raw Blueberries, 118
1.4 Cup Raw Strawberries, 74

This meal is now 391 calories with 51% of the calories coming from the "starch" and 49% coming from the fruit.

So, the difference is only 13 calories and a shift of 3%.

Make sense?

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PS thanks for going through all my numbers! :)
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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby Katydid » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:53 am

Yes. Thank you very much.

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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby geo » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:22 pm

I kind of prefer the way you showed a generic 3 meals a day plan in this post:

Simple, Easy and Starch Based: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=15014

Makes it all simple, generic and shows calories and serving size per meal if that's your interest. Works great with your SNAP meals. And i think more importantly it shows the program is all about THE food and not any one particular food. Keep your eye on the big picture perspective and its all really simple, basic and mentally freeing of all that math :shock:
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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby JeffN » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:58 pm

geo wrote:I kind of prefer the way you showed a generic 3 meals a day plan in this post:

Simple, Easy and Starch Based: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=15014

Makes it all simple, generic and shows calories and serving size per meal if that's your interest. Works great with your SNAP meals. And i think more importantly it shows the program is all about THE food and not any one particular food. Keep your eye on the big picture perspective and its all really simple, basic and mentally freeing of all that math :shock:


I agree. And it has served us well for many years.

However, it seems like many are caught up in this current trend to eat "x" lbs of veggies a day and "x" lbs for breakfast and "x" pounds before you eat your starch, and making it all seem like it is McDougall and/or MWL approved. So I wanted to give a more detailed look at the numbers and what is actually recommended.

It also puts it in perspective as some misinterpret my 50/50 to mean by calories (which is doesn't) and some misinterpret Dr Mcdougall's comments about how much starch to eat on the regular program and the MWL program.

It is kinda of like the "how many meals a day" issue. Everyone is looking for that little trick that will help their success, wether it is 2 meals, 3 meals, 6 meals, skipping meals, intermittent fasting, etc etc. They "ALL" work in the short term.

Let's face it, this program may be simple, but doing it in this world with its toxic food environment with little social, personal and environment support is nothing less than "brutal." As a result, people struggle with it and are always looking for the next "trick" that will make this easier for them. In addition, the "pull" of pleasure trap foods, even those often seen as healthy, is powerful.

Dr McDougall always says at the 10-day program that he can get you much better short-term results if he switched up the diet a little, but it would not result in better long-term results and will cause many to fail. He has seen it over and over throughout the years, as have I.

On a similar note, I am working with a friend I have known for 30 years and has done this ever since. In the last year or two, he faced some very tough personal challenges including losing family members. His schedule got way off, he was out of his comfort zones and usual routines. He went and got his labs done and there were some concerns. He said his diet and lifestyle was still 90%. Yet, his weight had slipped up some as had his blood pressure. So, I asked him to identify what, if anything, does he think he could improve upon. What little indiscretions have slipped in and we talked about the things most likely to have an impact. I didn't even need to know what they were as after 30 years, he knew.

Once he identified them, we listed them, and I asked him to do an little experiment, 2 months with no exceptions. None. No matter what. That was 1/22. No weighing, measuring, counting, etc.

We talked this morning and he said his blood pressure is back down with most readings below 120/75 and he has lost 15 lbs. The blood work will be in another week or two and I am sure it will be right back in line.

The program works, as is, with minor modifications when necessary. No weighing, measuring or counting required. And as long as you follow the recommendations and guidelines, you can eat until you are comfortably full whenever you are hungry. And you will have consumed a nutritionally adequate health supporting diet.

The hard part is doing it.

Not just for today, but for this week, and month, and year and once you have done that, then, see if you can get 10 years in.

Re-read my analogy in the, "How Much Kale Does It Really Take To Reach Nutrient Nirvana" to investing, the stock market and always looking for the next miracle stock that will solve all your problems. We are much better of with a simple, well diversified portfolio, savings plan and retirement plan over the long haul.

Oh wait, the new Apple Watch is coming out, maybe Apple... :)

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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby Tom Dylan » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:14 pm

Greetings Jeff,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I've had to reexamine my diet recently after some seemingly minor holiday indulgences. In addition to referring back to your DVDs, this is a treasure trove of information.
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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby Debbie » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:25 pm

Thank you oh so much for all of this breakdown. As humans, we like to over complicate things, especially when it seems too easy and think it should be painful. I wear the crown as queen of over complicating this plan!! :lol:
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Re: Clarifying the 50/50 Guideline

Postby JeffN » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:30 am

Katydid wrote:Yes. Thank you very much.

Kate


I was going through some older threads for a new article and found this one, which I think goes hand in hand with this thread. Together, they really put the whole satiety/volume/bulk/calorie density/nutrient density issue into perspective.

Finding The Sweet Spot: Balancing Calorie Density, Nutrient Density & Satiety
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=22432&p=217427

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