Ep. 173 Weight Management

Listened to Fast Talk Episode 173: Is Weight Management as Simple as Calories In, Calories Out? with Dr. Timothy Noakes last night - great pod.

Looking at the very useful table @trevor has provided - Trevor can you confirm these measures are nutrient density per unit of energy (you state values represent mean 100 kcal values)? Whilst it’s not that surprising to find nuts and seeds languishing towards the bottom of the table given their high fat (and hence calorie) content, I wonder if this really helps us. If most people eyeball or (for some listeners) weigh their food would this table look somewhat different if it is to be a practical guide for your listeners?

I do also think there could be considerable bias in the data as you say they represent the most commonly consumed items in the US diet. Sorry to bang on about nuts - but would this mean the value of these would be weighted towards, say, peanuts, rather than walnuts, which are nutritionally quite different things? My guess is that your average listener’s diet might be quite different already from the average American (esp. as at least some of us are from other countries!)

One more question if I may - are the nutrient values measured as per the raw produce, cooked produce, or as typically consumed? I realise this is already a complex enough topic but, for example, I understand that the bioavailability of nutrients from e.g. tomatoes is much higher if cooked - maybe pizza isn’t so bad after all?! :wink:

1 Like

Hi @Mr.B, glad you enjoyed the episode and checked out the table!

I hear you that you’re a little disappointed about nuts. Nuts and seeds actually have essential nutrients that are hard to find in other foods. They also tend to be low on anti-nutrients. So, I consider nuts healthy. The issue is that they are very calorically dense. Hence their nutrient density is low. For people trying to lose weight, I generally tell them to eat nuts sparingly.

In terms of peanuts, I don’t believe we included them in the analysis of nuts since peanuts are a legume and not a nut.

For the most part we picked the raw forms of the foods for the analysis. Once you get into cooked/prepared forms, there’s just too much variation.

And hate to say it, because I love pizza, but there are a lot of issues that put pizza in the unhealthy category. Not the least of which is the very high glycemic load.

Hope that helps!

1 Like

Thanks @trevor for your response. Yes I think you’ve clocked my disappointment over the nuts’ score! I wonder if you included peanuts in legumes then, which could potentially distort the results for those?

You mentioned struggling to get guests into the studio for this episode as it is so controversial. I do wonder whether you might try and get Tim Spector (professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s in London) in at some point - I think he can potentially move the dialogue on from where Dr.Noakes left off. He is an expert in the gut microbiome and I think could be really useful for your listeners to hear from (I’ve no financial or any other kind of relationship with him).

Finally, as we don’t typically eat foods in isolation - is there a way to quickly work out the glycemic index of combined foods? For instance if I’m eating fruit as a snack I would always eat nuts (what else!) as well to lower it, but I’ve no idea what the numbers look like.

Anyway. thanks again and keep up the great work!

Hi @Mr.B glad that helped! I’m not looking at the table right now, but in each category (fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, etc) we listed the foods that were used to assess their nutrient density. If we used peanuts, they’d be listed.

And thanks for the guest suggestion. We’ll keep that in mind. At some point we do want to do a microbiome episode.

In terms of mixed foods, there are lots of apps that tell you glycemic load (which I think is a much more useful metric than the glycemic index.) It accounts for all of the food in a meal. Also important to know that fruit, even on its own, has a low glycemic load.

Hope that helps!



The point of physical activity being incorrectly viewed as a weight loss measure is a good one.

People overeat and drink over Christmas and seem to think enrolling at the gym in the new year is the solution. When they see no weight changes 6 weeks down the line they give up on the exercise.

Thus losing the health benefits of the exercise whilst still not finding a way to lose some weight.