Exclusive Rebroadcast of Jonathan Bailor’s Interview on The Peter Schiff Show
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Peter: Joining our program now is Jonathan Bailor, and he is a preeminent nutritionist and exercise expert, former personal trainer. He specializes in using high-quality food and exercise to simplify health and fitness. He has registered over 25 patents. He’s also authored the book The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better. Jonathan, welcome to the show.
Jonathan: Peter, it’s a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
Peter: Sure. Now according to your thesis, pretty much everything the government tells us about nutrition is wrong. And that makes sense to me because I know, as an economist, that everything they tell us about economics is wrong. The government is pretty much wrong about everything, so I don’t know why nutrition would be the exception to the rule. But tell me, what are the biggest myths that are out there that the government is perpetuating with respect to nutrition and weight loss.
Jonathan: Peter, you are spot on that politicians playing physicians and bureaucrats playing biologists leads to a big, fat mess, and that’s exactly what we find ourself in today. The biggest myth we find ourself with is the idea that the human body works like a simple mathematical equation that if we just reduce our calories by a certain amount that we’ll predictably lose weight and that we just need to try harder to eat less and exercise more. That simply doesn’t work. The calorie math doesn’t add up, and science unequivocally proves this. We simply haven’t been told about it.
Peter: I know, and I get your take, but I know from experience that I decided to lose some weight earlier in a year, and I mentioned I was going on a diet on this show, and I dropped about 30 pounds in maybe four months. And I didn’t watch my calories at all. I ate like a pig, and I didn’t exercise any more during that period of time. All I did is change the type of food that I was eating. So I didn’t eat less, I just ate differently, and the pounds just went away.
Jonathan: Exactly, Peter. It’s not that the body wants to burn fat it’s not just that we’re eating too much. It’s the quality of food we are eating is training our body to store more fat regardless of the quantity of the calories we are eating. That’s why we have millions and millions of citizens who are literally starving themselves. Eating 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day. This is the number of calories that is used clinically in starvation studies to simulate starvation while exercising for hours and still not burning fat. It’s that there is something deeper going on with their metabolism which is caused by the improper quality of food, not an excess quantity of food.
Peter: So what are Americans eating that they should not be eating, and what should they be eating if they want to be healthy and they want to stay trim or lose weight.
Jonathan: Upwards of sixty percent of the average American’s calories come from nonfood or what I like to call edible products. These are things you do not find in nature. They are things which, when introduced in any nature all around the world, the same thing happens. People become obese. People become diabetic. Rates of cancer, rates of heart disease, rates of cardiovascular disease all increase. These are the sugary, starchy, trans fat-filled convenience-packaged nonsense which are told is fine for us as long as we keep our calorie count down, and that is why these calorie myths are so nefarious. Because if you get people to think about calories and not to think about food, you can tell anyone to eat anything as long as they eat it in moderation, and, Peter, that’s just nonsense.
Peter: That’s why it’s ridiculous when you have government requiring fast-food places like McDonald’s to list the calories of their Big Macs, when the problem isn’t the calories, it might be the other ingredients that go into making that hamburger.
Jonathan: Exactly. Calories are not our enemy. Hunger isn’t healthy. We have to eat calories. That’s fine. We need energy. So the idea of bastardizing calories and that we need to avoid food is wrong. Food has kept us healthy and fit for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s nonfood — Peter think about the logic of just eat anything but in moderation. That would be like saying Peter, just drink anything. Just drink any liquid you find, just in moderation. Or just breathe in any gas. Any gas, just don’t breathe in too much of it. Not a good idea.
Peter: Just find the liquids that are healthy and drink as much as you want, and it’s not going to harm you. Avoid the ones that are toxic. Even if you have the toxicity in a small quantity, it’s all bad.
Jonathan: Exactly. Smoking fewer cigarettes isn’t good for you. Right? It’s not about smoking in moderation. Smoking causes lung cancer, so to the extent that you can avoid cigarette smoke, you will not get lung cancer. It doesn’t mean you can’t breathe. In fact, you should breathe a lot of air. But you don’t have to breathe in low-quality tobacco smoke-filled air. Similar with food. Eating an abundance of food. Food you find in nature like non starchy vegetables, vegetables you could eat raw, vegetables you often find in salads. Nutrient-dense proteins. Think seafood and lean and healthy grass-fed meats. Think low fructose fruits like berries and citrus and whole food fats like nuts and seeds. Eating an abundance of these foods nourishes the body and enables your body to what it’s done for the entirety of human history up until the previous three generations which is keep us slim and diabetic free without anyone even knowing what a calorie was, let alone counting them.
Peter: Is what you are advocating, is it the Paleo diet, the caveman diet, something similar to those?
Jonathan: The research I’ve been conducting over the past decade is in line with approaches to eating which say that are found in nature. Now there are many, many eating approaches that are high on that list. So for example vegans or vegetarians. To the extent that you are a vegan or vegetarian who prizes eating whole foods found directly in nature, that’s in line with my research. To the extent that you are Paleolithic or ancestral, and again focus on things found directly in nature. I define food, Peter, as something you can find directly in nature. So to the extent that you are getting the vast, vast majority of whole plants and nutritious nontoxic animals, whatever we want to call that. I like to call it the common sense diet or the “what everybody did before we had all these problems diet.” And it seems to make sense to me.
Peter: And if you look at breakfast. If you look at what most people have been told to eat for breakfast. Oh, you can’t have fat, don’t have bacon and eggs. Eat these cereals. Kids are eating all kinds of sugary — it’s almost like candy in a box. Like little chocolate donuts or whatever they are. But people eat bowls and bowls of this cereal in the morning instead of having nutrition because they’re afraid of the fat.
Jonathan: Exactly. Exactly. And these cereals are nonfood. They’re not food. There is no such thing as a Cheerios tree in nature. They’re marketed to us as natural. And they’re marketed to us as vitamin-enriched. Peter, if you take a can of Cola and you dissolve a vitamin pill in it, it is not healthy. Putting a vitamin pill on top of a candy bar doesn’t make the candy bar healthy. So what these cereal manufacturers do is they take toxic substances, substances which have been proven to correlate with the incidence of diabetes as strongly as cigarette smoking correlates with the incidence of lung cancer, and they say that we put a vitamin pill in it, and we have some whole grains in it, therefore, you should feed it to your kids. And then we end up with a world that has 40 million children under the age of five who are overweight.
Peter: By the same logic, we could put vitamins in cigarettes, or maybe make cigarettes that taste like bubblegum or candy so that they taste better for kids. Right? Say, look there’s some good stuff in here, so just smoke this cigarette.
Jonathan: Exactly. Exactly. Putting a little bit of vitamin C on a cigarette does not make the cigarette less damaging. If you are taking in a breakfast that contains 30 grams of sugar plus, which is incredibly easy with these toaster pastries and these sweetened cereals, you are basically drinking a can of soda or two for breakfast every single day. And taking a vitamin pill. That will lead you to you won’t get scurvy or rickets because you’ve got some vitamins, but you will become overweight and diabetic, and you won’t understand why because you are just doing what you’ve been told.
Peter: But meanwhile, if people just eat good, healthy foods, they’re going to get all those vitamins anyway. I mean those vitamins exist naturally, and of course, you can just take a vitamin directly. You don’t have to have all the bad stuff. If you don’t enough of a particular vitamin, just take a vitamin. You don’t have to have all the other stuff with it.
Jonathan: Exactly. If something needs to be enriched, that’s a good sign that you shouldn’t eat it in the first place. Because what the heck happened to it that caused it to need it to be enriched? What was stripped out of it? What was removed? The more we can get back to eating the foods that kept us slim and healthy without anyone trying. Nobody exercised at gyms. Nobody knew what calories were. They just ate whole, natural foods, and the body took care of itself. And that’s what it’s supposed to do. Our bodies aren’t broken by default. They don’t want to be diabetic or obese any more than they want to have cancer. Survival is built into our genes. But we can break our genes when we eat nonfood. Just like if you put kerosene in your car’s gas tank.
Peter: I wonder if there’s any skeletal evidence that people can take a look at early man and see if any us were obese or. Is there obesity among chimpanzees? Because they’re pretty close genetically to humans. Are there any obese chimps?
Jonathan: Peter, it’s a fabulous point. And the incidence of obesity in nature is nonexistent. In fact, up until recently when they tried to make rats obese, four clinical studies. They couldn’t. They would pump extra calories into rats’ stomachs, and the rats would just naturally eat less. The only way, and they use this now as the standard of practice in clinical settings. The only way to consistently fatten animals is to feed them what’s called the “cafeteria diet.” Or the standard American diet full of processed starches, sweets and nonfoods. If you feed them what they are naturally eating, they literally cannot become chronically obese.
Peter: That’s interesting. If we’re the only species on the planet that becomes fat, there’s got to be a reason for it. Because we evolved on this planet just like everything else, and if there are natural food sources that our bodies genetically evolved to eat, then eating those wouldn’t make us fat. Because our ancestors, if they were cavemen that got fat eating what they were supposed to eat, they probably would have been too slow. They would have died out, they wouldn’t have had as many children. Natural selection would have gotten rid of them a long time ago. So the humans that survived and thrived during that time period must have been able to eat large quantities of whatever food that we were able to hunt and gather. And obviously, if we continue eating that food, we should be healthy. What I want to ask you, though, after the break is given a lot of evidence as to what it really takes to be healthy and slim, why do you think the government doesn’t have a campaign. Why isn’t Michelle Obama, as part of her health kick, why is it all about dieting? What about just changing what we eat? Why is the government not getting behind a sensible, healthy diet instead of advocating a lot of what you are talking about really being nutritional nonsense? So I want to get your take on why you think that’s happening, and if there’s way of changing that. We got a quick break. We’ll be right back.
COMMERCIAL BREAK [00:15:25 – 00:21:26]
Peter: We are talking with nutritionist Jonathan Bailor who is also the author of the book The Calorie Myth, how to eat more, exercise less, lose weight and live better. Jonathan, are you actually advocating that people exercise less? Do we make a conscious effort not to exercise, or are you just saying you don’t need to exercise to lose weight.
Jonathan: We shouldn’t exercise the way we’ve been taught to exercise. The way we’ve been taught to exercise, aka jog on pavement while inhaling car exhaust, actually causes cravings for the exact substances which cause obesity. What we should do is exercise less but smarter, aka with more resistance, and of course be active. Walk around, take the stairs. But that isn’t exercise. That’s just being a person. So it’s about being a person, being active and doing less but smarter exercise.
Peter: So it’s just this sedentary lifestyle that a lot of Americans have and compounding that with a really bad diet. Because obviously humans weren’t meant to sit around on the couch and just watch television, because that’s not what our ancestors were doing all day. But the question I wanted to pose to you is given that there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence and it intuitively makes sense what you are saying, and certainly I certainly proved it myself. I’m sure there’s a lot of people. I mean I was surprised at how easy it was to lose weight and how quickly I lost weight just by avoiding some of the foods that I had just routine been eating, and just making a conscious effort to eat different types of food. Again, not eating any less, not being hungry, just having different food on my plate. What’s stopping the government, what’s stopping Michelle Obama from really bringing this message to the public in a bigger way?
Jonathan: The government and specifically the arm of the government that gives us the Food Guide Pyramid and My Plate is the United States Department of Agriculture. It’s not the United States of Department of Avoiding Obesity and Diabetes Prevention. They’re responsible for a productive and profitable agriculture industry. Want to create the most popular agriculture available? Convince people that calories are all that matter, and then mix together the most cheapest, most shelf-stable corn and wheat and soy with a bunch of shelf-stable chemicals, and shrink the serving size so you can call it low calories. And now we have 100-calorie snack packs that are supposedly healthy, and we have a sick, dying population. But we have a hugely profitable agriculture industrial complex.
Peter: People think it’s like a mathematical equation that calories equal weight. Right? The more calories you eat, the fatter you get. And so they just need to gravitate to these low-calorie meals or even some kind of low-fat meals, and if they just have something that says low fat, low calorie, well then they can eat it.
Jonathan: And that is absolutely false. Just very quickly, the most recent data shows that the average American male is consuming about 3,700 calories per day. And researchers estimate that the average American male should consume about 2,700 calories per day. If that data is true, which by all estimates it is, we’re over-consuming 1,000 calories per day. If there’s 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, that means we should be gaining two pounds of fat every single week or 104 pounds of fat per year. We’re obviously not. Calorie math doesn’t add up. Using calories is like using eye color to judge intelligence. It’s just not the right barometer.
Peter: You know we’re all going to be having Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, and I’ve got a Hanukkah dinner coming up the following day. So we have Hanukkah now right around Passover. So I’m going to have a lot of food in front of me. And I know people who listen to the show are going to be eating a lot of food. So we want to have a healthy Thanksgiving, we want to eat, we don’t want to go hungry. So think about a typical Thanksgiving meal. What can we have seconds of, and what do we need to avoid?
Jonathan: Peter, the great news is the key to long-term health and fitness is eating a lot of food so that you are too full for edible products that are garbage. So double up on your turkey, double up on your ham, double up on your non starchy vegetable sides. So this doesn’t include corn, this doesn’t include potatoes. Again, think green, leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, green beans. Double up on your protein, triple up on your non starchy vegetables, and then feel free to enjoy whole food fats, so avocados, nuts, seeds, and even the lower sugar fruits like berries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and citrus fruits like oranges. Eat more of that stuff so that you are too full for diabetes-causing starches and sweets.
Peter: Do we have to avoid the stuffing? Because the stuffing is always quite good.
Jonathan: Well you don’t really have to avoid it when you eat so much of everything else, you are just too full to fit it in. I like to tell people to full themselves into slimness.
Peter: Sweet potato pies. Can we eat those?
Jonathan: If it has sugar added to it, you wouldd be best off avoiding it. The good news is you can make a delicious sweet potato pie with a natural, non caloric sweetener such as xylitol or an erythritol and just make the crust with coconut flower or almond flower, and you’ll be good to go.
Peter: Because sweet potatoes don’t even need. They’re sweet enough as it is. But those are the things — You can eat sweet potatoes. They’re different, right, than a baked potato?
Jonathan: Sweet potatoes are more nutrient-dense than a baked potato, and what you’ll find is that it’s very difficult to overeat them unless you put a bunch of sugar and other processed garbage on top of them, because those override your natural satiety signals in your brain.
Peter: What about the Jell-O molds. Can we eat them?
Jonathan: Unless you can find a Jell-O mold or Jell-O mix directly in nature, I’d steer away from them.
Peter: Any desserts though? Any desserts that if we’re going to have some dessert, what’s the least bad on to have?
Jonathan: You can have any number of desserts. The question is just instead of using, for example, wheat flour, use a coconut flour, use an almond flour. Instead of using sugar or honey, use a xylitol or an erythritol. On our website, caloriemythbook.com, we have hundred of dessert recipes.
Peter: That’s assuming you cooked the dessert yourself. A lot of people are just going to have somebody else’s. They’re going to sit at somebody else’s dinner, so you have to just pick. But thanks for coming on because we’re out of time for the segment. I really appreciate having you as a guest. Again, the name of the book, The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better. Hour two of the Peter Schiff show is up next. Stick around. We’ll be right back.