Most Filling Foods, Kidney Stones, and Counting Macros

Counting Macros Real-Life Insights and Takaways

  • Use caution when reading nutrition advice on the Internet. April and Jonathan discuss a CNN article citing why some foods are more filling that others.
  • Protein and fiber are the two most satiating foods and they will keep you fuller longer.
  • If the average American were eating more beans rather than chips and crackers, they would be “healthier,” but not the “healthiest.”
  • Eggs provide you with abundant nutrition, healthy satiating fats, and high quality protein.
  • Greek yogurt has more protein and has less sugar so it does increase satiety.
  • Eating a food slowly that has high-water content is a good principle; just make sure it is a nutrient-dense food.
  • Seek out foods that are actively good for you, not just “less bad” for you.
  • You can replace oatmeal with a grain-free version like a combination of nuts and seeds.
  • We should always personalize how we eat.
  • If you have a likelihood of getting kidney stones, then you will want to avoid eating greens high in oxalates like spinach, or cook it first before eating it and also counteract the effects of the oxalates by drinking green tea.
  • It is important to work with your primary care physician as they can help cater SANE to your specific health needs.
  • Everyone’s SANEity will look different based on dietary restrictions, allergies, and tastes.
  • Macro-counting is not necessary, but it might seem better than calorie counting because you are least paying attention to what foods you are eating and the different types of calories such as protein, carbs, and fats. However, macro-counting isn’t needed because SANE helps you to focus on servings of nutrient-dense foods which is easier to track and will help you to reach nutritional serenity.
  • The way the average Westerner is eating is deadly. The goal of SANE isn’t just “don’t kill yourself,” it is to live optimally and heal your body!
  • Looking fit and being healthy are not the same thing.

SANE Soundbites

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  • 2:36 – 3:04, “The general principle is that protein and fiber are the two most satiating things in the world so the more protein and fiber something has in it, relative to total calories and also water, the more satiating it will be. So a potato does have more protein and fiber and water than, for example, whole wheat bread. Whole wheat bread is dry. So that is why it is more satiating. But goodness sakes, there’s a lot of other more fiber and more protein and more water-rich options out there.”
  • 3:57 – 4:10, “An egg is going to provide with abundant nutrition, is going to provide you with healthy satiating fats, it’s also going to provide you with a lot of high-quality protein so there is no question that when compared to a bagel especially that eggs are going to be more satiating.”
  • 4:51 – 5:19, “The principle of eating something slowly and having a water-rich food is a solid principle. Apples are going to be one of the most nutrient-poor ways you could do that, especially modern apples that are extremely high in fructose. For example, you could do that with a vegetable like some celery or some baby carrots or some sugar snap peas. That would just do a better job of what the apple is trying to do.”
  • 6:03 – 6:26, “It is certainly true that, for example, eating three cups of popcorn will fill your stomach up more than eating a tablespoon of oil, which probably also has the same number of calories. However, that doesn’t mean popcorn is good for you; it just means it will fill your stomach up more than potato chips. Yes, it will fill your stomach up more than potato chips. Does that mean it’s good for you? No.”
  • 7:13 – 7:37, “We have to learn how to read these studies. They’re saying [figs are] better for you than cookies and cake. That’s absolutely true. Just like, for example, smoking one pack of cigarettes per day is better for you than smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. That doesn’t mean smoking a pack of cigarettes is good for you. So the fig is better for you than Little Debbies and Twinkies and Ho Hos but that doesn’t mean it’s going to help you manage your diabetes effectively.”
  • 10:46 – 11:20, “We need to always personalize what we do. For example, we say that legumes are something that you could eat on occasion. Well, if you have a peanut allergy, you should never eat peanuts because that will not work for you. So there are some individuals that have a high likelihood of taking in too many oxalates, getting kidney stones. In that context, we need to personalize. We would intake lower oxalate vegetables; we would cook our vegetables more; and we’d also make sure we’re taking in a lot of green tea because green tea can sometimes have a bit of a counterbalancing effect. This is why you always do want to work with your primary care physician.”
  • 12:25 – 12:38, “That’s the key thing, is trial and error. What we can do is we can give you the broad outline. We can say non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, low-fructose fruits—that type of thing. Then you’re just going to find what works best for you, not only in terms of just functionally working but also taste.”
  • 16:03 – 16:42, “When you get started with SANEity, tell you to count the number of servings of certain food groups so I don’t want to seem like I’m contradicting myself because when you get started with SANEity, we do want you to track and be conscious of how many servings of non-starchy vegetables, how many servings of nutrient-dense protein, and how many servings of whole food fats are you eating. Eventually, you would achieve what we call nutritional serenity and that’s just how you eat. I would say, if you saw it as a spectrum, calorie counting on the inSANE end of the spectrum and food group counting—servings of food groups—on the SANEst end of the spectrum, that macro counting is in the middle.”
  • 19:22 – 20:18, “To be clear, the way the average Westerner is eating is literally deadly. It is the number one cause of death, period. That’s a big statement to say that it’s worse than smoking. Smoking is down the list at this point. I mean, it’s like, just know we’ve taken smoking and we are ten times worse based on what we’re eating now. This list—if you eat these from the day you’re born, you will live; you will not get diabetes; you will not be overweight; but if you’re already diabetic and you’re already overweight, they will not heal you and they will not take you to an optimal state. That’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about SANE. We’re not talking about saying, “Just don’t kill yourself.” We’re saying, “Live optimally. Live your best life.” That’s why we’re going to say what are the best sources of carbohydrates on that list; not just what are the ones that won’t kill you.”
  • 21:39 – 22:09, “Please keep in mind that looking fit and being healthy are not the same thing at all. I mean, this is so easy to think about for guys but a man can take steroids and it will make him look fit while killing him. So all that Instagram, all that Facebook, all that media nonsense—ripped does not equal healthy automatically. It might, but not automatically. Please keep that in mind.”

Counting Macros & Most Filling Foods

Jonathan: Hey, what’s going on, everybody? It’s Jonathan Bailor and April Perry and we are back with another SANE Show. April, how are you doing today?

April: So great. I can’t wait to be able to record today.

Jonathan: Well, what do we have on the agenda or in the mail bag for today’s SANE Show?

April: Today we’re talking about a variety of things having to do with some of the best foods, the best ways to count what you eat, and just helping us to troubleshoot a little bit because sometimes it’s a little trickier than we might expect. I’m going to give you some really hard questions today. Are you feeling up to it?

Jonathan: I’m feeling up to it. I do want to, with complete honesty, let our viewers and our listeners know that there was no preparation for this. I have not actually seen or read any of these questions. It’s always a fun opportunity to keep me on my toes.

April: Okay. Well, you always do a good job so we’re going to have some fun here. Number one, we’re going to talk about the ten most filling foods. Okay, I was on CNN’s homepage the other day and they’re like, “Hey, here are the ten most filling foods for weight loss.” And I thought, “Okay, well, that sounds interesting.” So I’m going to go through them kind of briefly and then I’m going to—we’ll just go through them one at a time but we’ll do it kind of quick and then I want you to tell me if it’s true or false. Okay? So we’ll do a little true of false test first.

First of all, baked potato. It says that in a study measuring the satiating index of thirty-eight foods including brown rice and whole wheat bread, people ranked boiled potatoes highest because they reported they felt fuller and they ate less two hours after consuming them. They say even though potatoes kind of get a bad rep, they actually have tons of vitamins and fiber and other nutrients which gives you energy. What do you say?

Jonathan: Extremely false. The nature of that study—so what were the thirty-eight foods? Because if the thirty-eight foods were brown rice and Snickers bars and Fruit Roll-Ups, then absolutely. There’s no question that the potato would be the most satiating of those foods but if you had to choose between a sprained ankle, a broken arm, and a concussion or a scrape on your knee, you’d be like, “Oh, the scrape on the knee is the best of all of those things.” That doesn’t mean you still want a scrape on your knee. I think that’s kind of what we’re being duped with here.

April: Okay, all right. Instead of baked potatoes—now, sweet potatoes are okay sometimes but we want to stay away from things that are starchy in general. Is that the general principle?

Jonathan: The general principle is that protein and fiber are the two most satiating things in the world so the more protein and fiber something has in it, relative to total calories and also water, the more satiating it will be. So a potato does have more protein and fiber and water than, for example, whole wheat bread. Whole wheat bread is dry. So that is why it is more satiating. But goodness sakes, there’s a lot of other more fiber and more protein and more water-rich options out there.

April: Okay, that’s awesome. Same thing with bean soup. This was the next one, talking about beans. I know that beans aren’t totally off forever eating beans. It’s okay to eat them sometimes but is beans something that we should eat often all the time?

Jonathan: Beans are way higher in protein and fiber than most foods that Americans eat so for the average American, if they were to increase their bean intake and decrease their chips and crackers and cookie intake, they would be healthier. Now, would they be their healthiest? No.

April: Okay, all right. Let’s go to the next one which is eggs. All right. Said folks who ate eggs for breakfast consumed 330 fewer calories throughout the day than those who had a bagel. What do you say about eggs?

Jonathan: Absolutely true, especially when contrasted with a bagel because let’s look at that. Egg is going to provide with abundant nutrition, is going to provide you with healthy satiating fats, it’s also going to provide you with a lot of high-quality protein so there is no question that when compared to a bagel especially that eggs are going to be more satiating.

April: All right. Next is yogurt, saying that yogurt is something that—people who downed more of the protein packed stuff lost pounds without trying and they recommend Greek yogurt which has double the protein and less sugar.

Jonathan: Exactly right. Absolutely. The reason they’re saying Greek yogurt, again, versus conventional yogurt is, Greek yogurt increases the protein and decreases the sugar and that’s what causes the increased satiety.

April: Okay. Next is apples. They say whole apples take a long time to eat for very few calories and your body has more time to tell your brain you’re no longer hungry.

Jonathan: The principle of eating something slowly and having a water-rich food is a solid principle. Apples are going to be one of the most nutrient-poor ways you could do that, especially modern apples that are extremely high in fructose. For example, you could do that with a vegetable like some celery or some baby carrots or some sugar snap peas. That would just do a better job of what the apple is trying to do.

April: Okay, sounds good. So fruits that we would have instead, like the low-fructose fruits like berries, citrus, but eating vegetables and prioritizing those above fruits overall. Right?

Jonathan: Absolutely.

April: Okay. Next is popcorn. You would like this one. Here’s what it said. For ninety calories, you could eat three cups of air popped corn but just a quarter cup of potato chips.

Jonathan: Well, they’re touching on some sound science but unfortunately, there’s a little bit of lost in translation going on here. So this is the concept of volume metrics which is, part of the reason you feel full is you actually need to physically fill up your stomach.

It is certainly true that, for example, eating three cups of popcorn will fill your stomach up more than eating a tablespoon of oil, which probably also has the same number of calories. However, that doesn’t mean popcorn is good for you; it just means it will fill your stomach up more than potato chips. Yes, it will fill your stomach up more than potato chips. Does that mean it’s good for you? No.

April: So if somebody’s choosing between potato chips and popcorn, you would recommend popcorn? Or just take away from the—

Jonathan: I would say, “Buy some SANE Craving Killer Bake-N-Crisps because those are super puffy and they’re pure protein and healthy fats and they are actively good for you rather than just less bad for you.

April: Okay. Next is figs. Now, I don’t really eat figs. I know what a Fig Newton is but I don’t eat figs. Here’s what it says. It’s a great natural cure for a sweet tooth. It says it’s high in fiber; it slows the release of sugar into the blood preventing the erratic high caused by cookies or cake.

Jonathan: Again, it’s better for you—and they’re saying—so we have to learn how to read these studies. They’re saying it’s better for you than cookies and cake. That’s absolutely true. Just like, for example, smoking one pack of cigarettes per day is better for you than smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. That doesn’t mean smoking a pack of cigarettes is good for you. So the fig is better for you than Little Debbies and Twinkies and Ho Hos but that doesn’t mean it’s going to help you manage your diabetes effectively.

April: Okay. Next is oatmeal, saying that oatmeal soaks up liquid like a sponge. You could put almonds on top of it, protein fiber from the nuts, is what they say, and that’s going to help regulate your blood sugar.

Jonathan: It is one hundred percent true that oatmeal has more protein than fiber and will help regulate your blood sugar more than sugary cereal nonsense. However, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

April: Okay, so you don’t eat oatmeal ever for breakfast.

Jonathan: That is correct.

April: Okay. And you eat mainly eggs and vegetables.

Jonathan: Yes, or a grain-free oatmeal alternative made with sort of a blend of nuts and seeds like an almond meal or a chia seed or a flax. Things like that are going to—those things that are good about oatmeal—it’s going to do all that stuff and more without any of the negative side effects.

April: Okay. The next is wheat berries. It says it contains one of the highest amounts of protein and fiber per serving of any grain. So you can toss wheat berries with apples and nuts and other diet-friendly foods to make a salad.

Jonathan: We’ve got a common thread going here, April. It’s always—it’s better than all these other things that are unambiguously bad for you. So there’s no question that a wheat berry is one of the SANEst grains. Unfortunately, grains as a category are not particularly SANE. I’d rather you shift to other categories such as non-starchy vegetables and low-fructose fruits and even legumes rather than grains.

April: Okay. And the last one is smoothies. It says put ice and fat-free milk or yogurt in a blender, add in fruit, and give it a whirl. Try strawberries which are extremely low in energy density because they’re ninety-two percent water and bananas which are loaded with resistant starch. Do you suggest I get a whole bunch of milk and berries and bananas and make a smoothie?

Jonathan: No, not at all. I mean, this is why you could just stop reading anything on the Internet that’s not on SANESolution.com just because it’s so—I mean, why would they not say put a handful of spinach in there. I mean, it’s so—

April: It’s no vegetables. Did you notice that?

Jonathan: Would adding vegetables make it worse for you? How can you even write that? I do not understand.

April: I was kind of cracking up because I opened it thinking, “Oh, great. Maybe this is about SANE.” No, it was about random stuff. Okay, so thank you. Next question. We’re going to zip through it. Here’s a good question we’re going to step back for just a minute and I know it’s kind of random. This one doesn’t fit super well but someone had sent this in. If someone’s drinking a lot of smoothies and gets kidney stones—

This one, we talked about a little bit because sometimes you’re thinking, “Well, if I eat a ton of vegetables and I eat a whole bunch of greens, then I should always be super healthy.” But there is someone who is like, “I get kidney stones when I have spinach.” What do you say about stuff like that? Should we be careful with our vegetables? Should we be careful overeating? Because then I feel a little bit confused, like, “Oh, I shouldn’t eat popcorn and potatoes but I also shouldn’t eat too much spinach. What can I eat?” Right?

Jonathan: We need to always personalize what we do. For example, we say that legumes are something that you could eat on occasion. Well, if you have a peanut allergy, you should never eat peanuts because that will not work for you. So there are some individuals that have a high likelihood of taking in too many oxalates, getting kidney stones.

In that context, we need to personalize. We would intake lower oxalate vegetables; we would cook our vegetables more; and we’d also make sure we’re taking in a lot of green tea because green tea can sometimes have a bit of a counterbalancing effect. This is why you always do want to work with your primary care physician.

Think of SANE eating a little bit like getting an eyeglass prescription. My prescription for my eyes is going to be different than your prescription for your eyes but, at the end of the day, our eyes all have the same underlying biology and all—glasses all work the same way but they’re slightly different prescriptions on a person-by-person basis so that’s the case here as well.

April: Okay, and I see that in my own family so much. Like, my little nine-year-old has a hard time with protein. His body has just since struggled so I have to be really careful about how much protein I give him and he doesn’t even want to eat it. Or Alia, she gets sick as she eats certain kinds of smoothies. It just makes her feel really sick and so we have to work that out. Then we have my daughter, Grace, who’s an athlete and she has such a high metabolism she’s always hungry so we have to make sure she gets that.

I feel like I’m always trying to kind of tweak things to help meet their needs and help them to be able to just find that. I think what you’re saying is that if we figure out the prescription, you figure out what works for your body, then you can consistently do that. It just might take some trial and error at first.

Jonathan: That’s exactly right. That’s the key thing, is trial and error. What we can do is we can give you the broad outline. We can say non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, low-fructose fruits—that type of thing. Then you’re just going to find what works best for you, not only in terms of just functionally working but also taste.

Let’s be clear. We have very different tastes as individuals too. My SANEity, just from a palateability perspective, is going to look different than your SANEity. That’s also cool. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan or an orthodox Jew or if you are other dietary restrictions, we’re not here to say, “SANE is exactly this.” We’re here to say, “Here’s a framework that will help you to make the SANEst choices in whatever other limitations or restrictions you have.”

April: Yes. Like, for me, I love carrots but I had to limit because I was turning orange. I was getting orange all over my hands and my feet. This is way funny. Okay. Last question. It hopefully won’t be too much of a big one but there’s been a lot of concern out there about macro counting and so people are now saying, “Don’t count calories. You need to count macros.”

But then they give you these math equations. Here’s one that came out. They’ve got calculators and stuff like that. Now, I don’t know—I’ve never counted macros and so I don’t know if this is actually right along with SANE or not or how you would suggest doing it but here’s what they said.

They said, “Let’s say your target is 1400 calories. First of all, I don’t even have a target calorie. I don’t even know what my target calories is because I’m just eating how you’ve taught me as far as quantities of vegetables and portions of proteins but I don’t count calories. I don’t know how many calories I eat. Then they said, this is how you would plug the numbers in.

You would say, “Okay, .20 (twenty percent) times 1400. That’s 280 kCals. Divide it by 9 since there’s 9 calories in every gram of fat. You should have 31 grams of fat per day.

Then they do the same thing. Like, it was 4 calories per gram of protein so you could have 123 grams of protein per day. Then there is 4 calories per gram of carbs so you could have 158 grams of carbs per day.

So should I be counting macros? Because what they’re describing is fats and proteins and carbs which vegetables. That’s basically what I’m eating when I’m SANE but I’m not doing math equations and I don’t know if that would be helpful if I did. It just seemed a little exhausting. I don’t know. What would you say? Do I count macros?

Jonathan: Macro counting is actually a lot like the fig example from earlier where macro counting is better than calorie counting because at least—with calorie counting, it’s just all calories are the same.

April: Yes.

Jonathan: Right? Now, with macro counting, it’s all protein is the same; all fat is the same; and all carbohydrate is the same; which is better than saying all calories are the same. At least they’re tipping their hat to saying, “Well, no. There’s three different types of calories.” So it’s a step in the right direction.

For example, if you’re eating fifty percent protein according to your macro calculations, that will dictate—you shouldn’t do that. That’s too much protein. Like, you have to eat a SANEr lifestyle to get that much protein than if you say, “I’m going to eat seventy percent of my food from carbs.”

April: Okay.

Jonathan: So it’s a step in the right direction but it’s not needed. It’s a little bit like, we don’t yet want to let go of the metabolic math thing so we’re like, “Okay, I’m not going to count calories but I’m still going to keep one foot in the counting door. I just can’t let go of it. I’ve got this counting baggage.” Versus if you—

I mean, technically, let’s be clear. We do, when you get started with SANEity, tell you to count the number of servings of certain food groups so I don’t want to seem like I’m contradicting myself because when you get started with SANEity, we do want you to track and be conscious of how many servings of non-starchy vegetables, how many servings of nutrient-dense protein, and how many servings of whole food fats are you eating.

Eventually, you would achieve what we call nutritional serenity and that’s just how you eat. I would say, if you saw it as a spectrum, calorie counting on the inSANE end of the spectrum and food group counting—servings of food groups—on the SANEst end of the spectrum, that macro counting is in the middle.

April: Okay. Now, just one more question on what they’re saying here. They said, good fat sources—all nuts and nut butters, avocado seeds, egg yolks, oils, cheeses, and dark chocolate. Anything you would take off that list?

Jonathan: I’m not going to talk about that list but I am going to talk about the dark side of macro counting because what they’re doing here, which is at least good, is actually they’re contradicting themselves kind of in saying it’s actually not just about counting macros; you can count macros but only get them from these sources.

If you look at certain things on the Internet, there’s a movement I’m not going to name because I don’t want to give it any more press than it deserves, which is like, “No; it’s really just about counting your macros.” So you can eat whatever the heck you want if it fits your macros. You can lose weight that way just like you can lose weight eating 1,200 calories of nonsense but it will kill you over time.

What’s interesting about this article is, again, it’s like trying to be SANE but it’s like we need to get Google traffic so we’re going to talk about something that people are already searching for, which is macro counting. We’re really going to not make it about macro counting. We’re going to make it about food quality because then we’re going to restrict where you get those macros from.

At the end of the day, those protein sources are nutrient-dense proteins by and large. I mean, they’ve got beans and tofu on the list, which are not good protein sources but they’re getting there. Maybe in five years, the same website will have the SANE approach.

April: Well, maybe let’s just close with a question. I just want to look at their carbohydrate sources because this is where I was confused forever. I thought, like, the foods that they list here—oatmeal, oat bran, sweet potato, brown rice, all veggies, all fruits, whole wheat breads, wraps, pitas, and cereals. I thought those were health foods.

I thought if I’m eating Kashi cereal for breakfast; if I’m having fruit and whole grain bread; if I’m eating a pita; I really a hundred percent thought I’m being healthy. When you told me that no grains are required for my body to be healthy, like I don’t have to eat, there’s no required grain; I just can get all my carbs or most of them from non-starchy vegetables, that right there changed my body. I mean, any thoughts on that? Because this is where I feel like people just get super confused.

Jonathan: The confusion is well-founded because these are “good” [in quotations] carbohydrate sources relative to the way the average Westerner is eating.

April: Okay.

Jonathan: To be clear, the way the average Westerner is eating is literally deadly. It is the number one cause of death, period. That’s a big statement to say that it’s worse than smoking. Smoking is down the list at this point. I mean, it’s like, just know we’ve taken smoking and we are ten times worse based on what we’re eating now. This list—if you eat these from the day you’re born, you will live; you will not get diabetes; you will not be overweight; but if you’re already diabetic and you’re already overweight, they will not heal you and they will not take you to an optimal state. That’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about SANE.

April: Okay.

Jonathan: We’re not talking about saying, “Just don’t kill yourself.” We’re saying, “Live optimally. Live your best life.” That’s why we’re going to say what are the best sources of carbohydrates on that list; not just what are the ones that won’t kill you.

April: I love that tag line— “Just don’t kill yourself.” That is so funny. Okay. I think that’s helpful to know because sometimes I do have some bread or some grains; not very much but I love knowing if—because the second I don’t eat my ninety-nine percent SANE diet, my normal diet, I notice I have less energy; I know I’m feeling just kind of blah; I feel frustrated. As soon as I jump back into getting my green smoothies, eating my Romaine lettuce, having kale and eggs and all the foods I know are good for me and I’m totally full, my energy’s back; I’m excited about my life; and it’s so funny how quickly that happens.

I really appreciate you clarifying this because when I go online or even go on Instagram or go check out all these fitness people who look really good in their pictures and listen to what they have to say, I feel super stressed out and I end up thinking I have no idea what’s going on here but because I have been talking to you long enough, now I know when I see something, it’s like, “Something’s weird about that. I’ve got to bring this to Jonathan.” So thank you so much for the Mail Bag Day, Jonathan.

Jonathan: It’s my pleasure, April. I hate to bring this up but just please keep in mind that looking fit and being healthy are not the same thing at all. I mean, this is so easy to think about for guys but a man can take steroids and it will make him look fit while killing him. So all that Instagram, all that Facebook, all that media nonsense—rips does not equal healthy automatically. It might, but not automatically. Please keep that in mind. Please remember to stay SANE. Thank you for joining us today. Have a SANE rest of your week.

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