This week’s topic is: Healthy Weight and Why Calories Don’t Matter with Giles Yeo
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Giles Yeo, who is an author, an obesity expert from the University of Cambridge, researcher, geneticist, and podcast host of, Dr. Giles Yeo Chews the Fat. Listen in as Giles shares the latest on fiber, long-term issues with diets, finding your weekly rhythm that works for your body, and so much more!
- Fiber and its importance…
- The Genesis of calorie counting…
- When the ‘one size fits all’ comes into question…
- Long-term issues with extreme diets…
- Science around what you are supposed to eat…
- Finding your weekly rhythm that works for your body…
About Giles Yeo
Giles Yeo got his PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Cambridge in 1998, after which he joined the lab of Prof Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, working on the genetics of severe human obesity. Giles Yeo is now a program leader at the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit in Cambridge and his research currently focuses on the influence of genes on feeding behavior & body-weight. In addition, he hosts a podcast called ‘Dr Giles Yeo Chews The Fat’. His first book ‘Gene Eating’ was published in December 2018, and his second book ‘Why Calories Don’t Count’ came out in June 2021.
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Giles Yeo’s Interview
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Kimberly: 00:02 Hi loves and welcome back to our Monday interview podcast, where I have a fascinating conversation to share with you today with Giles Yeo who has his PhD in molecular genetics from the university of Cambridge. He wrote a book recently called Why Calories Don’t Count. And today we talk about what does count when it comes to healthy weight loss and a healthy diet. In general, his research focuses on the influence of genes on feeding behavior and body weight. I absolutely love Gil’s research. I love his book and I love his energy. He’s so humble and funny, and I think you’re going to love our conversation today.
Fan of the Week
Kimberly: 01:02 Before we get into it, though, I want to give a little shout out to our fan of the week. Her name is laurenanddonovan, and she writes really beautiful, such a lovely podcast, easy to listen to inspiring and addicting. Every episode makes me more and more wanting to become the best version of myself. Laurenanddonovan, thank you so much for your beautiful review. If you could see me, I have my hands on my heart. I really took that in. It really just inspires me when I hear these words to keep going and to keep podcasting. So thank you so much for being part of our community. Thank you for your review and for you. My love listening to this for your chance to also be shouted out as our fan of the week, and also to get our free with a review seven love self love affirmation series.
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Kimberly: 01:56 Please just take a moment or two out of your day and leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts. It’s really about the energy exchange. It could be so simple, it’s free, but it’s just great support. And I appreciate it so much. And as I mentioned, if you screenshot your review and email it to us at reviews at mysolluna.com, we will send you our free little program, which is so great as another audio tool for helping you reprogram limiting beliefs and to live a more expansive life. Please also be sure to subscribe to our podcast that way you just get into this flow of the podcast and these amazing guests that I feel so grateful that we get to have on and are Q and as which are structured now to be very action focused, tip focused research focused and give you a lot of takeaways that you can implement into your life. Please also share the podcast with anyone that you think would benefit as a gesture of generosity and expansion. And that’s how we really can support each other is sharing resources and knowledge. So anyone that you think would benefit it could just be mentioning the name or a screenshot, neighbors, friends, whatever
Get Your Copy Of YOU ARE MORE
Kimberly: 02:58 It’s so great to share. And so thank you again so much in advance. Our new book is here. You Are More More Than You Think You Are – Practical Enlightenment For Everyday Life. So please pick up a copy. Wherever books are sold online or at your local book retailers. And this book is perhaps my most practical guide on life and lifestyle. And it covers topics like increasing your vitality, but also tapping into true confidence and creativity. So you can create a life of abundance and fulfillment. So there’s tools, there’s journal prompts. There is practical exercises. It’s not just a philosophy book, but it’s very hands on and I can’t wait for you to read it. So all that being said, our announcements are now finished. Let’s get into our podcast today with the wonderful Dr. Giles.
Interview with Giles Yeo
Kimberly: 01:13 Gil, thank you so much for being here with me today. Are you in London? Where are you in the world
Giles: 01:19 Today? Well, I’m, I’m in Cambridge. Which for, for, for, for those of you, uh, across the pond, um, is a, is a little tiny, very old university town. About a 45 minute train ride north of London.
Kimberly: 01:31 Oh, so what’s, what’s the weather like right now? Is it still, is it gray? Is it the sun coming?
Giles: 01:37 If you asked me yesterday, I would say typically English. Um, actually it’s very nice today. Um, it is, it is 20 degrees Celsius. I don’t know what that is in Vahe. I think it must be like 60 0 6 65. So it’s okay for, for, for June in Cambridge, this, this is bikini weather
Kimberly: 01:51 <laugh> I love it. I love it. You know, there’s this beautiful history in the, in the UK and these old buildings. It’s so charming. It’s it sort of makes up for the weather. Doesn’t it?
Giles: 02:04 Ish. Oh, and don’t don’t don’t don’t forget the food. Oh, the food is better now. The food is better now. Yes. But when I first moved here, um, 30 years ago, it, it was not great.
Kimberly: 02:15 So I have to say, I got your book Giles. I absolutely love it. And it really stood out to me. Um, why calories don’t count because I’ve always talked about this idea of, we can’t just look at food in this reduction is pro approach based on numbers. And I, you know, everything that you say in here really resonates with me. It’s fascinating research before we get into it. I’m interested in how you decided to focus so much of your work and your research in the, in the food space.
What influenced Giles to focus his work around the food space
Giles: 02:44 Ah, so, so it was by chance. I mean, because I’m, I’m a geneticist by trade. So I study genes, people’s DNA. Um, this is what I did my undergrad in, this is what I did my PhD in. And then when I left, but my PhD was in the genetics of Japanese pufferfish, which, which it’s, don’t worry, let’s not go into that. It, it just was not gonna pay my mortgage. So, um, and so by chance, because I were a geneticist because I know about DNA, I happened into a lab literally by chance in the same department. And they had just discovered the first gene that when mutated caused severe, severe, severe obesity, like seriously obese kids. Um, and so I started in that lab studying severe obesity, rare, rare cases of diseases, where if you have a gene mutation, you end up with, uh, really quite large.
Giles: 03:31 Um, and then over the years, so this was in 1998 and then over the years, um, I guess I moved away from studying the extremes to studying normal weight, just weight. Okay. Yes. Why some people are small, medium and large. And we now know that by it’s very definition. If you study the genetics of weight, then you know, you’re studying the genetics of how our brain controls food intake. And so that’s, that’s not all, all, all of the data point towards that. So in essence, what I do on a day to day job here at the university of Cambridge, where I work, um, is study, um, the genetics and the mechanisms of how our brain controls food intake. So that’s my day job. That’s what I teach that’s that’s. But the moment you actually get into that and, and begin to think, well, why do people behave differently around food?
Giles: 04:17 What people like to eat then is very, very easy, or to people who are studying the biology, but are too lazy. <laugh> to actually look at the other side, because at the end of the day, we then have to look at the food because yes, because it’s not only us here, here, you know, I’m not gonna get fat if there’s no food in front of me. So, so what is it about certain types of food? Um, and I’m not a, I’m not a food Nazi. Okay. I, I don’t, I don’t judge people, people eat what they want, but what is it about certain types of food that are more healthy than other types of food? And that that’s what got me into it. It’s because of my job studying body weight.
Kimberly: 04:53 Yes. Well, I loved the book as I mentioned, and especially the chapter on fiber. So I’m, plant-based Giles, mm-hmm <affirmative>, our community is largely plant-based. And I also have this philosophy that you seem to share, which is it’s not all or nothing. Right? There’s a lot of people on the spectrum, people are flexitarian my husband eats meat. Sometimes he eats plant based a lot of the time. And I loved how you talked about your personal experience in, you know, going down this path and, and trying it out in your, in your own body and the importance of, of fiber. So maybe we could jump to that first because it’s been so confusing for decades, right. People I think are still so confused. Dieting has been in this multibillion dollar industry. And a lot of the diets, like you said, are just, categorial like, here’s how many calories you’re eating, reduce it down.
Kimberly: 05:42 Or like you said, we’re in this re you know, we’re kind of in this, this big fad right now of, um, high, fat, low carb. It was always just about these numbers. And you talk about gut health so much in your book, and you talk about the complexities and the microbiome and this, oh, you know, I don’t even know where to start, except for maybe if you could just start talking a little bit about what, um, you know, let’s, let’s just start with fiber, right. Fiber as a, as a nutrient fiber, as a way to really, um, you know, differentiate between empty calories and calories that are actually gonna help with your, with your body chemistry and keep you from, from being overweight over time.
The importance of fiber
Giles: 06:21 So I think the easiest example that we’re gonna start with fiber is to compare the orange, the humble orange, and a glass of OJ and a glass of orange juice. And that is the classic example of which it is exactly the same food. It’s exactly the same amount of sugar. And because we can’t digest a vast majority of fiber, um, really all of the calories that are in this is the problem. All of the calories that are in an orange are in the juice. Okay. Pretty much. Yes, but yet. So you’re eating exactly the same food, except one in the, in, in the OJ, there is no fiber because you’ve, you’ve squeezed it out. So this is not the poppy type, just the juice. And if you drink it, what happens? So first of all, there is as much sugar in OJ as there is in a soda.
Giles: 07:02 Okay. And it’s the same sugar. Yes. It may have a little bit more vitamin C but it’s sugar. And so when you, the problem, when you drink something like that without the fiber, um, you drink it, it goes into your stomach, out into your small intestines and, and the, the sugar gets absorbed almost immediately. There’s no digestion involved because it just absorbs it. Now compare that to eating and orange. Now, first of all, you have to chew. And the, the important thing about chewing is that it, it begins to prepare your body to receive energy because your body, oh, oh, oh, uh, it’s chewing. Okay. Everyone, everyone get ready. We got, then that’s the first thing. The second thing is that the fiber then slows down the release of sugar. Okay. Uh, uh, even though you eating exactly the same amount of sugar, it is released over a longer period of time, as it travels down your guts, as it travels down your intestine. So, and this is important because it’s not only about how much sugar there is there. It’s about how long it’s, how, how it’s released. That’s important too third. And I, and I’ll shut up in a second. Third fiber fiber has the
Kimberly: 08:07 Please keep talking. <laugh>
Giles: 08:09 Fiber has the effect of making you feel fuller because as food, all kinds of food, fiber included, which comes out all the way out the other side, um, as it goes down, your gut gut hormones are released and gut hormones tend to make you feel fuller. So on top of that, eating an orange will make you a little bit fuller and forth. And finally, and I don’t know if it’s most importantly, but as important as anything else I’ve mentioned, it is fabulous for your microbiome, the bugs in your gut, um, um, which need as much fiber as possible. So, so for that reason, fiber is that odd thing. You called it a nutrient. Um, technically it isn’t because we can’t get energy from it, technically sure. But it is a nutrient because without the, because it is what makes the orange good in very many, in, in very many ways. And it is what makes a lot of other things, vegetables, because that’s where, you know, fiber comes, comes exclusively from, from plants. You kind of a, there’s no fiber in chicken. So, so they’re exclusively from plants. And so, um, if you actually eat fiber rich foods, you are buy very definition. You know, having a really, quite a, um, healthy diet
Kimberly: 09:18 In the beginning of the book you used this example, you’re interviewing someone that was on the carnivore diet, who had virtually no fiber in their diet. And they were just taking pills and supplements. We’re in this word world dials where there’s these crazy extremes, right? It’s like, what is going on here as a research? So let’s
Giles: 09:37 No, I know it’s, it’s an absolute, that’s why I did ask him. And he says, look, I swear by it. You know? And I tell the story about him. Um, um, him, me getting him getting to meet the massage, his arms, it’s just, I was, anyway, it was CR it was, I, I was drunk, but I, I just, I didn’t understand the diet at all. And he says, well, you know, I eat it. You you’re supposed to do this, not without supplements. He said, you know, you can actually eat as much meat as you want without the supplements. I just think he would’ve killed over from a heart attack personally. I mean, we’re not lions. We have to have vitamin C. Yes. We, we have to eat stuff with fiber anyway. That’s that’s, it was a true story that wasn’t made up by way. It was a true story.
Kimberly: 10:15 Yeah. And I think, you know, part of the reason that there are these confusing diets is because people wanna see re results or these extreme diets, people are confused and they wanna see results right
Giles: 10:25 Now. They want results now.
Kimberly: 10:27 Yes, exactly. And so if we even go back to the, this Genesis, this focus on numbers, which, you know, I don’t know when it started the sixties, you know, when people started measuring the numbers of everything, um, and you, you talk about this in the beginning of the book, it was these instruments that were really used to measure, you know, water and temperatures. And it wasn’t really about the human body per se. So from the beginning, would you say that this whole calorie counting, um, hypothesis was faulty or there just wasn’t as much detail it wasn’t as explained, like, what is the Genesis of all this confusion you think?
The Genesis of calorie counting
Giles: 11:01 Okay. That, that is a very good question. I’ll be, I’ll be succinct. I’ll be short because no one is interested in a history of the calorie here necessarily. So calories were originally the, the concept of the calorie is a unit of heat, um, was used actually initially by German farmers. I know it’s a very odd thing, but farmers really care about how much, um, you know, grass and feed. They might feed their animals because it equals how much they pay and how much milk or meat or eggs they actually get on the other side. And so they use calories to actually calculate the amount of food in, in the, the plant food. And then a guy named, um, Atwater. Okay. Professor Atwater, who, who was American? I’m from Connecticut Wesleyan university in Connecticut. And he was a professor of chemistry. He did a sabbatical, um, in Germany.
Giles: 11:49 Okay. Now this is an 1860s, 1870s. This is a long time ago. Okay. And he then brought back this concept of the calorie, except he understood what I call the corn a cob scenario. Okay. The corn on a cob. Okay. Scenario is you eat corn next. You look, you look on, you look in the, the, the, the Lou, the next day, the Lou, I don’t know, the Americans don’t call it ALU, but the Lou the next day, yes. <laugh> the toilet. And, and it’s quite clear. You haven’t absorbed, you haven’t absorbed all, all, all the sweet corn. He understood this phenomenon. He, he knew that humans did not just absorb all the food. And so he ended up <laugh> because the way you measure calories and food is you burn it and measure how much heat, how much heat comes off it. And so he burnt lots of food.
Giles: 12:34 He fed, he fed the food, not, he burnt lots of food to find out how many calories were in the food. He then fed the food unburnt to, to people. And he then burnt people’s poop. Okay. And so now you, he knew how many calories were going in top end. How many calories were coming out bottom end and how many calories we absolved. And he came up with the famous 4 49 calories. So which we all recite like, like four calories for every gram of carb, four calories for protein, nine calories for every gram of fat. But these were average numbers calculated between 1880 and 1900. Okay. So these numbers were published in 1900. So he took professor Atwater took, and these are called the Atwater General Factors. Now Atwater took into account the digestion element. Okay. The, the, the stuff that was coming out, but he never took into account metabolism, which is the yes.
Giles: 13:28 The effort it takes to extract energy, because, because it was 1900. How do you measure metabolism in, um, you, you, you know, in a, in a whole body. So, so that’s the first bit, and I I’ll shut up in a second. I promise. So, so what, what then happened was he published all these numbers with this 4 49. And then this was the Genesis of calorie county. There was a, um, female American doctor from Los Angeles. Okay. From Los Angeles at world war. I time. Now, you can imagine how rare that was 19 16, 19 17, 19 18. Um, one of the early female doctors, Lulu Hunt Peters. She was by all accounts, a larger lady. And, um, but she was a scientist because she was a medic and she was a doctor and she encountered at water’s work and she wanted to lose some weight. And so what she did was because she was also very, um, eloquent and, and she could write, and she began, um, sort of writing a newspaper column of that was syndicated just with her adventures of taking Atwaters numbers and saying, oh, wow, what happens if I ate a hundred calories of pie, or if I ate a hundred calories of celery or whatever.
Giles: 14:33 Okay. And, and what, what happened to her body? And she then turned that into a book. Okay. And that book called it is by Lulu Hunt Peters was the first calorie counting book ever. This was 19, 19, or something like that. It was wow. Number one on the New York times bestseller list. Okay. For five years running from 1919 to 1924, and Lulu and Peters did not do this, but she in effect, she thought she, she, she did it. She counted the calorie. She lost weight. Food was of course less processed. Then there’s also that, that, that, that issue. All right. But in effect, she weaponized the calorie in the diet industry. She was the mother in very many ways of the diet industry, particularly in the calorie, counting Lulu hunt pizzas, look it up. I found a book of hers that literally I paid, I think apparel 99, that would be three bucks, um, from Amazon, other book sellers are available. Um, um, and, and if you Google, if you Google her or search her go Lulu hunt Peters, she was a fabulously funny writer. Um, um, and it was, it’s just a good read to understand. Uh, and she had her own calculation of BMI BMI didn’t exist at the time. She had some weird calculation. I mean, she lists lots of really interesting foods. Um, I recommend the, the, the read for, for a couple of bucks, I’d recommend the read, read. Wow. She was the, she was the Genesis of calorie county.
Kimberly: 15:52 Wow. That is fascinating Giles. So from that point, let’s say it’s 19, 19. Right. And then it just starts to popularize. And like you said, there, I mean, I do think at some point there started to be questioning around, well, people have different body types and there’s different hormones going on and different things going on in people’s gut health. And it’s not one size fits all. When did that start getting into question? Right? It’s like, people are thinking, oh, 500 calories from these potato chips are gonna be the same as 500 calories of avocado. It was just like the very, just reduction, very SIM oversimplified counting that was adopted by millions and millions of people.
When the ‘one size fits all’ comes into question
Giles: 16:33 There was, I mean, you, there was the, a time where everything with fat was bad, so everything had to be low fat and suddenly sugar is sugar. Is the evil, it’s the root of all evil currently. Um, the reality is we still use the calories and we still worship the calories today. I don’t think it’s gone anywhere for the vast majority of people. Now, clearly you are someone who’s, who’s learned it. And, and you, you have this platform and you’re trying to educate people about it equally. I am trying to educate people on my, on my own platform, but I mean, we look, we, we, our, I think calorie counting mandates were made, um, compulsory in the United States. I believe in 2018, they have just been made, um, compulsory for larger, for larger, um, establishments. They’ve just been made, um, compulsory here in the UK.
Giles: 17:20 Um, where, what two months ago? Two months ago. Wow. It’s suddenly, and suddenly you see the calorie counts, um, everywhere. Now look everybody out there. Clearly I understand that 200 calories of potato chips is twice the portion of 100 calories of potato chips. But the problem is no one is trying to compare 200 calories of potato chips to 200 ounces of potato chips. You just, you just wouldn’t do that because it’s a stupid thing to do. But, um, um, but yet we do it, right. So it’s fine to be comparing the amount of food. It, it, it gives you a clear amount of food. When you’re trying to say, it’s just another measure, but trying to compare the quality of food, the amount of fiber, the amount of fiber, the amount of, um, protein, carbs, fat calories are blind to that. They don’t give you any food at all.
Giles: 18:07 And I’m banging there. There are a lot of the, um, there are a lot of the Jim bros hashtag Jim bro. Um, um, who, who, I, I don’t know. They, they, they look at the title. I put it on Twitter a little while, back when it was first coming out. And, and I, I got a lot of, really a lot of grief and they, because they thought I was a low car, but they thought I was arguing that something else I’m not, I, I, I am low carb works for some people I wanna point out I’m just not a low carb, but I, I just think that we need a calorie gives you one piece of information. I don’t think it’s the, in the, in the world we are living in of diet related illnesses, obesity type to diabetes, cancer, blah, blah, blah. I, I just think that’s the wrong. We need to focus on the quality of our food. That’s what we should be focusing on the calorie. Doesn’t tell you anything about that.
Kimberly: 18:54 Yes. Now, in your, in your protein chapter, you go into talking about, yes, protein does help you, your brain, your body registers being more satiated. And then you also, I love call out the plant based the vegetarians and say, it’s really the, the, you know, the, the amount. So you can be of any different diet and really get adequate protein, which is something I get asked about all the time, where do you get protein as a plant based person? You know, you, you talk about lentils in your book and there’s just many sources, right? So we also though Giles live in this world where people, you know, paleo is like really high protein, right? And now we’re in the keto phase, like you said, where’s low carb, high, fat, high protein. What are some of the, um, issues you see as a geneticist and as a research and these types of diets for the long term, right? Because we talk about cardiovascular health, we talk about just all the different, um, functionalities of the body. It’s so much more being well and healthy. Isn’t just how much you weigh, right? It’s like you say the quality and, and we’re having people to the extreme follow these carnivore diets or to the extreme where people are scared of eating any fruit or anything anymore, because it has to be high, high, fat, high protein. And what do you see going on as this continues?
Long-term issues with extreme diets
Giles: 20:12 Uh, it it’s diet, your diet that you choose to follow is always to my mind, a very, very interesting thing. I mean, when you look at people’s, um, social media handles, or at least their bios, when, when you go to a social media and many people now indicate the diet that they’re on, which always, which always interests me, because it is like a flag. It is like an identity that, that, that people put put up there. It’s almost religious. Uh, I say almost, it probably is for many people interesting, who are, who are a religious and they become very, and, and, and people get to a diet for a reason, why do they stick on their diet? Because they believe, and it probably does work for them in some way. The problem is not someone sticking on a diet, which they think works for them carnivore.
Giles: 20:58 I’m gonna, I’m gonna give a pass. You, you, you know, in terms, but it’s when they say that, because it works for me, it must work for you. Now. That is when it actually annoys me. Right. Because I said, well, then said, listen, you have to, so there are gonna be people out there. And I know people who swear by keto, they swear by keto. Okay. Um, but there are different types of keto you can, beyond some are more dangerous than others because you can do keto with steak and butter. Yeah. Okay. That look, and, and, and that is just not gonna be particularly good for you over the long, over the long run <laugh> but you could do, but you could do keto. Okay. With tofu. Okay. And with olive oil, or you could do keto. So, so there are ways, or, or somewhere in the middle, you could do it with a little bit of fish, a little bit of this.
Giles: 21:45 So I just think that by just by saying keto, it hides all these there’s so much nuance that you could be talking about. Whereas if you’re discussing, um, saturated fat versus non fat, when you’re talking about a little bit of fiber, if you’re talking about, um, um, you, you know, plant based protein, is it complete, then you’re having a more nuanced discussion about what then you can do your keto by all means, do your keto. And I think you can probably do keto pretty safely if you’re doing it on tofu and, um, and beans and, and, and olive oil, you can do, you can do keto there. And I bet you it’s, it’s gonna be pretty safe loads of fiber. It’s probably gonna be great for you. So that’s the two extremes, right? Yeah. Whereas I try and say this <laugh> and people say, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Giles: 22:30 But the, the keto that I use works better. And so I think I’m just trying to, trying to tell people that, look, you can stick with your approach by all means you can be plant-based, but they’re gonna be, plant-based good. And plant-based not so good as well. Yes. You can get, you can get tremendously obese on a, on a plant-based diet. So, so as long as people understand that and it suits you and it suits your, your, your style of living, then I think there are some just very simple rules about protein and fiber that we can follow and keeping sugar as free sugars, a little bit lower, um, that are gonna be good for you, whatever diet you stick to.
Kimberly: 23:05 Yes. So you don’t particularly believe in promoting one particular diet, but really, like you said, focusing on quality and individual, which works for one person and not the extremes per se, right. It’s like we don’t have to eat all protein <laugh> and in a similar vein for me, Gil, I think, you know, I used to have this juice shop, which at the four seasons and, you know, with COVID, it’s been closed and we’d have people come in and they would order triple the protein powder and no, no fruit, you know, God forbid they have any fruit and I’d be like, huh, this person just wants so much protein. And they don’t wanna have a drop of sugars. There’s this real fear. You know, even though it comes in this Nutri complete nutritional patch. So I’m just seeing people walk around with this, almost this fear of natural foods. Right. And I’m not here to tell people exactly what they should be eating, but I think it’s okay to have some carbs. I think it’s the hell should be able to handle some <inaudible> and fruit. What do you think about carbs <laugh> and just avoiding the, like, let’s cut out one. Whole macronutrient feels very extreme to me.
Carbs and if you should be eating them
Giles: 24:22 It it, if, okay. Okay. Once again, once again, what kind of carbs are we talking about? All right, because now are you talking about the powder, right? White stuff. Are you talking about pure sugar? Are you talking about a whole grain slice of, um, um, are you talking the whole grain quinoa? Are you talking, are you talking about, you know, whole, whole grains and it does make a difference.
Giles: 24:55 I think it depends. What kind of car you’re talking about now? Are you talking about the white powdery stuff, sugar, or are you talking about stuff starches or are you talking about starches full of fiber? And I, I do think that we eat too much white, powdered sugars, simple sugars, added sugars. And incidentally, I consider added sugars. The same as adding honey, adding a maple syrup. Agave nectar, um, or adding sugar. They all taste different because some are tree SAP. The other one is be puke. Um, um, and one is just, and, and one is just sugar. So, so we eat too much of that and we need to eat less of it. But if you say I fear old carbs. Yes. Well that will mean that you, you don’t like the carbs with fiber either.
Giles: 25:44 You don’t, I’m not gonna eat, you know, sweet corn gets, it’s got a lot of car in it. Okay. I mean, corn, a car, it’s got a lot of car carb in it. I, I think that’s silly. So I think we can say that there are some carbs you want to eat a little bit less of, but we eat too much today. And I, I don’t think anyone is out here arguing that we eat too much sugar. Yes. Um, but I think being fearful of the entire group of food is not sensible in the slightest. That would be my view.
Kimberly: 26:09 Yes. So when people say to you, okay, Giles, you’ve done all this research. This is why calories don’t count how we got the science of weight loss wrong. What do you say to someone? Right. Cause there’s this individuality and we talk about different place art and there someone that says Giles, what am I supposed to eat? I don’t know. What’s right for my body. What does the science say? What
Science around what you are supposed to eat
Giles: 26:35 The read say. Okay. I, I think that is, that is in very many ways, a 64 million question all, um,
Kimberly: 26:42 Billions. Right? And then we’re all, all
Giles: 26:44 <laugh>, there’s everything. There’s everything that, that question I think is a very good question. I think the answer is you have to find following a, a set of simple rules. I hate to use the word rules because I’m not necessarily big rules follow out. I think some simple rules. Am I making sure you didn’t have protein? Make sure, making sure you have far more fiber than you do now too much. We don’t eat anywhere closer enough fiber and we eat too much sugar. Okay. I think those three simple rules, if
Kimberly: 27:08 You say, say them again, Giles number one.
Giles: 27:10 So, so eating enough protein, which is, which is what all the science says is 16% of your energy should be from protein. So you don’t want to eat too much. Yes. Unless you’re lifting UN UN unless you’re doing something and using the protein, because otherwise it puts stress on your liver and your kidneys.
Kimberly: 27:28 Yes. Yes. That’s a very important point. Get enough protein. But don’t you think a big problem in our society’s people are getting too much protein.
Giles: 27:35 Yes. Yes. And, and the people who are, look, if you are Arnold S Schwarzenneger okay. Or, or an Olympian. Yeah, fine, fine. You probably need more than 16% because you’re training eight hours a day. Sorry. I don’t train eight hours a day. Okay. So I know that, but if you go below 16%, that’s not good for you either because that’s the amount of protein you need on a daily basis. Yes. To just keep you functioning your, your, your muscles, um, and everything, the, the repair. So 16%, you know, plus, or minus a small percentage point of protein fiber on average, I certainly know. I think the numbers are, are same in the United States and in the UK on average, we are only eating 15 grams of fiber a day. I don’t know how much is, is that in, um, in, in, in ounces,
Kimberly: 28:20 I think that’s about, yeah. I, I think that’s, you know, it’s, it’s vastly under, consumed in the United States as well, something,
Giles: 28:27 So we need to double it. What, whatever you’re doing now, double it. We need to eat. We need to need, need more fiber and we need to keep the added sugars. The, so the stuff you add in, rather than the stuff in an orange cake. Yeah, yeah. Or in the fruit, the stuff you actually add in to less than 5% of the energy. And if you do those three things, then find a diet that suits you, that fulfills those three things, whatever it is, whatever it is, plant based, keto, whatever it is you want, but it’s gotta suit you. Okay. Because if, if it’s too expensive and, and you can’t afford it, you won’t stick to it. If it’s difficult to follow, because you’ve got two kids, you’re not gonna stick to it. If you work shifts, and this is bad for your shifts, because in the middle of the night in a factory, you can’t get this kind of food. That’s gonna be bad for you. So you have to find a diet with some simple rules that suit your lifestyle. Most importantly, your lifestyle, that, that you can keep to it. And that is the ideal diet for you.
Kimberly: 29:24 Mm. So when we stick to these three rules, it, if there isn’t this over emphasis on calories, cuz the fiber is sort of a natural form of calorie control, we could say because it’s keeping you satiated.
Giles: 29:35 Exactly. Exactly. And then so people says, Ooh, Ooh, but you’re gonna end up eating. Um, you’re gonna eat. If you only eat fruit, you’re gonna eat too much sugar. You’re gonna get fat. Okay. Now I guess in principle, that is maybe possible. I dare you to try. Okay. And by the time, so if you eat an I, when you have an orange, okay. And just, here’s the issue to make a glass of OJ. You probably need what? Three oranges. I don’t know. I don’t, I guess that’s size of the orange. Okay. But if you ate three oranges, you’d be going, oh dude, you, you you’d be wondering around going, I feel full. I just had five oranges worth of fiber. And you’d be wondering around going that. Whereas you can drink a glass of orange juice. Yeah. In 60 seconds. It <laugh>, it’d be gone in 60 seconds. So fiber is just there. And the fiber prevents you. I think, I think from eating too much sugar, uh, um, within things like fruit.
Kimberly: 30:27 Yes. Now let’s go back to the protein for a second. When the, there is research now showing if you’re eating too much meat, right? Like an excessive amount, it can disrupt your microbiome and some of the balance in there. And then maybe you’re more, you have more difficulty digesting. And so when you eat something like fruit that has natural fiber in it, you feel reaction and then you blame the fruit. Is that something that sounds reasonable to you?
How your microbiome comes into play with the diet you choose
Giles: 30:54 Yes. That, that is something that sounds reasonable. So whenever you make, um, so the thing about the microbiome is that people says, I need a healthy microbiome, need a healthy, micro, a microbiome. What does that mean? A, a microbiome that is as varied as possible, as many different types of bugs in as possible. And if you have a mono diet and if you all need steak or you only need things, it’s a mono diet. Then only certain types of bugs are gonna live okay in there or thrive. When you then suddenly change your diet into something else. It doesn’t have to be fiber, but fiber in particular because it really excites the, the, the bugs then suddenly, you know, you, you, you know about it. I certainly found this to be true. Look, I can admit, um, that I was, I eat, I still probably eat too much meat, but I’m eating a, a hell of a lot less meat than I used to. Um, before my, my little vegan, my little prop based experiment.
Kimberly: 31:43 I love it.
Giles: 31:44 <laugh> but, but when I, so, so it did change actually after fearful going in and I was scared. I’m gonna admit that. I think, oh my God, how am I gonna live for a month without any meat? This is the worst idea of my life. You know what, within three days or four days I was rolling. I, I knew what to cook. I was doing the plant based thing. And, but my problem was, it took, it took a few days after for my guts to catch up because so initially they all went on strike. They’re going no more fiber. Not really, but, but, um, <laugh> but, but absolutely. And then actually it, then they then became the downstairs department was oh, far healthier. I felt
Kimberly: 32:21 Wait. So in the beginning you were feeling a lot of bloatedness. Yes,
Giles: 32:24 Yes, yes. I was like jet. It was like jet repulsed. You know, I was going, wondering around the house being pushed around. Um, and it was just a <laugh> it was just a bit too much. It was sorry. Too much sharing is caring at one point out
Kimberly: 32:38 No’s important. So it’s, it’s, you know, people say, cuz I hear people say like, oh fruit, the sugar. It makes me so bloated. That’s not necessarily the issue. It’s that the gut microbiome, like you said, it needs to be strengthened. It needs to get used to having these different foods and more fiber in it.
Giles: 32:54 Except now I want to point out that there are caveats. Yeah. It’s certainly true for me. Yes. I can eat all kinds. I all kinds of things. And most people now they are gonna be however, some people with irritable bowel syndrome. Okay. Who cannot have these FOD maps, you know, there’s this there’s some yes. So there are these in fact sugars that they cannot actually digest from, from, from, from, and, and that’s what they are. I can’t remember what they’re fermentable or letgo anyway. Yes.
Kimberly: 33:20 Like this long, the word
Giles: 33:21 Is this word. It is this word, many, many, many, many words. But if you eat beans and you have, um, a problem with, uh, irritable bowel syndrome and an inability to digest, these sugars, beans are gonna cause you a, a, a whole lot of havoc. Okay. Yes. And onions. And for some people garlic, but this is not, this is not the problem for everybody. So what I’m saying is that it depends on who you are. And I think, you know, if you’ve got the irritable bowel syndrome and you would’ve known prior to you deciding to eat more fiber, I would hope, but that is a possibility it’s rarer for most people, as much fiber is just gonna make up. It is gonna make you feel, uh, windy for, for a bit, but it will make you feel better pretty quickly.
Kimberly: 34:03 So when you choose your own diet Giles, you load up with a lot of, is your goal to have fiber of vegetables at pretty much every meal. And like you said, you’re still eating meat, but it’s just less
Finding your weekly rhythm that works for your body
Giles: 34:15 That that’s correct. So I try, I, I try and think about the fiber. I try and get fiber in every meal at least. But I think about it from, from a week basis because I think in one week, cause most of us, okay. At least most of us at least pre COVID had a weekly rhythm. Okay. When you, you started, when you exercise, when you go to the grocery store, when you blah, blah, blah, there’s a whole lot of things. And so life sometimes is difficult every single day necessarily to achieve all of the goals of how much this or that you necessarily want to eat. Sometimes you’re back at nine o’clock at night. You just wanna have something quick. But if you think about it over a week, okay. And over a normal week that you live and you, I think it’s easier to frame and to decide that, you know, what, what I’m going to do is I’m gonna pick, I know that these two days I’m free and easy and I’m here.
Giles: 35:05 You know, I will go plot based two, uh, uh, two days because I’m just gonna pick it out of the week. I know I’m gonna do you do what I’m gonna do. I know this night I’m gonna go out and, and party with some friends. Maybe that’s gonna be more difficult. Ooh. And I know I gotta bring my kids to sit this night. So if you think about it rather than on one meal and you getting stressed out over one individual meal. Yes. If you think about it over your pattern of a week, then I think you can sort yourself out and actually get your, get your brain around, trying to eat enough protein, more fiber and not too much sugar.
Kimberly: 35:40 What I, I just love your energy so much Gil. And I really love the way that you wrote this book again, why calories don’t count because there’s humor in it and it’s practical and it’s accessible. Even just hearing you say, Hey, I’m gonna go party one night and you know, this night’s hard. It’s just people can live this. And sometimes research books can be very dry. I get sent a couple dozen every month for the podcast and I was just kind of looking through them and I saw your book and I started to read it. And I was like, wow, I actually really wanna read this book. And it’s readable for the average person, which means it’s gonna help so many more people. So I just wanna thank you so much. Um, you know, this Dr. Michael Mosley on the cover here is number one, New York times bestselling author says it is rare to find a book written by a world class scientist that is both informative and entertaining, which I think sums it up so well, this book is actually readable Giles.
Kimberly: 36:34 You know, you’re this brilliant geneticist researcher, but you can actually talk to us. And that is something that is rare. I, I just wanna give you credit here. You’re a very humble, amazing, beautiful man, but it is rare. And I’ll tell you as someone who picks through a lot of these books and I’m just like, I can kind of, you know, if I focus on my brain power and like devote this whole weekend to this book, maybe I’ll extract some of it, but this is a read that you would actually be, um, entertain like on your bedside table. This is something that you can read in the evening. This is something a busy mom like myself can read and understand. This is something that I cannot recommend more. I just love your book so much.
Giles: 37:12 You are. Thank you. You have made my evening here in Cambridge. Um, um, thank you. Thank you so much. And, and thank you so much for having me on your, on, on, on your platform as well. I, I really appreciate it.
Kimberly: 37:22 Oh, well, this is wonderful. It’s to the point it’s useful, which I think is a really important, you know, thing in this day and age, we all have limited time. So if you wanna, you know, wrap your mind around something, it should be applicable to your life. So thank you again so much Gil. I could talk to you all day. I’m just gonna go back and reread your book actually, because I did find it so poignant and so interesting and fun to read as well. So thank you again so much and tell us, you know, of course we will link directly in the show notes to your book, but where else can people find out more about your work Giles?
Giles: 37:53 Oh, <laugh>, that’s a, that’s an interesting question. If you, I don’t know, is the answer to, oh, I have a, I have a, a podcast it’s a terrible thing to, to try and oh yes. Just as, just as small thing, Dr. Giles choose the fat and it’s on all the Spotify things and, and it’s, uh, it’s, it’s a short, just a limited run, but it covers a lot of the things which I, which I’m interested, interested in and I’ve spoken to quite a few people. So that, that will be a good, a good way in,
Kimberly: 38:19 Oh, wonderful. We’ll link to that as well. Again, thank you so much, Charles, for your time and your wisdom. Appreciate it so much.
Giles: 38:26 Thank you for having me.
Kimberly: 00:01 I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Giles today. As much as I loved being in the conversation, what a wonderful, brilliant, and entertaining human he is. And for more podcasts, I think you would enjoy meditations recipes, articles. Please head over to my Sal luna.com and there is a wealth of resources over there for you. I will be back here on Thursday for our next Q and a podcast. So till then take great care, sending you so much. Love so much. Gratitude now must stay peace and love.