Nutrition with Miyaki, Part Deux
written by Sean Hyson
This is the second part of my nutrition interview with Nate Miyaki. Enjoy!
Sean: The 80’s and 90’s were all about low fat. Now we’re in the low-carb craze. However, while you believe in limiting carbs, you don’t allow for nearly as much fat consumption as many of your contemporaries. Why is that? Is it a matter of calories, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in the diet, or what?
Olive oil. Not as healthy as we thought.
Nate: It’s both. You can get all of the essential fats you need to support optimum health and natural hormone production from animal foods. Omega-3 is in fish and 50% of the fat in beef is monounsaturated fat. And they come in the right amounts and ratios that Mother Nature intended.
Any added fats are just an additional source of energy. This can be good or bad depending on your total calorie requirements and goals (a deficit is necessary for fat loss), and the composition of the rest of your diet (added fats and carbs should be somewhat inversely related).
Any time man alters a food from its natural state, it is worse off for you. What’s Jack LaLanne’s old line, “If man made it, don’t eat it”? This is usually applied to carbs, but I believe it is equally relevant to one’s dietary fat sources.
In nature, fats are meant to be eaten with protein (animal meats) and/or with fiber (nuts, olives, avocadoes, coconut). They are NOT meant to be eaten as a stand-alone, refined oil, dressing, or cream sauce.
As soon as you start refining fats, you end up with: 1) A concentrated source of calories with low food volume, which puts you on the wrong side of the energy balance equation, and in turn makes it impossible to lose body fat. 2) A disrupted balance in EFA ratio—most vegetable oils are higher in Omega-6’s than Omega-3’s. 3) A low satiety food.
Fat is a highly satiating food in its natural state when combined with protein and fiber. However, as a refined oil, fat is very low on the satiation scale. Just like with refined carbohydrates, because of this low satiation value, refined fats (even healthy ones) are very easy to overeat. This is how you end up with the salad that you believe is a “light” lunch or dinner but actually contains 1500 calories or more.
In today’s low-carb era, many mistakenly believe that as long as they banish carbs to the Underworld, they can eat unlimited amounts of added fats and still get shredded. This is not the case. Calories still count. The only way to force your body to burn stored body fat is to take in fewer calories than you burn, on average, over some time frame.
Even if you cut carbs to zero, if you eat unlimited fat and protein, you can still enter a state of caloric excess. And even though your body has shifted to burning a greater percentage of fatty acids and perhaps ketones as fuel, being in a caloric excess means you will simply obtain those fatty acids from the abundance of dietary fat you are taking in.
Your body will NOT be forced to tap into internal body fat stores as a reserve fuel. Quite the opposite is true. The excess calories will be stored as body fat, regardless if insulin and blood sugar are constantly kept at a low level. Unused fuel gets stored. And if you are in a calorie surplus, there is unused fuel.
And on a side note, for those engaging in consistent, high-intensity, anaerobic activity (i.e., most people reading this), I lean more toward carbs than fats as the primary energy nutrient. It better aligns the diet with the training protocol. You get better muscle retention, energy, performance, and natural hormonal support. Yes, fats support the Big T, but so do carbs, specifically IN RESPONSE to high-intensity training, as well as other hormones such as leptin.
In other words, with some carbs in your diet, your dick will work even if you’re in a calorie deficit, which means you can be less of a dick to everyone else around you.
Sean: Well, that’s comforting to know. But what do you say to guys who have gotten very friendly with fats in place of carbs? How can they cut out butter, oil, and Pam spray and still make flavorful meals? Can you give me a recipe?
Nate: Here are a few options.
1. You can broil or bake your meats with different herbs and spices like sea salt, garlic powder, paprika, etc.
2. Get out there and barbeque like a man, again, with different herbs and spices. You can brush the grill with some olive oil. By the time you’re done cooking the meat, most of the oil will have dripped through, thus adding minimal calories.
3. My favorite is stir-frying meat and veggies in their own juices. Cut up some flavorful veggies, add in the meat, and simmer in its own water, natural fats, and flavors. You can add things like soy sauce or chicken broth for flavor. While I’m against most soy products for a variety of reasons, fermented soy sauce is a different story. It won’t raise estrogen or do any of the other nasty stuff that soy is aledged to.
A recipe? Sure. How about a New York Steak Stir-Fry? Cut up half a white onion, a red bell pepper, and a green bell pepper, and throw in a package of pre-sliced mushrooms. Add a pound of thinly sliced New York steak (sukiyaki-style, just ask the butcher to do it for you so you don’t chop off a finger). Stir-fry over medium heat until the beef is brown and the veggies have reduced down. Throw that over some rice, sprinkle some sea salt on top, and you’re good to go.
Sean: Where do you stand on supplements? I know you’re not high on dairy but do you think whey protein is appropriate?
Nate: Let me start off by saying that I get the use of supplements for a variety of reasons: the convenience factor, filling in the gaps of a diet to prevent certain deficiencies, and the psychological component—an athlete’s desire to feel like they are giving themselves an extra edge, or are doing everything possible to achieve the best results.
With that being said, however, and with all things being equal, you’ll never convince me that a pill, powder, or any other supplement is in any way superior to real, whole, natural foods. I think in the modern fitness era, people put way too much emphasis on their supplement protocols at the expense of really nailing down the basics of a solid dietary approach.
Need a miracle fat burner or pre-workout energy booster? Drink some coffee. You’ll be getting some antioxidants and magnesium along with the caffeine.
And do you really need that lightning fast-acting protein powder to optimize protein synthesis and build muscle? That’s highly debatable. As many scientists and coaches as there are that proclaim it is absolutely necessary, there are others who believe otherwise. Here are some snippets from a few different resources:
Rapidly absorbed amino acids, despite stimulating greater protein synthesis, also stimulate greater amino acid oxidation, and hence results in a lower net protein gain than slowly absorbed protein.
This “slow” and “fast” protein concept provides some clearer evidence that although human physiology may allow for rapid and increased absorption rate of amino acids, as in the case of WP (whey protein 8 to 10 g/h), this fast absorption is not strongly correlated with a “maximal protein balance,” as incorrectly interpreted by fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and bodybuilders.
Nitrogen assimilation following ingestion of protein-containing foods is superior to that following ingestion of free amino acids.
Now before we all get trapped in meaningless “study wars”, flinging research back and forth, I’m fully aware the argument can be made the other way with other research studies and resources. But after sifting through it all, here is my honest belief.
Anabolic activity takes time post-workout. Glycogen restoration can take 24 hours or more. Protein synthesis can be elevated for 36 hours or more post-workout. Building muscle is not just about what you do immediately post-workout, it is about what you do with your overall diet—so consuming enough protein and calories daily is what matters most. This idea that you only have a 3-hour anabolic post-workout window is kind of misleading.
But muscle breakdown/catabolic activity CAN happen fast post-workout. Amino acids can be converted to glucose to make up for the energy deficit created by exercise, and to re-stabilize blood sugar. The primary goal post-workout, then, should be to provide your body with an immediate fuel source to prevent the body from breaking down its own muscle tissue for energy. It really should be called the “3-hour anti-catabolic post-workout window”.
While protein initiates protein synthesis, it is carbohydrates that prevent protein breakdown. So I think you would get better results eating some carbs post-workout.
But who knows, I could be completely wrong. The only way you’ll know for sure is if you try it both ways and see what works best for you. I don’t need to be right. I’m just telling you what I believe.
With all that being said, knowing the importance of psychology in achieving fitness results, if you really do believe that adding whey protein to your diet is going to turn you into Ronnie Coleman, don’t listen to me, man. With the very real placebo effect, you’ll probably do more harm to your progress than good by cutting it out.
Sean: You make a brave point. I never believed that supplements made a gargantuan difference but I still rely on them for the convenience factor and to fill in the nutritional gaps, as you pointed out. Take all the hype away, and that’s what they’re intended to do anyway. The take-home lesson in this, for me, is simply not to get hung up on them. If I run out of powder one day, I’m not going to skip training as a result or worry that I won’t build muscle from the session. I’ll grab a piece of fruit and eat a big meal when I can.
Nate: That would be just fine.
Sean: Your book discusses how to limit the damage from a night of drinking. This is ground I don’t often see covered but everybody wants to know how they can get around the effects of their own partying. What are your top three tips to keep a diet on track before or after a night of boozing?
Nate: I believe in cheat nights for overall sanity and the long-term sustainability of a diet plan. So my best tip is to save your boozing for your cheat nights. That way, you don’t have to worry about any of the negative metabolic or hormonal effects. You can simply let loose like Frank the Tank and get back on track the next day. If you are good with your diet plan 6 ½ days a week, then what you do one devious night out on the town is not going to kill your progress.
But here’s the thing. Alcohol is basically a poison in your system, so your body preferentially burns it over any other potential fuel sources in order to get rid of it. So if alcohol is in your system, fat oxidation (the burning of fatty acids as a fuel) is essentially shut down.
This means that, for better or worse, ALCOHOL SHOULD BE YOUR PRIMARY ENERGY NUTRIENT on those nights you drink. Have both a low-carb and a low “added fats” dinner. Remember, you have a third energy nutrient in your meal now—booze—and too much energy equals body fat. Basically just eat a source of animal protein and some non-starchy vegetables for dinner before you go drinking, or during.
Also, try my salty nuts… trick, that is. We all know that alcohol dehydrates you and you should drink water like a fish the next day. But in the dehydration process, the body flushes out not only water, but electrolytes as well, particularly sodium.
This is why the body craves hash browns and other salty, fatty foods when you’re hungover. It’s the desire to refill depleted sodium levels. You can satisfy that with junk, or you can go for a healthier option. Try some salted nuts. This will give you the salt your body is craving, as well as a healthier version of some dietary fat.
Got a sweet craving after my salty nuts? Grab a piece of whole fruit. It gives you a natural form of sugar that won’t send your blood sugar levels skyrocketing, and detoxifying alcohol is a tough process on your body. It elevates free radicals in the bloodstream. An orange, or other piece of fruit can provide a hefty dose of Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant that scavenges free radicals.
Sean: Your new product, Intermittent Feast, isn’t just an e-book. It’s got several long video components to it where you lecture in more detail about the topics you discussed. This sets it apart from a lot of other products and, I think, really shows how well you know your subject and how passionate you are about it. Can you talk about why you put it together this way?
Nate: These days, people are reading books and articles online and in magazines, acquiring a bunch of new facts BUT retaining little, applying nothing, and getting nowhere. This is a waste of time, money, and effort. If we can somehow absorb new material more efficiently, and retain it for longer periods of time, then we have a much better chance at applying it consistently, and finally achieving our goals.
This happens best with an educational process that combines a MIX of text, audio, and visual. I always learned best in school from a mix of live lectures and reading. Perhaps that’s why every major University eventually settled on that structure.
Don’t believe me? Here are some research quotes:
Educators may create a more efficient learning environment through a better understanding of multi-media learning.
Using visual helps and guides with spoken and written text was shown to assist working memory in processing new information into existing schema (organized patterns of thought or behavior).
Learners process media information differently whether written, spoken, or graphic.
An emerging area of study in e-learning is the personalization principle...the use of a conversational style rather than a formal writing style when presenting learning material to the distance learner. Evidence has emerged that suggests that the voice of the speaker plays an important role and that conversational text may be more effective when presented audibly rather than in written form.
*Holder et al. 2010. Heard and seen: Instructor-led video and its Effect on Learning. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning 7(11): 1550-6908.
That’s why Intermittent Feast combines video lectures with TWO PDF books. My hope is that after you get through this course, you won’t need to seek out “new” material or be dependent on additional, expensive online coaching programs.
You’ll know everything you need to know to get the job done, and have the practical tools necessary to apply it.
Remember, subscribers to MY NEWSLETTER are getting a special deal on the product. As a favor to me, Nate is throwing in a separate e-book, The Samurai Diet, absolutely FREE with purchase of Intermittent Feast. Altogether, that’s 3 e-books and 5 video lectures (ranging from 26 to 42 minutes each!). But it won’t last. At MIDNIGHT on SATURDAY the bonus ends, and you’ll have to pick up The Samurai Diet separately. I’ve read both books and loved them both. Don’t miss out while you can get them at a bargain.
Pick up Nate’s books HERE.