It’s been a long time since I updated my Food Analysis Tables. With the Ketogenic Diet competing with the Paleo Diet in health, the time has come to include carb, protein, and fat parameters.
Ten years ago the most popular diet was the Paleo Diet. But as time went by marketers bastardized the science behind Paleo in order to sell better. That meant recommending foods that were nutrient lite, high glycemic, and loaded with inflammatory Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Recently there has been a shift toward the Ketogenic Diet. This is a great diet, but its proponents are also starting to recommend nutrient lite foods and foods loaded with Omega-6 EFAs. Without calling for actual changes in foods, tastes, and traditions, marketers can sell more of what they market. To counter the trend of watering down nutritional science, these new Food Analysis Tables incorporate the original basics plus net carb, protein, and fat numbers in keeping with ketogenic goals.
The standard dietary fundamentals for optimizing body and brain function remain the same: they are based on keeping the green leaf at the bottom of the food chain. This underscores the validity of the many fundamental aspects of nutritional science that are little changed in the past 50 years. Such as:
● Eat low glycemic foods. High glycemic foods are foreign to body function, causing weight gain and fungal issues that negatively impact the body.
● Eat foods that are low in Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and higher in Omega-3 EFAs. Seek a 1:1 ratio. A balance of 2:1 or less is critical for an effective nervous system, strong immunity, and better brain function.
● Eat nutrient dense and diverse foods. A diet heavy on nutrient lite foods can not significantly contribute to the needs of the body.
Here is the first table in the new Food Analysis:
This table summarizes the food groups in the analysis. Not shown are the additional tables analyzing the particular foods in each group. The data utilizes a four-ounce (113.4g) serving size for all foods. The headings are: glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), milligrams of Omega-6 EFA, milligrams of Omega-3 EFA, the EFA ratio, and the all-important Omega-3 deficit number. Next are fat, net carbs, protein, and sugar all shown as a percent of the nutrients in the food. The last column is the estimated comparative nutrient diversity and density with 100% being best.
At first glance the tables look like a wall of data. But after carefully examining each food group the nutritional differences become glaringly obvious. The Vegetable group has very acceptable nutrient levels except it’s low in protein and fat. Compared to vegetables, the Grain group is extremely high carb and the EFA ratio is skewed toward Omega-6. Nuts are extreme in their Omega-6 load and fairly high carb. Fruit is loaded with sugar and low in protein and fat. The grass-fed and Omega-3 meats along with wild-caught seafood stand out as leaders across the board.
Both the classic Paleo and Ketogenic approaches are low carb, but the latter powers the body with more fat, less protein, and far fewer carbs. For instance, keto calculators suggest that a middle-aged, 160-pound man in average condition standing 5' 10" who does a moderate amount of exercise, will achieve mid-range ketosis when consuming 27g net carbs (grams of carbohydrates minus grams of fiber), 111g of protein, 181g of fat, and 2,185 calories per day. The protein/fat ratio is 38%/62%. Normally humans eat three to five pounds of food a day.
Assume four pounds (1,814 grams) per day of food.
● 27g Net Carbs is only 1.4% or one ounce of net carbs out of the food consumed
● 111g Protein is 6.1% or four ounces of protein out of the food consumed
● 181g Fat is 10% or 6.4 ounces of fat out of the food consumed
Those estimated amounts may not be realistic because nailing down the ratios with raw food data is not easy. For people who want to achieve ketosis, using a breathalyser to monitor ketone levels is far better than trying to calculate the nutrients of every food item consumed. Most people have very high Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios which negatively impacts their nervous and immune systems. They may have intestinal issues and other ailments that prevent them from properly digesting various foods. In time, with a strict diet those issues may moderate which is the reason for opting for a better diet in the first place. But because of various issues, not all food nutrients are absorbed by the body.
Following is a Spreadsheet calculation for various foods totaling 3.5 pounds. I was aiming for four pounds but exceeded the net carb, protein, and fat limits at 3.5 pounds. From it you can see that you can drive yourself crazy trying to calculate meals to exactly meet your goals.
We must be sensible by developing practical eating habits. Being too rigid can make for too many awkward moments. But we can’t be reckless. This is why I recommend measurements to track your progress. I track my EFAs with the Omega-3 Blood Test. I purchased a Ketone Breath Meter to make sure my carb levels stay down and see if my body is utilizing fat as a fuel. That way I can make slight alterations in my primary food selections with confidence.
To your health.
Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.
Don’t miss these links for additional reading:
KHC M3 Ketone Breath Meter is ideal for Ketogenic diet
Get Your Own Omega-3 Blood Test and use slanker as a code for a discount
Too fat? Eat Fat by Ted Slanker