The Benefits of Caloric Efficiency (and 10 Ways to Achieve It)

X Benefits of Caloric Efficiency (and How to Acheive It) in lineWe really like to eat. We choose restaurants based on portion size. We work out just to increase our capacity for guilt-free gluttony. And even when we don’t actually like it, we still want it because the food industry employs experts in brain hedonic processing to engineer food products your brain literally cannot stop craving. As Louis CK put it, we don’t stop eating when we’re full, we stop eating when we hate ourselves.

I’m not immune. In college, they called me Arnold, after the pig from Green Acres, because I could (and did) out-eat anyone. Linebackers 1.5x my size were no match. I love food, but I’m not interested in cramming as much food as I can get away with. Not anymore.

I’ve mentioned the concept of the minimum effective dose before, or the smallest dose that provides the desired outcome or effect. This applies to exercise, to sunlight, to carb intake, and to calories in general.

It is this caloric efficiency that describes my goal for the last dozen years: How little can I eat and retain or build mass, have optimal energy, never get sick and still NOT GO HUNGRY?

There are some obvious reasons to strive for caloric efficiency.

  1. It’s expensive, especially if you eat high-quality food like pastured animals and organic produce.
  2. It’s wasteful. We can eat 4000 calories a day, but should we? It won’t last forever, especially if it’s the quality food described in the previous point.
  3. It’s unnecessary. While I could eat 1000 more calories and probably stay as lean as I am (and perhaps even gain more muscle), I can’t come up with a good justification for doing it. I’m happy, fit, and productive already.

But maybe the biggest reason to achieve caloric efficiency is that caloric restriction has the most support in the longevity research literature, with even a 10% calorie reduction having a powerful effect on mortalityOnly the way most people do it—by limiting protein so much that you waste away and fail to complete a single pushup, restricting everything delicious, leading an ascetic existence, losing your sex drive, obsessing over everything that enters your mouth—doesn’t appeal to me.

If I can eat less food and feel satiated, not feel restricted, stay active, maintain and even improve my fitness, look good naked, remain productive, and quite possibly live a little longer—why wouldn’t I give it a shot?

Sounds pretty good to me. Okay, so how can we make it happen?

1. Become a fat-burning beast

When you’re able to tap into your own stored adipose tissue for energy between meals, you don’t need to snack. You’re not hangry because it’s 2 PM and the break room donut box is empty. You just coast along until your nutrient-dense dinner, smoothly evading high-calorie, low-nutrient junk food.

2. Get your sleep

The sleep deprivation epidemic is one of the primary causes of our junk food addiction. If that sounds ridiculous, get a load of the research showing that the brains of sleep deprived humans are more susceptible to high-reward junk food.

3. Limit refined fats, emphasize nutrient-dense fats

Don’t choose highly refined avocado oil, choose virgin avocado oil. Pass on the pale olive oil and spring for the murky green stuff. Get red palm oil instead of refined palm oil and yellow grass-fed butter instead of butter the color of chalk. If you want to thicken a sauce, stew, or curry, toss and stir in a couple egg yolks after turning off the heat.

This stuff matters. Avocado oil has a slew of benefits, EVOO has reams of literature support, red palm oil is the single best source of vitamin E (and the CoQ10 doesn’t hurt, either), and grass-fed milkfat has superior metabolic effects to corn-fed milkfat. I don’t have to list the virtues of egg yolks, do I?

4. Avoid refined sugar

If you need to add sweetness, choose a sweetener that gives back. Honey? Provides a broad spectrum of low dose micronutrients. Blackstrap molasses? Full of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Maple syrup? Loaded with manganese. Date paste? Rich in polyphenols and fermentable fiber. Even the completely processed sugar substitute xylitol offers protection against cavities that regular sugar doesn’t.

Any infusion of sucrose, glucose, and fructose has its downsides, but it’s better if it comes packaged with phytonutrients, pollen remnants, and discarded bee limbs.

5. Choose better carbs

Say you want to eat some “carbs.” Maybe you’re refiling glycogen or something. What’s the better choice? Which provides tons of other nutrients you need in addition to the carbohydrate?

A potato starch pancake or a baked potato?

A bag of gluten-free pasta made of rice flour that cost you $8, or a serving of sprouted wild rice cooked in real bone broth?

A scoop of waxy maize in the shake or a half cup of (dare I say it?) black beans?

It all boils down to playing with the margins. Getting little wins where you can.

6. Eat your plants

Most fibrous, green, leafy, and/or brightly-colored fruits and vegetables are basically non-caloric. The carbohydrates are negligible (you probably use more glucose digesting non-starchy vegetables than they contain) and they’re inherently self-limiting; you can’t stuff yourself on greens. No one is carbing up with a salad bowl full of a couple pounds of steamed kale before a race, unless it’s a race to the nearest toilet. The higher sugar fruits can add up, but even those are hard to overdo unless you’re slamming peach after peach.

Yet they’re incredibly dense with micronutrients.

7. Try cheat days

A cheat day or meal is a release valve. By setting aside a day every week or two to eat whatever you want, as much as you want, it’s easier to eat more sensibly and efficiently during the rest of the week.

8. Focus on eating enough protein-rich foods first

For several reasons this is important:

Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Research shows that higher protein intakes induce the most satiety and promote inadvertent calorie reduction, both of which are necessary to attain caloric efficiency.

Adequate protein protects against diet-induced muscle loss. This is particularly relevant for CRONers, who tend to waste away on their journey to immortality.

Protein-rich foods are the most nutrient-dense. Think of liver, eggs, wild salmon, sardines, oysters, mussels, and steak and you’re thinking of some of the best sources for iron, zinc, vitamin A, B-vitamins, omega-3s, copper, choline, manganese, and plenty of others. Even the most protein-dense plant foods—legumes—are extremely rich in micronutrients. Just make sure you focus on protein-rich foods rather than protein. Protein powder is certainly an effective tool, but it should never be the basis of your diet.

9. Set up an account with a food tracking app or website, track your 30-odd most common foods, and determine their caloric efficiency

Everyone’s ideal “caloric efficiency” diet is unique. Figuring out the caloric efficiency of the foods you already eat will help you structure your diet better than I could. Aim to fill those RDAs.

10. Survey the list of supplemental Primal foods and aim to eat them regularly

A couple years ago, I wrote a list of the most important “supplemental foods” that any Primal eater should be including:

  • Egg yolks
  • Liver
  • Seaweed
  • Turmeric
  • Bone broth
  • Bone marrow
  • Shellfish
  • Aged cheese
  • Natto
  • Small whole fish
  • Red palm oil
  • Brazil nuts
  • Purple or blue foods like berries, purple sweet potatoes, and vegetables
  • Fermented food

Because they’re so nutrient-dense, you don’t need to eat them in huge amounts. In the case of certain ones like Brazil nuts, liver, and turmeric, you probably shouldn’t eat them all the time because you risk overdoing certain critical nutrients (selenium, vitamin A, and hormetic polyphenols, respectively).

I also wrote another post on important Primal foods, with some repeats and a few more specific recommendations. 

So that’s about it, folks.

What do you think about caloric efficiency? How do you strive to make your diet more efficient?

Thanks for reading.


About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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52 thoughts on “The Benefits of Caloric Efficiency (and 10 Ways to Achieve It)”

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  1. As a runner, I often think about how I can get the most calorie and nutrition bang for my buck. Especially following long runs, my grocery bill can be astronomical if I don’t think critical about how to meet my caloric needs in a sensible way. While I love blueberries, I can buy an avocado for half the price and also achieve a higher nutrient density. In my blog, I urge runners and athletes to be self-aware of their choices. It’s ok to choose foods that aren’t calorie efficient if that’s not the intent of the meal or occasion. There are times I want the blueberries and not the avocado! But, it’s important to be conscious of our decisions surrounding food so that we’re best serving our needs, whatever they may be.

    1. This is a good article for those who aren’t quite up to speed on nutrient-dense foods. One thing I’ve discovered about eating Paleo, even doing 80/20, is that food in general is no longer my favorite hobby. It’s more a case of eating to live well rather than living to eat. That automatically shrinks the food budget since I stick with the basics and no longer buy snacks and non-Paleo items. Here in landlocked Colorado, good seafood will break the bank if you eat it very often. A way around that is to buy canned fish, such as Alaska salmon, sardines, etc. You get the nutrients without the big price tag.

  2. “you can’t stuff yourself on greens”
    I disagree…it’s ridiculous the amount of carrots or seaweed I’ll eat in one sitting if I’m not paying attention 🙂

      1. I think I may have a separate stomach just for salad. I can eat what appears to be an unlimited amount…like three bags of Trader Joes butter lettuce, mixed baby greens and baby kale in one giant steel mixing bowl with a half a cup of black beans mixed in. It seems to just compress into nothing. In a good french/california restaurant, I won’t even blink at ordering three different salads if they are all tempting.

  3. I still remember that list of supplemental foods…I eat everything on it except the natto and aged cheese. At that time I had not actually consumed bone marrow, but I do now! I love the feeling of being calm and focused and just not wanted food when I am consuming enough quality fat and protein. Although fat is more calorically dense than any other macronutrient, I feel I consume fewer calories over all when I am eating enough fat because it keeps me satiated for so long. These are all great tips…still working on the sleep thing! (And I know it makes a difference. When I am really sleep deprived I want to eat everything in sight!)

  4. Excellent post. I’m all about the minimum effective dose and this makes perfect sense.

  5. Anyone else out there fret that their appetite is just too big? I don’t think I’m talking about eating too much exactly, as my abs are quite visible, and more so now that I’m primal. I’m tall, but even compared to other tall people I’ve always had a big appetite, pre-primal and now primal. Isn’t a big appetite a way of saying inefficient? Even after adjusting for her being much shorter, female, and less active than me, my girlfriend’s tiny single servings astonish me. Isn’t that another way of saying her system is efficient? During my three decades as a vegetarian I ate like a rabbit, which meant I had to spend the day chewing, for crying out loud. Now I eat the viscera of the chewers, and I can flap my jaws less. Literally the other night?–I was eating pieces of pastured butter from New Zealand. Didn’t show my girlfriend that. If I become even more carefully primal, will my system become more efficient? This is of particular concern as my knees seem better now that I’m primal and I’m going to start squats with heavier weight.

    1. My appetite is still there from the old, fat days. I’ve found that when I eat even the smallest amount of processed carbs, or even fruit, I become a bottomless pit for any and all food. But if I start with a large serving of protein and fat, I eat less and stop after a reasonable meal.

      1. Unfortunately I’ve found, now that I’m fifty, that my appetite is a little bit bigger than my caloric needs. So I have to consciously make little adjustments to keep my slim figure ;). That means making sure every calorie counts (nutrient dense) and accepting the fact that I’ll often be a little bit hungry for the rest of my life. The upside is that being a little hungry seems to create more focus and increase energy, and exercising on an empty stomach is amazing.

        But that’s just getting older. My nutritional needs are the same or greater than when I was in my 20’s but I don’t need as many calories. So I eat smarter and watch the snacking and portion size.

        Unfortunately, I rarely see this discussed on MDA. It’s always the same “I never get hungry anymore – just bullet proof coffee and I’m good for two or three days!”

        I call BS. I think there’s a lot of people on this site who are practicing calorie restriction but have convinced themselves otherwise because it contradicts the narrative of the primal lifestyle promise of “never be hungry again and effortlessly maintain ideal weight”

        1. Actually, Clay, I really don’t get all that hungry. I can’t make it on nothing but bullet proof coffee, but food is seldom uppermost in my mind. In my case it probably is calorie restriction to some degree since smaller portions of nutrient-dense food are usually enough to satiate, even when I’m not eating strictly Paleo. I do hit the healthy fats pretty hard.

        2. Thanks for this Clay. I often read and appreciate your comments [and thanks also to Mr. Dudeness above: I just started breakfast with shark steak before moving on to the carbs.] So Clay, whenever I’m done eating? Well “done” is relative. But anyway when I’m done-ish, for dessert I ask myself if I could now eat two, three, or four cheese sandwiches. I don’t eat them, but if I’m “full” I figure I could only eat two or three. Instead of real dessert I have a grass-eater’s idea of dessert. Or like I’m on a desert island fantasizing about food and trying to remember how many s’s are in dessert to keep my mind off how hungry I am. So yeah, always hungry. Not complaining, given that at least ten thousand kids die in the world every day of hunger and related causes. Well, more like harumphing than complaining. I went primal last year after decades as a vegetarian, in part because I believe primal is better for the world, and my dog and I shared viscera, getting right down on the floor and growling happily, what the heck. But also sorrowing that to live we have to kill. Ha ha, coffee “and I’m good for three days,” but yeah I sometimes can’t believe how satiated everyone is here. But I have a ton of energy. Once you’ve just out and said it, you can see there’s worse things than being a little hungry forever. And food is just astonishingly good.

          1. I like your prose. Entertaining and spot on. I too just started eating meat after 30 years of being a vegetarian…like literally two weeks ago. I was getting some soup at Staff of Life and for some reason had a craving for buffalo jerky. Something Ive never tasted. Anyway, it was delicious and I felt great afterwards. Next thing I’m devouring smoked turkey slices and black forest ham. And feel great. So no longer a vegetarian, but my diet will always be heavily veggie oriented.

          2. Whoah, I’m surprised you shifted to flesh so recently. I mean, given that you’ve been on this site a long time. Do you notice whenever Mark mentions his extremely healthy but, after all, vegetarian, wife? My longterm goal is probably something peganish…the way I say it to myself is V+V, vegan plus viscera. Not there yet. And I remember Mark saying somewhere that he eats more greens than a vegetarian or something like that. Eating always feels intense and more than a little riven by sorrow when I understand how many creatures suffer for me, and of course the dying children of the world gather in spirit like a cloud of witnesses when I eat. So I have to get all sacramental and shit just to eat. Going to go take care of my parents in Tennessee in the winter and get them on their friend’s straight-from-the-source goat milk. I have this fantasy that I’ll camp in my tent on the ridge with the goats and try to make it up to them by petting them a lot, petting them for stealing, like, a gallon of milk from them every day. I’ll edge slowly out of the field with a backpack of milk and I’ll have my hands in my pockets like Homer Simpson and I’ll be whistling innocently like I DIDN’T DO IT.

        3. I find in the mornings, I can go until around 11am without eating (I do have coffee and cream). However, once I start eating…. then it’s all bets off!
          I just seem to want to eat forever! I have to really stop myself from over doing it with snacks in the afternoon after lunch. I notice too that everyone says how they don’t feel hungry for hours on end… up to 24hrs ++.
          That has never happened to me, I have a very good tooth, as the saying goes! I’ve been primal now for over 2 years, and my appetite is still just as strong as it ever was, and like you at 52yrs, I have to watch it all the time.

  6. Thank you Mark, very interesting. I am a big guy (6’3″ and currently hovering between 220 and 225) and since I’ve gone primal my meals have shrunk considerably, but my body craves more of them. Especially since I am limited in my daily foods in an office environment. So I think it’s also smart to apply this not just to meals but to the snacks we’re not supposed to have according to #1. While I don’t get hangry anymore, I do sometimes get hungry enough to get distracted as the workday winds down, so I try to make sure my snacks aren’t empty, but actually contributing some nutritional benefit and energize me for my trip to the gym after work. My main snack are seaweed sheets, nuts, and coconut manna along with chicory root tea.

  7. This is so important for me because I’m only 5’1″. I’ve eaten waaaayyyyy more than I should for most of my life because I do love food but once I reached 40, it all started catching up on me in a hurry. It finally made me to commit to eating 100% primal with NO cheating. Now I’m off the hunger rollercoaster for good and wishing I’d done this ten years ago.

  8. This is the first I’ve heard that turmeric should not be taken regularly for the same reasons as liver and brazil nuts. I was already aware of the potential toxicity of overdoing liver or brazil nuts, but what are the dangers of turmeric for a normal healthy person? I understand the blood thinning aspects of it could be potentially harmful for someone already on blood thinners or is pregnant, but what about someone without any underlying issues?

    My dog and I have turmeric and black pepper almost every day in our food or supplement form. Should I be scaling that back to 1 or 2 times a week like liver or just use it in low daily dosages like brazil nuts?

    1. Was wondering the same thing myself Paul. I think for long term use lower dosages should be taken and I’m thinking of cycling on and off but not sure what the on / off duration should be, very little out their (Andrew Weil says take up to 8 months). I’m trying to get my PSA down and studies have shown that a formulation of tumeric / green tea extract / pomegranate / broccoli extract can help slow the progression of PSA. There appear to be three major brands of tumeric / curcumin out there with different levels of bioavailability which adds to the confusion!

  9. “Quantity of diet may be safely left to the natural appetite. It is quality only which is essential to abate and cure corpulence.” from the fascinating “Eat Fat and Grow Slim” book which I’m currently reading (PDF available on line).

    By the way, I’ve decide to try a jar of cold pressed African Palm oil (Jungle) and found it gritty; and unlike coconut oil, it causes eggs to stick to the pan. Anyone else run into this?

    I also found Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bars to be on the sweet side and would suggest toning them down (-:

  10. You’re not hangry –I’m not hangry either Mark– awesome post as usual! Sorry, the tech writer in me had to laugh at the (sp)!

    1. My son is Hangry = means he gets angry when he is hungry and isn’t aware that he should have eaten about an hour ago. Mom just hands him food and diverts the attention to something else so he mindlessly eats it instead of arguing that he is just angry and NOT hungry….. less than a minute later the angry goes away.

    2. David that was done on purpose, it’s a “popular culture” term … my daughter uses it from time-to-time.

  11. I limit my eating to an 8 hour period, not including a protein shake late evening. My point is I think an IF eating schedule also helps with weight control.

  12. This looks good, I wonder what it is 🙂

    “Any infusion of sucrose, glucose, and fructose has its downsides, but it’s better if it comes packaged with phytonutrients, pollen remnants, and discarded bee limbs.”

    I got it: molasses with honey added!

  13. This is definitely an area that I could use some improvement! I need to realize the difference between eating until I’m satisfied nutritionally vs. when my taste buds are done enjoying the food.

  14. Agree 100% with everything but the “cheat days”….the phrase” eat anything you want”, leads me to disaster …. I ” want” everything in the bread case… But would be sick for weeks…!
    My ” treat” is a Friday night martini ( with extra olives!) and stick with the regular food choices…
    If I think of it as a “treat” rather than a ” cheat” my mind is happier …and that’s a GOOD thing!

    1. A “cheat martini” sounds like fun, but it has an insidious way of corrupting one’s inhibition and then anything in the kitchen (and humidor) becomes fair game.

  15. accept being hungry but also accept being cold – get your body to burn calories working to maintain temperature

  16. The hardest part of changing or refining your food intake is taste, at least for me. Even for something like tea, I tried truvia but hated the taste, so now I’m using coconut sugar and I love it. But I still hate *but eat) veggies. What are some suggestions for flavoring veggies in a healthy way?

    1. Try sautéing them in a little bacon fat and sprinkle with pieces of crispy bacon. You can also chunk up a variety of veggies, drizzle with EVOO and season to taste; maybe throw in some leftover bits of BBQ pork or brisket, or apple chunks, and bake at 400 until tender. Easy-peasy. And who doesn’t like a buttered baked sweet potato or section of winter squash drizzled with a bit of real maple syrup? Use different herbs and spices for a variety of flavors. Experiment.

    2. I agree with Shary’s suggestions — adding fat and/or meat might really help you acquire a taste (along with a pinch of salt). Some of my favorite combinations: Brussels sprouts tossed in olive oil, carrots tossed in butter, and asparagus in tallow. Oven roasting or sautéing in a skillet both work really well.

    3. For me, my palate completely changed and opened up when I stopped drinking soda, bread and pasta. Vegetables taste fantastic in any form now. Sure, there are still a couple I can’t stand like broccoli, unfortunate for me because of it’s a nutritional powerhouse, but I eat veggies on a daily basis I never liked before: Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, squash. I’ll try anything now. Eating vegetables in season is a good tip, too. A lot of veggies grown out of season just taste bland. You could also try seasoning with Flavor God. I like Garlic and the Everything.

  17. You did mention calorie restriction as a proven method of life extension as long as it provides nutrient sufficiency. Another way to say this is that eating and more so, over eating ages us. We need to deal with the oxidative stress and glycation of eating. We need adequate portion but not more. Excess protein pushes them mTOR pathway implicated in cancer. So here too we want protein efficiency.

  18. Another great, quick summary of a key point. Ever since going primal, my bouts of hangry have subsided substantially to the delight of my family! While I may still be on auto pilot packing my cooler for the work day, I enjoy bringing it home still half full as it serves as a tangible reminder just how much I have eliminated from my daily consumption – yet feel more satisfied and energized throughout the day than ever before.

    1. Mark,
      Please explain more clearly the dangers of regular turmeric consumption. I have freshly grated turmeric and ginger in my tea every day.

  19. It’s crazy to think that different diets, deemed as healthy, can be so far apart. Doctors McDougall, Ornish, Esselstyn and PHD T Colin Campbell would say to NOT eat much on the list of ‘Supplemental foods’, except for the seaweed and other plant foods listed.
    And these doctors all have peer reviewed reversal of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and the other modern day plagues, using a high carb, low protein, low fat, plant food diet. And they themselves are thin, fit and healthy, in their late 60s and 80s.

    1. The diets you mention all have whole foods as their base. So compared to the SAD, you’re going to see improvement. But they really don’t have that much research on their side. They cherry pick a few studies but largely ignore the body of evidence that contradicts their animals/fats bad – carbohydrates/plant good paradigm. This is because most anti-animal, anti-fat people are vegan activists. So they start with that as their premise.

      So they’ve already made up their mind and then hunt for anything to reinforce that. McDougall warns against fish oil even! He also encourages diabetics to eat a very high carbohydrate low fat/protein diet. Which is borderline malpractice.

      Esselstyn is basically a nut case.Terrible advice.Says animal protein damages the arteries. Huh? Says don’t eat nuts cause they cause heart disease. What?. And don’t eat any oils at all (including coconut, olive and avocado) because all fats cause heart disease. Again…huh?. But he says nuts may be ok in tiny amounts if your cholesterol is 150 or less ( that’s a ridiculously low number to try and achieve and impossible if you have high HDL numbers)

      I’d say the proof is in the pudding. On this site I see lots of readers posting pictures of their muscular radiant selves eating primal. On the vegan/low fat/ low protein sites i see mostly frail, sallow, skinny/fat folks talking about the evils of animal fats and animal protein.

      My own life totally contradicts the high-carb plant based diet crowd as well.

      I’ve had two doctors so far tell me that there’s no real point in trying to improve my lipid profile because it’s already so good (HDL 107, LDL 98, TG 40). So any improvement past this point should only be for fun, because it’s not going to make any difference. And that’s eating six to eight eggs per day every day. The “experts” say I should be dead by now eating that way. Heck, my mom shaved 300 points off here triglycerides in one month just by switching to eating berries instead of bananas. She’s obviously a hyper responder to fructose.

      I think veganism is a fine ethical choice, just not a nutritionally sound choice for most people. And that’s what the high carb, low protein/fat crowd are generally promoting. A faith based diet centered around moral dietary purity – not science. And following a plant based,low fat ,low protein diet is going to make maintaining a healthy hormonal balance difficult. That’s just a fact.

      1. Actually, they have a TON of science to back up what they preach. It’s the ‘Paleo’/Primal’ movement that is lacking in evidence and cherry picks data. These doctors are NOT vegan activists. They hate to use the term vegan.
        Look at McDougall’s website, he will list all of his sources. Even in his books.

        1. Then go follow their diet if you think animal protein is poison and natural fats cause heart disease. It’s a free country. Me, I’ll side with biology, human history, and the proof I see in my own body. Just the fact that mothers milk is largely animal protein and saturated animal fat (including brain crucial DHA which is only found in animal products) kind of undercuts their theories. So does the most comprehensive meta analysis on dietary cholesterol and saturated fat ever conducted which found no link to hear disease.I understand why the the ideas on this site can seem counter intuitive. We’ve been conditioned to the carbs good, fat bad paradigm for a long time.

          1. Yeah and I no longer believe that veganism is ethical. I studied the creatures in one allotment garden for a season in the UK for example in 2006. Tens of thousands of creatures–the figure is probably much higher–are maimed or killed for (in this case) fifty rocket lettuce plants, but as vegetarians and vegans we dismissed all that, here and elsewhere, as those creatures were beneath our contempt, beneath our heels. Mere “insects.” So like the Nazis we had words to give ourselves plausible deniability, to tell ourselves others aren’t suffering for our actions. Mere “insects.” And us? Righteous. Wrote an article about it in a peer-reviewed journal. Ten years ago. Been challenging vegans and vegetarians to read it for ten years, but when they find out their bluff is called on their supposed non-violence, they quietly edge away. Veganism is a tribal flag we fly for human approval, and it leaves a trail of dead bodies behind it.

  20. This is something I need to work on a little more; not eating extra just because I can. This, along with the list of foods above, will be things I work on for the next month.

  21. This is the first I’ve heard of not eating turmeric too often. Don’t the studies showing benefits from it use daily consumption?

  22. One way I maximize caloric efficiency is by growing my own vegetables. I’ve always liked gardening and read “Eating on the Wild Side” which is a book that looks at the nutritional value of various fruit and vegetable species and advises which ones have the most. For example I was surprised to see that broccoli loses its nutrients faster than most other vegetables, so I started growing it and rapini in my garden. I know not everyone has space for a garden, but even if its just an herb garden in the windowsill or growing your own sprouts, it’s a great way to really ramp up the nutrition for almost no calories/carbs.

  23. Yeah…. my food budget is huge (proportionately ), but I love eating and food is one of the only part of my life that is indulgent. However, I agree with Mark here that doing this is wasteful and maybe I don’t always NEED to eat like a monster. And I can totally relate to the Louis CK quote Hahaha

  24. Warning : This next comment is a supernova.
    (Mark excellent article as always.The ten you wrote about are spot on. But one more thing can challenge the body to do almost miraculous things. Amplifying the ten you mentioned.)
    Being a fat burner is key. Intermittent fasting is great science. Let’s take all of it to the next level. The 24-72 Hour FAST. Reading the science of what happens to your body during a Fast is what made me want to start. Two things always prevented me: not wanting to lose hard earned muscle. And getting hungrier every hour. I love good food. This is what happens- —
    Intermittent fasting has to come first as we need a jumping off point.
    In approximately 13 hours we use up our glucose stores. We start to burn fat for energy. Our own fat. At this point the brain starts speaking to you in an authoritative way: fun is over, let’s eat! But you don’t.
    You decide to play poker with your primal unconscious. It’s a stare down. Now the brain is sending unmistakable hunger pangs- WE’RE STARVING. You laugh! pinching the blubber on your belly and shaking it. You’re bluffing you say (even though you would love to eat something right now, Anything!) But -have only water. The brain wants sugar and it wants sugar NOW. You shake your head no. A desperate hunger pang hits you. But it echoes impotently. Then three things happen. First hunger leaves as you begin to steadily burn your own fat. Yes it turns out the brain Was bluffing. Second, Your muscles tighten and feel full. HGH is being released. Third -you feel confident and focused. Dopamine and testosterone slam into the party.
    Two quick things that blew my mind , and they are pure science: Don’t be afraid of fasting because muscle will be broken down. Emergency measures are taken, HGH protects muscle catabolism. Doesn’t let it happen , only fat is burned. Keep lean muscle as you burn fat. No hunger.
    Second: The brain needs some glucose. Now what? The body under emergency conditions makes the glucose you need from your fat. Yes it can do this!! Wow.
    Lean , hard and confident. We haven’t even mentioned the detox and longevity effects! Pulse feeding -calorie restriction- won’t send you into this fail safe system. Don’t be afraid to push past the 20th hour on water tea and black coffee only. Remember partner, your brain is bluffing.

  25. I am regular runner since last few months, and practicing some HIIT workouts, these days I am running after having rich proteins, but still I am feeling so tired, my daily schedule regarding Job, then my workouts, all becomes quite hectic, but still don’t wanna skip anything either job or workout, so please suggest me, how can I maintain my energy level throughout, though you already provided a lot of information, in this post, I am also gonna follow most of them.

    Thanks for sharing.