9

votes

A Day of Paleo according to Nutrition Data

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 13, 2012 at 8:05 AM

Today I got fed up with hearing people at work suggest that adding something like bacon, butter, or dressing suddenly made "healthy" foods "unhealthy." As if to suggest that the healthiness of something is determined only by its proximity to caloric nothingness. As if to say adding gasp FAT to something would somehow remove the nutrients from a bowl of broccoli. Seriously!? Plus, one coworker lamented that getting all your nutrients from whole foods required we eat an OBSCENE amount of vegetables to make it work. Note, this particular coworker is a wannabe vegan and eats a ton of vegetables anyway.

So I took it upon myself to play around on Nutrition Data. I'm a visual person, and I wanted to see first hand, with actual data, how a whole foods diet full of animal products was indeed very nutrient dense (and perhaps more nutrient dense than a more "plant based" diet?). I remember trying to do this several years back during my "flexitarian" days but never had success actually meeting all these daily "requirements" without a multivitamin, but I think I've done it with a paleo perspective!

Note, this was just for fun and personal education. While I'm not strict paleo, I decided to use "strict paleo" (no beans, grains, or dairy) as the variation this time. My efforts were to reach >90% daily value on all micronutrients and maintain a reasonable omega 3/6 ratio. I did include a dose of cod liver oil, so maybe that's cheating. But oh well. Sue me.

Breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs, 3 oz bacon (this approximates 1-3 rashers, depending), 1 cup cooked kale, 4 oz blackberries, 1 tsp cod liver oil

Lunch: Salad with 3 cups raw spinach, 1 tin of sardines, 1 oz olives, 1/2 cup sliced red peppers, 1.5 oz avocado (that's how much half a small avocado weighs here), plus 1 medium sweet potato

Dinner: 4 oz lamb liver, 1 cup cooked broccoli, 100g roasted pumpkin

Snack: 1/2 oz almonds, 1/2 oz pecans

Of course, this does not account for cooking fats and seasonings.

This paleo day adds up to about 1650 calories, about 80 g carb, 115g protein, and 102 g fat. Omega 6-3 ratio is roughly 3.5-1, respectively.

Again, this is just for fun. I don't eat like this. I don't go around recommending people eat so few calories, etc. I don't think obsessing over nutrient DVs every day matters, or is healthy. My point is that one can, indeed, get all their nutrients from all those "unhealthy" high-calorie foods, with room left over, especially when we're not depending on all those nutrient-sparse grains and legumes. Theoretically, I'd say if you were eating according to ancestral healthy, nutrients would balance themselves out over time, no? Of course I'm preaching to the choir. ;)

Any thoughts?

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D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on November 29, 2012
at 03:03 AM

Take out the bacon, cod liver oil, liver, and eggs and you end up taking out a majority of the nutrient density. I'll leave it to you to try to put together day of eating, especially at a 1650 calorie limitation, that's equally as nutrient rich, without a multivitamin and without that "arterycloggingsaturatedfat" and cholesterol you fear so much.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:32 AM

270 calorie "meal" isn't a meal at that low amount of energy. Adding 300 calories of healthy fat adds much needed energy, and it doesn't detract (if it doesn't enhance) the micronutrient profile.

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on November 28, 2012
at 08:55 PM

Bacon? Cod liver oil? Liver? Bad- what planet did you step off of?

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 14, 2012
at 03:46 AM

Exactly! I even made another menu based off of my ordinary eats (I do eat some dairy) and calibrated the Daily Values to my own stats. Even without daily organ meat, sardines, and CLO supplement, over the span of several days, all DVs exceeded a 100% average! I had a thought earlier. I noticed how nutrition experts say whole grains and beans are our best source of B-Vitamins. The thing is, many of those products are only high in them because they are FORTIFIED. I wonder how much of the lipid hypothesis paired with crop subsidies went into that shift in focus. Animals-->Grains

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on September 13, 2012
at 03:57 PM

I love that you did this. :) I did similar one time to show how I could easily get all the "fiber" I needed without eating grains. I never heard back from that nurse on facebook...

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 13, 2012
at 02:54 PM

No argument there. One-size-fits all approach can't possibly meet everyone's needs (plus the issue of bioavailability and nutrient storage). Especially when RDA is determined by people who don't know what's good for them. I like this approach because it shows, in a way most Americans can comprehend, that the actual data shows that animal foods are far more nutrient dense than we give them credit, and plant foods often less so. I've argued against the "high protein" content of quinoa and black beans before in these terms.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 13, 2012
at 02:49 PM

(around here, I mean my real life "here")

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 13, 2012
at 02:48 PM

Also, you make a great point about turmeric. I think many people (around here) see spices as something they just don't know how to work with, or simply as a replacement for salt (other soapbox there...). Personally, I eat a lot of cinnamon, dried chilies, and thyme. I also drink a lot of tea. In searching for foods high in various nutrients, herbs, spices, and teas made the top of several lists.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 13, 2012
at 02:46 PM

Indeed. I do believe, in the end, Nutrition Data can't possibly account for bioavailability and the body's ability to store certain nutrients very well (vitamin K2 comes to mind). I think this is a reasonably snapshot, but a week-long or month-long dietary data would possibly be even more telling! For example, it was hard to get enough thiamin, calcium, and in the absence of cod liver oil, vitamin D in this particular day. But the other days of the week/month I eat more pastured pork and seafood, I would see those numbers jump pretty high really easily.

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3

(415)

on September 13, 2012
at 12:02 PM

That's http://nutritiondata.self.com/

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7 Answers

5
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 13, 2012
at 12:27 PM

Its kinda nice to see for yourself that you can cover all the RDA's eating paleo if you wish. But, dig a little deeper into that rabbit hole and you find yourself questioning the RDA scheme validity altogether.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 13, 2012
at 02:54 PM

No argument there. One-size-fits all approach can't possibly meet everyone's needs (plus the issue of bioavailability and nutrient storage). Especially when RDA is determined by people who don't know what's good for them. I like this approach because it shows, in a way most Americans can comprehend, that the actual data shows that animal foods are far more nutrient dense than we give them credit, and plant foods often less so. I've argued against the "high protein" content of quinoa and black beans before in these terms.

3
43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on September 13, 2012
at 10:18 AM

Liver is what makes these numbers spectacular. If you had chicken of beef Instead you would still make laps around SADers but it would not be through the roof like this. Add some turmeric and the antioxidant values skyrocket too.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 13, 2012
at 02:49 PM

(around here, I mean my real life "here")

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 13, 2012
at 02:48 PM

Also, you make a great point about turmeric. I think many people (around here) see spices as something they just don't know how to work with, or simply as a replacement for salt (other soapbox there...). Personally, I eat a lot of cinnamon, dried chilies, and thyme. I also drink a lot of tea. In searching for foods high in various nutrients, herbs, spices, and teas made the top of several lists.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 13, 2012
at 02:46 PM

Indeed. I do believe, in the end, Nutrition Data can't possibly account for bioavailability and the body's ability to store certain nutrients very well (vitamin K2 comes to mind). I think this is a reasonably snapshot, but a week-long or month-long dietary data would possibly be even more telling! For example, it was hard to get enough thiamin, calcium, and in the absence of cod liver oil, vitamin D in this particular day. But the other days of the week/month I eat more pastured pork and seafood, I would see those numbers jump pretty high really easily.

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on September 14, 2012
at 03:01 PM

Awesome! This is pretty good stuff. I wonder what a SAD eater's day would look like. :)

Though weirdly enough I'm not so sure about the "Inflammation Factor" measure - sounds way off - perhaps their data is off, or they're of the CW persuasion and think meat/eggs are "harmful."

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on September 14, 2012
at 01:21 AM

Very interesting! A lot of SADders never touch liver--they think it holds all the toxins from the animal (perhaps correct about CAFO?). And they think it's too high in cholesterol.

I was listening to one paleo/low carb podcast interviewing someone who was a supplement salesperson going on and on about how it's impossible to meet all the RDAs without supplements, specifically hers. It's good to know it's entirely possible. And somehow, I don't think our ancestors, who ate traditional diets, used her supplements either.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on September 14, 2012
at 03:46 AM

Exactly! I even made another menu based off of my ordinary eats (I do eat some dairy) and calibrated the Daily Values to my own stats. Even without daily organ meat, sardines, and CLO supplement, over the span of several days, all DVs exceeded a 100% average! I had a thought earlier. I noticed how nutrition experts say whole grains and beans are our best source of B-Vitamins. The thing is, many of those products are only high in them because they are FORTIFIED. I wonder how much of the lipid hypothesis paired with crop subsidies went into that shift in focus. Animals-->Grains

0
0e5a836ec6942a44d626d00aa7daa0bf

on September 13, 2012
at 09:55 AM

thanks this artcle

0
Fef9cf6b9ab6438fb360ef74aad064c7

on September 13, 2012
at 08:36 AM

What program did you use to make this stuff?

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3

(415)

on September 13, 2012
at 12:02 PM

That's http://nutritiondata.self.com/

-1
7c9173082638da87e1f77fc9a390f6db

on November 28, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Yea, if you took out the bacon, liver, and cod liver oil (which tastes terrible), it all sounds healthy and good. Why wouldn't you recommend 1650 calories a day? That sounds sufficient or more than enough for most adult women, at least. Oh, also, if I replaced my 8grams of sugar in my whole grain breakfast cereal for three eggs EVERY day, I'd be helping my heart specialist get rich.

I agree with your co-worker that bacon, butter, and creamy sauces DO make healthy foods unhealthy. Well it depends. Are you adding a pat of butter to a 400 calorie vegetable-heavy meal, or are you smothering a 270 calorie healthy meal in 300 calories of butter and cream cheese? If I throw a raw carrot on top of my chocolate cake a la mode, does that make it a healthy lunch?

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on November 28, 2012
at 08:55 PM

Bacon? Cod liver oil? Liver? Bad- what planet did you step off of?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:32 AM

270 calorie "meal" isn't a meal at that low amount of energy. Adding 300 calories of healthy fat adds much needed energy, and it doesn't detract (if it doesn't enhance) the micronutrient profile.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on November 29, 2012
at 03:03 AM

Take out the bacon, cod liver oil, liver, and eggs and you end up taking out a majority of the nutrient density. I'll leave it to you to try to put together day of eating, especially at a 1650 calorie limitation, that's equally as nutrient rich, without a multivitamin and without that "arterycloggingsaturatedfat" and cholesterol you fear so much.

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