8

votes

It's HERE! Mat Lalonde 2012 AHS nutrient density talk. HACK. What ranking surprised you?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM

I've been waiting since last AUGUST for this!

http://ketopia.com/nutrient-density-sticking-to-the-essentials-mathieu-lalonde-ahs12/

What about the nutrient density index surprised you? What effect (if any) will the index have on your diet?

For me I was shocked with how low human breast milk ranked. I guess it is about time for me to start weening myself of it anyway. Perhaps the low ranking was due to the exclusion of fatty acids from the analysis.

A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on March 18, 2013
at 10:17 PM

Those scientists that conveniently left out the '10 essential vitamins and nutrients' are the Veg*an "fifth columnists"! They clearly believe that the end justifies the means.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 17, 2013
at 01:39 PM

Yeah I did like pointing out the fact that the nutrition profile promoted at whole foods excludes about 10 essential vitamins and nutrients in an attempt to promote a plant based diet. Also the fact that the USA ranks second to last in believing in evolution is disturbing!

D400bbb1c5b3b874b8334a268c854c62

(120)

on March 17, 2013
at 05:22 AM

Dunno, I've been scouring the internet for ages. It just happened to pop up as the first entry under a google search yesterday. Apparently this site has had it posted since early Febuary. I also find it weird.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2030)

on March 17, 2013
at 05:19 AM

Ya, I've been checking in periodically to Vimeo and hadn't seen a new video for a while. Glad this was posted.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 10:56 PM

I've seen PhD's do this kind of work. Publish or perish. It gets you to the next conference. What's really lame is mining public data and obfuscating it. I've used USDA a lot but the ground beef he's made of is indigestible.

05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on March 16, 2013
at 10:48 PM

everyone's an asshole to somebody. perception creates reality. look at the wonderful reality we've all created!!!!

A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on March 16, 2013
at 10:33 PM

By "his data" I meant what he had processed/synthesised from the USDA dataset. He was pretty clear about his methodology and he did give caveats, so he wasn't obfuscating or practising sophistry.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 09:49 PM

The problem with some of those foods (human breast milk, likely) was that he used incomplete data and assumed blanks were zeros. Sorry, bud, that's not how the world works. And if this passes as a PhD worth of work, then I'm unimpressed with his PhD.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 09:29 PM

It's not his data, he's wonking USDA data free to everyone, it doesn't support paleo and it's loaded with his own covert biases (remember the quip about fiber not being included), but glad you got something useful out of it.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:31 PM

This model is his precious. He hacked the USDA data hard to come up with this. NO ONE is allowed to mess with something that generated this many PowerPoint slides.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:28 PM

Doesn't look like it was worth the trip greymouser. This would have been a good session to skip.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:26 PM

WAY more than a cup of dried basil. I have all the leaves from my last plant. Dried it's a cup that weighs 20 grams.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:22 PM

From now on I guess he'd better nut up. Otherwise he's a hypocrite.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:21 PM

He's probably very defensive about what he's done being special and precious.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:15 PM

Divide by calories and nuts tank. Added to my scale for reference...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:14 PM

You're right on, for the overwhelming majority of folks maximum nutrition in minimum calories is what matters. He seemed to put too much emphasis on the tiny majority that needs calories more than nutrients.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:12 PM

I don't do breakfast cereal, I now do a bowl of dried basil with raw milk, thanks Mat!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 06:28 PM

Artistic license.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 16, 2013
at 05:20 PM

You had to be there - he corrected himself later about cashews being legumes.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on March 16, 2013
at 04:24 PM

Of course, there is no way I would eat as much of my calories in kale as in beef, (not to mention absorption issues), so in practical terms, meat wins out.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on March 16, 2013
at 04:20 PM

+1 re: your feedback. Nice chart, Matt!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 04:03 PM

Ok, and I just watched the Q&A.. the biggest surprise: he was a total asshole to the first questioner. For somebody touted as enjoying questions, he sure didn't seem to enjoy anybody questioning his methods.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 02:16 PM

Caloric weight? *cough, bullshit*

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 02:05 PM

Cashews are legumes? What?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 02:04 PM

I'm still watching it... so I reserve the right to edit the above for the next 30 minutes or so...

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9 Answers

7
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 02:03 PM

Argh!!!! His refusal to compare isocaloric values pissed me off so much. And then, he spends time discussing this artifact in the data as if it's significant!

For example, at around minute 28, he compares cooked versus raw grains, and laments the loss of nutrients in cooking. He does not mention the change in caloric density! So wrong... Sweet potatoes versus white potatoes... sweet potatoes lose, but they're 50% less calorically dense! Isocaloric amounts? They're pretty similar!

He simply needed two scales: values per serving and values per calorie. And strategically use one scale or the other when comparing foods. Foods with wildly different serving sizes? You can't use per serving values, the numbers just fall apart. Foods that are very different in character (ground beef versus broccoli, for example), the numbers don't work per calorie.

So unfortunately, I think Mat's scale falls short.

EDIT: ok, the last few minutes of the presentation...

Caloric weight... something's not right there, because all his numbers go down. When he eliminates water/fiber from the mass, the denominator decreases... If I do this for a single nutrient and a single food: 100 grams of broccoli has 99% DV of Vitamin C, dry weight of broccoli is 7.2 grams per 100 grams. So with water you get a per mass value of 0.99, and without water/fiber you get 13.75. Beef liver 100 grams has 82% DV of B3 so per mass value of 0.82, dry weight of liver is 27.9 grams per 100 grams, so an DV per mass of 2.93. So, he did some wonky math or did something without showing his work...

Also, his serving sizes for spices were insanely huge, which gave artificially high nutrient density scores. Who uses 100 grams of dried basil when cooking?

In the end.. Mat made a scale that favors animal products over others. Not sure that's any better than plant-biased systems he criticized at the beginning.

EDIT EDIT: Ok, in addition to the problem with caloric density, he also has a problem (I think, unless he did some math in his standardization/normalization) with a single nutrient raising the overall nutrient density by a significant amount. Beef liver and kale come to mind... for liver B12, vitamin A and copper are so much higher than all the other nutrients. Kale has so much more K than everything else.

So wouldn't it be reasonable to cap those excess nutrients? So I did that below with some foods from Cronometer, simply totaling the vitamin/mineral DVs.

...................per 100 calories........with 500% DV cap..........with 100% DV cap
Beef Liver         2254                    2070                      899
Chicken Breast     192                     192                       192
Ground Beef        160                     160                       160

Kale               2254                    1555                      730
Broccoli           918                     918                       577
Cucumber           391                     391                       391

Sweet Potato       233                     233                       233  
Wheat Bread        194                     194                       194  
White Rice         97                      97                        97

Brazil Nuts        631                     600                       200
Almonds            139                     139                       139
Peanuts            103                     103                       103

Raspberries        259                     259                       259
Banana             125                     125                       125
Apple              57                      57                        57

So isocaloric... compare within the meats, is beef liver that great? Yes, even capped, it's significantly more nutrient dense than chicken or beef. Comparing veggies, is kale the superfood that it's made out to be? Well, not as much as in the case of liver... capping excess nutrients (like vitamin K) brings kale more or less into line with other veggies, but it does still come out slightly ahead. Comparing starches, all in the same ballpark, and wheat bread is not a slouch when it comes to nutrient density.

I think the above numbers make sense intuitively from a paleo mindset (maybe not chicken over beef, that's a calorie/fat effect, but the fact that they are at least close shouldn't be a surprise). It makes intuitive sense that veggies are for the most part more nutritious than meats and starches (save liver).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 02:05 PM

Cashews are legumes? What?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on March 16, 2013
at 04:20 PM

+1 re: your feedback. Nice chart, Matt!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:28 PM

Doesn't look like it was worth the trip greymouser. This would have been a good session to skip.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 02:04 PM

I'm still watching it... so I reserve the right to edit the above for the next 30 minutes or so...

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on March 16, 2013
at 04:24 PM

Of course, there is no way I would eat as much of my calories in kale as in beef, (not to mention absorption issues), so in practical terms, meat wins out.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 02:16 PM

Caloric weight? *cough, bullshit*

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 16, 2013
at 05:20 PM

You had to be there - he corrected himself later about cashews being legumes.

3
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I'm surprised nuts and seeds had such a good ranking. He's advocated in the past a seedless diet and I feel like that's an inconsistency he didn't address.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:22 PM

From now on I guess he'd better nut up. Otherwise he's a hypocrite.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:15 PM

Divide by calories and nuts tank. Added to my scale for reference...

3
A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on March 16, 2013
at 08:45 PM

That was excellent. His takedown of the covert vegetarian at the start of the Q&A was great! You need to watch the whole session to get a feel for his work, he said very clearly that this was the data that he had to work with, that there are many other factors that need to be included, and it is not a dietary recommendation. He is making his data available to anyone who asks, so it's up to others to do more data crunching if they have a problem with his work. What is really surprising (and disappointing) is that this sort of analysis has not been done before and the indexes already out there are either broken or heavily biased by those who have an ideology to push -- give us the facts and leave it up to the individual to decide what combination of foods they want to consume.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 17, 2013
at 01:39 PM

Yeah I did like pointing out the fact that the nutrition profile promoted at whole foods excludes about 10 essential vitamins and nutrients in an attempt to promote a plant based diet. Also the fact that the USA ranks second to last in believing in evolution is disturbing!

A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on March 16, 2013
at 10:33 PM

By "his data" I meant what he had processed/synthesised from the USDA dataset. He was pretty clear about his methodology and he did give caveats, so he wasn't obfuscating or practising sophistry.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 09:29 PM

It's not his data, he's wonking USDA data free to everyone, it doesn't support paleo and it's loaded with his own covert biases (remember the quip about fiber not being included), but glad you got something useful out of it.

A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on March 18, 2013
at 10:17 PM

Those scientists that conveniently left out the '10 essential vitamins and nutrients' are the Veg*an "fifth columnists"! They clearly believe that the end justifies the means.

3
Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:18 PM

What if I ran the zoo? I developed an index once which I was proud of, a simple predictor of waste paper value based on two fundamental physical properties. When I had diabetes I was greatly helped in food selection by the published numbers on glycemic index.

What if someone developed an index which evaluated foods on the basis of their similarity to a vitamin pill? Would it have any value for anyone other than GNC?

I'm sorry, but I couldn't make it through this to the end. It suggests nonsense like basing a diet on Brazil nuts and kale. The basis for the index is a summation of cats, dogs and parakeets (good!) and raccoons, strontium 90 and Khomeini (bad!). What's good or bad is of Mat Lalonde's own choosing. Common sense is ignored in favor of the selenium RDA.

This index leaves me with the impression that breast-feeding mothers are toxic to their newborns. WRONG. I appreciate Mat's effort but with his education he should be able realize that this is a POS, and try again. An index is of little value if it's backloaded with the author's personal biases.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 09:49 PM

The problem with some of those foods (human breast milk, likely) was that he used incomplete data and assumed blanks were zeros. Sorry, bud, that's not how the world works. And if this passes as a PhD worth of work, then I'm unimpressed with his PhD.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 10:56 PM

I've seen PhD's do this kind of work. Publish or perish. It gets you to the next conference. What's really lame is mining public data and obfuscating it. I've used USDA a lot but the ground beef he's made of is indigestible.

3
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on March 16, 2013
at 05:58 PM

Disappointed by his hairstyle. 1995 called, they want their gel back.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 06:28 PM

Artistic license.

3
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on March 16, 2013
at 05:17 PM

I think the data is interesting, but in a lot of cases not really useful for choosing foods for a diet. For example, nuts are very nutritionally dense, but the 100g of Brazil nuts that have such great nutrition also have about 650 calories, about 25-75% of your calories for the day. This would make it difficult to eat enough other foods to have a balanced diet unless you ate so many calories that you'd gain a lot of weight.

Similarly, 100g of dried basil has a lot of nutrition, but how can anyone possibly eat that? That's like a cup of dry basil, the usual serving size is probably 1/100 of that.

And there is no data available for cooked wheat? That is totally amazing considering that is the bulk of most people's diets and the foundation of the "food pyramid". He suggests that the nutritional value of grains are based on their raw state, even though most people eat them cooked. If that is true, that is a scandal of epic proportions that everyone needs to be aware of.

He also does not adjust for anti-nutrients (phytates, etc) and substances that cause other problems like inflammation or allergic reactions (gluten, nightshades, etc). There is also no talk about omega 3 vs. 6, basically all fat is listed as not nutritionally dense. But everyone needs to eat some fat, many nutrients are only fat-soluble, and having the right omega 3 vs. 6 balance is as important as nutrients IMHO.

The challenge for most people is how to get the highest level of nutrition with the smallest number of calories, and also in a way that it is not impossible to buy, prepare and eat your food. The data he gave here is an interesting starting point but a lot more analysis is needed to get there.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:14 PM

You're right on, for the overwhelming majority of folks maximum nutrition in minimum calories is what matters. He seemed to put too much emphasis on the tiny majority that needs calories more than nutrients.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:26 PM

WAY more than a cup of dried basil. I have all the leaves from my last plant. Dried it's a cup that weighs 20 grams.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:12 PM

I don't do breakfast cereal, I now do a bowl of dried basil with raw milk, thanks Mat!

3
3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

on March 16, 2013
at 02:16 PM

I was surprised that many whole grains compared almost equally (around negative 3) with most every meat (including the healthiest pork). He says to "wrap everything in bacon," but why not wrap everything in quinoa and kamut as well? He left that part out.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes scored higher than meats, which is to be expected.

It also surprised what an asshole he was to people who ask questions that go against is bias.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 16, 2013
at 07:21 PM

He's probably very defensive about what he's done being special and precious.

2
Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on March 16, 2013
at 01:35 PM

I was surprised nuts and seeds were an order of magnitude more nutrient dense than any non-organ animal (seafood, pork, beef, eggs & dairy), especially since they are high in fat, which would tend to lower nutrient density.

Herbs & Spices seem over valued in the scores from a practical consumption perspective, since natural quantities will be small. I wonder if there's a way to account for that.

I was also surprised cacao was so nutrient dense, just after nuts and seeds. I read this to be pure cacao, as opposed to chocolate, which adds cocoa butter. Probably similar to the reason spices score so high.

After adjusting for water and fiber (caloric weight score), I was surprised legumes were more nutrient dense than any non-organ animal (seafood, pork, beef, eggs & dairy). Noting that soy, cashews, peanuts topped the list and I didn't see some in the tables like lentils and black beans (did they score too low). Kidney beans were graphed appearing fairly nutrient dense, but I didn't see it listed in the tables ... maybe I missed it, or a discrepency.

Fruits scored poorly (even worse after adjusting for water and fiber), but Mat commented after the presentation, "I seem to being doing well with more fruit". So some anecdotal evidence there's more to foods than the nutrients accounted for in this analysis.

I think one interesting thing to keep in mind is while many can benefit from increasing the nutrient density of the foods they eat, it isn't necessary for all foods to be nutrient rich, and in fact may be more healthful to eat a few lower nutrient, easy to digest foods.

I cannot really say it changes my personal diet, but it was interesting to see.

2
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on March 16, 2013
at 01:35 PM

Thanks for this. I was looking at the Vimeo Channel for AHS and would have missed it otherwise. Weird that it was on a YouTube channel that I wasn't aware of, instead. Did they switch to youtube?

D400bbb1c5b3b874b8334a268c854c62

(120)

on March 17, 2013
at 05:22 AM

Dunno, I've been scouring the internet for ages. It just happened to pop up as the first entry under a google search yesterday. Apparently this site has had it posted since early Febuary. I also find it weird.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2030)

on March 17, 2013
at 05:19 AM

Ya, I've been checking in periodically to Vimeo and hadn't seen a new video for a while. Glad this was posted.

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