Episode 19 - Marty Kendall on nutrient dense diets

by Break Nutrition | Podcast

Show notes:

  • Marty Kendall launched https://optimisingnutrition.com/ in 2015 and has 2 excellent Facebook groups called Optimising Nutrition and Marty Kendall’s Nutrient Optimiser
  • Marty explains how his engineering background helps him make sense of nutrition science
  • What’s the nutrient optimizer? Marty explains his 3-pronged approach for recommending foods based on their insulin index, nutrient density and energy density
  • We discuss the fact that RDIs (recommended daily intake of nutrients) were established in omnivorous diets (relatively) high in carbohydrates and how this limits the interpretation of nutrient density in low-plant or carnivorous diets
  • Marty explains why he looks at nutrient density on a nutrient per calorie basis (as does Joel Fuhrman) as opposed to a nutrient per gram basis adopted by the likes of Mat Lalonde
  • We briefly talk about the protein leverage hypothesis (PLH):
    • Although not mentioned in our discussion, the following studies cast doubt on PLH
      • Bekelman et al. 2017 “The lack of a significant difference in total energy intake by SES is inconsistent with our expectation, and particularly surprising given the variation in mean BMI and obesity prevalence by SES .”
      • Martens et al. 2013 “It remains to be shown whether a relatively low protein intake would cause overeating or would be the effect of overeating of carbohydrate and fat.”
    • Whether the theory is true or not, we still don’t know if protein is being leveraged as a stop-gap measure to make up missing calories, nutrients or both
  • We discuss limitations of nutrient density analyses that don’t take into account bioavailability or conversion loss to turn the nutrient into its biologically active form
    • this list illustrates some of the mistakes made when deriving nutrient density data (these were not explicitly mentioned in our discussion)
      • the use of diets composed mostly of sucrose, glucose, or corn syrup
      • the use of diets deficient in vitamin B6
      • the use of purified fatty acids instead of whole foods
      • the use of questionable biochemical markers rather than verifiable symptoms as an index for EFA deficiency
      • the generalization from studies using young, growing animals to adults
    • Marty tells us about his exercise routine and his surprise at how much hungrier it makes him


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