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Tuesdays With Jeff: Insights Into Your Health: The Calorie Paradox

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Over the years, I have worked with many people who have told me their diet was vegetable based. However, on closer examination, it was anything but. Most often, they were getting most of their calories from either nuts, fruits, or starches (starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans).

Here is why.

The basis of a diet is what compromises most of it. In the world of nutrition, the deciding factor in dietary intake is calories and not the weight, or volume or servings of food consumed. Hence, the food or food group or type of food that contributes the largest percentage of calories to the total calorie intake will form the basis of that diet. This is the accepted standard in the world of nutrition.

These days we hear a lot about plant based diets. What this refers to is that most of the calories in the diet, comes from plants.

In the plant based diet world, we also hear terms like “starch” based, “nut” based, “fruit” based and “vegetable” based. A starch based diet is one where the majority of the calories will come from starches (whole grains, starchy vegetables and legumes).  As such, if someone is on a nut based diet, then the majority of their calories will come from nuts.

In addition, if someone was on a “vegetable” based diet, the majority of the calories will come from vegetables. However, because the calorie density of vegetables is so low, many who think they are following a vegetable based diet aren’t and are actually following something completely different. Most often, they are actually following a fruit based, nut based or even a starch based diet, without even realizing it.

Read more here. 

About the author

Jeff Novick
Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN is truly a unique dietitian and nutritionist. With over 24 years of experience in nutrition, health, fitness and natural living, he offers expert health advice distilled into powerful, easy-to-understand language on a variety of current topics.Novick’s insightful and humorous approach to nutrition and health has helped thousands worldwide make the transition to healthy living. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana State University in nutrition, with a minor in exercise science.Novick serves as Vice President for Executive Health Exams International and lectures at the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California and at the Engine 2 Immersion program in Austin, Texas. He is also the Director of Nutrition for the Meals for Health program, which is helping empower low-income families to achieve optimal health.For almost a decade, Novick served as the Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Center in Aventura, Florida, and as Vice President of the Board of the Directors for the National Health Association (NHA). He also served as the Director of Health Education for the NHA and as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Health Sciences for Kaplan University.Novick has taught nutrition classes at Indiana State University, Indiana University Medical School, the University of Miami Medical School and the Florida Academy of Family Physicians. He regularly lectures at medical conferences across the country. While in Indiana, he created and taught the Nutrition Education Initiative, a preventive medicine curriculum for medical doctors, residents and medical students. In recognition of this groundbreaking project, Indiana’s governor awarded Novick the Indiana State Public Health Excellence in Health Science Award and Indiana State University awarded him the Graduate-of-the-Last-Decade Award.He has been interviewed by Newsday, Parade, Men’s Health, Shape, Women’s World and has appeared on Fox News, Discovery Health, the Today Show and other media outlets nationwide. He recently appeared in the documentary Processed People and the movie Fatboy, which won the Best Documentary award at the Fort Lauderdale and Queens Film Festivals.