The Smarter Science of Slim ~ General Thoughts

A few days back a copy of this book was donated to me, and for the past months or so the occasional query has come my way for my opinion of the book.  The author, Jonathan Bailor has a website that I've read bits and pieces of -- mostly the blog.   I think I know who the mystery guru some have been hinting at these past days, and I'm pretty sure I know why -- Bailor classifies foods as SANE or inSANE based on the acronym of four factors:

S = Satiety     A = Aggression (towards body fat formation)   N = Nutrition    E = Efficiency

We'll get back to that acronym later, but as I've also blogged on quite a few of his references and science here, it makes sense to me that searches for Bailor's book/website/diet might land someone here.   That and, I suppose, this post:  And the Cherry-Picking Baton has been passed.  So I've now read through the diet section of the book and have a full critique in the works (if I can stomach it).  I may or may not get to the exercise portion.   For now some general thoughts.

First, how unfortunate that we have yet another fairly sound diet that will probably help many people, but not for the reasons stated.  It is subtitled "Scientific Proof.  Fat Loss Facts" and Bailor sure as heck delivers on the litany of scientific papers he's read and distilled down to his plan.  I've lamented here recently, that in this day and age we would have newbies on the block peddling the same old discredited TWICHOO (Taubes Wrong Insulin Carbohydrate Hypothesis of Obesity).  It is especially disturbing in that his dietary recommendations are in contrast to TWICHOO -- basically, his is a truly high protein diet containing more carbohydrates than any card carrying TWICHOOB (B=Believer) would even look at, and in the end is  -- EEK!!! -- low fat.  Yep.  In the book you will be encouraged to eat such things as egg whites and low-or-no fat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese as protein sources.    

Bailor's schtick is that Eat Less Move More is not only wrong but dangerous.  Dangerous?  He banks this entirely on the pathetic rates with which people can maintain losses.  He likens it to the long term success rates of quitting smoking cold turkey.  So ELMM doesn't work because people regain weight, as quitting smoking doesn't work to clear up lungs because people take smoking back up???  Shoddy logic that.    Bailor says that what you really need to do is EMMLS -- Eat More and Move Less (Smarter).  This is the repackaged schtick of one Gary Taubes  and the Eades/Hahn trio.   And I'm sure someone will chastise me for repeating how this is not working all that well for so many, many people.  But the track record of reverse-insulin-engineering aside, it is more disturbing that this is endorsed for nutritional curricula!  Say wha???

In studies Bailor cites where weight is lost, they ALWAYS eat less.  Always.  If by Eat More he means merely bulk, volume, weight of foods, OK.   But that is not the message that comes across as he lists a bunch of studies showing discrepancies between mass losses, gains, macros, calories, etc.  To lose weight permanently, we should tell obese people to eat more of different foods.  What tops the list?  Whey protein.  And I get floored when I read about "eating more" when someone cites a study I've blogged on and touted repeatedly here at the Asylum:  High Protein Diet Induces Sustained Reduction in Ad Libitum Intake Despite Diurnal Leptin Compensation.  I'll save the discussion of how Bailor mangles this study in support of his plan in my review if I ever post one up.

A = Aggression, E = Efficiency and Bailor expends a lot of energy rehashing TWICHOO.  This is laughable when viewed in context of his primary example of his glorious plan.  
The smarter scientific approach to fat loss is much more effective.
For example, researchers at Skidmore College compared a traditional “eat less, exercise more— harder” program against an “eat more, exercise less—smarter” program. Let’s call the groups in the study the Harder Group and the Smarter Group.  The Harder Group ate the traditional diet of 60% carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 25% fat while doing low-quality cardiovascular exercise for forty minutes per day, six days per week.  Low-quality cardiovascular exercise refers to exercises like walking, biking, and jogging, which must be done for hours to impact our health and weight. The Smarter Group ate a higher-quality diet of 40% carbohydrate, 40% protein, and 20% fat while exercising only 60% as much, but with higher-quality.  The study lasted for 12 weeks and included 34 women and 29 men between the ages of 20 and 60.   At the end of the study, the Harder Group “successfully” ate less and exercised eighteen hours more than the Smarter Group. After examining the results though, the researchers concluded: 
The primary finding of the current study is that a lifestyle modification program consisting of high intensity cardiovascular and resistance training combined with a balanced carbohydrate and protein diet results in greater improvement in body composition, cardiovascular risk factors, and muscular strength than a program comprised of a traditional diet and moderate-intensity exercise regimen commonly recommended for weight loss.
Less academically speaking, eating more and exercising less—smarter—was more effective than the traditional approach.
Ahh, but no.  Here's the study:  Increased Dietary Protein and Combined High Intensity Aerobic and Resistance Exercise Improves Body Fat Distribution and Cardiovascular Risk Factors.   The C/P/F group of 40/40/20 <-- that's 80% insulinogenic carbohydrate and protein, VERY high protein, and QUITE low fat --  ate LESS than at baseline.   It is next to impossible to eat 40% energy as carb w/o substantial starch and/or sugar intake.   Any way you speak, Bailor is misrepresenting this study.

Here's the intake data for the study period {click to enlarge}.  Let's just compare the intervention groups as Bailor does, C/P/F  Smarter = 40/40/20, Harder = 60/15/25.  Ummm... the mean calorie deficit is actually ever so slightly greater for the Smarter "eat more" group, only reading Bailor's take you'd think they were eating more than both their counterparts and their original intake.  Both groups cut caloric intake by over 25%.  

Dare I call Bailor a LLVLC Flavor of the Month?  (That didn't end well for the last guy ... well, except he's making money off of desperate obese folks)   He'll be on the 2013 LC Cruise (as of this post), and was recently interviewed on the LLVLC Show.  Over a THOUSAND papers, ten THOUSAND pages?  Yikers.  Seems he didn't read very thoroughly ....

The better results were achieved on the LOWER FAT diet -- so much for that canard -- and very high protein (oh the gluconeogenesis!) .  They cut absolute fat intake by a whopping 60+% from roughly 80g/day to around 30g/day.  That's right ... uber low fat, 2T buttah's worth.  The "traditional" low fat approach group only cut fat intake by about 20g/day from around 70 to 50g/day.  Carbs?  The changes are relatively inconsequential.   The energy expenditures for both groups changed nominally (REE increased about 7-8%).

So how on earth can this guy tout the insulin fat-trapping GARBAGE?  But before we go for today, this is an interesting study in another way ... they did a one-year follow-up.  Ready?

Note that the Harder ended up with 3.5 kg loss vs. 3.0 kg for the Smarter folks.  Don't give me that either is really "significant" as the Smarter group just had less variability and neither was all that significant in the real world sense when push comes to shove for obese people.  Hopefully everyone can agree on that.  Still, the abdominal fat -- touted by Bailor as a superior outcome at 12 weeks -- now favors the Harder group.  Yep, at 12 weeks the Smarter group lost twice the percent abdominal fat (16% v. 8%), but at one year, only the Harder group had significantly reduced abdominal fat mass.  This is rather depressing, but it is what it is.  You cannot cherry pick the 12 week plusses and ignore the 1 year results when you're condensing the science (supposedly) out of all of these studies and citing failure rates of CICO-based approaches.  Oh, and the Harder group apparently ate more inSANE food.

I've been listening to that podcast in the background and what a load of crock.    Bailor didn't even flinch on the description of low carb as high fat.  Not even skipped a beat.  Must be all of those studies flying around in his head.  Jimmy talks about satiety of fat, Bailor talks about lipophobia but he does NOT advocate high fat unless you consider egg whites, and low-non fat diary as the new high fat.  In fact, the only time Jimmy's favorite food group, butter, is mentioned in the book, is that it's not (he mentions peanut butter though, and a fudge made with Splenda).  There is, however, an explicit prescription NOT to consume oils, and last I checked that would include coconut oil.  But rest assured, you will not die without exogenous glucose.  Phew!    I'm going to be sick pretty soon but I'll let it play.  I have a sink to unclog while this runs out.  Oooh Feinman!  The man who has openly admitted he doesn't even understand thermodynamics and authored a paper claiming that conversion of chemical to thermal energy is a 2nd law phenomenon that violates the 1st law.  It does not, it never did, it never will.

Bailor should be ashamed to inflate the stats on muscle vs. fat loss.   He says that if we eat less, our metabolisms will slow, and we'll burn muscle first.  Really?  What does his own darned classic Smarter vs. Harder study show?  EVERYONE ate less.  EVERYONE exercised more (than baseline).   The uber high protein group combined that with resistance training so they not only preserved muscle but gained some.  But how about the other group?  They lost an average of 2.8 kg of which 2.5 was fat and 0.2 was non-fat (rounding error obviously involved here)  so they lost 90% of their weight as FAT.  So much for your nonsense Mr. Bailor.  You know when you even get close to losing 70% of your weight from lean mass?  When you give obese subjects an insulin lowering drug ... or did Mr. Bailor miss that study?

This is flat out dishonest folks, and I'm going to call him on it.  Mr. Bailor -- check that Google Alert -- find me ONE -- just ONE -- study where a group of subjects was fed (in controlled feeding/accountable manner) more calories and lost weight.  Just one.  You and I, and everyone in the audience knows this study doesn't exist.  Then find me ONE -- again just ONE -- study where subjects were underfed (again in controlled/accountable manner) where they did not lose.  You and I, and everyone in the audience knows this study doesn't exist either.

I'm puzzled really.  Other than the higher protein prescription, something I've been after since forever on this blog, how Bailor's diet differs from CW.  It's LoBAG meets KimKins meets South Beach Level One.  Like all the others hyping eating more, it's still about eating less, or it won't work.  Water, fiber and lean proteins.  Check!  Lay off the oils (added fats).  Check!  Eschew sweets.  Check!  I get the whole grain stuff, but eat a dang potato!

But low fat made us fat.  At one point Bailor says "just look around" ... I wonder if he'll be doing so next May ... Meanwhile folks, just eat food.  He suggests highly processed whey protein based shakes and smoothies -- yeah, no Cheerios tree, but there is a whey cow or something out there, right?  Perhaps they can develop a chicken that lays yolkless eggs too, though I suppose that might not fit too well into the evolutionary angle of things.   Eight whites make for a great breakfast!!??  Don't tell Jonathan, but whey protein is one of THE most insulinogenic non-real foods around.  


By page 59 of the book, I had found 4 or 5 statements of Mr. Bailor that were not supported by the cited references. I stopped checking after that. Time is limited, after all.

I do agree his eating plan would help the average overweight American lose weight.

Unknown said…

SO - you advocate a low fat diet as well!!

How much fish? Two servings per week, to prevent sudden death and heart attacks.
What kind of fish? Cold-water fatty fish (albacore tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, sea bass, swordfish, herring, anchovies, halibut, pampano). Many of these fish were not available to the Mediterraneans of the mid-20th century.
How many nuts? Three to five 1-ounce servings per week.
How much olive oil? Aim for a minimum of seven to 14 tablespoons weekly.
How much fruits and vegetables? At least 5 servings daily, to reduce risk of cancer, heart attacks, and stroke.
How much legumes? Four servings per week, to prevent coronary artery disease.
How much wine, for those who carefully weigh the risks and choose to drink? No more than one glass (4-5 ounces) daily for women and two glasses for men, to prolong lifespan and reduce coronary artery disease and dementia.
How much whole grains? Three servings daily, to reduce risk of premature death, coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, and cancer.
The traditional Mediterranean diet was generally high-fiber but how much fiber do we need? Twenty-five to 30 grams daily, to prevent diverticulosis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and hemorrhoids.
The Advanced Diet encourages usage of heart-protective omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in vegetable oils, especially flaxseed, canola, and soybean oils. These were not significant contributors to the traditional diet.
Full-fat versions of dairy products were the norm in the traditional diet. We know now that the saturated fats in them seem to contribute to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), so the Advanced Diet favors the low-fat versions. For the same reason, the Advanced Diet favors leaner (lower fat) cuts of meat, poultry, and game.
ShottleBop said…
My overall impression of the book was that, while it might provide a bibliography of studies worth checking out, Bailor's descriptions of their results set off a few alarm bells--I felt that it would be well to read the studies for myself.
Unknown said…

Ancient Wisdom Confirmed by Modern Science
This is a guest post from Jonathan Bailor of The Smarter Science of Slim and

Executive Summary

Short Version: Primal has been proven right.

Longer Version: Endorsed by the world-wide scientific community including top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, John Hopkins, and UCLA, and approved as curriculum for registered dieticians (RDs) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the single largest meta-analysis of health and fitness ever conducted shows that conventional “eat less, exercise more” approaches are far less effective than going Primal, harm our health, and lead to fat gain 95.4 percent of the time.
Unknown said…
Has a new Guru Of The Month been ordained?
Eric said…
OT: Jimmy Moore's n=1 experiment.

By his own data he is "pre diabetic" ( fasting glucose 100-125 ), I wonder if he is getting treated?

He is collecting all this data, but still refuses to acknowledge calorie counts so we have no way of showing him that his experiment has little to do with grams of carbs and everything to do with a dietary restriction causing a change in energy balance.

bentleyj74 said…
Hey! There he is. HI!


Certainly? You seem very certain considering the uncertainty.
MelJ said…
Someone forgot his meds today; time to turn moderation back on...
CarbSane said…
Sorry bout that gang. Sigh. Trollies are such a bother.
LeonRover said…
Gawd, he is so childish!!

Here is something from the distant past - courtousie Boney M.

Chorus: "Ra Ra Razz Putaine . . . (NOT) Russia's Greatest Love Machine"

Sanjeev said…
> Gawd, he is so childish!!

you just insulted all the children I've ever known.
CarbSane said…
Refuses to acknowledge calorie counts? Eh ... for some reason he refuses to even divulge his super secret menus ... not even for one day!

I wonder if he's taking the Glycosolve he has the sponsorship deal with, and if not, why not? And if so, how come his FBG's are all over the map??!!

I hope for his sake we're not heading there, because I wish the man well despite our differences. But I'm getting that deja vu all over again feeling.
Woodey said…
The Smarter Science of Stupid.

I'm so tired of people like this who make nutrition more confusing and complex for the layman. I unplugged from these guys a few months back and my life has taken an upswing. People like Bailor are really doing a disservice to society and twisting facts around that only serve to mislead people while furthering his agenda, which is to make money.

I would be willing to place a safe bet that there is not one food that we as a people have consumed that at one point was told it was bad and we shouldn't. Eat eggs, don't eat eggs, now eggs are good again- only one of many examples. What is truly ironic, is people can claim to follow whatever diet plan and talk about all its wonders, but in the end they are going to eat whatever they want. Of course people will say they "fell off the wagon" or that they had a "weak moment", but the truth is people talk more than they act.

On the internet people fill up their bathtubs and walk across it. They walk around with a big "S" on their chest, but its mostly a facade. The big LC blowhard that chats it up online then goes to the McDonalds and gets a family meal to wolf down, happens more often than people let on....oh but they are hardcore LC, they just had a "weak moment".

That's one thing I respect Greg Ellis for, he stands by CICO and won't back down from it. I watched a video where he talks about calories and how a lot of overweight people claim they only eat a certain amount but can't lose. He flat out says its a load of crap, that they are off on their calorie count.

Then you get the chunkies that claim they have a condition. I would love to concentration camp those people just to show that the vast majority of them are full of it.
Eric said…
Woodey, you might want to rethink that last comment, it is highly offensive and not constructive. A metabolic ward might be more appropriate settings for them to come to grips with what 1500 calories a day really looks like.

That said you might like this study..

"Although the subjects in group 1 had no distinct psychopathologic characteristics, they perceived a genetic cause for their obesity, used thyroid medication at a high frequency, and described their eating behavior as relatively normal (all P < 0.05 as compared with group 2).

CONCLUSIONS: The failure of some obese subjects to lose weight while eating a diet they report as low in calories is due to an energy intake substantially higher than reported and an overestimation of physical activity, not to an abnormality in thermogenesis."

Basically those who are "diet resistant" are more than likely full of crap when it comes to calories ( both in and out ). They are also more than likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition that can not be validated with bloodwork ( funny that, I have a condition ). They are more depressed and work harder to restrain themselves and yet still eat more and report less than the non-diet resistant peers.

This is a serious reason why bariactric surgery is bound for high failure rates. If you are not correcting the underlying overeating problems you will never be able to "fix" these people.
TCO348 said…
I would love to concentration camp those people just to show that the vast majority of them are full of it.

That's a little harsh but you're right on. That's why I've been behind the food reward theory for a long time. People are overweight because they eat too much. All of these restrictive diets are just ways to eat less without counting calories. In some cases, for various reasons (satiety, hormones) different diets may make it easier to eat less than some other diets but they work for weight loss to the extent that they result in reduced calorie intake. But the big question is why people eat too much. The reason is that the compulsion to eat tasty, high-calorie food, is very very strong. Passing it up for more mundane fare, meal after meal after meal is difficult to do. Overweight people don't want to admit that they can't keep from eating the high-calorie tasty food because they are ashamed. But they shouldn't be. The compulsion to eat delicious food is extremely strong and its very difficult to resist. There is no shame in it. And delicious food is always available. Fast food is delicious. If it wasn't they'd change the recipe until it was. Pizza is delicious. That's why New York has a pizzeria on every corner. If you are a food lover its a constant struggle to eat the stuff that you won't overeat. But no one seems to want to admit this. There is all this hocus pocus about inflammation and leptin resistance and food additives and fructose and omega 6. Its all just looking for alternatives because the obvious answer is unpalatable. But if we just drop the idea the resisting intense pleasure is easy and that anyone who has difficulty doing so is weak then we can all accept that the problem is the hyper-availabiltiy of hyper-palatable and hyper-caloric food.
TCO348 said…
Yes but they are more depress and working harder to restrain themselves. That tells you right there that they are fighting strong urges to indulge in the foods that will keep them overweight. Sounds just like addiction to me. Its so obvious at this point its just ridiculous. Obesity is food addiction - the vast majority of the time.
ProudDaddy said…
Taylor: Back in the 40s, we had plenty of cakes and cookies and pizza and sodas, yet obesity was rare. I'm curious about your explanation for this.
CarbSane said…
We had all of that in the 60's and 70's too. But it was much less accessible on impulse and in quantity. As a kid, I couldn't have drank a 20 oz bottle of Coke if I wanted to, nowadays nobody seems to blink when a kid does.

I'm not a big fan of the idea of food addiction per se, as to why we eat when we do. But I think the "freshman 15" in college would be a lot less likely if Dominoes didn't deliver super cheap pizzas all hours of the day. NYC isn't such a great example as it's always been known as the city that never sleeps, but there were no 24 hr super stores and fast food joints around when I was growing up.
ProudDaddy said…
You are right about the availability of pizza and soda. However, even we poor dirt farmers had cookies, cakes, brownies, and fudge freely available. Add home-baked breads and sweet rolls, dessert after every meal (except breakfast, unless you count the sweet roll), and no compunction about eating any of these things. We even had a mid-afternoon meal called "coffee" consisting almost entirely of cookies and/or cake. You'd think that more soda and pizza, even if added to the cake and cookies, would have caused a more gradual increase in obesity.

I'm just not convinced that some sort of switch wasn't flipped that messed up so many homeostasis systems seemingly all at once. This is not to say that the problem wasn't/isn't over-consumption. I simply question the reason why.
Uh, farmers that were not sheer subsistence were historically carrying bellies, too. And the ones that weren't (and even some with the bellies) were engaged in physical labor that even most crossfit types can't replicate the extent and intensity of today.
Woodey said…
Marie can you back that up with evidence? I would like to see the documents that show farmers were fat. I know that is rhetoric that Paleo and LCers like to toss around, but I would like to see proof instead of someone's word.

Here is a write-up on a study that was done on the Amish, a farming community.
Woodey said…
@Taylor and Eric thanks for providing the link to the study done on CICO and overweight people. As far as not being very constructive and harsh, I wanted to be. I went that route to stress my point, of course I don't want people herded up and mistreated like that. Using the term "concentration camp" might not have been the wisest choice simply because it brings up images of Japanese Americans and Jews, which was a terrible period for America and Germany. I wanted to imply that if you took people and put them in a controlled environment that the majority of the "condition" people would all of a sudden start losing weight. I could have said that instead of "concentration camp", thank you for saying something. There are times that when I write I get a full head of steam and tend to lash out.
ProudDaddy said…
@Marie. If there were very, very few obese in the total population, I don't see how farmers would be big-bellied. It certainly wasn't true in our farm community of the 40s and 50s. Of the several hundred people, farm and village, there was only one "fleshy" person who probably still wouldn't be defined as obese today. And yes, we had tractors and combines and hay balers and milking machines and on and on. Greater intensity than crossfit types? That, I know is nonsense. As to the bellies, I, like Woodey, would like to know your source.
TCO348 said…
Proud Daddy - my explanation is just that there is so much MORE of this type of food EVERYWHERE than in the 40's. I'm sure there was plenty of it then but there is much more now. Much more fast food. More packaged foods. More convenience stores.
ProudDaddy said…
Taylor, you are right, of course, but I wonder how today's convenience/accessability is greater than the cookie bowl and cake on the table of my youth. IOW, these foods were freely available where you spent nearly all your time! How can anything get more convenient than that? One thing, Mom did tell us to keep our hands out of the cookie bowl until we ate a sandwich - which only encouraged us to eat a sandwich that we might not have otherwise eaten.

All in all, I'm still left with my fallback hypothesis: the Ruskies put something in our water supply!
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