Jonathan Bailor Calorie Myth



Part II – Jonathan Bailor
Calorie Myth

Collaborating with top scientists for over 10 years, analyzing over 1,300 studies, synthesizing over 10,000 pages of research, and garnering endorsements by top doctors from Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, Yale, and UCLA, Jonathan Bailor is a preeminent nutrition and exercise expert and former personal trainer who specializes in using high-quality food and exercise to simplify health and fitness.

He has registered over 25 patents and authored the revolutionary upcoming The Calorie Myth (HarperCollins, 12.31.13). Bailor serves as a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, hosts a popular syndicated wellness radio show, blogs on The Huffington Post, and consults for organizations around the world. His free 28-day quick-start eating and exercise guide is available at

A Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of DePauw University, Bailor lives outside of Seattle with his wife Angela and works to enable others to live better through simple, proven science.


Caryn Hartglass | 00:10

Hello everybody we’re back and it’s October First 2013. Thank you for joining me today on It’s All About Food; debunking myths. And there are so many myths out there, we could spend a long time debunking them because so many of them get into our core, get into our skin, we really believe them as fact. But we’re all here on this planet I think to learn, to experience joy, move forward, improve ourselves and some of that means learning that some things that we always believed to be true are not. Hey! You know there was a time when we all thought the world was flat I think it isn’t (laughter). Anyway let’s go on and talk about The Calorie Myth with Jonathan Bailer. Collaborating with top scientist for over 10 years, analyzing over thirteen hundred studies, synthesizing over ten thousand pages of research and garnering endorsements by top doctors from Harvard Medical school, Johns Hopkins, Yale and UCLA. Jonathan Bailer is a preeminent nutrition and exercise expert and former personal trainer who specializes in utilizing high quality food and exercise to simplify health and fitness. He has registered over 25 patents and authored the revolutionary upcoming The Calorie Myth and he serves as senior program manager at Microsoft, hosts a popular syndicated wellness radio show, blogs on Huntington Post, and consults for organizations around the world. His free twenty-eight quick start eating and exercise guide is available at a summa cum laude and phi beta kappa graduate of the Poly university, Bailer lives outside of Seattle with his wife Angela and works to enable others to live better through simple proven science, sounds good to me welcome to It’s All About Food Jonathan.

Jonathan Bailor | 2:05

Thanks for having me it’s a pleasure

Caryn Hartglass | 2:08

Yeah it’s good talking to you again

Jonathan Bailor | 2:11

Absolutely I so enjoyed having you on my show and appreciate you reciprocating the love.

Caryn Hartglass | 2:17

Yeah so let me put my disclaimers out there so we can get to the meat of the conversation or the vegetable of the conversation. We both are on line on so many issues, I am a vegan and Jonathan is not but we are promoting so many of the same things and it’s so important that this alignment is there and we can focus on those things because as more and more people see the power of healthy minimally processed plant food in their lives and getting rid of the junk we will all get to a better place.

Jonathan Bailor | 2:57

Absolutely, absolutely Caryn and what I like to tell people and just to add to that you said is regardless of vegan, vegetarian, kosher, halal, low carb, high carb, medium carb, whatever it is, there is a way to do that that’s in line with proven science to further your health and there’s a way to do that as the media and the marketers will have you believe. And you and I are right aligned with however we want to eat let’s make sure we are doing it in line with science and in line with responsibility with the planet.

Caryn Hartglass | 3:32

There you go. Alright let’s talk about this thing called the calorie. Now I don’t know when the calorie was actually discovered or when we first recognized it existed but we’re learning more and more about it. I think the calorie is actually a kilocalorie is it not?

Jonathan Bailor | 3:51

It is. It was never intended to be something well it is being treated as the great equalizer right. You can eat a hundred calories of Ding Dongs or you could eat a hundred calories of broccoli and in either case if you just go walk at this pace for this period of time you’re net neutral and everything is the same, obviously that is not true…. and we know that is not true.

Caryn Hartglass |  4:18
that’s so not true. That’s such a myth. It’s fascinating what we’re learning and we will continue to learn because I think humans in general are just a the beginning of  a long journey of active learning and in terms of nutrition we are really just at the starting point and what’s fascinating for me is how calories have become important and you can definitely develop this a little bit more but for a long time people where thinking about the volume of food, how much volume or weight and not really realizing that it was the calorie and now we are realizing maybe it’s more than the calorie.

Jonathan Bailor | 5:03
that’s absolutely correct. That’s absolutely correct. One key thing for us to all keep in mind because we’ve been so bombarded with counting calories, how many calories are in this? You need to burn calories, is remember that nobody except for some very few scientist up until forty years ago had any idea what a calorie was and we were all slimmer and we were all healthier before that. Right? Like I don’t mean to like blow the roof of right from the beginning but call me crazy but I mean we are smarter than every other animal on this planet and they also don’t know what calories are and they seem to stay diabetes free and to stay at a healthy weight without counting them either so I think we may have been fed a bit of a load of bologna here which is not helping us.

Caryn Hartglass | 5:59
I agree we shouldn’t be counting calories but I just have to step aside for a moment as a scientist and just say that a lot of things have happened over the last forty, fifty, sixty years that point to why we are fatter and counting calories I think it’s a method a way of dealing with us getting fatter but a lot of nasty things have been going on, We’ve been creating these foods that aren’t really foods, people have been convinced to eat these highly processed things with lots of salt, sugar and fat and very little calories and certain foods have been maid cheaper by all kinds of food subsidies and there’s just so many different things that have been happening plus there’s all kinds of plastics and stuff and things that are out there that affect us and some of them affect our appetite and it’s really mind boggling but if we get back to simplicity we really can solve a lot of problems.

Jonathan Bailor | 7:00
And you’re point is well heard because I’m not one of those people that are saying calories are like unicorns they don’t exist. Like if they eat ten thousand calories worth of anything, well if you eat ten thousand calories worth of broccoli your stomach would explode way before you became obese but if you were able to eat ten thousand calories you would gain fat. But we are eating too many calories in fact researchers of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discovered in 2011, they did this amazing study where the average person today is consuming about 570 more calories than the average person and of course who is the average person? But it’s interrupting data, back in 1977. So it’s like wow doesn’t that just prove that we are all gaining weight because we’re eating more calories? But hold on if we actually do the calorie math that we are all taught, if you actually add up the amount of calories like over 40 years that that should be and then the amount of weight we should’ve gained the average American today should weight well over eleven hundred pounds. Like from 2006 to 2011 alone the average American should’ve gained 476 pounds according to calorie math.

Caryn Hartglass | 8:21
Oh okay so something is wrong with the equation.

Jonathan Bailor | 8:23
Exactly and we have gained weight. On average we’ve gained about 20 pounds but that’s 98 percent less than calorie math would have us believe. So it’s not that calories are irrelevant it’s just that they might be a small fraction as you mentioned of a much bigger picture so if anyone says just have this hundred calorie snack pack it’s only a hundred calories run the other direction.

Caryn Hartglass | 8:48
well there are so many different games that they play with calories too to deceive people, putting serving sizes on labels and saying they’re a certain amount of calories and people never eat those serving sizes they eat a lot more. So things can be really deceiving if you are counting calories which is why it’s important not to.

Jonathan Bailor | 9:11
and the other really liberating thing once you can free yourself from counting those calories, not only can you sit down at the table and enjoy food instead of doing math because I don’t know about you but when I sit down and I’m hungry the last thing I want to do is math, is you avoid the following horrible myths, Okay eat that hundred calorie snack pack because then you can just go jog for fifteen minutes and it’s like you isn’t do anything. That’s analogues, like when you actually look at what these quote on quote edible products do to us that’s like saying hey Caryn I’m going to smoke two packs of cigarettes but it’s okay because I’m going to jog afterward and that’s cancels it out right?

Caryn Hartglass | 9:50
Yeah I don’t like thinking that way. We have a law in New York State regarding fast food establishments that they have to put the calorie and nutritional information on every meal and I don’t eat in your typical fast food restaurant or I think it’s fast food and chain restaurants so there’s this one restaurant in New York City called Le Pain Quotidien which Americans might read it as Leh  Pain Quo-ti-di-en  but it’s Le Pain Quotidien which means the daily bread and it’s a really nice chain in New York City, I don’t know where else they are but they serve a lot of really lovely fresh locally sourced from sustainable sources some very nice selections but because they sit on this category they show on the menu all the calorie and nutritional information for every meal and frankly I find it disturbing that it’s there because I start looking at rather than the food and what I feel like I eating I look oh this is 450 calories oh this is 259 calories and I’m like wow what am I looking at here and why am I looking at it I don’t like it!

Jonathan Bailor |
there’s also this just misunderstanding like what you just said is so true it’s about food, it’s about food, humans we are here to eat food not to think about calories and it’ s also this  hubris involved. I love earlier you were talking about this humility we are just starting to learn these things. Bottom line no one is going to go through life hungry and bottom line you need to eat a certain amount of energy or you are going to be hungry so this thought that like somehow you can deceive your body into eating less than it needs to fuel itself and that you won’t be hungry. Like, it’s a manipulative mindset. You can trick your body and that’s not, the body is brilliant the body doesn’t need to be tricked if you just feed the body food, nutrient dense food it will keep you slim and healthy as it did for every previous generation that existed we don’t need to trick it. There’s no trickery involved.

Caryn Hartglass | 11:57

The thing with processed food there are so many things that are wrong with so many things that come in a package or a box but they don’t for the most part have much water in them and they’re like dried and concentrated not fresh alive food and when we eat it we don’t have that feeling that we get from a lot of food, plant foods, that have fiber in them we don’t get that sated feeling. And our brains ultimately don’t get the sated feeling either because they’re not getting a lot of nutrition from these foods and then the ultimate response is feed me more. You talked about eating ten thousand calories of broccoli before but you know I’d like to tell a lot of people if you want to lose weight just eat a pound of grains raw and then you can have whatever you want. ‘Like I can’t eat a pound of grains.’

Jonathan Bailor | 12:54

You’re exactly at number one recommendation like I talk about a SANE lifestyle or eating satisfying aggressive nutritious and efficient foods. The single most important component and the research backs this up unequivocally is a mass amount of non-starchy vegetables. Like if listeners take one thing away and it’s like everyone agrees on that, which it’s funny like even the most vehement paleo person and the most strict vegetarian, non-starchy vegetables the vegetables you can eat raw. Green leafy vegetables, cucumbers, mushrooms like I’m going to make a false claim, stop worrying about anything else until you’re eating double digits servings of non-starchy vegetables per day. Like that one action will do more for your health, happiness, and appearance than anything else you can do.

Caryn Hartglass | 13:50

What does that look like, double digit servings? In terms of the day

Jonathan Bailor | 13:56

Not that much. If you’re for example if you don’t saturate your breakfast with starch so let’s say you are someone who is an omnivore and you were to have an omelet that was stuff with non-starchy vegetables, cooked non-starchy vegetables are quite small so it’ll be very easy for a normal person to eat three servings of vegetables with breakfast. You could also do a green smoothie a lot of my vegetarian and vegan friends do green smoothies and that’s very easy. Again that’s three servings of non-starchy vegetables right there. Lunch that’s another thing I mean basically if you can do three servings, breakfast, lunch, and dinner you’re there and as long as you don’t fill your plate with starch it’s really easy like when you start seeing vegetables as less of a side and more of the main dish, like don’t put your stir fry on top of rice put it on top of a bed of vegetables, don’t put your curry on top of rice put it on top of a bed of vegetables and you’ll accidentally eat double digit servings of non-starchy vegetables.

Caryn Hartglass | 14:55

So let’s talk about starch for a minute because there are some people that really promote a high whole carbohydrate diet versus focusing on non-starchy plant foods and what does the science have to say about that?

Jonathan Bailor | 15:15

You need calories. You need energy and there are two primary sources of energy; fat and sugar, that’s bottom line. And when you eat starch or you eat sugar you’re getting your source of calories from sugar because they’re all the same when they leave you stomach and if you are eating more fat then you get fat. So if you’re eating a very low fat diet very low fat diet you do need to get calories from some place you could get the from protein that’s not a good idea because protein is a structural component it’s not an energy source so you’re going to have to eat more starch and I personally and the research I’ve reviewed generally airs more on the side of getting energy at least in a balance between sugar and fat but  if you avoid fat for whatever reason you have to eat so sadly I have no other options for you or else you’ll starve to death

Caryn Hartglass | 16:13

We’ll there are people on a calorie restriction diet, that’s another conversation.

Jonathan Bailor | 16:19

Absolutely. I you know I think personally that you could be a especially for vegans and vegetarians I mean my favorite sources of fat, where I get my energy from, are plant fats. I could eat cocoa and coconut and chia seeds and flax seeds and avocados and macadamia nuts, I would gladly take 60 percent of my calories that I get in a day from those whole food nutrient dense fiber dense plant fats and the research shows that that is one of the most therapeutic things you could be doing for your health.

Caryn Hartglass | 17:04

Oh those all sound good to me.

Jonathan Bailor | 17:05

It is an under appreciated dietary lifestyles, I would love to see more attention placed upon a high fat higher fat vegetarian or vegan diet where you swap those starch calories for whole food plant fats I think that’s a fascinating and a very promising way to live.

Caryn Hartglass | 17: 25

There’s a number of studies that we need to have done and they haven’t been done for a number of reasons, one is it’s costly to do the studies that are really going to be significant because they take a lot of people and they take a long time because it’s not something that can be done over a short period of time especially when we are using humans to do those studies which we need to and not animals because or not other animals because they are not the same as we are so it’s expensive but I think a lot of the studies that have been done just really haven’t understood a lot about nutrition because we are really at the beginning of learning about it and not all protein is the same not all fat is the same not all carbohydrates are the same and we need to differentiate that, so some studies on fat have really gotten the bad wrap but they haven’t been getting fat necessarily from the best sources.

Jonathan Bailor | 18:20

That is so key. Especially so many people they talk about epidemiological studies or observational studies where you compare one population with another population and there is thousands of variables thousands of variables but then the media says well this group, just hypothetically let’s say this group, ate more protein then this other group and they had higher incidents of cancer. That may be very well true but if that one group was also let’s say the high cancer group let’s say that their protein was coming from spam and hot dogs which no one would recommend and they weren’t eating any vegetables okay so was it the protein that gave them cancer or was it the toxic processed food they were eating and the lack of vegetables? right? And you just got to unpack some of these things because when you have those epidemiological studies science 101 is minimize variables, observational studies do not do that in any way shape or form.

Caryn Hartglass | 19:24

That’s just like when there are studies that come out that evaluate meat eaters versus vegetarians and vegans. Most of those are not good studies either because you can be a junk food vegan or a healthy vegan or somewhere in the middle, the same with vegetarians, the same with a meat eater. And we really need to be looking at the food, where it comes from, what the person’s lifestyle is and that’s too many variables.

Jonathan Bailor | 19:50

well we can I mean my hope my work is trying to simplify, that’s my whole purpose on this earth, is to say there is I don’t care if plant, animal, whatever, how satisfying is it meaning? how quickly does it fill you up? and how long does it keep you full? how aggressive is it? a.k.a what’s the blood sugar response? is it over working you pancreas or not? is it nutritious? How many nutrients are you getting per calorie? Is a mathematical question is not a moral question and then how efficient is it? Meaning how readily can your body store it as fat. We can take every food in the world and then just plot it on what I call the sanity spectrum, plant, animal doesn’t matter. It’s not a moral discussion it’s just like saying let’s get a criteria what is a high quality food? Let’s establish that framework and let’s all whatever our moral inclinations whatever our taste preferences just try to stay as SANE as we possibly can.

Caryn Hartglass | 20:46

Try and stay as sane as we can?

Jonathan Bailor | 20:50

SANE. Satisfying, unadjusted, nutritious and efficient.

Caryn Hartglass | 20:56

Very good. Okay we just have like a couple of minutes left. So your book The Calorie Myth doesn’t come out until the end of the year probably a good New Year’s Eve kick in the butt type of book.

Jonathan Bailor | 21:10

Exactly, yeah New Year’s Eve but it is available for preorder now online so you could reserve your copy.

Caryn Hartglass | 21:18

I didn’t mean New Year’s Eve I meant for the New Year’s resolutions that people always make because so many of them do realize okay new year let’s try and get healthier this year and I say why wait until new year’s let’s start right now. And people can visit your website at bailorgroup. Or the

Jonathan Bailor | 21:40

Exactly. Also a free podcast you can find it on iTunes it’s called The Smarter Science of Slim and as you mentioned bailorgroup has a massive amount of free resources so no need to wait like you said until New Year’s Eve to take control of your health

Caryn Hartglass | 21:54

And how did you get so smart?

Jonathan Bailor | 22:00

Well when you spend twelve years of your life reading research and having no friends or life you kind of ———–

Caryn Hartglass | 22:10

Yeah I know it’s hard. I don’t know how you feel about it but I’m quite passionate about food but I’m only interested in talking to people who want the information I’m not really looking for well it’s hard to talk to people who aren’t interested and I think if we just focus on those who really want the information that’s a good place to go, an interested audience.

Jonathan Bailor | 22:38

Absolutely and I think when you said interested in the information is key, people who are seeing this as a productive area where we can make progress rather than I’m right and I have the answer because at the end of the day we are trying to be healthy and frankly if I meet Sally Smith on the street and she’s got some genetic mutation which makes Pepsi and Cheetos healthy for her and she can show like if she gets her blood tested and it’s like wow the more Pepsi and Cheetos she eats the healthier she gets and we can measure that, I’m like you know what I’m not going to say you are wrong so let’s just whatever makes you healthy do that and forget about everything else

Caryn Hartglass | 23:21

Yeah it’s all about what makes you feel good and happy and healthy right I’m all for that. Jonathan it’s been a pleasure talking to you, it went really fast and here we are at the end of the hour. So all the best to you and The Calorie Myth.

Jonathan Bailor | 23:34

Thank you so much

Caryn Hartglass | 23:35

I recently read that, actually it was in my former guest’s book that it takes 17 years for health information to get out from the original science to the doctor and utilize so I hope the information in The Calorie Myth takes a lot sooner to get absorbed into the public because we need that information.

Jonathan Bailor | 23:57

Well thank you very much

Caryn Hartglass | 23:59

Thank you very much, take care Jonathan.

Jonathan Bailor |

Thank you bye bye

Caryn Hartglass |

You’ve been listening to It’s All About Food, I’m Caryn Hartglass have a delicious week. Bye bye.


Transcribed by Alma Zazueta, October 28, 2013


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