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The Fitness News: Lucky Charms Healthier Than Steak, The Lazy Diet & Weights Improve ROM

Updated: Feb 4, 2023


Below is a quick summary of the podcast. If you want to embrace the chaos that is 'Chat Sh*t Get Fit' we'd highly recommend listening above!

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Lucky Charms Healthier Than Steak?

This sensational headline comes from The Good Ranchers and Joe Rogan sharing a post titled 'Government Funded Food Pyramid Says Lucky Charms Are Healthier Than Steak'.

The idea that lucky charms are healthier than steak has caused quite a stir on the Internet, with two opposing sides at loggerheads. The question is whether or not it is being blown out of proportion - 'Government-funded food pyramid says Lucky Charms are healthier than steak'

Infographic with picture of luck charms on saying 'New Government Funded Food Pyramid Says Lucky Charms Are Healthier Than Steak
This sensationalist headline has causes a massive storm on social media especially in the evidence-based nutrition world

In order to avoid accusations of 'Rogan bashing,' we would like to emphasize that we enjoy his content when he talks to Quentin Tarantino, other actors, etc. We find Joe Rogan entertaining, but that's about it.

However, Joe Rogan's show tends to attract truth seekers, conspiracy theorists, or at least things that tend to attract conspiracy theorists. Additionally, he has a very strong bias toward the whole appeal to nature argument.

Hence, our criticism is that people need to take what he says, or what his 'experts' say, with a grain of salt. This post highlights the fact that he is also very gullible. As a result of his massive influence, his comment that lucky charms are healthier than steak will have a significant impact.

Figure Illustrative examples of limitations of Food Compass scores non-exhaustive list
A research paper 'Limitations of the Food Compass Nutrient Profiling System' complied a combined chart trying to highlight the limitations of the Tufts Food Compass

Tufts, the creators of the original food compass, acknowledge that it needs improvement.

The Food Compass was developed by Tufts as a system for scoring nutrients. In order to determine the composition of certain foods, they use what is known as an algorithm. Looking at:

  • Vitamins

  • Fibre

  • Protein

  • Phytochemicals

  • Additives

  • Lipids (so saturated fat etc)

The data is then input into an algorithm that performs the rest of the work. Algorithms lack the human attention to detail that takes nuance into account.

On the graph above, you can see that foods are ranked from 1-100, and depending on the range into which they fall, they will be classified as "to be encouraged," "to be moderated," or "to be minimized."

A counterargument to the criticism of this food compass is that the categories were never intended to be combined in the manner depicted in the research papers chart.

Here is where things get tricky since it is difficult to determine whether the categories are meant to be combined. There is an actual Tufts Food Compass paper describing the compass in detail. There was also a paper that criticized it, which is what the Good Ranchers and Joe Rogan were referring to.

According to the evidence-based crowd, you should not compare all the categories at the same time. It is only appropriate to compare within the categories.

As such, you should only compare what is healthier between, for example, chicken, steak, and other foods that fall under the categories of seafood, dairy, eggs, and meat.

The headline "lucky charms are healthier than steak" was created by mixing categories such as cereal and meat. Does this hold true?

It is possible to sympathize with both sides, since the language used in the Tufts study is a bit awkward and contradictory, considering that it is intended as a proposal for something like a new system of rating foods.

Tufts Food Compass Research Paper Abstract
According to the evidence-based crowd, the compass categories were never intended to be combined, however, the research paper itself contains a great deal of confusion

Giving an example, Tufts frequently asked questions 'how should the food compass be used in practice?'

It should be used in the context of other guidelines and personal goals to compare otherwise similar foods in terms of their overall contribution to health.

"Similar foods" is the key term, so you could interpret that as meaning that you should only compare within the same categories. In contrast, the abstract of the paper further states that the results were "summed into a final food compass score". Therefore, it is evident where all the confusion has come from.

Then there is the conspiracy argument in which many claim that the government is trying to 'make us sick'. Listen to the audio podcast (1:04:05) to hear the 'tin hat' discussion.

Essentially, due to the Tufts Food Compasses' ambiguous nature, implementation should not be undertaken until the method of use has been determined and the system has been


The Lazy Diet

The lazy diet claims to be the only diet you will ever need by focusing on convenience and reduced stress, eventually leading to a higher rate of adherence and improved results.

An article from Men's Health states

Too many diets, set high unachievable standards, then blame you for failing to meet them. Not only are those instructions bullshit, but they stress you out. That's why we've created a simple, way, more realistic guide to help you eat better without all the absurdity. The lazy diet is a surprising, easy, and totally satisfying way to eat.

That sounds good, doesn't it? To get a full breakdown, I encourage you to listen to the full audio podcast, but here are some key points to remember.

Embrace Ready To Eat Meals

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a ready meal is highly processed meals in plastic containers. There are, however, many more options available these days, including healthy nutritional options.

On ready-to-eat meals, Spencer Nadolsky, D.O said "this stuff can be nutritious and pre-portioned, which automatically reduces calories without thinking."

The following are examples of 'ready-to-eat meals' that can be nutritious:

  • Premade shakes: If you prefer, you can make the shake in advance or use a ready-to-drink shake such as Huel

  • Soups: It is not about cream of tomato soup here, but rather more nutritionally dense options such as vegetable and lentil soups which contain more protein. It is also possible to purchase precooked protein sources such as chicken to add to the soup.

  • Canned fish: Adding fish to your diet has never been easier. Serve it over a salad or buy a sachet of mixed rice/grains etc that simply needs to be heated up.

  • Pre-Cooked: Something like a rotterise chicken can also offer great convenience across numerous meals. Once adding, adding to a salad or a pouch of rice/grains/quinoa etc.

Ready to eat meal examples such as huel soups and canned fish
These convenient ready to eat meals offer a stress free way of getting good nutrition daily

If you desire even greater convenience and ease (but at a higher cost), you may wish to consider purchasing meals from a meal prep company that will provide you with highly nutritious meals in containers that you only need to heat up.

Because these ready-to-eat meals can be very expensive, it is recommended that you do not use them for every meal, but rather for times when time is limited. However, if your time is very valuable, these may be a good long-term solution for you.

Those who routinely track calories, macros, etc. will find that Men's Health offers a few quick solutions that will give you some relief from the stress.

Instead of a kitchen scale, use your hands: Per meal, aim for a palmful or two of protein, one fistful of fiber-rich grains, two handfuls of produce, and one or two thumb-sized servings of good fats. Instead of a calorie counter, use the color spectrum: You want at least two colors from whole-food sources. The fiber in those foods will help you fill up during the meal, capping calories naturally. Instead of tracking fiber, use the 3, 2, 1 method: That’s three cups of vegetables, two cups of fruit, and one cup of beans, daily.

To summarize, 'The Lazy Diet' is not really a diet in itself, but rather recommendations to make life easier for you, to help you cope with this nutrition stuff. This is because it can be a bit stressful and overwhelming, especially if you are a very busy individual with lots of other responsibilities.

Weights Improve ROM (Range of Motion)

We have a new research paper Resistance Training Induces Improvements in Range of Motion (ROM)

Range of motion will apply to both flexibility and mobility. Flexibility is defined as “the ability of a muscle or muscle groups to lengthen passively through a range of motion”, whereas mobility is the “ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion”

Here are some key points pulled from the research paper:

​Resistance training with external loads can improve range of motion to a moderate magnitude

Improvements in range of motion are not significantly different between resistance training and stretch training

Additional stretching prior to or after resistance training may not be necessary to enhance flexibility

Stretch training can still be advocated as a fitness and training component for much of the population and included as a component of a warm-up prior to competition

We conclude that resistance training alone, i.e., a full squat, will likely be sufficient to provide adequate range of motion for most activities.

Additionally, as a result of resistance training, you may also gain increased bone density, more muscle mass, and stronger bones.

It is pertinent to note, however, that there will likely be a need for specific stretching training if you wish to perform specific activities, such as splits

In the spirit of critical thinking, I would like to point out that I used to be somewhat anti-stretching in the past.
So I am glad to see that there is further research coming out to say that, actually look, there's applications for stretching here and it isn't always based around oh, it's solely for injury prevention.

Articles & Studies

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