Published 19th December 2023

10 tips to help you live healthier — part 1

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    In this special two-part episode, we’re taking a journey back through all of our episodes to bring you 10 actionable tips that will have a big impact on your nutritional health. 

    Here, in part one, we’ll explore whether you actually need to spend more on organic food, why snacking can help your diet, and plenty more. 

    These are evidence-backed tips to help you live and eat healthier.

    Head to if you want to uncover the right foods for your body, and get 10% off your ZOE membership.

    Download our FREE guide — Top 10 Tips to Live Healthier.

    Follow ZOE on Instagram.

    Episode transcripts are available here.

    Is there a nutrition topic you’d like us to explore? Email us at, and we’ll do our best to cover it.

    ZOE Science & Nutrition

    Join us on a journey of scientific discovery.


    [00:00:00] Jonathan Wolf: Back in March 2022, we aired the first ever ZOE Science Nutrition podcast. The episode covered food intolerances and featured my friend and renowned gastroenterologist, Dr. Will Bulsiewicz. Today, 99 episodes and 20 months later, we've spoken to many of the world's leading scientists to learn how to control our blood sugar spikes, bust common exercise myths, uncover the truth about organic foods, and much more.

    And you joined us a mind boggling 35 million times for this ride. Now these conversations are jam packed with insights that can help you live a longer, healthier life. Which to our surprise, created a problem. Many of you, especially those who have discovered ZOE more recently, have been in touch. Fiona emailed saying: Hey Jonathan and team. I'm a new listener and I love the show, but I'm wondering what I've missed. And I'm not sure I'll have the time to catch up. Any chance of a highlights episode to share some of the most impactful discoveries? Well if you're listening Fiona, thank you, that was a brilliant suggestion, and you're in luck.

    Over the last few weeks, Our team combed through all 99 episodes to find the top 10 most actionable tips to apply to your life today. And in today's episode, you're going to hear tips 1 to 5. Today's podcast is a gift from us to you, because without you, this show would not exist. So from everyone here at ZOE, have a wonderful holiday period, and enjoy the show.

    Tip number one

    If you tend to eat between meals, The easiest way to improve your diet is through your snacks. Snacking. It's more controversial and confusing than you might think. We asked our community whether they thought snacking was healthy. We got thousands of responses. And surprisingly, there was an almost exact three way split.

    36 percent of people said yes, snacking is healthy. 32 percent said it isn't. And interestingly, 31 percent of you said you didn't know. So we dedicated a whole episode to snacking, and we kick things off with our usual quick fire round of questions from listeners. Are most people eating the wrong snacks?

    Yes. Oh, yes. 

    [00:02:38] Sarah Berry: Tim, we've agreed on something. We can go home now. 

    [00:02:42] Jonathan Wolf: I snack every day. Is it bad for my health? Maybe. Maybe. And this is something my mum always told me. Is it true that snacking spoils your appetite? Maybe. 

    [00:02:58] Tim Spector: I'd say yes. Okay. 

    [00:03:00] Jonathan Wolf: What's worse, a mid morning snack or a mid afternoon snack? Well, 

    [00:03:04] Sarah Berry: I can't answer that with a yes or no, can I?

    So that's not very fair. I've messed 

    [00:03:09] Jonathan Wolf: up. You're allowed to answer the mid morning or mid afternoon, Sarah. Mid afternoon. 

    [00:03:13] Tim Spector: No idea. 

    [00:03:15] Jonathan Wolf: Pass. Can snacking lead to inflammation? Yes. Yes. And finally, and you're allowed a whole sentence on this, what's your favourite snack? Ooh, 

    [00:03:27] Sarah Berry: crisps in the day, chocolate at night.

    [00:03:30] Jonathan Wolf: Cashew nuts. Since we usually snack between meals, we tend to think of snacking as no big deal. But in the U. S. and U. K. A whopping 25 percent of our energy comes from snacks. I'd love to talk about what happens when we snack, and Sarah, you know, you spent 30 years really understanding exactly what happens in our bodies in the, you know, the minutes and hours after we eat.

    Can you help us to understand, you know, I've gone and I've met Tim and I've refused to have just the coffee. Well, he's not offered you a snack, has he? So I've gone and decided that I'm going to have a, you know, a chocolate croissant to go with it. What happens at this point? So 

    [00:04:08] Sarah Berry: I think it's first important to say what the typical composition of a snack is.

    And so snacks in the UK in the US tend to be high in carbohydrates, high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, high in fat, high in unhealthy fat, saturated fat, and low in protein and low in fiber. Okay, so what's happening is when you're eating a snack, you're eating a high. refined carbohydrate snack, a high saturated fat snack.

    And so what this does is it causes a increase in circulating blood sugar that peaks around 30 minutes, returns to baseline around two hours and often dips as well below baseline. Then the fat. that's in the snack causes an increase in circulating blood fat that kind of creeps up throughout the day if you're having multiple eating events.

    So you're in this kind of state of metabolic chaos is the best way to think about if you're having lots of snacks. And that's 

    [00:05:00] Jonathan Wolf: because these snacks are basically hitting you much harder than, uh, a sort of regular, let's assume it's not a sort of ultra processed meal, but a sort of reasonably plant based, reasonably fiber rich food.

    These snacks are just sort of hitting all of these things much more than, than a normal meal. So it depends 

    [00:05:17] Sarah Berry: obviously on the composition of the snacks and not all snacks are the same. So I'm talking about. The unhealthy snacks, the snacks that 75 percent 

    [00:05:24] Tim Spector: of people are eating. Like what, Sarah? Give us some examples.

    [00:05:27] Sarah Berry: So  light crisps, light cakes, light chocolates, light pastries, so particularly high in refined carbohydrates and particularly low in fiber and protein. Again, what will happen is, is you'll absorb all the nutrients really quickly into the bloodstream. So you have this really quick, rapid rise in circulating blood sugar that sets off a cascade of quite unfavorable effects, including inflammation.

    What often happens is you also get a dip in blood sugar about two to four hours after having these refined carbohydrate snacks. And we know from our own ZOE predict research that this causes an increase in hunger, it causes an increase in energy intake, and it also causes you to eat more at your next 

    [00:06:06] Jonathan Wolf: meal.

    So we know that these highly processed snacks are not good for us. But thankfully, it is possible to make a few changes to our habits so that snacking can be healthy. 

    [00:06:15] Tim Spector: Yes, snacking's okay, as long as it's not late at night, it's not after your main meal, and you pick the right stuff. If you pick unprocessed, you know, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc.

    And you don't go to something in a packet that is generally going to be bad for you. 

    [00:06:34] Jonathan Wolf: Who would have thought that snacking could be such an easy way to improve your overall diet? Choose things like nuts and seeds instead of grabbing that packet of crisps or potato chips. And you're on to a winner. You know, I'm a big 

    [00:06:45] Tim Spector: fan of, of nuts.

    And I think virtually all the nuts that are on offer, nuts and seeds are healthy. I don't think there's really any real exceptions unless they've been chemically treated and that you do get some of these, these nuts that are roasted in a bit of sugar and things there to be avoided, but generally plain ones, you know, look out.

    If you're, if you have a sensitivity of salt, you might want to reduce some of those, but otherwise all those nuts and things are really healthy options. And as we've discussed, they might actually reduce the amount you eat. Subsequently, and they're fantastic sources of protein and, and fiber and other nutrients.

    You agree, Sarah? 

    [00:07:20] Sarah Berry: I would agree. And I think something that we need to bear in mind is for people that do snack, it does account for a huge proportion of their energy intake. So it's actually a fantastic, simple dietary strategy to improve the quality of your diet. Most of the other meals that we have, for example, our dinner, we tend to have.

    Or the majority of people do tend to eat this as part of either a family or a social setting where you have less control over the food. But with snacks, they tend to be eaten in isolation. They're under what we call your own personal choice. So it's a really good way to improve the quality of your diet.

    [00:07:55] Jonathan Wolf: Hi, I'd like to take a really quick break with you. I hope you're enjoying today's episode and maybe swapping your regular snacks for nuts and seeds. If you're not already a regular listener, I hope you might come back. Make sure to hit the follow button so you know when a new episode arrives. We release episodes each week, ad free, as part of our mission to improve the health of millions.

    And to help us, I'd love for you to share this episode with one person you think could benefit. Thank you. Now let's get back to the show.

    Tip number two

    Use ingredient lists to identify ultra processed foods. Diets high in ultra processed foods are linked with increased risks of heart disease, weight gain, and cancer.

    Basically, they're bad news all round. Now we did an episode exploring how ultra processed foods can wreak havoc on our bodies. Tim joined me for a conversation with Chris Vanillin, a medical doctor, broadcaster, and the author of the new book Ultra Process People. Could you maybe start by just helping us to understand very simply, like.

    What is ultraprocessed food? 

    [00:09:02] Chris Van Tulleken: So there's this long, formal scientific definition, because it's a category of food that was developed to do research with, to study diet and its effects on health. But it boils down to if it's wrapped in plastic and it contains at least one ingredient that you don't typically find in a domestic kitchen, then it's ultra processed food.

    So that's the, that's the shorthand way of figuring it out. And we. This was a definition that was developed by a group in Brazil in 2010. And since then, we've had now over a decade of really, really good, increasingly robust research, including a very good clinical trial that has linked ultra processed food to early death, cancer, weight gain, and a whole host of other, other problems. I would say that the boundary between ultra processed food and just processed food, which we think is fine, is quite a blurry one. And particularly in the UK, we have a huge number of products where you can buy a lasagna lots of places and it's, it's wrapped in plastic, but the ingredients, while it's a long list, there will be nothing you wouldn't have in a, in a normal kitchen 

    [00:10:08] Tim Spector: There, giving some examples here is useful. So. Cheese is a processed food. Okay. So we're not talking about those as being problematic because virtually all our food is to some extent processed, but it's, it's when you're replacing the natural ingredients with. The extracts of other foods and extracts of chemicals to mimic the original foods using what we call, you know, edible, industrially produced food like substance.

    And I think it's that substitution. 

    [00:10:44] Jonathan Wolf: I was just laughing because I feel like food like substance already. It was like, I don't really want to eat food like substance, do I? Well, I'd rather eat food. 

    [00:10:52] Tim Spector: You know, and it's exactly right. So it's, you have these ingredients you wouldn't recognise in your, your kitchen.

    They're all there to make that food seem like the original as much as possible, but using the cheapest possible group of ingredients allow you to manipulate it, give it a massively long shelf life and 

    [00:11:13] Jonathan Wolf: make you overeat it. You might be listening to this thinking, but I don't eat any ultra processed foods.

    And you wouldn't be alone. When we surveyed our Zoe community. 84 percent of you said they ate little or no ultra processed foods. But the uncomfortable truth is you probably ARE eating them. I think it's very 

    [00:11:34] Tim Spector: difficult to avoid ultra processed foods if you know what all of them are. And it may be that these people don't realise that in the morning when they drink their orange juice, and they have their muesli, and they have other breakfast cereals for example, or their instant porridge, they're eating ultra processed 

    [00:11:54] Jonathan Wolf: foods. So that's amazing. So breakfast cereal is an ultra processed food? I would say most, 

    [00:11:58] Chris Van Tulleken: almost all commercially available breakfast cereals are ultra processed. Almost all supermarket bread is ultra processed. Almost all flavored yogurts are, and the, the, the areas they might be not noticing their consumption would be, you know, the very typical lunches that we go and have in the UK. Lunches, a packet of crunchy things, might be some popcorn, uh, a sandwich and a drink. And particularly if you get it from the fancy shops, and we can all know the names of them, they're widely available up and down the country, that's still all ultra processed. It all contains maltodextrin, dextrose, the bread is full of 

    [00:12:35] Jonathan Wolf: emulsifiers, there are flavorings. So even the sandwich that you might think is like, it's just bread and like this plain It might be a vegan 

    [00:12:41] Chris Van Tulleken: falafel, organic whole grain But the bread will contain emulsifiers and the, the condiments particularly will contain thickness or maltodextrin. Even if it looks 

    [00:12:51] Tim Spector: brown because it's been dyed brown, it makes it looks like a granary healthy seedy loaf.

    Generally it's been made to look exactly that, but underneath it's full of these chemicals. So yes, I think many people don't realize the extent. to which they're surrounded by stuff, even with healthy veneers. Anything that says it's healthy on the packet is nearly by definition unhealthy. 

    [00:13:14] Jonathan Wolf: It's a 

    [00:13:15] Chris Van Tulleken: great rule of thumb that, isn't it? If there's a health claim on the packet, it is almost certainly ultra-processed. 

    [00:13:20] Jonathan Wolf: It's a little alarming, isn't it? Ultra processed foods are really damaging to our health, and you could be eating way more of them than you realise. But there are things you can do to cut down on these foods. And I think I love, however, a little bit of sunshine at the very end.

    This was a slightly depressing podcast, I think, compared to some. Which is, maybe think about ways you could take, well, start with breakfast. You know, think about swapping out, if you're eating breakfast cereal, actually you might think you're doing something really healthy, and you'll look at it and you'll be like, wow.

    So think about swapping that for something that isn't ultra processed. So, you know, bread with only ingredients you would have in your kitchen, yogurt, these sorts of things. Taking food to work. So again, you know that you've got food that you can eat instead of most of us living in environments where it's very difficult not to.

    And I think the final thing which, which for me has been the most shocking is just turn the food around and read the ingredients list and suddenly realize that many of the things you thought were, you were doing really well, you were maybe actually spending money on these things because you thought they were good for you and realizing that actually they were ultra processed.

    Tip number three

    If you're going to buy one organic food product, make it this one. Eating organic is a lot more than an expensive fact. Organic food has more nutrients. The pesticides in non organic food can impact our health. But there's still a lot of confusion around it. Is it marketing hype? Can you trust the label?

    And that's what we explored in our episode about organic food. So Tim, can we just start at the beginning and explain what does it mean for something to be organic? 

    [00:15:00] Tim Spector: The key things about organic food are that it doesn't contain antibiotics. Antibiotics are not given in that food chain, not given to the animals.

    It doesn't contain any pesticides or herbicides or actual chemical additives of any kind. And also, the third thing is it doesn't include any artificial fertilizers. When you buy something organic, it doesn't guarantee that it's totally free of all these things. It just means the levels will 

    [00:15:29] Jonathan Wolf: be very much lower. Tim is one of the world's only scientists to have explored the effect of organic foods specifically on the gut microbiome.

    [00:15:37] Tim Spector: It was an observational study. We took 60, um, I think four pairs of our twins, working with some environmental epidemiologists. Uh, Robin Minaj was leading the study and, uh, looked at several hundred different residues, insecticides and herbicides, and found that nearly everybody had, uh, some organophosphates residue, type residues in their blood and urine.

    [00:16:07] Jonathan Wolf: So just to make sure that I've got that, this is where I'm happily eating my pears and my apples and my leeks and whatever. Um, you know, I'm not, I'm not out in the garden spraying this on my hands. This is from the food I'm eating. And you're saying that I went into your, uh, hospital lab along with, you know, 10, 000 other twins and you took my blood and you could actually find bits of this, you know, remnants of this pesticide in, in my blood? Is that, is that right?

    [00:16:36] Tim Spector: Yes, I think it was over 90 percent or something. So almost everybody 

    [00:16:39] Jonathan Wolf: had some? Yeah, so 

    [00:16:40] Tim Spector: in your blood and urine, nearly everyone's got these insecticides. And about 50 percent of people, um, had, detectable levels of these herbicides, the glyphosate, the Roundup. And we looked to the gut microbes to see if the, uh, these chemicals were having an effect.

    Was there a difference between people with high exposures, high levels in their blood and urine versus low levels? And there was a clear correlation. And so people who were eating more fruits and vegetables had higher levels of, uh, these. these chemicals and they also had different changes in their gut microbes so the gut microbes were producing different chemicals in response.

    [00:17:26] Jonathan Wolf: That sounds a little scary but it's important to note here that this doesn't mean you should give up eating fruits and vegetables even if You aren't buying organic. Because the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, even with all these chemicals, is far better than the damage to your health of choosing ultra processed foods, for example.

    And we should acknowledge, of course, that organic food is more expensive. How should people think about those trade offs? And I'd love to talk about, maybe, are there particular foods where, um, you know, these levels of the pesticides and everything are really high and you should be really worried versus others. What are the foods where the pesticides are likely to be worst? Breakfast 

    [00:18:06] Tim Spector: cereals that contain oats. 

    [00:18:08] Jonathan Wolf: Okay. That's incredibly surprising. I thought you were going to give me a fruit. Tell me about oats.

    [00:18:12] Tim Spector: So oats, uh, because they're, uh, often, um, Raised in damp countries, they are sprayed just before they're harvested to dry them out. Okay. And so this gives them massive amounts, and because they're wet, they absorb all that glyphosate. And so their levels are Five to ten times more than many other, other grains. So that is something that is not particularly a health food. But I think, uh, people should go out of their way if they do love oats.

    And I know you used to be a big oat eater, although you're not anymore. Um, you know, and you can afford it. Either switch to something else or go jump, particularly if you're trying to give your kids something which you think is healthy. I think that you could be giving them high levels of particularly this herbicide, Glyphosate. Rice is another one that came up interestingly in in some surveys as being quite high in pesticides. We do know that if you get Some areas of India and Pakistan do a problem with runoff of arsenic into rice paddy fields. So, you know, if you're getting cheap rice from certain places, you may be ingesting a lot of chemicals.

    And in general, fruits and vegetables that are, contain a lot of water, uh, will tend to absorb. These chemicals more than others, and where they particularly attract insects as well. So, cucumbers, pears, nectarines. These tend to have, uh, quite high, uh, concentrations and everyone loves strawberries. I love strawberries. But interesting, the US and the uk, they commonly get tested as being above the safety levels. 

    [00:20:04] Jonathan Wolf: So if you are in the grocery store and you are thinking about buying some organic food. Go for oats, rice, and fruit with a high water content.

    Tip number four

    Try fermented foods. The idea of letting food rot and then eating it makes most of us squeamish. But far from being dangerous, fermented foods like kombucha and kimchi are brilliant for our gut health. And there are a few foods that we can pretty much guarantee you're already eating.

    Without even knowing they're fermented. Joining us on this episode is author and food activist Sandor Katz, who is widely credited with reintroducing fermentation to the U. S. and the U. K. with his book, Wild Fermentation. He calls himself a fermentation revivalist. The food magazine, Chao, calls him a provocateur, trendsetter, and rabble rouser.

    I'm also joined by Tim Spector. One of the world's top 100 most cited scientists and my co founder here at ZOE to help us understand the science of fermentation and why it might bring unique health benefits. So abandon any fears you may have. And let's dive into the fabulous world of fermentation.

    [00:21:23] Sandor Katz: Fermentation has been an integral part of how people in every part of the world make effective use of whatever food resources are available to them. It's part of our cultural legacy everywhere, and yet over the past several generations, fewer and fewer people have been Practicing fermentation. And so when I talk about myself as a fermentation revivalist is really trying to, you know, revive interest in these, uh, ancient practices and, um, uh, basically help people feel confident to bring them into their home kitchens.

    [00:22:01] Jonathan Wolf: Isn't fermentation quite niche? Why would we even talk about this topic? 

    [00:22:06] Sandor Katz: Well, I mean, every person in every part of the world eats and drinks products of fermentation almost every day. I'm not sure how you could call that A niche type of food. Think about the kind of diet that, you know, maybe people in the UK or people in the US have, you know, bread is fermented, cheese is fermented, cured meats are fermented, the condiments that we use are fermented.

    Olives are fermented, pickles are fermented, coffee is fermented, certain kinds of tea are fermented, chocolate is fermented, vanilla is fermented, obviously beer and wine are fermented. I mean, an incredible range of, you know, foods that are really everyday foods are products of fermentation. 

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    [00:22:53] Jonathan Wolf: And so I think that probably opens up our mind to the reach of fermentation. What is it and why is it something specific that we would think about and that you've really sort of dedicated, I guess, your life to?

    [00:23:04] Sandor Katz: Well, broadly speaking, fermentation is the transformative action of microorganisms. For thousands of years, long before we specifically knew of the existence of microorganisms, people have been working with the reality that these organisms inhabit our food.

    Fermentation is just an essential part of how people everywhere have been able to make effective use of whatever kinds of food resources are available 

    [00:23:34] Jonathan Wolf: to them. We know that fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir, which is fermented milk, tons of beneficial microbes. In fact, even more than the probiotics you might find at the health food store.

    So why is it that eating this thing which is fermented is actually improving our health and also particularly there's two parts of this and I just want you to sort of unpack a bit for the audience because the food itself is changing, isn't it? And you've got these microbes. Could you just explain a bit more like why both of those things are affecting our health?

    [00:24:08] Tim Spector: Yes, so the food itself, we know that If you're eating plants that have either a high fiber content or a high polyphenol content, which is the defense chemicals in plants that, uh, our gut microbes feed off, they are stimulating your community of gut microbes to help your immune system, to help all aspects of your metabolism, and infinite things we still don't understand.

    So, it's really important that the plants you're eating in something like, uh, a kimchi is part of Trying to get this big variety of plants in your diet, and I would say aim for your 30 plants a week. I'm sure Sandor does many more, but you know, just by having a kimchi, you're getting probably about eight or so of them, eight or ten. different plants in one spoonful. So that's important. They're feeding the whole gut community and then you've got on top of that, you've got these microbes that are sitting on those foods that go through your intestinal system and a lot of them get killed off but enough get through the stomach acid to get to your lower gut where they will have an interactive effect on your microbes, stimulating to produce good chemicals that are, again, really key for your immune system and your digestion, your metabolism, etc.

    So it's that double system of both feeding the original contents of your gut microbes, stimulating new ones to grow more of the good guys. And these probiotic microbes that don't live in humans just passing through, having like a beneficial 

    [00:25:46] Jonathan Wolf: effect. What this means is you should eat fermented foods regularly in order to increase the diversity of microbes in your gut and to reduce the negative effects of inflammation. But watch out when you're shopping. The key thing is live microbes. Keep an eye out for high sugar content too.

    [00:26:04] Tim Spector: There's been an explosion in the UK of things like kefirs and kombuchas that you can buy in stores. And there's a suspicion that many of them do not contain live microbes. They're easily using really ultra fine filtration systems that get rid of some of these microbes, or that, in order to do big quantities and ship them around the country, they have to basically pasteurize it.

    Or, there's, the sugar content is so high that it might inhibit the microbes, or, occasionally, You've got things like apple cider vinegars that have such high acidification that it kills off the actual microbes in there, the mother, et cetera, um, is actually dead. So it's great to have these products, but I feel it, it, they could be exploited. And I wonder if you, you, uh, have any thoughts? Sure. 

    [00:26:56] Sandor Katz: I mean, I think that that's a really important question. Definitely the more educated you can make yourself as a consumer, the better quality products you can find. Generally, I would advise people to sort of steer away from big national brands and support, you know, smaller regional brands because they have less reason to, you know, sort of try to, you know, develop these workarounds.

    So, yeah, I mean, I would say, you know, buy as local of a product as you can. And if you have any questions, then, you know, really try to pose those questions to the producers and, you know, see if they can answer them to your satisfaction. 

    [00:27:36] Jonathan Wolf: Experiment by adding kimchi to a stir fry, or topping salads with sauerkraut. And you could swap your regular cup of tea for a glass of kombucha. Although I'm not giving up my tea anytime soon. Don't be afraid to get creative.

    Tip number five

    When it comes to protein, go big on beans. Most of us understand what carbs and fats are, but protein is much less understood. We're surrounded by the claim high protein. It's plastered on everything from shakes, to bars, to tofu. But does that mean we're consuming too little protein? Too much?

    And what is too much, anyway? It turns out, a lot of what we thought we knew about protein might be wrong. In this episode, I spoke to Professor Christopher Gardner. Christopher is one of the world's leading nutrition scientists. He's also the Director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and ZOE's Scientific Advisory Board.

    [00:28:41] Christopher Gardner: This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, many myths to be busted. 

    [00:28:45] Jonathan Wolf: Well, on the topic of myth busting, uh, why don't we start with our usual quick fire round of questions from our listeners. And just to remind you, Christopher, you know, the rules are quite simple. You can say yes, you can say no, or if you have to, you're allowed a one sentence answer, but no more than that.

    And we know that this is the hardest thing for any professor to do, but are you willing to give it a go? Yes. Do animals contain special proteins that you can't get from plants? Should we all be worrying about getting enough protein? Are protein shakes and protein bars healthy for most people? Gaaah!

    [00:29:25] Christopher Gardner: Compared to a tablespoon of sugar, healthier. But I always say compared to what? Compared to food? 

    [00:29:31] Jonathan Wolf: I told you it was hard for a professor to answer these questions. And the last question. Can eating more protein help with weight loss? Fat and carbs are like the fuel that power us through our days. While protein creates structure.

    Everything that we're made of comes from the 20 amino acids that all proteins are composed of. So it's sort of like the letters in the alphabet. We are the words that are created out of those letters. And we actually need far less protein than everyone thinks. On average, people in the U. S. are eating double the amount of protein they need.

    And you can get all of your protein from a plant based diet. Almost anything that says, like, extra high protein on it or, you know, a bar or a shake or any of these things are just really bad for you. Don't eat them. And I think, Christopher, your message is eat beans instead. 

    [00:30:25] Christopher Gardner: Beans, hummus, all the, a three bean soup, a three bean salad.

    So David Katz and some other colleagues and I wrote a paper called Modernizing the Definition of Protein Quality and in it we said, okay, so there's this one issue of the distribution of amino acids, perfect in animal foods, less than perfect in plant foods. There's actually an issue of digestion and availability, bioavailability, and it is a little higher for meat prep, meat protein than plant protein. But when people are eating meats, they're getting a lot of saturated fat and they're sometimes getting hormones and antibiotics were used to grow that meat and there's no fiber in there. If you were eating beans. and tofu and tempeh and plant foods, you'd be getting much less saturated fat.

    You'd be getting phytochemicals, antioxidants. You'd be getting lots of fiber for your microbiome. You guys at Zoe might've heard about the microbiome. That's a pretty cool thing. And so this idea of should the protein quality definition in the U S is based on amino acid distribution and digestion and availability.

    And we propose That it should also include the nutrients that come with those foods rich in protein, which in your bar was sugar, in that meat was saturated fat and no fiber, versus those beans and grains that had antioxidants and other things like that. And if we're going to be eco warriors these days and not destroy the planet we live on, the legumes and grains are much easier on planetary boundaries of land use, water use, greenhouse gases, eutrophication, and biodiversity.

    [00:31:57] Jonathan Wolf: In a nutshell. Beans are an ideal source of protein. They contain fiber, polyphenols, and nutrients that other protein sources lack. So there you have it, five crucial ZOE tips to boost your nutrition. We're going to leave it there for this episode. Make sure you come back for part two, when we'll find out what the warrior diet is, and why counting sheep will not help you sleep.

    If you want to dive into any of today's topics in more depth, why not listen to the episodes featured in their entirety? You'll find links to each of them in the show notes. If you want to take your health journey even further, you might want to consider joining ZOE. Your membership will help you to understand the right food to eat for your body, to help you feel better now, and enjoy many more healthy years to come.

    You can learn more about becoming a ZOE member by going to, and you can also get 10% off your membership on this link. As always, I'm your host, Jonathan Wolf. ZOE in Science and Nutrition is produced by Yella Hewings-Martin, Rich Willan, and Tilly Fulford. See you next time!

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