Are You SANE or inSANE? Find Out Here


Hey, what’s up everybody? Jonathan Bailor, back, with another in the series of SANE solutions and calorie myth-busting and talking about eating more and exercising less, but doing that smarter, to burn fat and boost our health long-term, and taking that seemingly crazy statement and backing it up with all sorts of surprising science, which is cool, and we end up with a completely different approach to eating and exercise.

As crazy as it might seem, actually makes a lot of sense taking a completely different approach to eating and exercise, considering where the old approach to eating and exercise got us, which is the disastrous world we live in today – we have about 70% of the American population struggling with overweight. Considering how poorly this starve yourself to health methodology has worked for us over the past 50 years, it might not be so crazy to say that taking the exact opposite approach yields an exact opposite result, which is huge drops in the obesity and diabetes rates, rather than huge spikes.

So, part of that, and this ties back to our last show because this is a four-part series, is what the heck we mean by different qualities of foods, because when we say eat more, if you don’t watch the whole show you might go and just order two value meals from McDonald’s. That is certainly not what is being advocated here. It is not about more of the same quality of food that has caused the obesity and diabetes epidemics, it is about changing the quality of food we are eating, and seeing high-quality, what I call SANE foods, as the most cost-effective, delicious, and sustainable cures to the obesity epidemic in the world, that there is a bit of a dose-dependent relationship on this metabolic medication, which just means, let’s say green, leafy vegetables. I think we would all agree that green, leafy vegetables probably do something good for our health. Our grandmothers and our mothers were probably on to something.

Science has born that out completely, and it would certainly make sense to say eating more green, leafy vegetables is better for you than eating less green, leafy vegetables. I know that might actually have us eating a little bit more calories, and according to popular magazines if we eat ten more calories per day, over ten years we are going to gain ten pounds, so clearly, we should all not eat more vegetables because that is going to make us fat, right? Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense.

And the reason that is nonsense is because the quality of calories varies immensely, in addition to your body being able to do different things with calories, which we talked about on the last show, which if you haven’t seen, I highly suggest you check it out because we cover some amazing science showing studies where individuals eat more calories and actually lose more weight. We explain how that is possible, and we talk about the underlying principle that different qualities of calories do different things in our bodies, and we talk about how eating more of what I call SANE foods, or high-quality foods, is the key to healing our metabolic system. Again, you can learn more about that in the previous class.

But, then the question comes up from [inaudible] 03:45 in Theo’s audience, “Well, thank you, Jonathan, for blowing my mind, for showing me that everything I have been taught about eating and exercise is wrong, and then for telling me that I need to eat more high-quality, SANE foods, and then not telling me what those foods are. I’m outta here, man, what’s the deal? You can’t just tell me all this good stuff and then not tell me how to do it.”

So, what we are going to start doing in this class, series, show – you know the world is changing, you never what this is, but this is going to be a class today – in today’s class we are going to talk about what makes a calorie high versus low-quality, why that matters, where you can find these types of calories, what the acronym SANE means, and why we associate that with high-quality foods. So, lots of good stuff.

The high-level idea is that a calorie is not a calorie. You have heard the opposite of this since the obesity epidemic started. “A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” That is nonsense. That is like saying – well, let’s put it this way. It is nonsense in terms of the way everybody actually talks about eating and exercise. So, let’s take a step back here really quick, and let’s give credit where credit is due. If you are looking at what is called a [?? s/l bomb kilometer] 04:57, or the scientific tool that is used to measure the amount of energy contained in foods, a calorie is a measure of energy, much like an ounce is a measure of volume. So, for example, to say that a calorie is a calorie is accurate scientifically, much like saying an ounce is an ounce.

But, let’s take this now into the common sense arena. That is how a scientist would talk, but let’s talk about how maybe a family or a normal person would talk. We all agree that an ounce is an ounce in a conceptual scientific perspective, right? There are eight ounces in a cup. Eight ounces is eight ounces, right? Yes – “ish.” But if sat you down at a table and I said, “Here is eight ounces of cyanide, and here is eight ounces of purified water, drink either one, because eight ounces is eight ounces,” I would be telling the truth. Eight ounces is eight ounces. But I think common sense would dictate that those cups of liquid aren’t the same. Why? Because the quality of what makes up those eight ounces is very, very different.

The same thing applies to calories. Just like you measure liquid by ounces, you measure energy via calories. So, is 100 calories of spinach providing the same amount of energy in a [?? s/l bomb-kilometer] 06:26 measurement system as 100 calories of soda? Yes. But are they the same thing? Do they have the same impact on the body? No. That is a key distinction. People say, “A calorie is a calorie.” Well, yes, just like I guess a car is a car, but if my house in on fire and you pull up in a postal truck versus a fire engine, I am going to react very differently to the quality of those automobiles.

So, a calorie is not a calorie. We just have to let go of that; it’s ridiculous, and it doesn’t make any sense. And it also precipitates this nonsense that the body is a passive calorie balance machine that works like a balance scale – a calorie is a calorie so it doesn’t matter what you are eating, just follow the path of these people that come out every four years to get media attention and then they go on 1200-calorie junk food diets and they say, “Look! I lost weight eating 1200 calories of junk food. Clearly, a calorie is a calorie, and we should all just continue to eat nonsense, but just eat less of it?” Which, again, is ridiculous.

What we are talking about here is not, “Can eating 800 calories of Skittles for eight weeks cause you to eat weight?” Of course it can? Just like cutting your leg off can cause you to eat weight. Who cares? Does anyone think we should actually be eating 800 calories of Skittles? No. We are after long-term health. We are after long-term wellness. It is not that calories don’t matter at all, it is that the quality of them is really what helps us out long-term, and for us to manipulate the quality of the calories that we are eating we have to first understand that we can do that, that calories aren’t all coming from the same sources, and then we have to understand what makes a calorie high versus low quality. So, hopefully, we would check number one off that list. We understand that yes, technically, a calorie is a calorie when it comes to a measure of a unit of energy, and even that is kind of not true. I don’t know if we will have time to cover that today, but the quality of what those calories do is very, very different.

So, what is a high-quality versus a low-quality calorie, or source of calories? First and foremost, I am saying high-quality, and I use the term SANE, very, very intentionally, because the typical word that is used in these instances when we talk about changing the quality of what we are eating, people say, “Eat healthy foods.” The term is healthy. But if you ask a vegetarian what is healthy, or if you ask someone who is on the Adkin’s diet what is healthy, or if you ask someone who just watches popular television what is healthy, you are going to get very different answers, right? Healthy is completely subjective based on a person’s existing mindset. If you ask ten people on the street what is healthy, you will get ten different answers.

So, we wanted to take a step back. We wanted to say that we need a universal criteria. We need to understand what actually determines the quality of food separate from what the media is currently reporting. So we have to look at the scientific literature, and we have to say, first of all, what are the four – we didn’t know it was four at the time, but it turned out to be four things – what are the four ways that foods really vary? We need to know the variables first, then we can analyze food based on those variables. And that is why we use the acronym, SANE. SANE just represents the four factors in which food and sources of calories vary dramatically across your grocery store.

For example, the “S” in SANE represents the word Satiety, which comes from the same root as the word satisfaction. This is, how quickly does the source of calories fill you up and keep you full? The “A” in SANE is for Aggression, or what is the hormonal response this food causes in your body? Does it really aggressively cause your body to trigger hormones, or is it a slow, calm release of energy and hormones into your body? The “N” is for Nutrition, the factor that most of us are most familiar with. Clearly, that 100 calories of Pepsi provides us with different nutrition than 100 calories of spinach. And the “E” is for efficiency, or how efficiently our bodies can use these calories as energy, and therefore, potentially, eventually store them as body fat.

So we can deconstruct each one of those, but the key thing to understand about when we say SANE eating, or SANE foods, or on the other end of the spectrum, inSANE eating, or inSANE foods, is that the point of SANE is to provide us with an objective framework. It is not a moralistic framework. It is not an opinion-based framework. There are four factors that scientific literature, clinical studies, have proven are not the same across different types of foods. So, why don’t we basically stack ranked foods, looking at these different variables, and then we end up with, “These are SANE foods, these are inSANE foods, and then there are foods that fall along that spectrum.” So, if you ask ten people, what is SANE, and you ask people what is insane, you should get the same ten answers, because it is an objective criteria.

Let’s jump into high-quality, low-quality, SANE versus inSANE. Again, it is a spectrum, so it is important to understand that it is not so much that there are some SANE foods and there are some inSANE foods; it is a spectrum. How satisfying is a food, how aggressive is a food, and how efficient is a food? We have to look at all four of those factors and we have to combine them. There are some foods, for example, that might be very, very unaggressive, but might be very efficient, and might not be satisfying.

It is really cool, too, because for example, if you are familiar with glycemic index or glycemic load, this is a measure very similar to aggression. It looks at the insulin response caused by certain foods. But that is just one factor. That is like looking at a car and saying, we can judge the quality of a car by the size of the engine. That plays a role in the quality of the car, but it is not a complete measurement. SANE is an aggregate score, let’s say, of various foods, and it falls on a spectrum. So, it also helps us when people ask, is this good or bad? It is not a question if it is good or bad, it is simply, where does it fall on this spectrum?

So, the faster you want to heal yourself, the faster you want to burn fat, the closer you can be to the SANE end of the spectrum as often as possible, the better results you are going to get. Do you have to do anything? No. Can you eat things in the middle? Yes. Can you eat things on the inSANE end? Yes, you can do whatever you want, but your results, and the results of those you love, will be relative to where you are on that SANE spectrum. Hopefully, that makes sense.

So, it is very SANE to eat large amounts of SANE food. That is what we are talking about. What are SANE foods? Let’s give some examples. Let’s flush out this acronym a little bit more. First and foremost – satiety. Certain calories fill us up, certain calorie don’t. And this is, in and of itself, life-changing. So, think about how you could drink – hopefully, you don’t do this, but maybe you have done this before – how you could easily drink 600 calories of soda in a Big Gulp, and that actually makes you hungrier, or it certainly doesn’t prohibit you from eating a Big Mac and the fries that come with it. That’s 600 calories; that is a lot of energy. That is actually because a lot of those calories are coming in liquid form, and they are coming from sugars like fructose, which actually don’t trigger satiety responses from our brains, and in fact, can make us hungrier.

That’s right, certain sources of calories actually have negative satiety. Eating them makes us hungrier. Think Pringles. Pringles tell us, “Once you pop, you can’t stop.” Think about that. What they are saying is that if you eat these calories, they will make you hungrier. They have negative satiety. That is actually the point of light beer. Light beer was invented because regular beer was filling people up, so they would try to drink it with a meal, but then they wouldn’t have any room for their food, so they said, “Wow, I wish there was a beer that had lower satiety.” Well, it’s not only good for your health, but it is great for maximizing the number of calories you can consume before you get full.

Calories vary completely in terms of how many of them you need to eat to make you feel satisfied and full, and then how long they keep you full. I will wait to the end of the class to tell you what these SANE foods are, because the good news is, they don’t vary between satiety, aggression, nutrition and efficiency. There are common denominators and it is quite simple. So, we will save that until the end. It will also ensure that you stay tuned. So, we have SANE high-satiety foods versus inSANE low-satiety foods. Now we understand why those things work the way they do.

Aggression – hormonal impact of foods. So we can’t just think, “Oh, we want to eat high-satiety, high-aggression!” No. High-satiety, low-aggression. And when we say aggression, this is how quickly blood sugar and energy and hormonal responses are happening in our body, so having big spikes in energy is certainly not as good for us having a slow, continuous availability of energy. Having our insulin levels, leptin levels, and other various hormones spiking and then falling, is not what we want. We want to eat un-aggressive foods.

This one is pretty easy to explain, we’ve talked about glycemic index, glycemic load. Diabetics have known for decades that different foods do different things to your blood sugar levels, cause different hormonal responses, and it is widely accepted that unaggressive foods, foods that cause a slower, more consistent response by your body are better for you – noncontroversial – so let’s throw that into the mix.

“N” – Nutrition. We want to eat high-nutrition, or what is called nutrient dense food. It seems like most of us feel like we have a grasp on what nutritious versus non-nutritious foods are, but I will challenge you to revisit that belief, because the way nutrition has been presented to us is not in terms of what really makes something nutritious or not, which is nutrient density, or the ratio of nutrients to bad stuff, but just the total contents of nutrition.

Let me unpack that for a second. Someone looks at a sugary cereal, they look on the side panel and they say, “Oh, my gosh, this cereal has 15% of a million different vitamins and minerals, so clearly it is good for me. It has been enriched and fortified.” The challenge with that is, yes, that is true, it has vitamins and minerals in it, but it also has nonsense in it.

Think about it this way. If you have a cigarette sitting in front of you, and someone smokes it, and you say, “Hey, you shouldn’t smoke cigarettes, they are bad for you,” and they say, “It’s okay, every time I smoke a cigarette I take a vitamin C tablet,” you would say, “Well, that doesn’t make the cigarette good for you.” But they say, “Look, the more I smoke, the more vitamin C I am taking in.”

It doesn’t really work that way, right? So, if sugar and processed starches and trans fats are bad for you, it doesn’t matter how many vitamin pills we add into those processed products, all that negative stuff is still happening. So, for example, that highly processed fruit juice, say grape juice, that provides us with 50% more sugar per ounce than Coca-Cola does – just because it has vitamins and minerals in it doesn’t make it nutritious because it also has a lot of not so good for us stuff in it.

Another way to think about this is, let’say you saw me eating a donut. We could pretty much say we already understand that eating a donut is not nutritious. But you see me eating a donut, and you say, “Jonathan, I watched that class, you were talking about nutrition, and now I see you eating a donut. That is not nutritious, that is inSANE. What are you doing?” You would be justified in saying that. And then if I said, “Okay, look. You have a good point.” And I walked off, and then I came back with a plate of ten donuts and just started Cookie-Monstering them – just ten donuts in my face. And you said, “Jonathan, what are you doing? That is not nutritious at all.” I would say, “Look, I’m eating ten times more nutrition than I was eating before. I have ten donuts, not one, that is ten times as much nutrition.” Intuitively, you would know that is bananas because I am also taking in ten times as much nonsense, right?

So, it is not just about how much good you are taking in, it is about how much good relative to how much bad you are taking in. That is nutrient density. That is why, for example, vegetables are super nutrient-dense, super-SANE. They provide you with a huge amount of what is good, and almost none of what is bad. And this is where grains become confusing because what a lot of grains do is they might provide you with some good stuff, but then they also provide you with, potentially, a lot of bad stuff, especially the modern grains, so that ratio is really important. “N” – foods vary in their nutrition.

“E” is for efficiency. This is the factor that is least well understood in the mainstream, and this is that certain sources of calories are used way differently in the body. The simplest example is protein. Your body fuels itself, generally, either with sugar or fat, carbohydrate or fat. Protein is a structural component, it is what builds your body up, so your body is really bad at burning protein as energy. In fact, it can’t burn protein for energy. It would be like putting shredded newspapers into your car’s gas tank. It would say, “I don’t know what to do with this. I can’t run on this.”

If you eat more protein, what a lot of people find, and what studies consistently show, is that they end up burning more fat, because if you get more calories from protein, which is a very inefficient source of calories, and fewer calories from very efficient sources of energy, your body will burn more calories, day in and day out, simply converting what you are eating into metabolizable energy, and you will end up burning more fat. So, the low efficiency of protein is what explains why diets that are higher in protein – not necessarily high-protein diets, but just diets that are higher in protein – often result in weight loss. So, foods and sources of calories vary much in terms of their efficiency or how easily we can use them as energy.

Summarizing all of this, we have SANE, satisfying, unaggressive, nutritious and efficient foods, and then we have inSANE, unsatisfying, aggressive, not nutritious and inefficient foods. And I will be the first one to apologize, I wish it wasn’t switching between positive and negative, so I will simplify it for you, and that is: SANE foods have three things in common, so we will go from four, to three, we will make it even simpler – they are high in water, they are high in fiber, and they are high in protein, and inSANE foods are low in water, low in fiber, and low in protein. That is the general rule.

Now, let’s take foods we find in the world, and let’s talk about the ones that are high in water, fiber and protein, and then the ones that are dry, low in fiber, and low in protein. So, the SANest foods in the world – water, fiber, protein – are nonstarchy vegetables. These are vegetables you could eat raw. You don’t have to eat them raw, but you could eat them raw. That is the calling card of a nonstarchy vegetable. You cannot eat a potato raw, it is not a nonstarchy vegetable, it is a starch, whereas spinach, leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, bell peppers, cucumbers – all that awesome stuff – you could eat them raw, they are nonstarchy vegetables. You don’t have to eat them raw, but you could. SANest food in the world – nonstarchy vegetables.

Right behind nonstarchy vegetables is nutrient-dense proteins. These are foods that derive the majority of their calories from protein, and they provide us with a bunch of vitamins and minerals, and not a bunch of toxic nonsense. Think humanely-raised animals, wild-caught seafood. Think certain supplements you could take like a rice protein, or a hemp protein, or certain sources of dairy that are high in protein, such as Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, which can be nutrient-dense. We’re looking at nutrient-dense proteins.

Next on the list is whole food fats. These are natural foods, generally plants, but often they can be animals, as well, that we find in nature, with the vast majority of their calories from fat. These would be things like nuts and seeds. Whole food, a natural food, with a vast majority of its calories coming from fat. Other examples would be eggs. An egg is 65% fat by weight. Most people think it is a good source of protein. It is a good source of fat. It is actually not a good source of protein, there are much better sources of protein if you are looking at just eating protein. But things like nuts, seeds, eggs, certain fatty fish, certain fatty animal foods, again, get the majority of their calories from fat, but they provide us with a bunch of nutrition, they are unaggressive, and they are extremely satisfying. We want to get a bunch of our energy from whole food fats.

And then following that, the last officially SANE food would be low-fructose fruits, primarily berries and citrus. The reason berries and citrus are the SANest of the fruits is that, again, they provide us the most of what we want relative to things we don’t want. So, are grapes going to kill you? No. Grapes aren’t toxic, but if you look at the amount of sugar relative to the amount of essential vitamins and minerals in grapes relative to blueberries or an orange, that ratio is very, very different. So, why not just enjoy the SANest fruits or these low-fructose fruits?

On the inSANE end of the spectrum, good news – it is intuitive. It is stuff you don’t find in nature. It is processed starches, processed sugars. They are dry, they are low in fiber, they are low in protein. All that nonsense packaged and processed stuff – it is inSANE. So, not only does common sense tell us that we shouldn’t be eating that stuff, but hardcore science and the new science of SANity tell us we shouldn’t be eating that stuff, either. Not because we have a vendetta against General Mills, not because we inherently think that sugar and starch are bad, but we just look at it objectively. “Is it satisfying? Is it unaggressive? Is it nutritious? Is it inefficient?”

We just say no. No judgment here, we have an objective, scientific criteria, we look at various foods, we see where they end up on the spectrum and we just say, “Heck, man! Why not eat more nonstarchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats and low fructose fruits, in that order?” Just eat so much of that stuff that you are too full for inSANE starches and sweets. Unclog. Drive up your SANity. Eat more and burn more. That is what we are all about.

So, that’s the short version of how to go SANE, how to increase the quality of your calories, and how you can eat more and actually burn more. I know we just scratched the surface, so if you want more information, of course, stay tuned, we will have a bunch more in Theo’s classes, but be sure to head over to sanesolution.com, sign up for your free plan and you’ll learn more…