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Need Help - Meat and Fats info


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A friend of mine is suffering from a serious eating disorder, and has asked my help. 
She has trouble eating anything other than light vegetables and fruits, but at this time, needs to start eating more calorie-dense foods such as meats and fats. I'm hoping to help her see that meat and fats can be healthy parts of the diet, despite much of the nutritional wisdom of the 80s and 90s. Can anyone help point me to good articles supporting the idea that meat and fat can be healthy?

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It's great that you're there for your friend - support networks are vital for overcoming eating disorders.  That said, she would benefit from professional help as well.  Has she spoken to a specialist about this?  Unfortunately, it's not usually as simple as presenting evidence in support of healthy eating.  Eating disorders, and the crippling self-image issues that cause them, are rarely about the food itself.  There's often something else that's driven the person to perceive their body negatively and go on a harmful crusade to "improve."  Often times the root issue has nothing to do with body image, and instead stems from something stressful or depressing in the person's life.  Without realizing it, the person develops a need to feel they can completely control something, and they may choose that something to be their body weight.  In this way, a person who is stressed about their family or their job certainty may suddenly become obsessed with their body image, develop an eating disorder, and relentlessly pursue an unhealthy, ill-conceived ideal, all for the need of "control."

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Appreciate the answer and yes, she's getting professional help. This is more of a small supplement, as she cares deeply about eating healthy, and wants to break her old habits, and believes that doing enough reading on the subject of some of her problem foods being healthy will help her eat them with less difficulty. 

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If you are looking for calorie-dense foods, I don't quite understand why you refer to meats and fats in particular, given carbs (rice, pasta) and especially fat+carb combinations (nuts, peanut butter) provide tons of calories and can easily be eaten a lot of. Meat on the other hand is usually leaner and fills you up better and you'd have to go out of your way either in preparation or choice to find especially fat/calorie-dense meat. Even extremely fatty sausages don't really exceed 300cal/100g whereas 100g of macadamia or brazil nuts are already at 680-710 cal.


I'm with Jprev though, as he said "Eating disorders, and the crippling self-image issues that cause them, are rarely about the food itself". Eating "more", in terms of calories is extremely easy. The hard part isn't to find a food that has more calories or to find ways to get those calories ingested, but rather to overcome the barriers that prevent you from doing it. A friend of mine has been lingering between 49 and 51 kg (108-112lbs) at 171cm/5'7 for the longest time and her main problems are stress, leading to skipped/forgotten meals constantly and an extremely active metabolism + smoking, producing a very high BMR and therefore very high calorie values to add weight (north of 2400). The difficulty here again isn't that she doesn't know what to eat or how much to eat, but how to implement it into her life and make it work.

How about a glass of purgatory with a splash of heaven?

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How close to the research is she willing to get?  There aren't any typical blogs I follow, because too many of them tend to preach a certain approach and don't do full justice to what's known and what isn't.  Some get close, but inevitably there's some comment that makes me go "well...."  See, when it comes to aerobic and muscular fitness, we have a solid idea of what works and what doesn't (most things do work, at least in some way).  We've known for a long time, in fact.  But nutrition?  Nutrition is an entirely different beast.  We've made strides, but it remains difficult to say what is the "perfect" diet, if there is one at all.  It doesn't help matters that with the sheer volume of research done - though it is NOT of equal quality - someone can probably find at least one study to support whatever interpretation they've chosen.


That said, there are good sources that attempt to summarize the current weight of nutritional understanding in as level-headed a way as anyone can.  Lyle McDonald and Alan Aragon are two such individuals who have taken great pains to follow original research and put it in context with our current knowledge and hunches, never afraid to challenge a commonly accepted "truth" if the research to the contrary is sound.  They are very well respected.  Their sites are http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/ and http://www.alanaragon.com/.  Alan's site is a paid, monthly research review, whereas Lyle's is a more conversational series of articles based on research (he also has some books, and occasionally does research reviews like Alan).  Both are extremely useful, but it may be easier to start with Lyle's.  Both sites focus on nutrition as it pertains to athletic performance and body composition.


To get any benefit from the above, though, she needs to be willing to put her preconceptions on hold and give the research a fair shot.

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An Open Letter to Conventional Wisdom


A Beginner's Guide To Healthy Eating


How To Successfully Transition Your Diet


The Misguided War on Fat


Everything You Need To Know About Sugar


Protein and Tetris - Building Blocks for Muscle Growth


How To Read A Nutrition Label

- Part 1

- Part 2

- Part 3

- Part 4


How to NOT Get Scammed By Food Labels


The Definitive Guide To Bacon




All except one of these links is from Steve's blog (nerdfitness.com), but there are excellent links to researched studies included. I'm recommending them based on their ease of reading (very non-confrontational, which I think will be very important to your friend) as well as their content. They're all good "food for thought", if nothing else.

Evicious, Khajjit Ranger STR 7 | DEX 13 | STA 3 | CON 6 | WIS 16 | CHA 4

Current 4WC: Evicious: The Unburdening II + Blitz Week!

Fitocracy! I Play To Win!

Keep up the momentum!

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