I have been studying this nutrition, health and fitness stuff for about three years now. During that time I have read dozens of books on the subject, watched and attended at least as many lectures, and read hundreds of blog posts. When you start learning something new, the first few months are easily spent acquiring knowledge every single day. After that the pace starts to get slower and what you read begins to repeat itself. I am in no means saying that I would somehow know everything there is to know – far from it – but that I have reached a point where stumbling on an insightful article or presentation happens maybe once every month instead of on a daily basis.
Due to the exposure I’ve had, I feel confident that I can put together a pretty decent collection of articles and online lectures that will teach you more about health and nutrition in a few hours than what most people learn in their whole lifetime. This information should also be pretty applicable and useful when it comes to improving your own health and well-being.
In fact, I guarantee that if you spend 1-2 hours every day for a week watching these lectures and reading the articles, and then proceed to implement what you learn, your health, well-being and quality of life will improve dramatically. Unless, of course, you’re already shoulder-deep geeked out about this stuff like I am :)
Why We Get Fat: Adiposity 101 by Gary Taubes
Gary is the author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. He is also one of the most prominent science writers in the world. This is a convincing presentation about different factors that refute the caloric balance hypothesis, and how hormones are the primary regulators of fat accumulation.
Among other things he also explains how glucose affects the hormone insulin which regulates fat storage, and how dietary carbohydrate is required to be able to gain significant amounts of fat.
Watch the remaining parts on YouTube: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7
Update 26.6.2014: The original YouTube videos seem to have been taken down, but this link works at the time of this update.
Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Robert H. Lustig
This lecture has gained more than 1.5 million views on YouTube which is absolutely amazing considering that it’s a University of California lecture, rather heavy on science, and even goes into explaining the biochemistry of glucose and fructose metabolism. There is some overlapping with this and the Gary Taubes lecture but both are definitely worth watching with care. Where Gary’s lecture is more about nutrition research and carbohydrates, this lecture is big on sugar, how our bodies effectively handle fructose as a toxin.
A Metabolic Paradigm Shift, or Why Fat is the Preferred Fuel for Human Metabolism by Mark Sisson
Today’s lesson should not take more than 15 minutes. It is a short and straight-to-the-point article by one of the heavyweights in the paleo community; Mark Sisson – author of The Primal Blueprint and a perfect specimen of what a man should look like when he’s close to 60 years old. Here Mark reveals some of the issues behind the assumption that glucose would be the primary fuel source for our bodies with a nice Darwinian, evolution by natural selection undertone.
The reason I added this article as a part of the course is that it brings together some of the key points from the previous two lectures nicely and fits them into the context of evolutionary biology.
Read the article here: A Metabolic Paradigm Shift, or Why Fat is the Preferred Fuel for Human Metabolism
How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days) by Robb Wolf
So far we have been mainly focusing on macronutrients; carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Now it’s time to go deeper. Ignore the provocative title of this article. The content is solid.
Robb is the author of The Paleo Solution and runs a free podcast with the same name. This article was published on Tim Ferriss’s blog and explains one of the most important missing pieces when it comes to solving the puzzle of optimal nutrition and health; food sensitivities. More precisely, how grains, legumes, and dairy can cause inflammation of the small intestine, leaky gut, and lead to various autoimmune diseases.
The real kicker is that these issues are far more common than you would believe.
Read the article here: How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)
Friday and Saturday
9 Steps to Perfect Health by Chris Kresser
I cannot give enough credit to Chris for writing his Perfect Health series. This is also the perfect way to end our course because it brings together and summarizes everything we have learned earlier, while also adding information on certain important factors that tend to get overlooked but can be of huge significance when health and well-being are concerned: handling stress, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a balanced ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
- 1) Don’t Eat Toxins
- 2) Nourish Your Body
- 3) Eat Real Food
- 4) Supplement Wisely
- 5) Heal Your Gut
- 6) Manage Your Stress
- 7) Move Like Your Ancestors
- 8) Get More Sleep
- 9) Practice Pleasure
Sunday (advanced topics)
Intermittent Fasting for Health and Longevity by Todd Becker
Even The Dude would rest on Sunday – and probably on all the other days, too – so this it not really required learning anymore. I would also advise that intermittent fasting is not for everyone; it can be a stressor and do you more harm than good. However, for some it works beautifully and when it can help you live longer, maintain insulin sensitivity, and effortlessly lose body fat, what’s not to like?
If you’re curious about IF and want to know more about it, this lecture by Todd Becker is a great place to start. I should also say that I have an extensive guide to intermittent fasting brewing, and that I have been fasting on average 6 days a week for the past 4 months so I can also share some personal experiences on this blog.
Watch the remaining parts on YouTube: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Now that the course is over it’s time to shake hands, deal diplomas, and congratulate ourselves. However, there is always more to learn. I can wholeheartedly recommend that you start reading more of the authors mentioned in this article. Also, if you want to spend your commutes smartly, check out The Paleo Solution podcast on iTunes and start listening to it from the beginning.