Mini Course: Metabolic Nutrition

This course distills and simplifies the complex science of nutrition down into actionable take-a-ways. In the end, we want to overcome the barriers that inhibit our achieving our nutrition goals by designing effective personalized programs that work, but that also maintain enough of our natural eating pattern to make it sustainable. It is the overlap between making effective changes, together with eating how we already like to eat, that creates a truly sustainable program. While each person must ultimately find their own personal path to discover what works best for them, including scientific ideas in that process can help inform the process for significantly improved results. This course is for those who have struggled to make diets work for them and are ready to fix what they are doing instead of adopting a diet that forces them to change who they are. It is also for the person who believes in only fixing what needs fixing to reach goals, leaving everything else as is.


This mini course in METABOLIC NUTRITION, meaning nutrition focused on your protecting your lean tissue (PLT).  PLT avoids a loss in metabolism when losing weight, shifts body composition from body fat to muscle during weight maintenance, and increases lean tissue during healthy weight gain.  By nurturing lean tissue, you maximize your metabolic rate regardless of whether going up, maintaining, or losing weight.

Step 1 of 6

Of making your nutrition metabolic is to know what NOT to do, namely pushing your Calories too low or too high.  Too low and the body can shut down, fighting against healthy weight loss.  Too high and the overflow will increase body fat beyond the ideal for healthy weight gain.  The Calorie balance model of “moving more and eating less” is not incorrect, but is incomplete and can fail us when pushing it to its limits. 

Step 2 of 6

Of making your nutrition metabolic is to consider Calorie flow.  Too low a delivery of Calories will reduce cell function, thereby lowering your metabolism, working against healthy weight loss.  Too high a delivery will increase body fat more than you were likely hoping for during healthy weight gain.  Too low for the first half of your day and then too high later on when you get over-hungry will shift your body composition towards body fat when trying to maintain your weight.

Step 3 of 6

In making your nutrition metabolic is to provide your body a macronutrient flow (water, protein and a stable blood sugar) to supply your cells what they need for as many of your 24 hours in the day as possible.  You need about 1 Liter of water per 1000 Cal that you eat, which for most people is around 1.5-3 Liters, or on average 8 cups per day provided evenly through the day to digest, deliver, and use the food we are eating.  We need on average 0.6 grams of protein per kg body weight per day, which is naturally in the food we eat if we are not low in Calories for hours at a time.  Adding “protein foods” to our eating is needed if we need more protein to heal (from exercise or injury), if we are low in Calories for too many hours, or both (combining exercising and dieting at the same time).  Carbohydrate needs are mainly for the brain so that it does not trigger a destruction of our muscle to provide amino acids to the liver for conversion to glucose.  In other words, if blood sugar is too low the brain will recruit the liver to help it eat your muscle instead of allowing you to maintain your exercise healing (to stay fit) or maintain your metabolic rate (to maintain weight loss).

Step 4 of 6

Of making your nutrition metabolic is to nourish your cells with quality food.  Quality matters most with vegetables and unsaturated fats because the double (electron) bonds in these foods are what make them so healthy.  The antioxidants in vegetables give up an electron (from their double bonds) to eliminate free radicals that damage your cells.  Unsaturation in fat molecules are their double bonds, making them important for your immune and hormone systems, brain function, and cell health throughout your body.  The double bonds that make vegetables and unsaturated fats so healthy are easily attacked by oxygen, which loves electrons.  Eat a variety of colorful vegetables for a wide variety of antioxidants and a variety of healthy fats to nourish your metabolism beyond what macronutrient flow can provide by itself.

Step 5 of 6

In making your nutrition metabolic is to put it all together into meals.  The simplest “pain by numbers” approach to eating balances out the food groups equally and then adjust from there to discover what works best for you.  So long as you are not low in any one food group, every diet, no matter how crazy it may sound at first, can be adjusted to keep you healthy.

Step 6 of 6

And final step in making your nutrition metabolic is to establish your nutrient flow mindset.  This is not a new paradigm but rather a restatement of what we have known for thousands of years, which is that anything the body can heal from and sustain benefits us, whereas what we cannot heal from hurts us.  If we exercise beyond what our nutrition and sleep can nurture back to health, it is excessive, whether that is one workout per week or two workouts per day.  An Olympic athlete that can heal from their massive training load is not excessive, whereas someone dieting too hard that cannot recover from one workout is (excessive).  What counts as “moderate” is what benefits you.  Nourishing your body sufficiently therefore enables a crazy lifestyle with powerful metabolic goals to be fully achievable.