Jonathan Bailor: The Calorie Myth

the calorie myth

Jonathan Bailor: Dealing with calories

Anytime I get a chance to discuss fitness and nutrition with a guy like Jonathan Bailor, it always turns out to be a great experience. This guy has made quite a name for himself, first as the host of the Smarter Science of Slim, and now with his book: The Calorie Myth. This interview was an absolute delight! The following is the summary of our conversation that I hope you enjoy!

How did you find yourself in the health industry?

According to Jonathan, he was a skinny, geeky kid who always wanted to be like his older, bigger brother.

He made all the typical moves that were expected, “I did everything a child would do, I read all the magazines, I became a personal trainer, I did everything that the popular culture and mainstream press told me to do and in doing that, and becoming a personal trainer that I had this amazing, let’s call it an epiphany.”

This epiphany happened while he was working as a personal trainer smashing down 6000 calories a day while prescribing his mostly female clientele to only eat 1200 calories per day, neither he nor his clients were happy,

I wasn’t getting bigger and they weren’t getting smaller and we were both getting sick and sad despite trying harder and harder and harder based on everything I was taught and as a supposed expert.

Jonathan decided that there had to be a better way and turned towards his inner geeky side. He sought out scientific articles and health experts, “I ended up reading over 1300 research studies and just having any number of phone calls and collaborating with top doctors at the Harvard medical school, John Hopkins and UCLA because these people never get talked to by the media, they never get any attention and they dedicate their lives to this really amazingly transformational research that the way public just hasn’t heard about.”

How long did it take you to compile all of this knowledge?

Jonathan spoke about how it took him over a decade to amass all of this knowledge (I know how long these journal articles take to read, I’ve written several) and how all of this scientific research boiled down to a fitness paradigm shift that needs to occur.

Jonathan Bailor The Calorie MythThis paradigm shift culminates in his upcoming book, The Calorie Myth. Bailor said, “We have been basically told the earth is flat when it comes to eating and exercise. We have been taught a model which seems intuitive, like it seems intuitive that the earth is flat, look at your window. Yeah, it seems pretty flat … but not everything that seems true is true. It seems true that if you just eat less and exercise more and count calories that you’ll be healthy and fit. Obviously, if you look at the past 40 years [the increase in obesity] it doesn’t work that way.

We need a completely different and a completely proven new paradigm for eating and exercise and that is what this book provides.”

I encouraged him to give me some examples of exactly how the previous fitness paradigm of the last 40 years has proven to be wrong and Jonathan explained that the calorie myth has many people jogging at 4 a.m. to burn extra calories but this will completely mess up your hormone levels.

Bailor said, “That which is healthy from a caloric perspective is actually horrendously destructive from a hormonal, which is actually what matters, perspective.”

Then he went into how the quality of the food you consume is what matters, not the quantity. He explained, “The only way you can become healthy and fit long term, is by manipulating the quality of calories you eat because the quantity of calories you need to not be hungry is dictated by your brain.”

We have been led to believe we can forcefully override that and Josh …you can’t live your life hungry it depends on the quality of your food.

We then started to talk about how the old fitness paradigm had us actually fighting against our own physiology. Fighting against our own physiology makes for a war that we are never going to win, I have spoken about this many times and Jonathan was quick to mention this.

He mentioned how the obesity percentage in the United States has completely gone berserk since everyone started counting their calories, before then there wasn’t much of an obesity epidemic.

Your book, The Calorie Myth is about inducing a mindset change?

Jonathan Bailor The Calorie Myth veggiesJonathan was quick to point out that a very simple mindset change is absolutely needed. Jonathan explained, “Quality over quantity…the calorie myths are all rooted in quantity.

How much did you eat, how much did you exercise; what we need to do is think about quality, what did you eat and what did you do for exercise. Because once we take care of quality the body will take care of quantity for us.”

Well, what does quality actually mean though? Bailor explained how quality foods are very simple and non-processed foods that can be eaten to the heart’s content. Jonathan explained what the ideal diet would be like, “The quality of a calorie is by looking at the four factors that researchers have proven determine the quality of the calorie and that is satiety, aggression, nutrition, and efficiency.

We abbreviate that using the acronym SANE [here’s what exactly SANE foods are: Ten Principles of SANE Eating] and we tell people that they want to eat more SANE food, in fact, they want to eat so much sane food that they are too full for insane food.”

What is the ideal diet that you recommend in The Calorie Myth?

According to Bailor your typical meal should include only SANE foods, proportioned to where half is  non-starchy vegetables.

He went on, “These are vegetables that you could eat raw, you don’t have to eat them raw but you could eat them raw. Like you can’t eat corn raw, you can’t eat a potato raw; you can eat leafy greens raw, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, salt peppers, asparagus, broccoli, onions, vegetables you can eat raw.”

Jonathan Bailor The Calorie Myth VegJonathan then explained that the next 30 percent of our plate should be full of nutrient-dense proteins, “Like non-toxic seafood. Then high-quality meat such as grass-fed beef, humanely raised chicken, and humanely raised non-toxic pork.”

The rest of the plate should include low-fructose fruits that are full of vitamins and minerals, he continued, “These fruits are berries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries… etc and citrus foods, lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruits.”

Lastly, Bailor went on to say whole food fats will make up the majority of your actual caloric intake (calorically dense) but won’t compromise a large portion of your meal, “I want you eating the whole foods so the whole avocado, the whole macadamia nut, cocoa, coconut, eggs.

Like an egg is 64% fat by weight, the egg is a great source of fat; so whole food, fiber-rich nutritionally dense fats as well low fructose fruits are filling up the balance of your plate.”

Finally, Jonathan said, “The order of volume: non-starchy vegetables, then nutrient-dense proteins, then whole food fats and low fructose fruits; eat as much of those as you want in that order whenever you want, so that you are too full for starches and sweets and you will heal your body and you will naturally pursue slimness and naturally avoid disease like it has for every other person who has ever lived in any generation prior to the previous three.”

Jonathan Bailor: The Calorie MythWhere can you be reached?

Jonathan recommended anyone who wants to know more about his work to go to the Smarter Science of Slim website where they have a 28-day program, free daily tips, and free support groups.

“They can sign up for it, they go to Smarter Science of Slim and that is just a wonderful community. Everybody is supportive, people can pose their questions there and even more importantly we have over a million words of free online help content … chances are they have already answered [their questions].”


His last words summed up the paradigm shift that he wants to occur in the health industry,

All of these problems we’re experiencing right now did not exist when people just ate things they could find directly in nature which is essentially what I just gave you!

And what we all will get in The Calorie Myth!

Thanks again Jonathan Bailor for your time, you can find The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better at your local bookstore. Check it out!

Find more useful information and the full Jonathan Bailor transcript of the interview below!

Audio Version:
Part 1

Part 2

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Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
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