Secrets From The Eating Lab



In this episode, Katrina Mills explores what’s Hot or Not with the Pegan diet. I interview Professor of psychology Traci Mann; about her new book Secrets From The Eating Lab and my student dietitian Hannah Brown is back with her Snap Chat questions.

Want to purchase the book? Find it on Amazons here.


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Check out this episode!




Pegan Diet Review -Katrina Mills

Pegan Diet= Paleo fused with vegan. Combines animal-based foods and vegan foods. Followers from each party realising their bodes aren’t feeling great on each restrictive diet so they’ve combined.

Things these diets have in common= restrictive rules and they’re based on unproven evidence. They claim following the Pegan diet will give you a low glycaemic load to keep blood sugar levels stable (by eliminating sugar and processed foods). Eat the good fats. It also supports the use of organic coconut oil. 75% of whole diet comes from plants, 25% made up from protein- still a heavily vegan diet.

Most Australian’s don’t get close to eating enough vegetables so this diet is so extreme for the average Australian and unrealistic. Advocate for organic and grass-fed animal produce.

Avoid dairy- they claim it’s not for human consumption and milk is inflammatory (with no evidence). They also claim it increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis! There’s no evidence for this! They don’t mention anything about vitamin D, which also contributes to bone health. Watch where they’re getting their evidence. We need good quality dairy in our diets!

They also recommend eliminating gluten and choosing gluten-free grains; even though vegans generally have a higher intake of grains. There’s very little evidence of their claims saying legumes with cause spikes in blood sugar levels! Legumes have a low glycaemic load and are low GI; blood sugar spikes are therefore not coming from legumes. They also recommend avoiding gluten. They give examples that gluten is contributing to chronic conditions worldwide.

Another recommendation is to eat nuts but not peanuts because it’s a legume but a website provides a recipe to use peanut butter in smoothies! This is a fad diet created from other fad diets. Not sure if it’s a worse or better option because at least it’s a migration away from both sides of the fence- people have realised they’re not getting enough from their original restrictive diets.

The dietary guidelines say to have wholefoods, lean meat and vegetables anyway! They encourage eating a wide variety of foods and not just consuming one individual food.

These fad diets have way too many rules. We don’t like being told we can’t eat certain things and this can lead to binges. We should stop labelling foods and just enjoy a wide variety of foods- just because a food is labelled paleo doesn’t mean the identical non-paleo product is any less in value.

Research behind coconut oil is still inconclusive in regards to its health benefits however there is a lot of evidence for the benefits of olive oil and it can be cooked with (despite what many people believe about its smoke point).


Secrete from the eating lab – Traci Mann (Professor of Psychology)

The book aims to tell the truth about dieting and clears the misinformation that’s out there. Focuses on why diets do not work and what to do instead.

You can lose weight in the short term on any diet you go on (10% of starting weight in a year). Within 3 years people have gained back, on average, all but one kilo of this weight. Diets don’t work in the long-term.

People don’t need to diet to improve their health. They can just do healthy stuff such as being reasonable about your eating and exercising- you will get healthier if you do things however you might not lose that much weight- this doesn’t matter because you will be healthier.

People can still be classified as overweight or obese and still be healthy. People want to look thin; we’re programmed from a young age to want this- therefore it may be a hard sell for some people to realise you don’t have to be thin to be healthy. This could be liberating knowing you don’t have to lose weight by dieting to be healthy.

Aim to reach your leanest liveable weight, which is, instead of trying to live below your set weight range, try to live towards the lower end of this range. You can be healthy at this point! You can get there by being reasonable and not strict and you can easily stay there and you’re not setting off a battle with biology, which is what happens when you’re below your set weight range.

Most people say they want to be the weight they were when they were in high school- you can be healthy at all different weight ranges! Being this weight won’t make you healthier and most girls in high school at this weight aren’t happy with their weight anyway- you can never be satisfied!

Other things are more important than losing weigh- we should stop spending so much time working on trying to lose weight.

Willpower: if you’re going to lose weight relying on willpower you need to be absolutely perfect with controlling your willpower! You have to display this willpower multiple times in the same situation e.g. resisting donuts in a meeting- you have to keep saying no to yourself every time you look up and see them and it could be a long meeting!

Willpower isn’t really useful when it comes to eating, because the slightest mess up completely erases all of the successes you’ve had before. Willpower is very weakly linked to people’s weight but it’s highly linked with exams (if you have a break you haven’t undone all of the studying you’ve done before- unlike with weight loss!). People will fail if they rely on willpower for weight loss

Tips in the book to always eat healthily without dieting or without using willpower. Biological type things affect weight when you’re dieting; the body thinks it’s starving and makes changes to ‘survive’ through this period- good if you’re actually starving somewhere but bad if you’re trying to lose weight. Your metabolism changes and slows down so you can survive on fewer calories and have more left over to store as fat. Now you can eat the same amount of calories as you were prefer when you were losing weight and now you won’t lose any weight as the body takes some of the calories to store as fat- not what you want when you’re trying to lose weight!

Your body also tries to make sure that if there is food around you will eat it. There are hormone changes that stop you from feeling full so something that use to make you feel full won’t make you feel as full anymore- will lead you to eat more or will make it harder to eat less.

Neurological changes- you’re more likely to notice food and pay more attention to it. You become preoccupied with thoughts of foods especially those you’re forbidding yourself from having, which makes it even harder to resist them. Also when you eat a food you enjoy it even more as the reward value of food is increased.

The starvation mode occurs when you’re trying to live below your set weight range. You’re living like you’re starving and this isn’t fair- people shouldn’t have to live as if they’re starving just because their set weight range is higher than others.

With bodybuilders and other athletes who are continually starving- you can’t maintain this without some sort of disordered eating pattern and/or preoccupation with food.

Myth of comfort food: Study for NASA (astronauts were losing too much weight when they went to space; they were stressed and therefore not eating enough) found mood did improve when eating comfort food but improved just as much as when they ate regular food that wasn’t their comfort food. The same results were found with the consumption of a neutral food- comfort food made no difference on mood! The same results were also found when comfort food was eaten and when no food was eaten- there was no difference in mood!

People are giving credit to comfort food for increased mood that would have happened anyway.


Hannah Brown Snap Chat Questions

Over 3 years at uni favourite subjects= purely nutrition subjects that just focus on nutrition and issues people have with nutrition. Favourite subject because it’s relevant to becoming a dietitian!

Didn’t enjoy statistics because it’s maths-based but it does come in handy when you’re doing research and will be useful with the honours project this year.

Hated chemistry- had to do it all of first year. Didn’t see the relevance especially when just looking at basic chemistry and the equations. Enjoyed food science- practical and hands on so it was enjoyable. Biology subjects have been enjoyable and interesting despite being very hard!


Do you think low-carb bread is really necessary?

-A. Low carb push is coming from consumers with low-carb diets. There’s also a low-carb potato. These products are not actually that different to the regular versions- they may be a bit lower in carbohydrates but if they’re not lower in calories then they’re not going to do much for you. Even if you’re trying to decrease the amount of carbohydrate you eat- just eat less bread! When you take something out (like carbohydrate) you have to replace it with something so they put up protein, salt or emulsifiers. People are so worried about additives in food but when you want food free of this and that they replace the ingredient with additives and chemicals people didn’t want to consume in the first place! Everyone’s up in arms about GMO foods- the low-carb potato is genetically modified! They’ve just put more fibre and water in the potato anyway.


Are there any dangers in pre-workout formulations and protein powders?

-A. Protein powders are safe; just derivatives of milk solids (coming from dairy) however it is processed protein. They are often advertised as whole foods and natural but when you dehydrate milk and extract the protein whey out of it, it’s no longer a whole food it’s processed powder. Just like white flour. Only recommend for people trying to put on weight or have higher requirements for protein. Wouldn’t use for the average person or someone who’s trying to lose weight; it’s pointless as it adds extra energy to things.

Pre-workout formulations are harmful! Most of them aren’t tested so they have a lot of impurities in them. Lead, mercury and illicit drugs have been found in them which has implications for people who are drug-tested at work or in sports they’re not a good idea unless they’re using an approved brand.

High caffeine in one dose- people go on a high and skin gets tingly and then they come crashing down. Especially harmful for people who train at night as they become insomniac and can’t sleep! Get rid of pre-workout formulas and use protein powders only if you need it. Kidney failure has been seen in people combining creatinine and pre-workout formula in the course of a month. They come with consequences and can be very bad for our health especially in the wrong doses.


Is there a use for creatinine?

-A. Has a lot of studies done on it and is very beneficial for strength and power athletes. Comes from animal-based products (red meat, fish, chicken). Use more creatinine and need a higher amount in the body when we’re strength training. It’s made up of amino acids that we use to produce energy- it’s the first energy system we use when we start to use (first 15 seconds of movement). Power-lifting (one rep maxes) or with sprinting when we use this system as our energy pathway it’s super important. In saying that though, creatinine monophosphate had been tested and it works, but creatinine esters (different types) patented brands haven’t been proven to be effective. Patented brands of the ester types of creatinine are marketing gimmicks.




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