Monthly Archives: December 2015

130 grams of fiber, 2400 calories

How do I eat ~100 grams of fiber, on average, every day? Here’s my full dietary breakdown from December 30, 2015:

my diet 12-30.png

Green tea is associated with reduced all-cause mortality risk (, so I start every day with  green tea + lemon.

Then, I ate a giant salad (, consisting of pickles, lettuce, tomato, purple cabbage and corn, and topped with a blended dressing of fresh lemon, sesame seeds, cumin, jalapeño, and raw garlic.

Also on the list were sardines, which I eat every day. Snacks in between bigger meals were carrots, 1 whole red pepper, mushrooms, and a Brazil nut.

Then I ate a big bowl of broccoli topped with cherry tomatoes. I added mustard powder after the broccoli and tomatoes were done cooking (~10 minutes), because broccoli’s sulfurophane content decreases with cooking time (

At some point after that I had cod liver oil, to get my daily dose of Vitamin D and the fish oil fatty acids, EPA and DHA. I just (last week) sent my blood for analysis of my circulating Vitamin D, so I may need to increase my vitamin D intake based on what the result shows.

Next I had my beet-berry smoothie (

For dinner I had my barley-veggie mix (, including barley, cauliflower, celery, tomato, corn, collards, onions and olive oil. Also, with an orange for dessert!

In sum, 2400 calories, 130 grams of dietary fiber, and maximal nutrition!

fiber 130

Calorie Restriction Pioneer Roy Walford: Where Did He Go Wrong?

With the goal of improving health and extending lifespan, Roy Walford was a pioneer in terms of  studying (and implementing) a diet that is calorie restricted but that also contains optimal nutrition (CRON). Unfortunately, Walford died at age 80 from complications related to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Were there any factors in his nutritional approach that increased his risk for developing ALS?

On Walford’s website,, he listed 2 sample days of both food intake and his resulting macro- and micronutrient composition:

day 1.png

Although several micronutrients (calcium, sodium, zinc) are below the RDA on day 1, Walford’s 2-day average bring these values close to the RDA. However, his Vitamin E intake on day 1 and day 2 (shown below) are glaringly deficient. On day 1, his Vitamin E intake was only 2.8 mg. On day 2, it was 6.1 mg, for a 2-day average value of 4.5 mg. The RDA for Vitamin E was updated in 2000 (Food and Nutrition Board, 2000) from 8 mg to the current 15 mg-he wasn’t close to either value!

day 2

Dietary Vitamin E has been reported to be decreased in patients with ALS, when compared with ALS-free controls, as shown below (Veldink et al. 2007). Although the subjects of Veldink et al. had an increased calorie intake when compared with Walford (2842 and 2938 calories in controls and in ALS patients, respectively), when scaled down to Roy’s 1500 calorie intake, a dietary Vitamin E intake of 9 mg would be found in ALS patients, with 10.8 mg found in the controls. For comparison, Walford’s 2-day Vitamin E intake was only 6.1 mg! Interestingly, the only other dietary nutrient category that was significantly different between ALS patients and controls was polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) intake, which was also low (8.8g) in Walford’s 2-day diet.

als e pufa

I’m not at all saying that Walford’s dietary deficiencies in Vitamin E and PUFA caused his ALS. It’s also unknown whether the 2 days that he posted on his website are representative of his overall CRON approach. But it’s an interesting observation, isn’t it?


Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Vitamin E. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2000:186-283.

Freedman MD, Kuncl RW, Weinstein SJ, Malila N, Virtamo J, Albanes D. Vitamin E serum levels and controlled supplementation and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2013 May;14(4):246-51

Veldink JH, Kalmijn S, Groeneveld GJ, Wunderink W, Koster A, de Vries JH, van der Luyt J, Wokke JH, Van den Berg LH. Intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E reduces the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2007 Apr;78(4):367-71.

The Essential Fatty Acid, Linoleic Acid: Dietary Intake And Circulating Values, What’s Optimal For Health?

Linoleic acid (C18:2, n-6) is an essential fatty acid that must be obtained from the diet, because  our body can’t make it. How much linoleic acid should we eat every day for optimal health? To answer this question, I’ll investigate the association between circulating levels of linoleic acid with all-cause mortality risk, followed by identification of a corresponding dietary intake. Let’s have a look!

First, are circulating levels of linoleic acid associated with all-cause mortality risk? 4 studies have investigated this issue:

  • In a 15-year study of 1,551 middle-aged men (average age, 52y), increased circulating linoleic acid was associated with significantly reduced all-cause mortality risk in 3 of the 4 multivariable-adjusted models (Laaksonen et al. 2005).
  • In a 15-year study of 4,232 older adults (60y) elevated circulating linoleic acid was associated with significantly reduced all-cause mortality risk in men, but not women (Marklund et al. 2015).
  • In a 34-year study of 2,009 middle-aged men (average age, 50y) increased circulating linoleic acid was associated with significantly decreased risk of all-cause mortality (Warensjö et al. 2008). For example, shown below is the association between the risk of death from cardiovascular-related disease with the circulating linoleic acid concentration. At both 20 and 30 years after study onset, subjects that had circulating linoleic values above the median had approximately half of the mortality risk from CVD, when compared with below-median values for linoleic acid.

LA CVD mortality

  • In a 13-year study that included both older men and women (average age, 74y), and, more subjects (2,792) than the studies of Laaksonen and Warensjöet combined, plasma phospholipid percentages of linoleic acid greater than ~21-24% were associated with significantly reduced all-cause mortality risk:

LA total mort

Colectively, these 4 studies show that increased circulating levels of linoleic acid are associated with reduced all-cause mortality risk. How much linoleic acid should we eat to achieve optimal circulating values? In other words, what dietary intake of linoleic acid corresponds to 21%+ of plasma phospholipid linoleic acid? Based on the data below, dietary intakes of linoleic acid that are greater than 14% of total calories are associated with circulating linoleic acid values of 21% (Wu et al. 2014).

LA dietary in PL

On my ~2300 calorie diet, that translates into 322 calories (36g) from linoleic acid. I get a significant amount of dietary linoleic acid from one of the best linoleic acid food sources, walnuts, which contain 5.8 grams of linoleic acid per 100 calories (see Lipids, C18:2,

Just using walnuts alone, I’d need ~700 calories per day to reach 14% dietary linoleic acid! Although I’m always interested in dietary strategies that may reduce all-cause mortality risk, allocating ~30% of my daily calories to only walnuts is not ideal for my high-fiber approach to health (, nor would it satiate me, as high-volume vegetable meals are best for that. A more reasonable dietary linoleic acid target (for now) is ~8%, the point at which plasma linoleic acid mostly plateaus (see the plot above). 8% on my 2300 calorie diet translates into 20 grams of linoleic acid per day. I should note that I also get a good amount of linoleic acid (6.4 grams) from the 30 grams of sesame seeds that goes into my giant salad’s dressing, which I eat 2-3x per week. When combined with ~300 calories from walnuts/day, that gets me to at least 8% of my daily calories from linoleic acid.


Laaksonen DE, Nyyssönen K, Niskanen L, Rissanen TH, Salonen JT. Prediction of cardiovascular mortality in middle-aged men by dietary and serum linoleic and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Arch Intern Med. 2005 Jan 24;165(2):193-9.

Marklund M, Leander K, Vikström M, Laguzzi F, Gigante B, Sjögren P, Cederholm T, de Faire U, Hellénius ML, Risérus U. Polyunsaturated Fat Intake Estimated by Circulating Biomarkers and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause Mortality in a Population-Based Cohort of 60-Year-Old Men and Women. Circulationz 2015 Aug 18;132(7):586-94.

Warensjö E, Sundström J, Vessby B, Cederholm T, Risérus U. Markers of dietary fat quality and fatty acid desaturation as predictors of total and cardiovascular mortality: a population-based prospective study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jul;88(1):203-9.

Wu JH, Lemaitre RN, King IB, Song X, Psaty BM, Siscovick DS, Mozaffarian D. Circulating omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and total and cause-specific mortality: the CardiovascularHealth StudyCirculation. 2014 Oct 7;130(15):1245-53