July 12, 2022

​​The Lies You're Being Fed About Nutrition And How To Clean Up Your Diet With Louise Mercieca

​​The Lies You're Being Fed About Nutrition And How To Clean Up Your Diet With Louise Mercieca

ABOUT THE EPISODE Keto, paleo, vegetarian, carnivore….pick a diet, you’ve probably tried it and had mixed results. Figuring out the right foods for your body is a difficult task. And according to our guest, it’s made even harder by food...


Keto, paleo, vegetarian, carnivore….pick a diet, you’ve probably tried it and had mixed results. Figuring out the right foods for your body is a difficult task. And according to our guest, it’s made even harder by food companies that are intentionally manipulating you so you’ll keep overeating.

In this episode, we talk with Louise Mercieca. She is a Nutritional Therapist and award-winning author of "How Food Shapes Your Child." Louise is also the host of Louise’s Health Kick podcast, promoting a healthy lifestyle without the contradictory and often, misplaced advice in the world of nutrition. 

What we discuss with Louise:

  • Why you can’t out-train a bad diet.
  • One hour of activity a day doesn’t offset sitting on your ass 23 hours a day
  • Like a puzzle - every piece matters. Good sleep, good diet, movement - do all of it.
  • Calories are essentially meaningless and why you should track macros
  • Shitty food is like a drug. It’s super addictive. Hard to quit but so worth it, especially for growing kids

Don’t let the conversation end there. Join us in our Facebook Group where you and fellow Fit Mess listeners can connect for monthly challenges, accountability to reach your goals, and a supportive community. 

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[00:00:00] Jeremy: Keto, paleo, vegetarian carnivore, pick a diet. You've probably tried it and had mixed results at best.

[00:00:07] Zach: Figuring out the right foods for your body is a difficult task. And according to our guests today, it's made even harder by food companies that are intentionally manipulating you. So you'll keep overeating

[00:00:17] Jeremy: Coming up today on the fit mess, 

[00:00:19] Louise Mercieca: it's like we're at war with the food industries because they know all the nutritional science that we know, but they're using it against our health.

[00:00:27] Zach: that was Louise MEIA she's a nutritional therapist, an award-winning author of how food shapes your child. She's also the host of Louisa's health kick podcast. Today we'll talk with her about the contradictory and often misplaced advice in the world of nutrition and what

[00:00:44] Jeremy: but first I'm Jeremy.

[00:00:46] Zach: and I'm Zach we've spent years pushing ourselves to learn more about our own physical, emotional, and mental health, and picked up a few coaching certificates along the way.

[00:00:54] Jeremy: Really we're two guys who got sick of our own shit and started making changes to be healthier, happier, and live more meaningful lives.

[00:01:01] Zach: And each week we talk to world class experts with advice to help you do the same. 

[00:01:06] Jeremy: Zach, we can lift all the heavy things, run the long distances, do all the sit ups, pull up some shit that our bodies can. But for so many of us, nutrition is the missing piece of the puzzle. And God, I wonder why I'm, I'm recording in a different office today. And there happens to be a stack of magazines behind me.

[00:01:23] All of all of these women's world magazines, burn fat, like a kid, again, lose two pounds a day. Uh, quickie keto, 92nd bread boosts. Uh, what else do we have here? Drop 16 pounds in 10 days. Feel 10 years younger, lose 83 pounds by Memorial. I mean, Jesus Christ. The amount of shit in these magazines that we see this is, and this is just I'm in a random office.

[00:01:48] This is the shit is everywhere. We are bombarded with. You are a big fat load and you need to change it right now. Here's the fastest way to do it. Messaging every time we turn around

[00:01:58] Zach: Can you send me those magazines? That sound really

[00:02:01] Jeremy: I'll get you a subscription and there might be some helpful tips.

[00:02:03] Zach: I could, I could use some tips now. You're you're right. , it is really interesting. , but when, when it really comes down to it, it it's nutrition. Right. I have heard so many times and I, I try and tell myself this all the time. Like, it doesn't matter how often you go to the gym or what you work out.

[00:02:20] Like that's not the contributing factor to like weight loss and like all of that, you can't outrun a bad diet. You really gotta dial the diet.

[00:02:30] Jeremy: So far, I've been somewhat outrun an okay diet. I I'm not eating the best, but I'm working out regularly and I am seeing results. I know that if I ate better, I would see better results. I also know that if I didn't work out at all and completely cleaned up my diet, I would see probably even faster results than I'm seeing now.

[00:02:49] Zach: Yeah. If you just cleaned up your diet, like if you're eating like shit, like, I don't think you're eating like shit. And that's the difference here, right? If you're eating like shit and you're not working out and you start eating better, you're gonna see massive results. If you're eating like shit and you start working out, you're not gonna see much results you on the other hand are not eating like shit 

[00:03:09] and you're working out, you could eat better.

[00:03:12] So you're seeing those results. You're seeing the body composition changes, which is cool. Isn't it? Like when you finally realize. That fucking number on the scale means nothing.

[00:03:23] Jeremy: Yeah. That that has been, and that's something I've been aware of for a long time, but it's still, I mean, it's, it's like any cultural shit that we hang onto. You still get on the scale and you still look at it and you still wanna see it move. Even though you meet, you know, it means nothing.

[00:03:35] Zach: Mm-hmm

[00:03:36] Jeremy: you wanna see it move and when it doesn't, it can still drive a stagger in your heart and just make you feel like, ah, what's the point?

[00:03:42] Why am I doing all this? But it definitely helps when, like you walk into the bathroom and you, and you like reach down to wash your hands. And all of a sudden you see the muscle definition and your arms that wasn't there a few weeks ago. And you're like, oh, where where'd that shit come from that. That's kind of cool.

[00:03:55] Zach: Yeah. And then you come outta the bathroom in a tank top and you walk by your significant other and be like, check out the gun show. 

[00:04:01] I 

[00:04:02] Jeremy: welcome 

[00:04:02] Zach: care. Don't I know, I don't care what your, your beliefs are on guns. There's a couple of them in this house.

[00:04:10] Jeremy: Well, like I mentioned, you know, my, my diet is by no means perfect. And one of the ways that I try to make sure, I at least get some baseline nutrients in my body is by using athletic greens.

[00:04:19] I started taking athletic greens because Zach told me to, for months, he shared why it was so helpful for him while I was swallowing three fistfuls of vitamins, three times a day. I have to tell you, I noticed a difference on day one. I felt better and didn't have that 4:00 PM energy crash that I thought was normal.

[00:04:35] Now I've been on it for several weeks and I love it. It's packed with 75 high quality vitamins minerals, whole foods, sourced, super foods and probiotics, and it works with any diet plan and it tastes great. For less than three bucks a day, you're investing in your health for a lot less than your cabinet full of vitamins or your daily coffee habit.

[00:04:52] So reclaim your health and arm your immune system. Now with convenient daily nutrition to make it easy. Athletic greens is going to give you a free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. Those are so handy. All you have to do is visit athletic greens.com/fit mess.

[00:05:10] Again. That is athletic greens.com/fit. Mess to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance. You'll also find that link on our website, the fit mess.com.

[00:05:20] All right. Well, Zach, and I know a thing or two about nutrition, but we decided to bring on an expert who actually knows what she's talking about to help you make better food choices. Our guest today is Luis MEIA. She is the nutritional therapist. Award-winning author of the book, how food shapes your child, which, oh my God.

[00:05:34] I need information from her about how to feed my kids because holy shit, they won't eat real food. Louis is also the host of Louise's health kick podcast, promoting a healthy lifestyle without the contradictory and often misplaced advice in the world of nutrition. We asked her about where her passion for nutrition came from. 

[00:05:50] Louise Mercieca: I think for me, it's just been something that I've always been interested in. I've got two older brothers and, , I wanted to copy everything they did. And by the time I was eight, they were both triathletes. And so I was just like copying them. So when I was eight, I did my first TRIA and I've been hooked on exercise ever since.

[00:06:06] , and for me that's just natural. I just, I really grumpy if I don't do any exercise and then it just came naturally that actually what you eat fuels how well you can exercise. , and my it's not my mom and dad cuz my mom and dad were baffled as to how all three of us turned out to be really into healthy eating and exercise to say, well, we didn't kind of, you know, promote that. I mean, it went bad, but you know, it wasn't, this was the eighties and nineties. It wasn't like, , healthy, healthy. So for me, it's just, it just, I wanted to understand what made my body work better. And so the food you put in impacted on what you got out of it.

[00:06:39] So it it's just been natural for me to do that, but I didn't turn it into a business until 11 years ago. 

[00:06:47] Zach: So in the past I have, , experimented and realized that, you know, if I have ice cream the night before and then go try and work out, I guess out really quickly, it was very weird, you know, eat bad and you don't have the energy, I guess, what are the, some of the basic things that you see, right?

[00:07:02] I mean, you, you talk and work with so many people and what is it that everyone is kind. Doing that they shouldn't be doing. Like, what is it that we all, we're all getting. 

[00:07:14] Louise Mercieca: Well, the, the, when I started out, I started out as a personal trainer and, um, I was maybe redundant from a corporate job and I was like, I wanna make a business out of what I enjoy.

[00:07:23] And that obviously was exercise. So I trained and became a personal trainer. And then I quickly got frustrated with that because. All of my clients. And I literally mean all of them were saying the same things and wanted the same thing and not one of them understood their body in any way, shape or form.

[00:07:39] They wanted a personal trainer, so they could justify their existence and justify, eating badly or being incredibly stressed. Or, you know, not sleeping, but as long as they had a personal trainer once or twice a week, that would, they thought rule out all of those other things. And lots of people think that they think you can out exercise a bad diet or exercise an hour a day and be sedentary the other 23 hours a day.

[00:08:06] And it doesn't work like that. So that's one thing people get wrong when they use exercise as a way of undoing. Other things that are not so good for the body. And a lot of people think they can do that. I dunno if that's familiar with you guys that, 

[00:08:23] Zach: that might be, might be way too familiar with me. Like not anymore, but in the past 

[00:08:29] Louise Mercieca: for sure.

[00:08:30] Mm-hmm yeah. So that's the first thing. And then the second big thing that I think people are really confused about is what constitutes actually. What humans should do. , and a lot of people get confused and they put things into, , compartments and they sort of have little pockets for this and that and the other.

[00:08:50] And actually they forget that we're one big package. And if one bit of that package doesn't work. Then nothing else will. So they'll compartmentalize and they'll like, oh, I don't sleep. I, I don't, I don't need to sleep. I get by in four hours sleep. And then they wonder why they're not getting much out of other areas of their life, but they just like live on adrenaline, live on that.

[00:09:12] Like, I don't need to sleep. I I'm beyond sleep. You know, you know, sleep is beneath me. A lot of people kind of have this sort of attitude that actually the more they can do, the more they can cram. The better. That is actually it's the opposite. So I think we need to remember that actually we're a big package and we need to concentrate on each bit of that and that includes sleep and it includes relaxation and it includes all of those things, not just what you eat.

[00:09:38] And we, food is a very small part of it. Actually. It's a big part of, it's a small part of the whole package.

[00:09:43] Jeremy: Well, I was gonna start asking you about food, , but since that's such a small part of the package, I mean, you, you mentioned sleep and, and you mentioned it's gotta be more than just an hour, a day of lifting heavy things in the gym or. So what are some of the other bigger issues that we should be focusing on other than stressing over every calorie that ends up in our mouth?

[00:10:02] Louise Mercieca: Certainly don't stress about calories because calories are pretty meaningless. Um, If you're just saying, I need this many calories a day, but you're not really understanding what is in those calories and diet food is the worst for this it's nutritionally devoid, but it's lowering calories. And so you can eat a lot of it and get no benefit.

[00:10:22] And diet food is not good for fat metabolism, which is very counterproductive for people who are consuming those to lose weight. Yeah, it's kind of, I completely forgot where I was going with that. Cuz as soon as I get with the diet industry, I get angry. So where was I going with that? Remind me.

[00:10:37] Jeremy: Well, let let's talk about calories then, because that is, there's still so much of a battle in this field between, you know, it's calories and it's calories out. All you need is a deficit and you're gonna be fine. Okay. Well, after I've had, you know, my four Snickers bars for the day, I'm still starving, but I hit my calorie target.

[00:10:52] So help us understand why, why

[00:10:54] Louise Mercieca: Yeah. And that, that comes down to, yeah, that comes down to a lot of the sort of PT training mentality with nutrition. , it's very different to the nutrition that I now talk about. So when I was a PT, it is all about balancing macros. And for some people that is alien talk to them, some people are listening.

[00:11:10] What on earth are they talking about? Macros macronutrients, basically the food that contains a Callic value. So protein and fats and carbohydrates, but. It's quite confusing and most people don't understand what they're doing. So for a P to say to someone as nutritional advice, you need to balance your macros and weigh in, you know, energy and energy out is actually not easy for people to understand and interpret.

[00:11:33] So as you say, they'll kind of get it wrong because what they're putting in is not the right kind of food. , there is no simple kind of answer I can give in terms of this is the right answer with food, but the most simple answer I can give is, is it real. And I know in the UK, we're moving towards a less real food landscape.

[00:11:52] And I know in the us, you're already further on than us with a less real food 

[00:11:56] Jeremy: Oh, yeah, they got it figured out in the us. They, they figured out how to get rid of real food a while ago.

[00:12:03] Louise Mercieca: so the less real food we eat, the less. Protein we eat and protein is key to feeling full, to creating the hormone LEIN that tells you that you're full, which enables you to stop eating. There's a reason why processed foods, particularly the ultra processed foods. Enable you to consume an entire packet of something because they don't promote leptin.

[00:12:27] So what they do is they promote growlin, which is the hunger hormone, which enables you to consume more than you need. And never think for a moment that food manufacturers don't know this, and I'm not doing this deliberately. So as long as you have in the back of your head, that you are being DUP.

[00:12:42] Remember that, and then try to, you know, rise above the food industry. I wrote an article recently that was called don't let the biscuits win. And it is about, it's like we're at war with the food industries because they know all the nutritional science that we know, but they're using it against our health.

[00:12:59] , So going back to what we should be eating real food. If it didn't walk, grow, or swim, try to avoid it. and if it's pump full of which it will be because you have to go out of your way to avoid these things. If it's pumped full of artificial sweeteners, stabilizers, emulsifiers all sorts of added. Things that sound like they've been created in a lab.

[00:13:18] They have , it's not food. They have been created in a lab and that will work against your biology. My whole ethos is to work with your biology, which is real food and a holistic look at what the body needs. 

[00:13:33] Zach: I'll never forget the day that, it popped into my head. I was drinking a diet Coke and.

[00:13:38] This was years ago. Sorry, I like a diet Coke today would just send my whole system into, , a process that we won't even talk about. But like I remember drinking it and then like five minutes later, like my stomach growled. And I was like, Why? Like I just filled it with something like, it shouldn't be hungry.

[00:13:56] And I was, I was absolutely amazed, like after I started doing research going, oh, well my body expected this. It didn't get this. Mm-hmm and now it really like, it is truly like a scientific game that these food companies are playing with our bodies. Right. 

[00:14:12] Louise Mercieca: Mm-hmm unfortunately, and at the moment they are winning.

[00:14:15] And I, I know certainly in the UK, we've had a disappointing week with announcements that should have been going forward to put us, , in the right place for moving forward with obesity support. And all of them have been, you know, withdrawn or watered down by our government. So there is no urgency from any government.

[00:14:33] I don't think on. Addressing this. And, and I dunno about you, but certainly in the UK, it feels like the food manufacturers are the ones that are, , pulling the strings that to put it politely. , and they're the ones that are able to influence and make decisions in the government are not standing up to them.

[00:14:49] Jeremy: Yeah. So it's on us to make the decisions. And, and you mentioned if it didn't walk, grow or swim, that we probably should just avoid it entire. But if it did walk, grow or swim, can I still eat too much of it? Is it something that I am? Am I still gonna have the same weight issues? If I don't track the macros, if I don't track the calories and I just eat lots of things that walked grew or swim, is that gonna work out well for me?

[00:15:12] Louise Mercieca: You should naturally feel fuller from those foods. So that is a good, that is a bonus because the body is actually quite good at, and we see this with children, children. Until they're quite a young age are able to tell us that they're full it's us grownups. You continue to over feed them. And we will, you know, we will try to get them to finish their plate, or we will try to get them to, you know, to eat something.

[00:15:33] The children are actually very good at knowing when they're full, because biologically they're still in tune with their body. If they feel full. That's it they're full. Whereas with grownups, we think, well, I've paid for that. I'll eat it. Or, you know, it's been part in front of me. I feel rude if I don't eat it, children don't have those, those sort of airs and graces.

[00:15:49] So they just, they just they're full biologically tells 'em at fault. We forget that a bit. So the good thing about when you go back to. Removing all the, the weird ingredients and all the artificial stuff is you start to get more in tune with your body again. So you start to feel full again. And that's quite an alien concept to some feed people to feel full because ultra process foods of which many people that's the predominant part of their diet, they don't let you feel full.

[00:16:14] You never feel full. You never feel satisfied, but that's different. You're always thinking, oh, I've had that, but I found I've had something sweet. I want some savior. I've had something savor. I want something sweet. You know, there's, there's, you're just never satisfied. And so you forget what it's like to feel full because you've been programmed and, and created not to.

[00:16:33] So when you start to feel full, you're able to manage it better. But yes, of course you can over eat even on healthy foods, you can over eat. 

[00:16:41] Zach: So when I made a move from those processed foods that never really made me feel full over to real foods that, , gave me that feeling.

[00:16:52] I lost the dopamine rushes. I lost a lot of the pleasure that I got from eating food. And I'm not gonna lie. Like there was two, maybe three weeks where, , People didn't like me because maybe I was being mean or something. I, I wouldn't believe that. , but I just didn't feel good.

[00:17:09] Like, I, I was down, I was depressed. Like, it was really hard for my body to make that switch. Can you talk about that? And like, why it's so important for us to like, push through that? 

[00:17:20] Louise Mercieca: Yeah. And it is worth questioning for you that, but you're absolutely right. It's a biological response. The same as it would be if you were coming off drugs.

[00:17:27] , because the, the pleasure and reward center of the brain, which is where the dopamine is released from is activated by these Ultrapro foods. Because the combination of these foods that are designed in a laboratory are a combination of salt, sugar. In fact, that would not exist in nature. You cannot. A natural food product that would replicate that combination of, of food.

[00:17:49] And so what it does is it really activates the pleasure and reward center, which is, is linked to dopamine, but it's linked to pleasurable feelings, feelings of reward. So those foods, you know, they are palatable. They're designed to be hyper palatable. They even design them. So you don't need to chew them as much.

[00:18:07] So you can eat more quickly cuz you don't even have to chew as much. So they're designed to be hyper palatable, which lights up the pleasure. You know, people do get pleasure from these foods. I wouldn't because I, and, and you wouldn't, once you've come away from them, they then taste horrible. And you don't get that response from them because you, they just make you feel a bit sick and dirty.

[00:18:28] Before you get to that point, when you're in the point of them still being pleasurable, they activate the dopamine. You get the dopamine hip, but dopamine and the pleasure and reward center, the brain is also the addiction center of the brain. So you get caught in the cycle, um, in the UK, in the white paper that was proposed for I obesity strategy.

[00:18:45] I recognize the. Food cycle, they call it junk food cycle, which is exactly what it is. It's a cycle where you eat something, you get pleasure that quickly dips, but you are not satisfied. And so your body is biologically asking for something else. And you said the same with the diet cake because the artificial sweeteners are telling your body to expect some energy that doesn't come because there's no food, there's no energy which makes you hungrier than you.

[00:19:09] Weren't hungry in the first place. Another reason why dieting is counter product. But the dopamine response and the addiction response with food is the same. As if you were, , coming off drugs, there was a really interesting documentary, , where a doctor ate Ultrapro foods for, I think five weeks did a brain scan at the beginning and dopamine responses were perfectly normal.

[00:19:31] Did a brain scan at the end of five weeks. And it had all gotten through the reef. And he said, as a doctor, it was the worst medical result he had ever seen. And this is his own brain scan. Wow. From five weeks of eating junk food. And what happens with dopamine is you, you can. You continually need to eat more, to get the same hit as you would with the drug.

[00:19:49] So you'd have one biscuit, get a dopamine hit, and then the next time you had one biscuit, it wouldn't be enough. You'd have two biscuits. And then the next time you'd have three cetera, et cetera. So you'd need to eat more all the time. To get any form of pleasurable feeling and that's where the addiction starts to build.

[00:20:05] So when you come off that it's like going cold Turkey. And I always say to people expect to have a blinding headache for three days, expect to be irritable, warn your family in friends, you know, or go away or lock yourself in a room somewhere because you will be irritable. You are like crashing. You are like coming down and most people will give in and they'll, you know, they'll just think, oh, I just, and it, and it will go away.

[00:20:30] All those feelings will go away. Soon as you have a bit skill or something sugary, but you're not breaking the cycle. So if you persevere, I can almost hand on heart. Say you'll never go back because once you've gone through that and come free with the other side, you'll never you not to say, you'll never eat your biscuit again, but you'll never be controlled by them.

[00:20:48] Jeremy: I have a question about nutrition labels, but based on the advice you've already given, uh, maybe the first question is, should we even be eating anything that has a nutrition label because it obviously is in a box or a bag of some kind? No,

[00:21:01] Louise Mercieca: It depends because labels are quite confusing. I mean, I dunno if you, do you have the traffic, like the color coded green? Um, no, we don't. We have that, which is quite confusing because you would have a bag of dried fruit with a red on sugar, whereas actually it's dried free. It's natural.

[00:21:18] It'd be exactly the same as a bag of Haribo on the traffic light system. Mm. So that's confusing. So labels can be confusing. , calories can be confusing because they're not necessarily healthy calories, so yes and no. If you understand a label, then it can be helpful, but don't trust it completely use your initiative as you look at it.

[00:21:38] And what I say is probably more, , Is, if you look at the ingredients and it looks like a science experiment and there's lots of, I dunno, by large, you have to list E numbers in like, like additives by a number. So you, you don't you. So we have to list, , if there's an additive, we have to put the additive number , to show that there's an 

[00:21:59] Jeremy: Okay. Interesting.

[00:22:00] Louise Mercieca: If there's something alien, you can kind of recognize it as not being food, but you shouldn't be able to tell because they have very strange, scientific 

[00:22:08] Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah. Ours, ours. I think it's, it's more, whatever the bulk of the product is. It has to be listed in order of how. It is. So if it's mostly P protein or whatever, like that's the number one thing, and then it goes down from there. So the other question about, about nutrition labels is a lot of people don't realize.

[00:22:27] I think that the numbers on that label are, are minimums, right? Like this is the bare minimum based on what all of our best research says that your body needs to thrive. but it's actually not that it's, it it's in no way optimal living. It's like these, these are the bare minimums you should try to reach every day.

[00:22:44] Is that, is that correct? Is that is my understanding about that accurate

[00:22:48] Louise Mercieca: Yeah. I mean, I'm not so sure about your labeling, but I know with our labeling, we have what's called DRV. So daily reference values, which would give an indication of, you know, and, and it is hard because obviously people are all different shapes and sizes. So, you know, there is no. So same with calories per day.

[00:23:03] And you know, how many, how much water you drink per day? People are all obviously different. So that is, is normally set as a minimum. And then it's like we had a, um, a campaign of each five veggie a day. Well, that, that is nowhere near enough. Um, but people struggle to get to that. So. Yeah, they they're normally based on the bare minimum and most people don't even get anywhere near what those guidelines are set as which is, is really alarming.

[00:23:29] Zach: I wanna ask a question about, how a normal person can read the LA or, or start eating better without really fully understanding that. But I know, you know, for me, like calorie wise, like I, I do count my calories to some extent, but like in order for me to maintain.

[00:23:45] My weight, like I need to eat around 3,200 calories a day, which is a lot, but I'm also extremely active. So, those calories have to be like a certain level of protein, certain level of fat. , and while I had eight bad relationship with carbohydrates, we've made up we're friends now. , but for, for, you know, anyone else, right?

[00:24:06] I mean, that. They don't necessarily want to know the difference between those three macros people see fat, right. Which is something that we need to eat and they see it and they avoid it like the plague. So, , how can, , somebody who doesn't want to know anything about those things get, you know, other than just, you know, thinking, did it grow in the ground?

[00:24:28] Did it walk? Did it swim in the sea? Like how can they be a little bit educated? Because I, I just feel like people either. Don't know anything about it. Mm-hmm or they know a lot about it, but there's no middle ground. 

[00:24:40] Louise Mercieca: No, you're right. I don't think there is a middle ground. And I think that's the, that's the real sort of area where we need to get to with people, cuz you're either really interested in it and you will go and you do all your own research and you'll figure it out for yourself and that's fine or you'll get an expert to help you and then you are okay.

[00:24:56] But then there's there's people who are the majority of people. Have a bit of an interest, but not enough to take it far enough, but just kind of wanna know, to be told what to do or what to look for. And I think there is no easy answer on that because the food manufacturers have got so much control and so much power, and that we are trying to get laws on advertising to children which have been delayed.

[00:25:19] And so children are bombarded with adverts and, and the peer pressure. And. The sort of the, the getting children to understand is what's key, I think, to try to get children so that they can help their parents, because I feel we've got a lost generation and I'm kind of like trying to get to the next generation before we have another lost generation.

[00:25:39] We do have a generation now of grown up 30, 40, 50 year olds who don't understand food, who are disconnected with their body, who have all sorts of health problems, who are in the generation where they've seen the food landscape change, the most it's ever changed and get gradually worse and worse and worse.

[00:25:55] And they've been the recipients of all of that science experiment. You mentioned earlier. Of the changes to the food landscape. So for that generation, any positive change is, is gonna be good. , because if they carry on trusting these food companies and the food products that they've been buying, their health is going to suffer because anywhere.

[00:26:15] Western diet, which is a processed diet, is introduced. There will be health problems anywhere in the world. And we've seen it taken to remote areas of the world where junk food has been introduced. And within a year they've had type three diabetes and obesity. So we know there is a direct link. And so for people to.

[00:26:32] Take enough of an interest. I would say one, don't be scared of fat. The diet industry has done a horrendous job of alienating, a food group that is crucial for our health, , and replacing it with cardboard, chemical filled, , food that does not make you lose weight. In fact, it makes you gain fat and it is not supporting any of the roles that fat does in the body.

[00:26:54] So one don't be scared of fat. even saturated fat, don't be scared. Don't be scared of butter of red meat. Yes. Obviously you have to have it in moderation. Obviously you do. , it's a saturated fat. , if you eat too much of it, it, you are gonna put weight on, but we do need fat. We can actually metabolize fat from food.

[00:27:13] We can't metabolize artificial ingredients. So the difference between eating something real is that the body recognizes it and it will recognize fat and it can use it. It can use it as energy. It can use it for cushioning organs. It can use it. If you are still under the age of 22, it will be using it to build your brain.

[00:27:33] So the body can do things with it. It can't do things with the artificial stuff. Just for one thing, if people could, , take from, it is not to be scared of fat and certainly not to be scared of car days because the diet industry have done a good job of alienating those poor fellas. And actually they have amazing health benefits, but people think, oh, I don't need them.

[00:27:57] Jeremy: Uh, you you've mentioned the young people, the kids a few times, I've got a couple of them. , I am part of that lost generation, the gen Xers, who, you know, got home to an empty house after school and you ate a bag of Doritos and you played video games and that's what you did. So. I know that my kids could eat better because I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to feeding them.

[00:28:15] I, I have some protein targets in mind for them, but they have some bags of cheesy chips in mind for themselves. So it's a constant battle. , I guess, particularly for people in our, in our situation, that we were not raised with the, the best education about what we should be eating. How do we, I mean, obviously read some books, listen to some podcasts like yours, learn a thing or two and pass it down to your.

[00:28:38] But how do we get 'em off the, the cheese and the bread and the bags of candy that they seem to wanna just constantly eat every single day.

[00:28:45] Louise Mercieca: Remember the biology. So they are just in that cycle of dopamine and food addiction. And it's a lot of time with parents. They will get frustrated with their children and, and I've seen this in family consultations where they'll be in, , a supermarket or something with a child and a child will see some sweets and they will have, when we won't say the word tantrum, I don't like that word, but they will have a reaction, , to seeing the sweets and they will want them and they will want the parent to buy them.

[00:29:10] And they'll be having a reaction to, you know, wanting to put them in the trolley or wanting to eat them. And, you know, having a bit of a, , I want them now, and then they're called naughty and they're, you know, they're told off, but actually they're not being naughty at all. It's a biological, it's like a smoker seeing a pack of cigarettes and having, , the feel that they need to have one, the child is just responding to the biology.

[00:29:30] So if your children are like that, and I know people listening will have that situation as. Remember the biology, the child is just responding to their biology the same when they want the cheesy crisps and the bread, et cetera, they are just responding to their biology. And that's really important to remember that because then you can work with them because the worst thing we can ever do with children is say, right, we're not having these anymore and take them all out the house.

[00:29:53] Or right. You know what, no one's having these or worse. What most grownups do is they hide them from the children and then bring them out when the children go to bed.

[00:30:03] Jeremy: I have no idea what you're talking about. I've never done anything like that ever in my life, except maybe every day, this week.

[00:30:10] Zach: I will, I will tell you one quick story. My dad actually, , he bought things when they were on sale. So if like Oreos were on sale, he would. Like 10, 15 packages of them. So we had an entire cupboard that was for cookies and he realized that was coming home after school every day and eating a whole package of Oreos every day.

[00:30:31] So he put a lock on the cabinet to which I learned how to pick locks. And that was no issue either. So kids will figure out a 

[00:30:38] Louise Mercieca: way. Yeah, they will, which is why we have to work with them. Because if you work against them and remember that you are working against them, they're working against their biology.

[00:30:47] It's a lose, lose situation. , no, one's gonna win that one. So work with them. And I think. Literally the only way with children or with anybody is, is to understand why there is, you cannot tell anybody to do anything if they don't understand why. So with children, , when I talk to children, when I talk to, , any sort of young people, it is, this is your body.

[00:31:10] This is your body. It's gotta last you your whole life. You know, your, your skeleton as you, what you eat now is building a skeleton. Your skeleton is like a, a bone bank because it's still growing until late teens. And until that point, you have got a chance of making your skeleton as strong as possible, and that will enable you to be stronger fitter.

[00:31:31] When you're an old person, you won't be all stooped and breaking all your bones because you've not fed the skeleton when you were young, because you can't do it once the skeleton's fully formed, then you can only maintain what you've got. So to put in. As a young person, you have to look after it. And I think the only way to talk to children is to make them understand and to make them take ownership.

[00:31:53] If you just tell them no, they're gonna switch off, especially coming from parents, you know, they're gonna just switch off. But if you explain to them, actually your body has got to last year, hopefully a very long time. And the environment that you are growing up in is, is kind of creating an environment that is very much working against your health.

[00:32:16] Your health is your future. This is the environment you are growing up in. We're more sedentary, we're more stressed. The food landscape is full of rubbish and you are the only one that can really shape that. And so just be, I'm completely honest with children and just say, you know, you are not exempt from type two diabetes.

[00:32:37] You are not exempt from joint pain, from high blood pressure, from high cholesterol, from early onset dementia. You are not exempt from any of these things just because you are young. Because the biology will still react to the, to the, um, lifestyle like it would in a grown up. So enable them to take ownership was the only way you cannot tell them you cannot work against them. 

[00:33:02] Jeremy: so I, I explain that to my kids, biology, you're being duped by the food company, this things, this body's gotta last you 80, 90, maybe a hundred years. And they go, yeah, but they're so delicious. how, how do you win that? I mean, they're right. You know, how do you win that?

[00:33:21] Louise Mercieca: Yeah. I mean, it's hard cuz I don't buy them delicious. Um, so yeah, but yeah, just I think just to reiterate that what they're doing to the body. So I know that when we last spoke, you you'd mentioned about the ice cream and you know, and the, the, the impact on sleep and behavior and things and that they could see it for themselves.

[00:33:39] And so I think. Just to, you can't even say I only have a few of them because we know that they're addictive and we know that the biology doesn't support that. , yes. I don't know. That is a tricky one. um, because I think if you had a really young child, It's much easier. So anyone listing with an under five who hasn't yet got to that point, don't give them to them because you don't have this when they're older.

[00:34:04] Um, there is no reason for an under three year old to ever be given refined sugar. I can't stand to see under threes being given any form of processed foods at all, because their palette is a blank canvas and we are feeding. With them. We wonder why they won't eat real food when we fed it with all this and for the older kids, it, it is definitely more of a battle.

[00:34:27] And it is more of a case of, um, I mean, we'd never go that down the weight road, but it is about, you know, these things will have an impact on perhaps your skin or things that are aesthetic things that will make them think, oh, I don't really want, you know, don't really want that and make them think of other things that these products are not supporting.

[00:34:44] So have a few, but balance it with the foods that do support because otherwise you. These kind of foods will give you really bad skin. And if they're a teenager, you know, that's the real thing for teenagers. , and, and, you know, food like that will, we'll certainly exacerbate those hormonal issues in teens as well.

[00:35:00] , which makes it even more of a battle, the older they get. 

[00:35:04] Zach: I know with my daughter. She is she's she's 11 now. And she's, you know, the kids are having conversations at school about, , certain people are bigger than other people. She's not immune to it. She comes home and says things like I'm fat, , which she's clearly not.

[00:35:22] , and I, I take those opportunities to like, go, okay, well, you know, I don't think you are, but if you think you are, let's talk about that. And like, I literally open up the cupboard and be like, what do you thinking? Here's making, making you fat. And, , we kind of go through and mm-hmm , look at, you know, like she likes fruit rollups occasionally.

[00:35:41] So we do have. But they're doled out, , not every day. , and we look at things like that, but, you know, for kids and for everyone, if we're cutting out processed foods, we're trying to eat more protein, more fiber, healthy carbs, things like that. , and we're, we're just starting that journey.

[00:35:58] Like how could somebody get on like the next step? Like if you're kind of doing the first things right. What's next. Like, how do you progress from , the three days of irritability. You get a little bit better and then what's that next step? How do you take it up another notch?

[00:36:16] Louise Mercieca: I think that's quite individual. And I think for me, I would say always to do something where you start to reward yourself with something that isn't those foods. So when you get to a up, because people, a lot of people use, , Process foods as a sort of a crux, an emotional crux or a bribe or a reward or a treat.

[00:36:32] And so when you get, when you start to make some progress with moving away from those foods, I always say reintroduce, something that replaces that emotional, , crux with those foods. So it doesn't have to be something you eat, but something that is a reward to. So it could be a magazine, it could be a trip to cinema.

[00:36:52] It could be seeing a friend. It could be something where you're guessing to a sort of a habitual sort of reward to yourself that is not a food habit. And that's, that's a good thing to start to implement where we're starting to create habits outside of food habits, because then we're not getting back into the cycle.

[00:37:09] And then the other thing is just to kind of, is to always remember the, the big package. So when we're doing something like that and making a change, we tend to be quite in a silo of focusing on that and letting everything else go. So we might be focusing all our attention on avoiding processed foods.

[00:37:27] But, , not kind of relaxing or trying to do something to distract ourself or enjoy ourself. And the more we can do the holistic package, the more, the thing that we're trying to focus on happens naturally, the more we focus on the thing we're focusing on, the more it is an issue, because then you're thinking a iconic biscuits, a cardiac biscuits biscuits.

[00:37:45] Whereas if you go off and say, right, I'm gonna go watch a funny film. , and take my mind off it and reward myself with a couple of hours to myself. I have a long hot bath or do something for myself that is, , a sort of a reward or, you know, a nice thing to do that is not related to food. You're taking yourself away from the focus of can't have that can't have that and punishing myself, or I've gotta get through this.

[00:38:08] And it, it's kind of a, a distraction from doing that. So start to praise yourself, start to reward yourself, but buy things that are not food.

[00:38:17] Jeremy: Lots of great advice, lots of questions, uh, that we still won't get to today because we could ask you questions for days, but, uh, as we wanna learn more about you and your work, where can we find you?

[00:38:28] Louise Mercieca: , it is the health kick.co UK, and it is on apple or Spotify podcast as Louisa's health kick podcast.

[00:38:40] Jeremy: and we will link to that in the show notes for this episode. Thank you so much for talking to us today. We really appreciate your time

[00:38:46] Louise Mercieca: Thank you.

[00:38:47] Zach: Our thanks to Louise Marcia From Louise's health kick podcast, you can find links to her and her work in the show notes for this episode@thefit.com. One of the takeaways that we got from that was that you can't out train a bad diet. Like we were talking about earlier an hour of activity a day, doesn't offset 23 hours of sitting on your ass. 

[00:39:06] Jeremy: That's something that I have to keep in mind a lot, you know, even on the days when I go to the gym and I just completely kick my own ass and I'm exhausted on the way, , home from the gym. I can't then just go, oh, I'm just gonna stare at my computer all day and work until I drop. Like, I, I still need to get up.

[00:39:19] You still need to move throughout the day because that, like she says, just sitting around all day does tons of damage to your body. So you've gotta keep moving throughout the day. Even if you do get in that heavy workout, which is just one of the pieces of the puzzle, you know, she mentioned that you have to take kind of a holistic approach to this.

[00:39:34] You have to make sure you're getting good sleep. It's not just about diet, although that is an important. Moving throughout the day, sleep getting enough water. You have to do your best with all of it, because if you just focus on any one piece of it, you're still gonna just feel like crap. If you're not sleeping enough, but you're eating like a champ, your body's gonna be exhausted.

[00:39:51] So you've gotta do what you can across the board to, to make sure you're hitting all those basic benchmarks.

[00:39:56] Zach: I'll speak from experience yesterday. I moved my body like four or five times. I walked, you know, nine holes of golf. I went to the gym, I went to yoga. I ate really good yesterday, but I only slept for four hours

[00:40:08] Jeremy: Mm,

[00:40:09] Zach: and I feel like shit 

[00:40:10] today. 

[00:40:10] Jeremy: bet you do.

[00:40:12] Zach: I did all the right things, but I missed one piece.

[00:40:14] Jeremy: Yep. And you pay the price. 

[00:40:17] Zach: And another point that we got outta that is that calories are kind of meaningless. I mean, you wanna attract macros the quality of the food that you're eating? I, I remember the day when I was like, oh, I can hold myself to 1500 calories a day and then I'm gonna lose weight. And I was like, perfect.

[00:40:30] I will eat a pin of Ben and Jerry's and a piece of bread done for the day. That's not quality. That's not gonna gimme the energy. I need to like, actually go do all the things I need to do. All the nutrients to repair my body when I'm sleeping and moving the next day, I'm gonna feel like shit, cuz I'm not eating well.

[00:40:46] So make sure you're tracking what you're putting in your body as opposed to how much.

[00:40:51] Jeremy: That was one of our guests that we talked to a while ago. He, he put it really well. He said something to the effect of, , it's not that calories don't count it's that you don't have to count calories as long as you're eating real foods. It's not as big of a deal to look at that calorie number. It does play a part at a certain point, but it's, it's not the essential piece of this puzzle

[00:41:09] Zach: but I have never gone over my caloric allotment for the day, eating broccoli. 

[00:41:15] Jeremy: food. Yeah. Seriously, you would've to

[00:41:17] Zach: Like I just can't eat more than like my stomach blows up. 

[00:41:20] You just can't do 

[00:41:21] Jeremy: Exactly. And, and the other side of that shitty food is like a drug. This is one of the things. This is what I wrestle with with my kids. Every single day, they eat bread and cheese. And then they put aside of sugar on the plate. That's pretty much all we can get them to eat consistently.

[00:41:35] That shit is super addictive. It is super hard to quit, but it is especially worth it. If you can get your kids off of it, because as she said, all the food you're giving your kids right now is building their bones. It's the, it's the building blocks of their body that they have to make last for 80, 90 years.

[00:41:52] And it's not too late for you. Make sure that if you, if you're eating stuff out of a box, out of a bag, Try and get off that stuff and just focus more on getting real food that grew out of the ground, walked on the ground, or swam on the water at some point, because those are the, the healthier places to get your food than the middle of the grocery.

[00:42:09] Zach: Unless it's sour patch kids. I will eat a couple of those whenever I have the opportunity. Those are my

[00:42:15] Jeremy: Yeah, I'm, I'm kind of a sucker for red vines and, and, uh, jelly beans, jelly, bellies, especi. Okay. And the ice cream.

[00:42:22] Zach: cheat and salt or potato chips. Right. And candy bars.

[00:42:24] Jeremy: It's a, it's a long list. It's a really

[00:42:26] long list. 

[00:42:27] Zach: And just milk dairy.

[00:42:29] Yeah. 

[00:42:30] Jeremy: you lost me at milk. That's

[00:42:31] Zach: Cheese yogurt, 

[00:42:32] Jeremy: You, you won me back

[00:42:34] Zach: dairy products. Milk is not

[00:42:36] great. Unless chocolate milk is strawberry quick. That shit's 

[00:42:41] amazing. 

[00:42:42] Jeremy: But I, I can't get over the mental hurdle that I'm drinking. it's gross. It's gross. You can't drink milk. Quit it. It's disgust.

[00:42:52] Zach: Uh, good diet Coke every now, wait, wait, hang on. This is, this is a show about health 

[00:42:56] and 

[00:42:56] Jeremy: Don't these are all the choices not to make we're setting a terrible example. So we need to end the show, but don't let the conversation end there. Join us on our Facebook group, where you and fellow fit mess. Listeners can connect for monthly challenges, accountability, which dear God, apparently we need right now.

[00:43:11] And a whole lot more and a supportive community, a bunch of really cool people in there. The link to that is in, uh, the show notes for this episode@thefitmess.com where we will be back next week with a brand new episode. Thanks for listening.

[00:43:21] Zach: see everyone.

Louise MerciecaProfile Photo

Louise Mercieca

Author, Nutritional Therapist

Nutritional Therapist, award winning author of How Food Shapes Your Child, Podcast Host, Presenter on Early Years TV Food Channel. As well as all this, Louise is the force behind The Health Kick, promoting a healthy lifestyle without the contradictory and often, misplaced advice in the world of nutrition