Affordable Nutrition Tips

Hey folks, were back with part 2 of our fat loss nutrition special interview with Dr. John Berardi. Yesterday the nutrition expert gave us some tips to help kick start your dieting plan that will help you lose the holiday fat.

Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. Consider the possible downside to unhealthy eating: the medical expenses over a lifetime associated with obesity, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Today, Dr. Berardi discusses some important tips to help save money while eating better for fat loss.


Craig Ballantyne:  From your experience with fat loss clients, what are a few of the common diet errors made by men and women each day? Are your clients often surprised to find out that a particular food shouldn’t be included in their fat loss plan?

John Berardi: Here are the biggest mistakes, I see people making when fat loss is their immediate goal:

1) Not enough total exercise. Several independent studies, in thousands of exercisers, have shown that those who are happiest with their bodies exercise for at least five total hours per week.

Now I know, many people have heard otherwise. But seriously, the data are there. So unless you’ve been born with a really fast metabolism, OR you are a meticulous calorie counter, make sure you’re getting at least five hours of physical activity per week. Some folks need more – but five hours is a great starting point.

2) Not using nutrient timing. As discussed in last days post, carb timing is critical!

Now remember, I’m not talking low carb or high carb here. I’m talking carb timing. For the best results, it’s important that recreational exercisers make sure to eat their sugary and starchy carbs ONLY during and/or after training – as discussed in Precision Nutrition.

3) Not using outcome-based decision making. I see so many people wanting to get lean and beginning the process with one training program and one diet plan. And this plan usually works for a short period of time – whether it’s 4, 6, or 8 weeks.

However, once they’ve lost fat and adapted to the program, it stops working. And when it stops working, they give up. Well, it’s important to expect all one-off programs to stop working. And with this expectation, it’s important to use an outcome-based decision making strategy.  What I mean here is that folks have to adjust their training and nutrition programs based on their results. And in Precision Nutrition we teach people how to do just that.

Craig Ballantyne: How can the average guy and gal eat as healthy as possible without breaking the bank? When should they buy food in bulk? And where?

John Berardi: Healthy eating really isn’t all that expensive. In fact, my colleague Amanda Graydon of Healthy Kitchens Makeover ( has done detailed studies of her clients’ “before” and “after” grocery bills showing huge savings once they start eating the Precision Nutrition way – as long as they make smart decisions.

For example, did you know that of each food category, the most expensive items are located to the left of the relevant section and at a level between eye-level and stomach level? Therefore, when looking for peanut butter, for example, the most expensive ones are placed in the best visual position.

So, to save money, you just have to look down and to the right and voila, you’ll find the cheaper items – no name brands, which are often of similar quality. Another great tip is to check out bulk food stores for healthy grains like quinoa or oats. A natural nut butters, mixed nuts, green tea, and other similar bulk items.

And another great tip is to frequent farmers’ markets or ethic food stores (like the produce markets in China-Town) for produce. I started saving 75% on my produce bills when I started shopping at such places. And the quality is often better.

Craig Ballantyne:  Let’s talk about fish oils for a minute. First off, what are your daily recommendations in terms of quantity and quality (specific brand recommendations)? And second, do you think fish oil helps people lose fat?  If so, how do fish oils help accomplish this?

John Berardi: Studies I’ve been involved in at the University of Western Ontario have shown that sedentary folks taking between 1-3 grams of fish oil per day can speed up metabolic rate (+300-400kcal/day) and can help these same individuals drop 3 lbs of fat and gain 3 lbs of lean in just 3 weeks.

So yes, I’d say fish oil helps people lose fat! In terms of recommendations, I recommend anywhere from 6-10grams of total fish oil per day (that’s 6-10 fish oil capsules or 2-4 tsp of liquid fish oil per day). For some clients, I recommend more (especially those with inflammatory problems, triglyceride elevations in the blood, and those with insulin insensitivity).

And in terms of quality, I think most fish oils are just fine. Although many companies insist that “regular” fish oils are contaminated and low quality, this is more of a concern for fresh fish than supplements. Farmed salmon tends to be very high in polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and tuna is high in mercury.

Independent studies at Harvard Medical School, Consumer Reports, and the watchdog group has shown commercially available fish oil supplements to be free of toxins such as mercury, dioxins and PCBs. I recommend that people visit for a list of supplements, which have been independently tested.

Craig Ballantyne:  What other general supplement advice do you have for men and women who want to lose fat? From multi-vitamin use to post-workout drinks, etc.

John Berardi: In Precision Nutrition, I list the “big 5” – Protein supplements, Greens supplements, Fish Oil, Creatine, and Workout Drinks. And further, when metabolic decline is a big concern, I recommend Acetyl-L-Carnitine and rAlpha Lipoic Acid.  I think most people will do great with a good nutrition plan, smart training plan, and these basic supplements – if needed.

Craig Ballantyne:  I’m a big fan of Green Tea. Is the instant Green Tea I get at the grocery store going to be just as healthy as getting Green Tea leaves from a specialty shop?

John Berardi: Studies have shown that Matcha green tea can be between 3 and 100x more potent than most commercially available green teas. So yes, some teas are better than others. However, if you’re not drinking any green tea and want to start reaping the benefits, start drinking whatever  kind you can right away.

My best recommendation is this:  since Matcha is much more expensive, have 1 cup of Matcha tea per day and then use regular old tea bags through the rest of the day.

Craig Ballantyne: John, finally, can you give us a summary of Precision Nutrition?

John Berardi: When someone purchases Precision Nutrition, not only do they get the 5 manuals, the 2 DVDs, the 2 CDs, and the cookbook, they also get an amazing online resource in our private membership forum, they get our technologically advanced online results tracker, and they get our amazing online exercise database with over 460 exercises demonstrated in three different ways and categorized in a host of very practical ways.

Craig Ballantyne:  Thanks John. This information has been tremendously helpful for the TT readers. I strongly encourage picking up the Precision Nutrition kit. With this kit, you can be sure that your nutrition is not holding you back.

More powerful fat loss tips coming soon,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Creator, Turbulence Training