The Thermo Diet Cheat Sheet
By Tyler Woodward
The dietary suggestions contained in this blog post are based on a Thermogenic lifestyle. Not all dietary suggestions are suitable for each individual. Always consult your healthcare professional before starting any new diet and/or making any changes to your current dietary or supplement routine.
The scientific principles underlying the Thermo Diet's strategy for achieving optimal health, hormonal equilibrium, and metabolic support.
The Thermo Diet focuses on achieving balance, which involves two key factors:
- Energy Balance - consuming calories at a rate that matches the rate of consumption.
- Micronutrient Balance - supplying the body with essential micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and amino acids, at a rate that matches the body's consumption.
When these two factors are balanced, hormonal balance is achieved, allowing the body to function as a self-healing machine. The key is to provide the body with the necessary "fuel" to achieve this balance. In essence, everything we do in life either brings us closer to or further away from this state of balance. The Thermo Diet is divided into three categories to help conceptualize these ideas:
- Activators - anything that improves health by increasing energy production and bringing the body closer to a state of balance.
- Blockers - anything that actively detracts from health.
- Balancers - substances or practices that fall in between activators and blockers. When consumed or done in moderation, they can be activators, but when done excessively, they can become blockers.
The Thermo Diet strategy separates blockers into three categories:
- Inflammatory compounds refer to a substance that, upon digestion, can trigger inflammation within the body.
- Antinutrients refer to compounds present in certain foods that hinder the body's ability to absorb and digest nutrients from our food.
- Endocrine disruptors, on the other hand, can be either man-made or naturally occurring chemical compounds that mimic or interfere with specific hormones in our endocrine (hormone) system.
Polyunsaturated Fats AKA PUFAs
There are two types of fatty acids:
- Saturated Fats - These fatty acids have the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms and do not contain any double bonds.
- Unsaturated Fats - These fatty acids are missing two hydrogen atoms for every double bond they have. Monounsaturated fats have one double bond, while polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds.
The stability of a fatty acid decreases with each additional double bond it possesses. As a result, the likelihood of the fatty acid breaking apart increases, and a free radical is released, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation.
Inflammatory Amino Acids
When consumed excessively, certain amino acids can contribute to the production of cytokines or inflammatory proteins.
Supplementation with collagen, which contains 5-15 grams of glycine per serving, might support a balanced composition of amino acids. Some research suggests a possible link between these amino acids and inflammation responses in the body.† However, more research is needed, and it's important to talk to a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen.
Serotonin and estrogen are two hormones that play complex roles in our bodies. While serotonin is often associated with a sense of well-being, it can also affect metabolism and energy production. Estrogen, often associated with female reproductive health, also functions as a stress hormone. Women typically have higher estrogen levels than men, but also have approximately five times more progesterone.
Both serotonin and estrogen can be associated with metabolic processes and stress responses in the body. While a balanced diet can support overall health and well-being, it's important to note that individual hormonal balances and metabolic health are complex issues best addressed with the guidance of a healthcare professional. Before making any major changes to your diet or supplement regimen, it's recommended to consult with a healthcare professional.
Atrazine - an herbicide used across the US (although illegal in the EU)
BPA, BPS, & Phthalates
EE2 - Found in some contraceptives
Red 3, 10, & 40 - Food coloring agents in many red-dyed drinks
Triclosan & alkylphenols - Found in many cleaning products and soaps
Benzophenones - Found in sunblock
Naturally occurring phytoestrogens - Found naturally in many plants and fungus
Take Home: Buy high-quality cosmetic and cleaning products that are upfront about the lack of plastics among other chemicals in their products. Avoid plastics whenever possible and skip the estrogenic plants.
Throughout their evolution, plants have adopted various strategies to enhance their survival. Many trees, for instance, have grown tall to deter animals from reaching their leaves and seeds. Some plants have evolved to bear fruit, a method that aids in the dispersal of their seeds via animals. In contrast, certain plants have adapted to make themselves less attractive to animals by producing substances called "antinutrients." These compounds have the potential to disrupt the absorption of vital nutrients from the foods we consume.
- Phytates (AKA phytic acid) - inhibits the absorption of iron, calcium, zinc (and likely magnesium
- Found in whole grains, nuts seeds, & legumes)
- Glucosinolates - Interfere with the absorption of iodine, which is necessary for thyroid function, and can cause goiter
- Found in cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage
- Lectins - altered gut function & inflammation
- Found in legumes - beans, peanuts, soybeans
- Oxalates - Inhibits calcium absorption and increase the likelihood of kidney stones
- Found in Leafy green vegetables
- Saponins - Can interfere with general nutrient absorption
- Found in legumes & whole grains
- Phytoestrogen - These are estrogen mimicking compounds found in certain plants that increase our estrogen levels. The two main phytoestrogens are isoflavones & lignans
- Isoflavones - Found in large quantities in soy as well as legumes, seeds and other vegetables
- Lignans - Flax seeds & products
- Gluten has a tendency to adhere to the intestinal wall, similar to gum sticking to a shoe, potentially causing gastrointestinal distress. In addition, if gluten leaks through the intestinal tract and enters the bloodstream, it can trigger an immune response.
- Found in grains
Different antinutrients can be reduced in foods by various methods, such as boiling, steaming, fermenting, or germinating. However, it's often best to avoid consuming these foods as much as possible.
Pro Tip - Sourdough bread, which has been used for thousands of years before the invention of commercial yeast, breaks down most of the phytic acid present in the grains.
Takeaway: Stick to fruits, roots and starches.
Activators & Balancers:
To simplify these concepts even further I think it’s easier just to think of activators & blockers as means of achieving a healthy, balanced lifestyle & diet.
Nutrient Dense Foods
Many nutritionists agree that nutrient-dense foods like shellfish and organ meats can contribute significantly to a balanced diet. Regularly including shellfish (such as oysters, clams, lobster, or crab) and organ meats (like liver, thyroid, heart, or kidney) in your weekly meal plan might help you meet your nutrient needs.
Daily recommendations often include:
- High-quality dairy products: Renowned for their calcium content and other valuable nutrients.
- Organic grass-fed beef: An excellent protein source, grass-fed beef is generally higher in vitamin E compared to grain-fed beef.
- Organic pasture-raised eggs: Known to be nutrient-dense, particularly in terms of choline and cholesterol (which has a complex relationship with health), among other nutrients.
It's widely recognized that well-raised animals tend to produce food that's richer in certain nutrients. For example, grass-fed beef is often higher in Vitamin E, as the grass is a good source of this vitamin. Similarly, pigs and chickens that are fed on diets other than grain may have a higher concentration of saturated fats and lower polyunsaturated fat content, respectively. Opting for organic food can also limit exposure to pesticides, some of which may have estrogen-like effects.†
However, individual nutrient needs can vary, and it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or supplement regimen.
To sustain basic energy needs, some dietary guidelines suggest that sedentary individuals might require around 2,000 calories per day, though this can vary based on factors such as age, sex, and body composition. If you suspect that your body's maintenance metabolism requires less than this amount and you're not a particularly small, inactive person, it could suggest that your metabolism may be slower than average. For those who are larger or more active, a higher caloric intake might be necessary, but the relative proportions of macronutrients should generally remain consistent. However, individual caloric and nutrient needs can vary widely, and it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
The recommended macronutrient ratio for a balanced diet is approximately 20-25% protein, 20-25% fats, and 50-55% carbohydrates (carbs). Protein is not an efficient fuel source and is primarily used for protein synthesis and tissue repair. Fats are a backup fuel source and their metabolism can release stressful byproducts, so it's important to minimize the amount of fat burned for energy. Carbs are the most efficient energy source and are broken down into glucose (except for fructose). Glucose metabolism produces CO2, which signals cells to take up more oxygen and burn more glucose, upregulating metabolism. Unlike fat metabolism, sugar metabolism does not release any stressful metabolic byproducts and does not require the breakdown of tissue.
Recommended Food Sources:
- Fruits (this includes peppers, squash, zucchini, etc.)
- Fruit juices
- Roots (think potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc.)
- Sourdough bread (make sure it does not have PUFAS)
- Eggs, dairy products, collagen protein or bone broth organic grass-fed beef or wild game meat
- Organic free-range Poultry, organic, pasture-raised pork, shellfish, and non-fatty fish (like cod, mahi mahi, haddock, sole flounder)
- Saturated Fats - Butter, ghee, coconut oil, cocoa butter
- Monounsaturated Fats - Avocado oil (can cook with), olive oil (not recommended for cooking)
Coffee is well known for its high antioxidant content, which can contribute to the body's overall defenses against oxidative stress. Some research also suggests that coffee may have metal-chelating properties, which could potentially support the body's detoxification processes. It's important to note, though, that while coffee may contribute to a healthy diet, it should not be relied upon as a method for health maintenance.Exercise:
To minimize stress on the body during exercise, it is recommended to avoid cardio-intensive workouts such as long-distance running, cycling, or swimming. Instead, shorter duration, high-intensity workouts like sprints or plyometrics are preferred. Resistance training is also highly beneficial as it can increase muscle mass, leading to numerous health benefits.
The Icing On Top Of The Cake
These are dietary supplements that can be extremely beneficial for optimizing your diet and may help to reduce stress from the occasional night out or “cheat” meal.
UMZU Supplements - Cortigon, Mucuna, zuBroth, Collagen, Sensolin, Testro-X or Thyrite
Vitamine E > Powerful Antioxidant
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that's essential to human health. It's been studied for various health-related applications due to its potential to help manage oxidative stress in the body. Some research suggests that it may help to prevent the oxidation of PUFAs in the body, but more research is needed to understand these relationships fully. When it comes to consuming foods that may not align perfectly with a balanced diet, such as fried foods high in PUFAs, it's always best to consume them in moderation. Taking a Vitamin E supplement may be beneficial to help avoid some of the potential negative effects. However, is not a guaranteed way to counteract the potential downsides of these foods.†
Mucuna Pruriens, L-Dopa, or L-Tyrosine -> Dopamine Precursors
All of these supplements act as precursors to dopamine in the body and can aid in naturally maintaining healthy dopamine levels. Dopamine is linked to several bodily functions, such as testosterone levels, mood, and energy, and may also assist in balancing serotonin levels.
By now, you’re familiar with the Thermo Diet’s science-backed principles and how to incorporate some of them into your lifestyle. We also highly recommend joining our Thermo Diet Program for more in-depth information on the Thermo Diet and how to eat for optimal health. You can find our Thermo Diet Program along with all of our health and fitness courses on UMZUfit!