June 12th, 2007

Foods That Burn Fat – The Top 10 Lists

In a previous Burn the Fat Blog post, I wrote about the “skinny fat” phenomenon, and this obviously struck a nerve as many burn the fat readers chimed in with their opinion about how real this phenomenon is and how accurate this rather unscientific description (“skinny fat”) really is. Others said, “OMG! You described me to a T.” There were dozens of comments and I got easily as many private emails. Oddly enough, I got MORE private mail about my grocery shopping list in that post than about the “skinny fat” commentary! Well if you really wanted to know what I eat every day, why didn’t you just ask? Here you go! I just compiled 4 top 10 lists of what I’m eating on a regular basis to burn fat, build muscle and get healthier…

foods that burn fat!

Below you will see the “Top 10 Lists” of what I eat every day or almost every day. Exact quantities and menus are not listed, just the foods.

Of course my food intake varies. I aim to get as many different varieties of fruits and vegetables as possible over the course of every week and there are a lot of substitutions made, so you are not seeing my full list here. This is just what I eat the most of every day.

I also want to point out that while I don’t believe that extreme low carbs are necessary or most effective when you look at the long term, I do reduce my carb intake moderately and temporarily prior to bodybuilding competition, so my starchy carb and grain intake goes down during that brief pre-competition period when I’m working on that really “ripped” look (lots and lots of veggies though!)

This list reflects my personal preferences, so this is not a prescription to all readers to eat as I do.

It’s very important for compliance to choose foods YOU enjoy and to have the option for a wide variety of choices. In the past several years, nutrition and obesity research – looking at ALL types of diets – has continued to end with the conclusion that almost any diet that is not completely moronic can work in the short term.

It’s not so much about the hi carb low carb argument or any other debate as much as it is about compliance. The trouble is, restricted diets and staying in a calorie deficit is HARD in general, so most people can’t stick with any program and they fall off the wagon, whichever wagon that may be.

I believe that a lot of our attention needs to shift away from pointless debates (low carb vs. high carb is getting really old… so… get over it everyone, its a calorie deficit that makes you lose weight, not the amount of carbs, high or low… and cutting carbs is cutting calories… duh).

Instead, our focus should shift towards building an eating program that we can enjoy more while still getting us leaner and healthier, and especially towards asking and answering this question:  how can we build an eating program that improves compliance? (and that includes the emotional and psychological techniques that can improve compliance as well)

Here’s one good answer: Eat foods you ENJOY that still fit healthy, fat-burning, muscle-building guidelines! (ie, hitting your calorie and macronutrient goals for the day, while also providing optimal levels of micronutrients).

Here are the foods I choose to achieve this outcome. This eating plan is not difficult to stick with at all, by the way. I enjoy eating like this and it feels almost weird NOT to eat like this after doing it for so long. Remember, habits work in both directions, and as Jim Rohn Said, “Bad habits are easy to form and hard to live with and good habits are hard to form but easy to live with.

These are listed in the order I frequently consume them. So for example, if oatmeal is on the top of the list, that means this is the food I am most likely to eat every single day.

My 10 top starchy carb and grains

1. Oatmeal (old fashioned)
2. Yams (or sweet potatoes – not same food, but very similar)
3. Brown rice (a peersonal favorite is basmati, a long grain aromatic rice)
4. White potatoes
5. Multi grain hot cereals (mix or barley, oats, rye, titricale and a few others)
6. Beans (great for healthy chili recipes and some cold salads too)
7. 100% whole wheat bread (not a daily staple food for me, but I do eat and enjoy it)
8. 100% whole wheat pasta (same note as bread above – a favorite on high carb / re-feed days)
9. Chick peas (aka garbanzo beans) or other peas
10. Quinoa (slowly but surely starting to learn some quinoa recipes)

My Top 10 top vegetables

1. broccoli
2. asparagus
3. spinach
4. salad greens / lettuce
5. tomatoes
6. bell peppers (green and red)
7. onions
8. mushrooms
9. cucumbers
10. Zucchini

My top 10 lean proteins

1. Eggs (I include at least one whole egg per meal and use the rest whites)
2. Chicken Breast
3. Salmon (wild alaskan)
4. Turkey Breast
5. Top round steak (grass fed beef)
6. Flank Steak (grass fed beef)
7. Tilapia Fish (from U.S.  – Seafood Watch has warned to avoid Chinese and Taiwanese Tilapia)
8. Bison/Buffalo
9. Trout (rainbow)
10. Whey protein, Casein protein or both (protein powder supplement)

My top 10 fruits

1. Grapefruit
2. Apples
3. Blueberries
4. Canteloupe
5. Oranges
6. Bananas
7. Peaches
8. Grapes
9. Strawberries
10. Pineapple

By the way, remember – fruit is nature’s candy!

And also note, I DO include healthy fats as well, walnuts, almonds, olive oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil (supplement – not to cook with), avocado and a few others that are slipping my mind at the moment.

Also, YES I eat dairy and I have nothing aginst it, nor am I lactose intolerant. I just don’ t eat as much dairy as the rest of the stuff on my lists (although it’s worth noting that whey and casein protein powders are milk proteins). When I eat dairy its usually skim milk, low or non fat cottage cheese, low or non fat yogurt and low or non fat cheese (I love cheese! Love cheese omelettes too).

Hope you found this helpful and interesting. Keep in mind, this is MY food list, and although you probably couldn’t go wrong to emulate it, (if your goal is more muscle and less fat), you need to choose foods you enjoy in order to develop habits you can stick with long term. There are for example, hundreds of other fruits and vegetables out there…enjoy them all!

Train hard and expect success!

Tom Venuto




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52 Responses to “Foods That Burn Fat – The Top 10 Lists”

  • Hello Tom,I want to thank you for this information. I’m 52 year old woman that has always taken care of myself physically. I’m going through post-menopause and have been slowly gaining weight and seeing cellulite more. I do eat plenty of veggies and fruit but not much meat at all. I do love meat but lately I haven’t. I exercise three time a week but now due my my new so call asthma…I’ve been very tired and I do not have energy to workout. Can you advise me of foods that I can in take to increase my energy level? I’m 5’2″ and at 145lbs…my goal is to be at 130. My BMI rate is at 27 the last time I took the test.Sincerely,Gloria Rosado

  • Feleg

    Hi tom , u dont know how much i have been through – all theserediclous diet plans that pop up through internet & honestly almost i tried them all & the result is i just turned to anaroxic & hopeless & killing myself with these diets.I have a lot to share with u in the future. but i want to tell u & u are the 1st diet person who said he beleives in enjoying food & burning the fat & that u gave me hope

  • jag

    any other protein choices for us vegetarians in the crowd? i don’t eat fish or meat, but do eat egg whites and whey protein shakes.

  • Jag wroteany other protein choices for us vegetarians in the crowd? i don’t eat fish or meat, but do eat egg whites and whey protein shakes. thanks for your coment. Hold that thought… I’m working on something for vegetarians who are interested in getting leaner and more muscular as this aspect of vegetarianism has seldom been discussed…I promise I will come back to this topic of “serious fitness vegetarians” in a newsletter in the very near future.tom

  • For peppers – is the color thing a preference, or is there a reason for only red and green? What’s wrong with yellow, orange or purple?

  • Leslie

    Hello Tom,My favorite food list is very close to yours. I am an avid runner (40 plus miles a week) and I weight train. Proper nutrition is very important to me from a health perspective given my family history of health problems. Therefore, I decided to get serious about eating healthy. I removed sugar and processed food from my diet about six month ago. I am in my mid-40s and proud to say that my blood pressure and resting heart rate are both low. Thanks to the combination of eating healthy and exercise!!My favorite food list is below:oat bran (more protein than oatmeal)apples (great with cinnamon)plumspeachespearsbroccolimushroomsgreen beanspeppers (red and green)onionsspinachlettuce (all varieties)salmonchicken breastI have “issues” with dairy so I eat very little of it. I also don’t eat red meat – I really don’t like it.I am very lean physically and feel better than ever. My percentage of body fat is within the athlete range now!! Thanks to the combination of eating healthy and exercise!!Leslie

  • Steph,Nothing wrong with other colors, in fact the more “colorful” your diet, the better. As i mentioned in my post, these are just what i happen to eat the most often personally out of preference and habit. “there are hundreds of other fruits and vegetables, enjoy them all”

  • Joe

    I know this will sound wierd but I am allergic to raw fruits and vegetables. I usually steam my vegies and just avoid fruit. This is annoying because at parties you’ll be offered a veggie platter or the fattening stuff. Makes me want to pack my own food to these events. Since I can’t eat “nature’s candy” I have a tough time finding something for my sweet tooth. Fat-free cottage cheese works sometimes. Can pretzels be ok or ,at least, the lesser of many evils?

  • Mack

    Thank you Tom! That was most informative and very enlightening. But what I must confess, is that I was so very happy to know that I was already eating on the right path. No wonder every one keeps telling me that I’m losing weight. And I’m here to tell ya, I wasn’t even measuring my food, I just apparently eat healthy. You have made my day! 🙂

  • Chance

    Hi Tom,I have a very easy time putting together meals with the exception of one- breakfast. I own BFFM and if I am eating my largest meal in the morning, what would be a good menu? I always enjoy eating a bowl of oatmeal, but that’s obviously not enough protein or calories. Can you pass on some good food combinations for breakfast? Thank you.

  • jamie

    Hey Tom,you absolutely rock ! i’ve recommended your book to others and they say it’s the best thing they’ve read. i gotta get back into training, though it can be a little harder with hyperthyroidism (i’m starting to flip flop too – going hypo now so my energy levels are really low).anyway, the reason for my post was to share this site called “world’s healhiest foods” that i stumbled on a year ago. i hope it is useful to all your readers !http://www.whfoods.org/foodstoc.phptake care 🙂

  • What? no Cauliflower? you boycotting it Tom, lol.

  • Jean Florian

    There is a grain called quinoa, pronounced “keenwah”, which is very high in protein. I have read that it is actually a complete protein, which is unusual for a vegetable. It cooks up in 15 minutes, 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, cook like brown rice by bringing water to a boil, toss in and stir the grain, lower the heat to simmer, and cover tightly. That makes it a quick food, for it is ready by the time I have chopped up all of my veggies to go into it. The heat from the cooked quinoa blanches the veggies a little, making their vitamins more easily assimilated into your body by heating just a tad.Another grain is amaranth, there is millet, also. These are all pretty low carb. They taste great.

  • Thanks Jean. Yes, quinoa and amaranth are excellent grains. and don’t forget spelt. There are commercially available spelt pastas and breads and you can even make your own bread or pancakes with spelt flours.

  • Dan C

    I really appreciate that information. Stopped junk food eating but did not know what to eat instead. Now i have a guide as to what is what. Many thanks, great stuff, you are the best!Dan

  • megan

    I don’t know how you do it!! Each week I get your e-mail, it’s as if you’re reading my mind about current issues! Keep up the good work and I look forward to many more interesting topics!Megan

  • Cyndi

    Does anybody like Ezekiel Bread? it is sprouted grain bread (the grain depends on which one you buy, there is 7 grain or original which is sprouted wheat, ect.), it is not made with flour and the cinnamon raisin is great for breakfast.I love Quinoa too.

  • Jeff

    Thanks for the list Tom. Close to what I eat as well, I would have expected Tuna to be on there as well. My Tuna is about where your Salmon is. You know what I would be interested in hearing about in the future if you feel up to it is how you eat your salmon, I have tried several ways, the only way I can stand it is in Sushi, but I have been able to eat Lox in a romain lettuce wrap with some cream cheese. Also I am very curious about Orange roughy, I have trouble finding anywhere not deep fried and frozen ready to reheat. I have read a lot of great things that it has a lot of fat burning potential, however I know deep fried will not cut it as a fat burning fish. Any suggestions and if I do find it how do you prefer prepair it?

  • Phil Thibaudeau

    I love Tom’s stuff, he helped me come back to football health after major ankle surgery. His advice on foods and training techniques rocked my world. Good on you Tom Venuto.Cheers and thanks,Phil

  • Allan

    Hi Tom,Nice list, BUT, I am wondering if you have tried Kangaroo for a lean protein. Its readily available from Supermarkets now, and it has a fat content of less than 2%.I reckon it it a MUST to anyone who is serious about eating well. However, I guess you gotta like the taste, and be at ease with eating a part of Australia’s coat of arms.RegardsAllanSydney Australia

  • Allen, yes I’m familiar with the virtues of Kangaroo meat as a lean protein source, although Ive never tried it personally. It sounds a little odd to those of us living in the United States. But yes, I’ve heard about it numerous times from our Aussie subscribers and clients. I also discovered that Kangaroo is one of the best if not the best sources of naturally ocuring conjuagated linoeic acid (CLA). It’s disappointing to me that so many people are convinced that they have to take a ton of supplements and pills when just about everything we need is found in our natural food supply. case in point – kangaroo and CLA!

  • jose raul aceves

    i have been reading tom’s stuff since months ago, but my english is not good, so i’d like information available in spanish, i think there can be thousands people interested.

  • Nadine

    HiYou can try South African Ostrich meat as well. 100g gives you about 27g of protein and only 3 g of fat.

  • asher

    hello tom,Thanks for all the list tom,your advice on foods and exersices has made my whole family wonderful..cheers and thanks,

  • thankyou very much for newsletter, it just so happens that it is almost just like mine! wow does that make me feel great! lolhowever, there are a few things on their that i now wish to give ago, for example eating abit more avacado.

  • Scott H

    Tom,I stumbled across BFFM a few months ago. Great book. It motivated me to get serious about nutrition and weight training, again. I’ve been fairly active all of my life, but this is the first time that a “program” has actually resulted in noticeable, positive physical changes — and I’m in my mid 40’s. I think the combination of proper nutrition, adequate cardio, and regular weight training discussed in BFFM is the reason.

  • lindsay

    Dear Tom,I’ve been receiving your emails for some time now, I am sorry I have not until know made any contact with you. I find you articles very informative and easy to follow.I appreciate the time and effort you put into the information you provide.I just wanted to thank you.I enjoy the emails very much.Thank you againLindsey

  • kathryn

    Just wanted to say that you have changed my life and my husband’s life more than you can know. We weren’t extremely overweight when we started your program 6 months ago but we were very confused about whywe continued to gain weight over the years.We had been married for 5 years when we started your program about 6 months ago and I had gained 4 lbs for every year of marriage and at 5’4″ was 150 lbs and almost 34% body fat. That doesn’t sound so bad but the bottom line was I was extremely unhappy with how I looked andfelt.I was in major starvation mode and was eating way too few calories and exercising but not losing any weight and didn’t know it!Once we started your program I felt very empowered. I wrote out my goals and still look at them every day. The best thing about the program is that if you get to a point where you’re not seeing results all you have to do is go back to the basics and reassess.Anyone who asks me how I’m losing weight gets pretty much an earful of Tom Venuto. I tell them to go to your website and that there is no “quick fix” or “miracle diet”. I tell them that the human body works a certain way and nothing works except eating the right foods in theright proportions for your body and burning fat and building muscle.Thanks – I could go on and on.-Kathryn

  • Great list Tom! Its very similar to my list also! I AM lactose intolerant, but am still able to eat some cheddar cheeses and yogurt. I do drink soy milk, but not that often.Love your BFFM book! Thanks for that!http://womensdietandfitness.com

  • Debbie

    Spinach – I have a question about spinach. I was a vegetarian for many years and I found out through reading and studying about food and nutrition that the IRON in spinach (that everyone raves about) is not bioavailable and that when you eat it with other things it binds with the iron in the other things you eat and steals it from you. I stopped eating spinach as iron is important in the diet.Why do you eat spinach? For what benefits? Do you eat it separately from everything else so you don’t get robbed of the iron in other foods? Thank you!

  • I’d be interested in hearing your sources. were you referring to calcium and not iron?here’s what I found just in a quick glance at a few books from my library:George Mateljan (worlds healthiest foods)” Spinach contains oxalates which may lower calcium absorption, however in every peer reviewed research study ive seen, the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption definitely exists, but is relatively small and definitely does not outweight the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium. If you are still concerned about oxalates, cooking spinach would actually be a way to reduce its oxalate content by 5-15%”Johnny bowden (CCN):”calorie for calorie, green leafy vegetables like spinach provide more nutrients than almost any other food on the planet. Researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function both as antioxidants and anti cancer agents. Spinach is one of the best sources of vitamin K. Vitamin K actually activates a compound called osteocalcin that anchors calicium molecules inside the bone.”Dr. Steven Pratt , MD, author of “super foods””While spinach is relatively rich in calcium, the calcium it contains is bound to oxalates and is not readily bioavailable. however, the oxalates inspinach have a minimal effect on calcium absorption from other foods eatenwith spinach. In other words, if you consume yogurt or any other calcium-rich food along with spinach, you will still benefit. its very simple: you must eat your spinach. Along with salmon and blueberries, spinach is right up at the pinnacle of the super foods powerhouse choices.”My concern would be more with pesticides, as spinach has been noted to be one of the most likely to be contaminated with pesticides. But that could be overcome by going with organic on your spinach and as would thorougly washed and or prewashed

  • Hey Tom -We buy all that stuff at Costco. Gratefully, the National Enquirer is not on display by the check out. ;)We joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for fresh from the farm organic veggies including spinach – it’s wonderful!I love Steven Pratt. I talked to him a couple times in the Open Grove. Nice guy.

  • Dee Smith

    Add lentils to your list of protein sources. Root vegetables, including eggplant and squashes, should also be featured as starchy carb sources.These were my modifications:Top 10 starchy carb and grains1. Oatmeal (old fashioned slow cooking)2. Yams3. wild, long-grain brown rice and brown basmati (not white)4. root vegetables – eggplant, squashes5. Multi grain hot cereal, amaranth and quinoa6. flax seed and psyllium hot cereal7. high fiber low carb wraps8. lentils9. Beans (higher fiber varieties are better)10. stabilized rice bran and oat branTop 10 top vegetables1. broccoli and cauliflower2. asparagus3. spinach and salad greens4. celery5. tomatoes6. peppers, bell and midly hot7. onions and garlic8. mushrooms9. cucumbers and zucchini10.artichokeTop 10 lean proteins1. Egg whites2. Whey protein (protein powder supplement)3. Chicken Breast and canned chicken4. Salmon (in moderation)5. Turkey Breast6. low fat or no-fat yogurt (add to whey protein shakes)7. Lean Steak (grass fed beef)8. shrimp and crab9. ground low-fat turkey10. tuna or halibut (in moderation)Top 10 fruits1. Grapefruit2. Apples3. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries4. Canteloupe and melons5. Oranges (including mandarin), limes, lemons6. Bananas7. Peaches, nectarines, pears8. kiwi9. mangoes and papaya10. Pineapple

  • Yes, lentils and root vegetables are great and I always include them on my recommended foods lists for natural complex/starchy carbs.As i indicated in my post, this wasnt my “recommended” foods lists, indicating what other people should necessarily eat or what they were limited to eat or indicating the full spectrum of choices at their disposal. This were just my own personal food lists indicating what I eat the most because its what I like to eat the most.As i also mentioned, while its important to eat a wide variety of foods, food colors, food groups, you also have to select foods you enjoy. I hate eggplant with a passion for example. But that’s just personal taste, not something against eggplant. (and i wouldnt eat lima beans if you paid me… yechhh! i think it goes back to childhood, lol)These are MY personal lists of what I eat, based much on personal preference as anything. I just dont eat lentils much and i dont eat eggplant. nothing against them.everybody should absolutely have THEIR OWN “top 10” lists (top 20, or 100 lists even, the more choices the better)have a GREAT daytom

  • luis

    Thank you very much for your information, Tom. This is my first post by the way. I enjoyed reading your blog and I look forward to reading more of your beneficial lessons. Thank you very much Tom Venuto.

  • Elennie


  • Hi Tom,I got your BFFM ebook and following your blog right from the start and things you recommend and write about have helped me so much i can’t possibly thank you enough, awesome stuff man! And now this list, very cool, it’s very similar to what i eat, except for the meats, i’m a long term vegetarian and have just started eating fish and sea food due to some health issues and i feel great… combining it with exercise and all, one just can’t go wrong.Thnx so much and looking forward to the “serious fitness vegetarians” info in your future newsletters, thanks Tom!!Sasohttp://www.dieta-hujsanje.com

  • Rodrigo

    Hi Tom, greeting from Brazil!I would like to know if white Basmati is ok, because is extremely difficult to find the brown type here where I live. I noticed that the GI of both brown and white types is similar, as well the amount of calories and carbs.A big THANK YOU for sharing essential informations about nutrition and training.Best regards!

  • Tom,I really enjoy your blog. I got turned on to your site by listening to you when you were on Jeremy Likness’s podcast about 2 years ago. I was just starting my fitness journey and you gave some good tips. I have lost over 129 lbs and put on some muscle along the way. I want to lose another 20 lbs. Take care and keep up the great blog!!!!!Jeff Rhodes

  • Rodriguo:A few other people asked me about basmati rice as well. I was surprised so many people hadnt heard of it. Some thought it was white rice.Basmati is simply an aromatic variety of rice of indian orgin. It is known for its popcorn aroma. When you cook it in a rice cooker, it fills your kitchen with that wonderful smell.Basmati may come in a white variety, but I choose brown rice 100% of the time because the nutritional value is higher. white rice has been somewhat processed and certain types of white rice, especially the the short grain white sushi rice, are also absorbed much faster than a long grain brown rice and are more comparable to a sugar or simple carb than a starch or complex carb, metabolically speaking.A little bit of white rice isnt necessary a bad thing, but when you can easily choose between the two, choose brown rice.tom

  • Mauro

    Greetings, TomI’m a 24 years old portuguese and fitness entusiast. I always respected my daily fitness routines because I’ve played, during 11 years, handball in the 1st league and we had a strict training…Since I’ve been in university (last 5 years) I had to stop those trainings and got out of shape.I alway wondered around the internet looking for fitness articles and fitness programs but I only found a bunch of lies transfigured as fitness laws and lots of those fake fitness gurus. When I saw your site I tought “here’s another one of those guys living on lies and stealing money from people”…but I explored your site and saw that you really knew what you were talking about.Now I’m starting a fitness plan to get back in shape and gain muscle, with the main objective of reaching the body I always tougth I couldn’t reach to. I’m using your book (Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle) and your articles as a “Fitness Bible”.I appreciate your good will by giving everyone access to you knowledge on fitness, nutrition and others…Best regards and continue the great work!

  • Natasha Brown

    Hi TomI’m a natural bodybuilding competitor (figure) and I recently purchased BFFM as for years I’ve been told by trainers that staying on a low carb diet was necessary both on and off season to stay lean. After my last contest I thought that there had to be a better way that suited my body.I’ve found your BFFM to be a fantastic source of information – essentially it gave me the knowledge to take over and manage my eating plan according to what suited my bodytype best. As a result I’ve slowly built back up the amount of carbs in my eating plan for the offseason and I’m feeling a thousand times better for it! I’ve also managed to put on a wee bit more muscle (which I’ve been struggling to do) which has been an added bonus.After reading your section on supplements (I was never a big fan of them anyway and had bottles that previous trainers had recommended that sit in my kitchen cupboard either unopened or 1/4 used) I decided to ditch the lot and just stick with the basics of a good protein powder. Thanks so much again for giving me the knowledge and dispelling all the myths. Natasha Brown, Wellington, New Zealand

  • ambar

    Hi TomHow about plantain and Yucca? That’s an ethnic vegetable from the caribbean and it’s hard to find good nutritional info. Are they good starchy carbs?Thanks

  • Hevar Kaftan

    Hi tom thanks for this great article , and thanks in general for changing my life for the better before i was so depressed and lost but after i found you in the web and bought your book and educated my self iam a differern person now , and i owe it all to you , there was also an article you wrote i can’t find it anywhere it was on how to calculate the other macros in food for the meal p,an , like protien in rice and fat in chicken as a part of the whole macros , where is that since iam gine tuning my meal plan

    Best regards

    • Tom Venuto

      Thanks for your post! hmmm. You might be referring to the Burn the Fat, Feed the muscle book itself – that is in the chapter on macronutrients. We have articles on that also in the Burn the Fat Inner Circle (members only site). But the basic formula is simple:

      protein = 4 calories per gram
      carbs = 4 calories per gram
      fat = 9 calories per gram

      you can calculate any of your calories and macros just by knowing those conversions (these are known as the Atwater factors)


      • Hevar Kaftan

        Thanks for the info , i was refering to the meal plan as a whole, for example if there is 4 gram of protien in 1 cup of brown rice should that 4 gram of protien be add up to my whole protein macro of that day ?? And one more question if i may , should i weigh and calculate my chicken ‘s calories and protein content before grilling (uncoocked- as in your burn the fat food list ) or after grilling i should weigh it and calculate the calories for my meal journal

        Best regards
        And thanks in advance

  • Peter

    Hi Tom,

    After reading so much about choosing foods closet to their natural state, i am shocked to find “Whey protein, Casein protein or both (protein powder supplement)” NO.2 in your top 10 list! Also reading tons of your articles relating to suppliments being a $$$ business and all… This stuff is pure lab stuff, why did you put it here?


    • Tom Venuto

      Im not sure why you are shocked. your comment is puzzling. Im not sure where youre coming from or going with this, if youre vegan, that would explain an anti protein bias, and to each his own there.

      But if its about the natural foods angle consider two things. One is that eating natural, nutrient dense unprocessed foods most of the time is a good – and common sense – guideline, for you getting the most nutrient density from every calorie and to foster good health. But adopting the idea that if its not natural its bad for you and of its natural its good for you is a logical fallacy. Go look up the “naturalistic fallacy.” there are plenty of foods “closest to their natural state” that if you ate too much it would kill you. take in too much of certain minerals it will kill you. drink too much water and even that can kill you. If you have certain allergies, eating some 100% natural foods could kill you. and of course, there are (natural) mushrooms and other plants that are poisonous

      ALSO… If you eat the right amount of calories (maintenance to maintain, deficit to lose) and get all the macro and micronutrients you need every day, then you can eat anything you please and stay healthy and get leaner, as long as it is a small percentage of your calories. myself and many others have often recommended a 90% compliance rule, which means eat 90% nutrient dense foods and 10% of the time eat whatever you want.

      People who think they have to be perfect or eat “clean” 100% of the time to get lean and stay healthy are more likely actually, to get eating disorders,( see http://www.burnthefatblog.com/archives/2009/10/orthorexia-and-the-new-rules-of-clean-eating-part-1.php) not to mention its not a fun way to live when you can relax the diet a bit and enjoy life more. So you could eat pop tarts or any junk food you like 10% of the time if you wanted to. Im not necessarily recommending that and I dont do that, im just making a statement of fact.

      With that said, Protein powder doesnt even belong in that 10% junk food category so I have no idea why you would put that there unless you are some kind of natural foods extremist. Actually many researchers consider whey protein to be among the superfoods or functional foods because it has been studied so extensively and health benefits have been found. It is also a superb high quality protein and a good one for producing protein synthesis. Youd be reading for days if i sent you a fraction of the research on the quality of dairy proteins – whey and casein.

      last but not least i have never been and still am not affiliated with any supplement companies. Just because I dont make a dime from selling supplements and the supplement industry has a bad reputation for false advertising claims, which i dont care for at all, doesnt mean I can or should knock the whole industry or dismiss potentially helpful products. (I will speak out against bogus products or false/misleading advertising any day). Besides… theres nothing like a high protein chocolate peanut butter smoothie. yum! Youre telling me that doesnt make a calorie restricted “diet” more fun and easier to follow? do you know how many delicious recipies you can make if you use protein powder as an ingredient? best regards, tom

      • Peter

        Hi Tom,

        First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer my question.
        I am definately not a vegan/vegatarian nor a clean eating freak or any of sorts.
        Following your books and articles, such as Burn the fat, food lecture..etc. my interpretion is that foods are best being natural in their unprocessed, natural state. You wrote it a zillion times already. I am not against supplements, it just makes me wonder why it’s in the second place in your to ten. It’s higly processed and i wouldn’t even call it natural.


        • Tom Venuto

          why not? What’s the argument against, specifically?

          • Peter


            I think i am misunderstood here. I am sorry for the following qoutes from your excellent works, but it makes it easier to explain what my argument is against.

            Burn the fat feed the muscle:
            “Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle is based on real food you can find right in you local supermarket – no supplements or shakes are required.”

            “The main advantage of protein supplements is convenience. Whey-based protein powders are an excellent way to get protein if you’re not consuming enough from whole foods, but they’re NOT better than whole foods. The human digestive system was not designed to process liquids all day long; it was designed to digest food.”

            Here is a quote from A-Food B-Food lecture:

            “Food quality can range from highly processed with zero nutritional value on the low end (an “F”) to all natural with high nutritional value on the high end (an “A”).”

            I could go on for hours..

            In my view, protein supplements are highly processed and contain nothing but protein, plus a bunch of artifical colorings, flavours and preservatives.
            So my argument would be to give a supplement like such a grade B or even less and not place it to the second place on the A list.

            I simply do not understand why it surpass Salmon, turkey/chicken breast..etc. in your list of top ten lean proteins? I tought you would choose a natural source of lean protein against the supplement any time of the day. Thats all..


          • Tom Venuto

            Peter. point taken. You’re right about this part: Since i didnt clarify “these are in no particular order” I left it open to be interpreted that one should prioritize protein powder above the other whole foods. that was not my intent at all. Its the reverse – i recommend prioritizing whole foods above protein powder, and making use of the supplements for convenience purposes or use in recipes. I’m still learning to communicate better, and blogs are often written quickly. Protein powder is now at the bottom of the list.

            I still think however you might be clinging to a naturalistic fallacy. Protein power i consider powdered food thats all. If some brands contain artificial ingredients, I think one can simply be conscious of that fact and inspect labels before making a purchase. Many if not most companies have removed artificial sweeteners and Im sure there are plenty of brands with nothing artificial at all. just because its a powder and not a whole food (ie meat or eggs, etc) doesnt mean you shouldnt eat it or cant eat it. wise things to remember: 1. its the dose that makes the poison and 2. naturalistic fallacy starts with GREAT intentions and often leads down the road of orthorexia and an unbalanced lifestyle and distorted view about “good” and “bad” foods.

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