Last week, I introduced you to my client David and presented his body composition chart. While the caliper numbers go into a formula for body fat, remember such reactively inflated numbers are usually the result of inflammation due to food intolerances or impurities. When I mention “body fat,” I am referring to body fat but also the fluid that can be measured with the calipers.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of David’s chart. The follow-up’s have been condensed to fit everything on one chart. So if I refer to a follow-up number, know that several weeks may have passed prior to that follow-up during which body composition remained the same. These status quo weeks are not shown on this chart.
- At the start of this run, David was coming off a lot of work stress. This reduced his hydrochloric acid production, which disrupted his pH balance. A gut protocol of botanical supplements got his digestion back on track and immediately brought us to less than 8% body fat.
- There is a spike at follow-up 7. A few years ago, David had done a food intolerances test which revealed a high intolerance to dairy. When he went back to a whey protein powder he still had a reaction and spiked up in body comp from the 7’s to almost 9% body fat.
- Not wanting to throw away the entire tub of protein he’d just bought, he took used the whey powder half the time and substituted the other half with a vegan powder and his numbers immediately came back down.
- We had a slight pop up at follow-up 9 when David had a protein bar several times that week. When he looked up the ingredients, turns out it had whey protein in it.
- The week of follow-up 11, he finally completely cut out the whey powder and reached what was at that time, a record low in the high 6’s.
- At follow-up 12, David forgot about the moderate intolerance he’d had to almonds. This is further proof that even if you lay off a food for which you have an intolerance, you still may not be able to eat it every day. In this case, David’s numbers spiked almost two full percentage points.
- Follow-up 16 illustrates why I’m such a stickler for obtaining Certificates of Analysis for supplements. Turns out that David thought he’d try another protein powder—not one of the two that I recommend. He spiked almost two full percentage points. Why? When we looked at the ingredients, I won’t name brand names, but despite listing a bajillion “organic” ingredients, this powder also contains erythritol and guar gum. These can be very highly inflammatory to the gut and may have contributed to the spike. But we also don’t have a COA for this product and, therefore, don’t know what levels of heavy metals may be present. Metals are a very common problem for vegan powders and not also cause inflammation but disrupt fat burning as well.
- I was so proud of David during the week of follow-up 21. He finally gave up gluten! His mother is Swedish so giving up bread was a big deal and I’d been working on him for years on this. As you can see this was a record low and got us into the 5% range.
- Things were going quite swimmingly until follow up 22. David’s percentage jumped a one and a half points. Since he rarely eats out it was easy to pinpoint the steak salad he’d had the day before. I asked if it was grassfed. Hmm…
- The next spike came about a month later. This time he zoomed from 6.5% all the way past 10%! The culprit was a non-grassfed burger. This was the second time that a grainfed burger obviously didn’t agree with David. Sure enough, three months later we redid his food intolerances test which revealed a moderate intolerance to corn gluten. Technically, there is no gluten in corn but this is the name for a processed form of corn that used to feed livestock.
Phew! And these were just the highlight excerpts of David’s charts, you can see that not knowing how your body reacts to certain foods and additives can seriously hinder not only your body composition progress but your overall health as well. The spikes on these charts are indicators of inflammation and we all know the litany of detrimental effects caused by inflammation. So the next time you’re about to ignore the quality of your food, think about this highlight reel and remember this seemingly insignificant variable is actually the most important one.