A Framework for Nutrition

I came across a framework for nutrition that I really liked and wanted to walk through it below. The beauty of the framework is that any diet you can think of (Atkins, Zone, Keto, Paleo, Low Carb, Low Fat etc) can be represented by the three elements in this framework.

It’s based on pulling 3 levers in various combinations:

  • Dietary Restriction (DR): “What you eat or don’t eat” = Restricts elements of diet
  • Time Restriction (TR): “When you eat or don’t eat” = Restrict timing of meals
  • Caloric Restriction (CR): “How much you eat” = Restrict quantity consumed

Now, given these three axis or levers, what should one’s goal be?

Well, the one thing you should not do is “do nothing” = pull zero of these levers.

“Doing nothing” means

  • eating as much as you want (no CR)
  • eating anything you want (no DR)
  • whenever you want (no TR).

You might know this by another term… the standard american diet.

As for what you should do, per Peter Attia:

Always pull one lever

  • whether that’s caloric restriction, dietary restriction, or time restriction

Often pull two levers

  • time restriction (aka intermittent fasting) + dietary restriction (aka a specific diet like paleo) or
  • dietary restriction (aka a rule like “only natural, unprocessed foods) + caloric restriction (aka a 10% caloric deficit) or
  • time restriction (aka intermittent fasting) + caloric restriction (aka a 10% caloric deficit)

Occasionally pull three levers

  • this would mean you restrict how much you eat, when you eat, and what you eat.

Lastly, here is the above in visual form:

Peter Attia’s Nutritional Framework

Sources:

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