Angelina Jolie’s One Huge Diet Mistake

Last night I went to see the new Angelina Jolie “spy vs spy” thriller, SALT. Mixed reviews be damned, I liked it. (I’m a James Bond freak after all, and Jolie was a like a butt-kicking female Bond). So what if it was totally unrealistic – like jumping off bridges onto moving trucks, then leaping onto the roof of other trucks, sneaking into the white house bunker…Not to mention CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Jolie) kicking the butt of dozens of men – very large, very heavily-armed men no less.

oh, and saving the world, of course.

But hey, that’s why I go to the movies – to escape from reality and be entertained for a while!

As I often do before I go to the movies, I look up movie reviews and this time I found some very interesting articles online about Jolie’s diet and workout regimen for her new film.

One of them was a People magazine blurb, “How Angelina Jolie Got in Special Agent Shape for Salt.”

The article said she:

* Ate about five small meals a day
* No junk food
* Alcohol only on weekends
* Started with a diet of 70% carbs and 30% protein (carbs were
NOT declared the enemy)* Actually avoided cardio, to put on muscle without losing wt
* Pre-filming she did strength (weight) training and fight
training two hours a day, 5 days a week* During filming, she continued with four workouts a week during
lunch breaks and weekends* During filming, she altered diet to 60% carbs and 40% protein.

Now, I don’t know how accurate this information is, as it was published in a weekly tabloid-style magazine. The writer was quoting Jolie’s trainer, and sometimes journalists leave out details or some info gets “lost in translation.”

But as I read it, one HUMONGOUS GLARING MISTAKE in Jolie’s regimen jumped right off the page at me.

Some people who watched the flick might say, “What mistake? She was THIN – it looks like her diet and workout worked just fine!”

Yes indeed, she was thin. Perhaps on the too thin side if you go by the other weekly celebrity mags, like Star, which published a pic of the 5′ 7″ 109 lb Jolie with the caption, “Is she anorexic again?”

So fat loss wasn’t the challenge to begin with here. Some people tend toward the ectomorphic body type and or have struggled to keep UP a healthy weight, rather than losing.Everyone’s fitness goal or fitness struggles are different.

I also think her trainer did a good job focusing on strength training to put some lean body mass on the actor, and not doing cardio (although I think she could have used even more muscle – I prefer the 130-lb Tomb Raider Lara Croft)!

And she did look extremely physically fit, as Angelina reportedly did a lot of her own stunts – climbing, jumping, fighting. So all that fight training and strength training looks like it paid off.

So what was the HUMONGOUS mistake in her training and diet program?

Well, if her diet was 70% carbs and 30% protein, where is the fat?

I thought that had to be a typo, but there it was again, during filming, it said her diet was 60% carbs and 40% protein.

Technically, it is a typo, because it’s near-impossible to get zero fat – at least trace amounts come along with the leanest of proteins and even with some of the carbs and veggie foods.

But still I ask the question… Wheres the fat?

It’s hard to believe, given the state of nutrition knowledge in 2010 (as compared to the 1980’s or 1990’s), that people still believe that cutting all the fat out of the diet will help you get leaner, healthier or more muscular.

To the contrary – a certain amount of dietary fat is absolutely VITAL to your health, performance and achievement of optimal body composition – including gaining lean muscle, if you need it.

Essential fatty acids have so many benefits, you could almost say their effects are “drug-like”, but when you go on a no fat diet, you cut out these healthy good fats along with the bad ones.

And even saturated fats have received partial vindication as many nutritionists are starting to label them as “neutral”as opposed to being “all bad.” in fact, a small amount of saturatedfat is beneficial and essential for anabolic hormone production.

A minimum of 15-20% of your calories should come from fats, and in some cases as much as 30% of your calories, if the fats are carefully selected.

You see, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Demonizing an entire macronutrient, whether carbs OR fats is a BIG Mistake!

Yet, here we have a celebrity diet program where the journalists are writing about how “carbs were not the enemy” while lo and behold, the fats have been BANISHED!

Whoa! Full circle – its like the 80’s all over again.

Do people really think that zero fat is any better than zero carbs?

In fact, this comes as a huge surprise to most people, but in individuals with the genetic predisposition, a very high carb, zero fat diet can actually CAUSE health problems like increased blood triglycerides and blood sugar management problems – EVEN if the carbs are all the “healthy” and “natural” kind, like rice, potatoes and WHOLE grains.

Some doctors like Gerald Reaven, who literally wrote the book on metabolic syndrome (Syndrome X), intentionally prescribe moderate-fat diets as treatment.

But listen – even if you’re not sick – zero fat diets and very low fat diets are a really bad idea…. just as ZERO carb diets are a bad idea.

Better idea: balance

Our industry is still suffering today from a massive problem – dichotomous thinking – where everything is prescribed in extremes – all or nothings – and the impulse to point the finger at ONE nutritional scapegoat is almost overwhelming.

What you really need is the right balance of everything and that includes macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates and yes, fats – and even the right balance within each macronutrient group – the right proportion of saturatedpoly- and mono-unsaturated fats as well as the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio (which is seriously out of whack in most people’s diets).

This is so important, I devoted an entire chapter in my Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle program to establishing the right macronutrient balance for your body type.

I’ve also devoted an entire chapter to dietary fats – YES a whole chapter on fats – and that’s just a nice, concise summary, as entire BOOKS have been written on the vital role dietary fats can play in your health.

I’ve even devoted a chapter to identifying your body type so you can adjust both training and nutrition to suit your body, the way Jolie’s trainer smartly adjusted her training.

Hey, if you’re an ectomorph, you don’t use the same strategies as an endomorph… if you’re carb intolerant with metabolic syndrome, that high carb zero fat diet may not be so smart…if you’re an athlete needing fuel, that low carb diet may not be so smart…

And yet 1-size-fits-all programs predominate everywhere today!

When you get BOTH the training and nutrition properly adjusted, with everything in the right balance – no extremes on either end – the results can be nothing short of astonishing.

I could go on for pages, but that’s it for my little rant today.

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Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, personal trainer, gym owner, freelance writer and author ofBurn the Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom has writtenover 140 articles and has been featured in Iron Man Magazine, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development,Muscle-Zine, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise. Tom is the Fat Loss Expert for and the nutrition editor for and his articles are featured regularly on literally dozens of other websites.