Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
We chat to Sami Inkinen, a world class triathlete and tech entrepreneur. Whilst we don’t encourage anyone to eat 5000 calories of saturated fat a day, we feel it’s a very important message that Sami shares with us.
Sami and his wife Meredith recently did a phenomenal achievement, where they physically rowed from California to Hawaii. It took them 45 days straight rowing, up to 18 hours a day, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.
Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, as they did it without the use of any sugar and sports gels, pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete.
So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it.
Full Interview with Sami Inkinen, World Class Ironman
In this episode we talk about:
How he ended up being involved in the documentary Cereal Killers Two – Run on Fat
Why he decided to embark on his toughest challenge yet, rowing to Hawaii from San Francisco
How they prepared for their meals. Sami was eating a whopping 8,000 calories a day!
The effects of eating 5000 calories of saturated fat a day whilst rowing
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Sami Inkinen. Now, Sami has achieved some remarkable things in life, including he’s a world-class triathlete, he’s a tech entrepreneur, and him and his wife did a phenomenal achievement recently which is they basically physically rowed from California to Hawaii. Took them 45 days rowing up to 18 hours a day straight, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.
Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, because they did it without the use of sugar and gels and basically pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete like that.
So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen, obviously, to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it. He also shares many other things as well, which is fantastic, and it was an awesome podcast. I have no doubt you’ll get lots out of this today whether you’re an athlete or not. It was just brilliant.
Of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, hit the subscribe button, leave a review, all very appreciated. A, it’s nice to know that you’re enjoying our podcasts, but B, it helps spread the word by simply subscribing or leaving a review more people can find us and more people can listen and more people can benefit from the message that we are putting out there to the world which we feel is very necessary.
And, of course, come back to our website, 180nutrition.com.au, where we’ve got a heap of resources including a free ebook which is a great place to start if you find all this information a little bit overwhelming. Anyway, enjoy the show. This one’s awesome. Cheers.
Guy Lawrence: Okay, hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Sami Inkinen. Sami, welcome to the show.
Sami Inkinen: Thanks very much. Excited to be a part of your show.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, mate, that’s awesome. Me and Stu have been very excited today, because it’s certainly a topic I think we thrive on, especially when it comes to sports as well, and it’s clear that you’re a guy that doesn’t do things by half-measures, you know, and just to, I guess, for the people who are listening to sum it up in a short way, you’re a world-class athlete, you’re a tech entrepreneur, and you’ve just gone and done something with your wife recently which is a phenomenal achievement and which I’m looking forward to getting sucked in with everyone.
But just to kick start the conversation, mate, would you mind just sharing a little bit about your background? And even, you know, how you ended up in San Francisco in the first place, because you’re from Finland.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so I was born and raised and brainwashed in Finland. Grew up about 200 miles, so 300 kilometers, from Helsinki on a farm, a chicken farm, but I wasn’t really a farm boy, I was more into computers, so as soon as I got out of the farm, I studied physics at a university in Finland and got into software and computers early in my life. Started on company in Europe and then in 2003, which seems like a long time ago now, about 12 years ago, I came here to San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. to attend Stanford Business School and, you know, I’ve been here ever since.
Guy Lawrence: Are you missing the cold weather? I’m assuming it can get quite cold in Finland as well, right?
Sami Inkinen: You know, there’s a reason why I stayed here.
Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. You look like you’re going to say something.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so we’ve been following a little bit of your background, Sami, as well, and realized that you did extremely well in the triathlete Ironman scene as well, but then made it to the big screen. I was just wondering how that happened? What happened there?
Sami Inkinen: Big screen as in…
Guy Lawrence: Cereal Killers 2.
Stuart Cooke: The movies.
Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I have, quite honestly, zero interest in promoting myself for the sake of promoting myself. However, given that I thought that I was kind of a poster boy for healthy living because of my crazy amount of endurance training and, what I thought, healthy living, regardless of that kind of lifestyle, I found out that I was pre-diabetic a couple of years ago, and I got ridiculously frustrated that, “How is this possible that it happens to me? And if it happens to me with that kind of lifestyle and a focus on exercise and, what I thought, healthy eating, what are the chances that an average person can avoid that sort of health issue?”
And the answer is, “Fat chance.” There’s no chance, so I wanted to do anything and everything I can to promote the message around healthy diet and healthy nutrition and, therefore, I was more than happy to lend my own crazy adventures and experiences for the benefit of others.
And I think that was the reason why I ended up teaming up or helping Donal O’Neill who has produced these two movies, Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, so that was the background story. So I thought whatever I do and what I did with my wife, if it can help other people to avoid what was happening to me health wise, it would be worth the embarrassing exposure on the screen.
Guy Lawrence: Did it take you awhile? Was that the wakeup moment? Because I know you mentioned, like you said, you were going to be prediabetic and did you instantly look into increasing fats? Like, how did that message sink in to you, because there are so many people resistant to that message to this day and don’t even, won’t even consider it, you know? How did it work for you? Who did you discover to make you think differently about that?
Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I, obviously, it was almost like driving a car to a rock wall 100 kilometers an hour when I really thought it’s impossible that I would get sick or, more importantly, it would be impossible that someone like me would become diabetic or prediabetic with the kind of lifestyle that I was living, so it was really kind of a stopping moment for me.
And, of course, as a computer scientist, the first place that I went was online, so I started reading a lot and, unfortunately, spending time on, kind of, research databases like PubMed isn’t a very effective way of educating yourself because there’s so much science as well as bad science that you could spend the rest of your life reading research reports and still just be confused.
So I think the best sources for me were books and, you know, there’s a number of books, but I think one of the better overviews was the book written by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Sami Inkinen: You know, it was just one of the information sources that I relied on and we talked with a number of physicians and scientists directly, but that was definitely one of the more transformational books for me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s a very in-depth book, too, and certainly recommended to everyone, yeah. So, let’s, talking about the challenge, can you explain a little bit about the synopsis and what you and Meredith achieved? What you did?
Sami Inkinen: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: And, as well, who came up with it? You know? Why that challenge?
Sami Inkinen: Well, yeah, first of all, Meredith, my wife and I, we decided to row completely unsupported with no past rowing experience in a, kind of, special adult rowing boat from California to Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean about 2400, 2500 miles. Well we ended up rowing 2,750 completely unsupported this past summer, so we just finished a few months ago.
I’d love to blame my wife for the crazy idea, but I think I was the person who initially got inspired and got this idea and the initial inspiration came from the book called Unbroken, which actually it was just turned into a movie about six months ago, but in this book a second World War Air Force pilot was shot down above the Pacific Ocean and he floated across the Pacific Ocean in a life raft, and I just thought that experience was so amazing and I didn’t want to be in a life raft, but just to experience the wilderness of the Pacific Ocean, so that was kind of a seed in my mind, and I thought, “For once in my lifetime, I want to experience the craziness of the Pacific Ocean.”
So that was the initial inspiration, but then we wanted to turn this crazy expedition into something that would benefit others as well, so we wanted to combine it with this message of, “Sugar is dangerous and more likely than not the processed carbohydrates are dangerous to you as well,” and so we wanted to do this adventure, an expedition, with absolutely no sugar and practically no carbohydrate as well, and that’s what we did.
Guy Lawrence: It was amazing. Was it harder than you thought? Or was it what you expected, you know, or, like, especially if you’ve never done something like that before. I can’t…I struggle to envision being on a boat for 45 days like that.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So I grew up in Finland not far from lakes and we had a small summer cottage by a lake, but I have to say I know why oceans are called oceans and not lakes. It’s a completely different environment, and, as you mentioned, neither Meredith nor myself had any experience with oceans. We aren’t sailors. We’ve done nothing related to oceans and we weren’t rowers, either, so to answer your question, we really didn’t have any expectations, because we had never experienced this environment before and we went from zero to sixty miles an hour in many ways in six months.
So six months before the launch, we started to train rowing. We started to train about survival in ocean environments, so we did massive amounts of survival training, navigation training, seamanship, and all these things that you really don’t worry about when you don’t know about sailing boats or anything, getting radio, you know, license and certificates, and understand how you use radios and all these things, so it all happened in six months.
Quite frankly we, I think we had, we didn’t really expect much because we had no idea what this is going to be like, and this may sound really crazy, but we didn’t even spend a single night in our boat until the first night. We slept in the boat, but we kind of slept in a very, sort of, calm condition, so for better or worse, we had a lot of first time experiences once we got out there, which may not sound like the perfect way of preparing for something like this.
Stuart Cooke: Tell us about motivation. With all that prep work that you did for the other elements of the boat, I mean, what, direct, physically stay motivated for that length of time, how is this possible?
Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, the motivation for this draw was really twofold. One was, we both think that pushing your physical and mental limits is just kind of a full human experience, so we like pushing ourselves beyond what you would expect to be normal, and we find that it’s a very rewarding way of living your life, and you learn all kinds of interesting things about yourself and human life.
And then the second thing is really this motivation to bring awareness, build awareness, around the danger of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Those were kind of driving forces for us. But once you’re out there, the good news is, there’s no turning back, so the only way to get out is to freaking keep rowing.
And we kept rowing up to 18 hours a day, so you can’t really turn back. You really simply can’t, because of the winds and everything, so the only way to get out of the boat is to row to Hawaii, which we thought might take two months.
But then on a more practical level, you really have to focus on the process at the very moment, and you know, this applies to other things is life, but you can’t let your mind get into, kind of, “What is it going to be when we finish? Or what is it going to be…?”
You may be able to think that when you go for a sixty-minute run or a three-hour bike ride, but when you’re there for two months rowing eighteen hours a day, you have to focus on the moment, otherwise, you’ll mentally fall apart and you’re on the ground in pieces, so you focus on the moment and then, you know, like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.
Guy Lawrence (simultaneously): One bite at a time.
Sami Inkinen: Yes, you really focus on these micro small milestones, whether that’s your two-hour shift, and you take a five-minute break, maybe it’s a little drinking or maybe it’s your lunch break or something like that, so those two things, like, focus on the moment and then, you know, you have this, sort of small bit-sized chunks that you focus on as opposed to, “Oh, in a month’s time we might finish.”
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: Well, that’s just getting done, isn’t it? Do you meditate outside or, as in outside the rowing, do you do meditation…?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, I actually…yeah, I started mindfulness meditation practice about two years ago and so did my wife, so I do a couple of minutes every morning the moment I wake up, and frankly we had plenty of time to practice activity-based meditation on the boat. It was actually interesting and powerful to try that during the row, which really helps you to focus on the moment and the sensation and this kind of related to how can you stay focused? It’s obviously uncomfortable for the most part, you know?
Your ass is hurting, your hands are hurting, you’re tired, but there’s nothing more powerful than embracing that pain and discomfort, because once you, sort of, give in and embrace and recognize that feeling, nothing can break you, but as long as you keep, sort of, fighting and bitching to yourself, like, “Oh, my god, my ass is hurting. Oh, my god, I’m tired,” the feeling just sort of escalates in your brain, but the moment you’re like, “I’m hurting. I’m feeling it. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m in it and I’m embracing it,” it’s like, “All right, so what’s worse? It can’t get any worse. You’re in it.”
So, there are a lot of mental lessons that I think are applicable to…
Guy Lawrence: Day-to-day life. Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Day-to-day life at your office or your exercise, so, you know, relationship with people and all other things.
Guy Lawrence: Amazing. Yeah. Something else occurred to me as well, because they say traveling with your partner is the best way to test the relationship, you know, and being in a rowing boat would certainly test that, you know, for me, but obviously it went good, you know? It’s incredible. Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, we’re still married, so… You can see I still have the ring, so all went well, but, no, absolutely, it’s a… Not only was it an amazing test, but also an amazing experience that we’ll share for the rest of our lives, and fortunately it turned out positively from a relationship perspective.
Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. Go on.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just wondering how you felt when you got off the boat, I mean, what were your feelings and how did you feel?
Sami Inkinen: Well, emotionally, I, and I think my wife as well, we cried a lot immediately after, so it was just, kind of, a big emotional moment to come out. Physically, so we had a doctor who did a quick checkup right after who actually has worked with a number of ocean rowers and her immediate comment was, “I can’t believe how healthy you guys look.” Like, nothing crazy, no crazy inflammation going on.
I had blood work done just a couple of days after the row and, like, we were incredibly healthy from the perspective of inflammation, hormonal markers, and other things, so other than, especially with myself losing a lot of, or having a lot of muscle atrophy in the muscles we didn’t use, which is completely natural, nothing to do with your diet, it’s just if you don’t use those muscles…Other than that, I was feeling incredibly well and within just a couple of days I felt like I was completely back, too.
It took several weeks to build the muscle mass back to some of the muscles that were really… because I didn’t really even stand, I didn’t do anything weight-bearing for two months, so other than that…
Guy Lawrence: So, just upper body, yeah…
Sami Inkinen: Yeah and, you know, rowing is, you do use your legs and low body, kind of like a squat movement, still, you don’t even stand or carry your body weight. There’s a lot of muscle and soft tissue that’s completely unused, and I lost a lot of that, so, like, walking was difficult coming off the boat.
Guy Lawrence: Just to touch back on the diet, because, you know, obviously you’ve changed your diet dramatically. Could you explain what your diet used to look like as a triathlete and what it looks like now, especially preparing and on the boat? The differences you made?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So, first of all, I did start changing my diet quite significantly before the row and I’ve raced as a triathlete following graphically similar diet I followed on the boat, but for almost twenty years I followed what I thought was a perfectly healthy diet and the diet that’s promoted by, you know, most governments, including the United States, including Finland, which, to me, was anything that was low-fat or no fat was healthy and, you know, I tried to eat fresh foods, but I ate a lot of packaged foods as well.
So my diet was extremely low fat. I tried to eat whole grains, obviously, not crap, and just a very low-fat diet. Low-fat, I thought it was good, and if it said no fat, it was great, so whether it was bread or skim milk or low-fat cheese or low-fat mayo, you name it, that’s what I was eating. And then, you know, the more I read about sports performance books, it was always, like, “Oh, you have to carb-load and that’s high-octane fuel,” you know, to put it simply, I was on an extremely high-carbohydrate diet, mostly whole grains, grains, vegetables, and all the meat that I was eating, it was super low-fat, so chicken, turkey, no skin, low-fat beef, that was my diet, and I followed that about twenty years.
I kept myself reasonably lean and my race weight low, but it required a ridiculous amount of willpower. We’ve seen what a lot of athletes are capable of doing, but 99 percent of the population just can’t do that and it’s not fun to apply 95 percent of your willpower 300 days a year to just always eat less than you would like to eat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, and then moving to the boat, because we watched the documentary a few days ago and what was clear is you were meticulous about, you know, the amount of calories and the amount of fat you ate and the way you set your meals up. Would you mind explaining a little bit about that for us as well, because that was fascinating I thought.
Sami Inkinen: On the boat?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, for the boat, yeah.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, first of all, obviously, when you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean there’s no eat stations like in a triathlon race, so there’s no convenience stores or grocery stores that you can stop by when you get hungry or realize that, holy crap, you don’t have enough protein or this or that, so we had to be careful, and even our diet, at least by traditional standards, was very extreme, we want it to also be very scientific about preparing, because we knew that if something goes wrong, whether it’s food-related or something else, we just can’t; there’s no way, no helicopter is going to drop us extra food or extra sodium or extra this or that, so that was one of the reasons we were very, like, everything was calculated, measured, weighed, and we knew then what we have on the boat is sufficient.
But what we ate at the high level, we only tried to pack and eat real whole foods, so in as natural form as possible. That was one. Two, it was extremely low-carbohydrate diet from a macronutrient perspective, so caloric-wise my carbohydrate calories were somewhere between five and ten, around maybe nine percent of calories was carbohydrates. Protein, I think, was about fifteen percent, up to fifteen percent, so it leaves 75 percent to 80 percent of calories from fat, so, you know, I ate probably 5000 calories of fat every day, of which most was saturated fat, so if you want to shock a cardiologist, that’s a pretty good line, “Yeah, I ate 5000 calories of saturated fat for two months, almost two months.”
Stuart Cooke: So, a typical meal for you on the boat would’ve been what?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so, and we packed pretty simple, not too much variety, so consequently I was practically eating the same stuff every day. So my breakfast was often salmon or tuna with craploads of olive oil and maybe some macadamia nuts.
My lunch was typically freeze-dried beef that was maybe like 70 percent fat calorically and 30 percent protein mixed with a little bit of freeze-dried vegetables and then I just mixed with water and it became like, you know, like a fresh food, and then I threw in, again, crazy amounts of olive oil into it and salt that had extra potassium and then some seasoning, maybe some olives, so it was kind of a… wasn’t very appetizing-looking necessarily, but I loved it, so that was the reason why I keep so much…
Guy Lawrence: And it was practical.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, very practical, and we didn’t have to cook anything. We didn’t have to boil water. I didn’t boil water. I boiled water a single time just as an experiment in the first few days, but that was all. So that was kind of my lunch most days.
And then I wasn’t, because we ate very high fat, we were very fat-adapted, so we didn’t have to be eating every 45 minutes, every hour, so sometimes I’d have five, six, seven, hours between meals, but nuts were my favorite snacks. Nuts, coconut butter, and then different nut butters, so macadamia… I had plenty of macadamia nuts, almonds… so that was kind of a typical meal kind of setup.
Guy Lawrence: Were you, do you know if you were in ketosis the whole time or coming in and out? Did you have a doctor on that at all or…?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. I did measure my ketones along the way. With hindsight, I overate a little bit protein to be in optimal ketosis, so that’s my understanding, that I ate a little bit too much protein, which flipped me out of a perfect zone, but I was definitely on ketosis. I don’t know deep I was, because I didn’t measure that frequently and my personal experience is that if you measure your ketones right after workout, I notice that my ketones actually go down right after the workout, so you give it a couple of hours after that and then they kind of come to the equilibrium of whatever they are and, you know, I was, usually when I measured it was right after my rowing, so…
Guy Lawrence: Do you still eat this way, in terms of the proportions, fat and carbs, or do you…?
Sami Inkinen: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: Every day, training or not?
Sami Inkinen: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.
Sami Inkinen: The only difference is I have way more fresh food, so, and the fresh food is mainly green leafy vegetables, which weren’t available and I really missed those, so I eat a lot of those, but in terms of the macronutrient composition, I’m, let’s see, yeah, probably five percent carbohydrates, maybe ten, fifteen percent protein, and the rest is fat.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. And do you think that this way of eating is beneficial for everyone?
Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, people look for shortcuts and for simple sound bites like…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: One size does not fit all, so my recommendation when people come to me is, unless I have time to spend, like, two, three hours with someone to talk about XXtheir ???XX [0:26:21] is buy real, whole foods and cook at home. You’re probably better off not buying grains and, yeah, lots of carbohydrates, so that’s my advice to everyone, and if you buy real, whole foods and cook at home, you can’t go wrong, and if you limit carbohydrates, you’re probably better off. Beyond that, it’s kind of an individual situation and it depends on what your health standard is. If you are completely healthy now, you exercise a lot, you’re very carbohydrate-tolerant, insulin sensitive, you may be able to lead a happily healthy life with reasonable amount of stuff that might kill someone else.
So, I don’t, like, one size fits all in this kind of a one sound bite, it just, that’s for people looking for shortcuts and simple answers. There’s no simple answers other than eat real whole foods and cook at home and everything else after that you have to be quite nuanced…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. A lot of self-experimentation.
Stuart Cooke: I’m guessing then if you retired from sports tomorrow, you would continue to eat this way.
Sami Inkinen: Oh, absolutely, yeah. The way I eat, well, first of all, I think a healthy foundation in your body is an absolutely foundation for sports performance. So, you can’t start from the performance angle first and say, “Hey, why don’t I eat something that makes me somehow, like, really good at sports.” Well, that’s somehow that makes you really good at sports is something that optimizes your general health, because then you recover best, you can train hardest, so I don’t really see those as mutually exclusive, sports performance and health.
Then race time eating or race time nutrition might be different, because you may not be able to, you know, take a plate and take a frying pan and start preparing meals if you’re in the middle of a race, so a race is a different situation but in terms of health and sports performance, it’s tough for me to make the case that they would be mutually exclusive so the answer is, “Yes.”
I want to be as healthy as possible, because that makes me the best possible athlete as well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because that’s a focus you don’t see a lot, but athletes do, like, you know, the health sort of becomes a far distant second and that’s all about how can I perform better and achieve more and consequently health would suffer. Like, even with yourself, the change the diet now, have you noticed differences with injuries and things and just with the body itself? Can you put more demands on it the way you’re doing it?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, this is kind of an n equals one experiment so this is just a personal. It’s anecdotal and those who want to rip apart everyone’s opinions and comments will certainly rip apart my comment, but the thing that I don’t have, which is a good thing, one is, I have much less, knock on wood, but I feel like I don’t get sick at all now. So I used to have my sore throat and sinus and this and that all the time. That’s one.
Two, I don’t have, like, sort of inflammation nagging injuries. I used to have Achilles and shoulder and this and that, lower back and this and that, all the time. I don’t have those at all.
And then anecdotally, I feel that I recover much better, so those are the things that…It appears to me that have significantly improved when I got off the super high-carbohydrate, low fat diet, and then just overall feeling is like, you know, I’m not thinking about really food much at all. I’m not obsessed about always trying to eat ten percent less than I wanted, so I can focus on life rather than, “Oh, I need to be on this athlete diet which sucks all the time.”
Guy Lawrence: I know, we now a few, I mean, you know, a good endurance athlete as well, and they get ravenous, like, you know, they’d eat a loaf of banana bread in seconds, you know, and then they come out and it’s like, “Wow. That can’t be helpful.”
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve touched a little bit on food, I’m interested to know your thoughts on sports drinks.
Sami Inkinen: Sports drinks?
Stuart Cooke: Sports drinks, yeah. So I guess, what did you drink while you were on the row and perhaps, historically, what did you used to drink when you were training as to what you might drink now?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So our sports drink of choice on the boat was water which was made out of ocean water with our desalinator, so we, you know, carrying the amount of water that you need for two months when you are sweating, rowing eighteen hours a day, obviously, which people used to do, the few crazy individuals who did this before, solar panels and desalinators, the rowing boats were gigantic because they had to carry all their water through the whole thing.
Guy Lawrence: All their water. Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: So, we were drinking ocean water, which was desalinated, no sodium, and we had zero electrolyte solutions whatsoever on the boat which probably could be surprising to people. So our sports electrolyte solution of choice was table salt.
Guy Lawrence: Plain old table salt.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. We had table salt that had, you know, added potassium, but you know, it’s a grocery store product that you buy. That was the only thing that we had. We also had a magnesium tablets, but the only reason we had that was because all the beef that, and the meat, that we ate was dehydrated and it was treated in a way that it had lower amounts of magnesium that you would otherwise find, so we had that just in case that we wouldn’t have muscle cramps, but that’s all.
And, like I said, we had no aid station, we had no sports stores, so we were absolutely confident that the real whole foods based diet, regardless of our eighteen hours of exercise a day, is completely efficient, so I guess long story short to answer your question, we were able to exercise eighteen hours a day with zero sports drinks and eighteen hours a day, I burn about the same amount of calories as running two marathons each day for 45 days non-stop.
Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing, man.
Sami Inkinen: That doesn’t make it science, but it’s not a very good headline for a sports drink marketer.
Guy Lawrence: Do you ever get people just going, “Oh, that’s rubbish, “or disbelief or…what’s the reaction being… for you achieving this in the sports fraternity especially, you know? Like, because it’s so against everything we’ve told.
Sami Inkinen: I don’t know. I don’t really care. I mean, I let others judge and form their opinions and, if somebody doesn’t believe in what we did or that might be the right way to eat or drink or hydrate yourself then that’s their choice. Yeah, but your question of what do I have now, so if I go to a four or five-hour bike ride, I just have water in my bottle, but I usually try to make sure that I have, like, lots of salt before. I might throw in some table salt into my water bottles in my bike, and then, once I finish, I have extra salt to swallow.
So you certainly need the sodium, but I’m just conscious of that if I do something that is more than two hours and it’s hot and I know that I’m going to be sweating, yeah, I kind of buffer a little bit, but I don’t run out of sodium.
Guy Lawrence: Amazing. And just one question that I really wanted to touch on while we’ve got you on the show, Sami, is just for the listeners out there regarding your training, could you share with us now even when you’re leading up to an event or something what a typical training day and a typical training week would look like? The amount of volume you would do in that?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, it obviously depends on what I’m preparing for, but looking at the last five, even ten years of my training log, it’s… overall volume is the same, the content just changes, but weekdays, I usually work out between 50 and 90 minutes per day. You know, maybe an average of an hour a day, and then the weekend, either for training or social reasons, I do a longer, usually it’s a bike ride that’s anywhere between three and five hours, more often three to four hours, so if you do the math, I mean the second day might be another one or two-hour bike ride or run or something, but you know I end up training about ten hours a week, week in, week out, and you know, I love exercising so that’s one of the reasons.
It’s my way of, like, clearing my mind, and if I’m training for an event it’s much more focused, so there’s more high-intensity and that’s sort of thing, but the hours I’d say… eight to eleven hours a week. It’s difficult to find a week that’s out of those parameters for less than eleven hours, and then you know, I might sometimes more strength-training, sometimes less, but that’s kind of the setup.
So when I say one-hour day, so it could be a recovery workout where I go and ride about a bike for 50 minutes. Super easy, so that’s almost like doing nothing for me, but it counts as a one-hour workout, so another one-hour workout might be ten times one-minute all out, warm out, cool down, so once again it’s one hour, so it’s again, it’s an hour, but you know, it really depends on what I do there, but I’m so used to exercise that I kind of end up spending the one hour every morning just to get out there and do something and, yeah, but what you do within an hour makes a huge difference.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: It does, it does. One question as well, Sami, that we ask everybody, and I know we’ve got thousands of people that would love to know, a typical daily diet for you. What have you eaten today?
Sami Inkinen: What have I had today? Probably the most dangerous, no question about, answer, because everyone always asks, “So what do you eat exactly?” I always try to avoid going into details, because then people either want to copy, they’ll want to rip it apart, so I’ve always tried to avoid, like, posting somewhere, like, “Here’s exactly what I eat.” Not because there’s anything scandalous or anything, but, again, people are looking for this, like…
Guy Lawrence: Magic fix?
Sami Inkinen: …sound bite, like one size fits all, but typically I eat, before workout, I probably have, like four or five hundred calories of fat and, practically speaking, that’s usually coconut butter or coconut oil in a tea or coffee or butter so that was the case this morning as well, so, I mean, I don’t count the calories, but just to give you a sense of, like…
Guy Lawrence: Guestimate, yeah.
Sami Inkinen: You know, a crapload of fat with a drink, and you know it’s pretty fast to digest and it doesn’t feel like it’s in your stomach if you go and work out, so that’s… Then right after workout, I usually have a little bit of a protein, so this could be three to five eggs, fried with top fat again, butter usually, in a pan, depending how busy I am. My lunch is usually a salad, so it looks like it’s lots of salad, but it’s lots of greens and then with a little bit of protein, so that could be a salmon or ground beef and then a lot of olive oil or butter or some sort of mayo.
Snacks oftentimes it’s some sort of meat or sausage or almonds or macadamia nuts and then dinner is even a, you know, a bowl that you would usually feed a horse from. That kind of size full of greens that I may sauté in a pan with a bunch of butter or just like put in, like, it’s gigantic and then again with some kind of protein. It could be shrimps or fish or grass with beef or more butter. I usually drink water, but I might have almond milk, just for the heck of it, maybe some frozen berries after that, like blueberries or something like that. Nothing too scientific.
Stuart Cooke: Sounds delicious.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we’ve got one more question that we always ask everyone on the podcast as well and it can be related to anything, but what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Sami Inkinen: That someone has given to me?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: Oh… happy wife, happy life. It sounds like a cliché, but once you’ve been married for a few years you realize that it’s so true.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a great answer.
Stuart Cooke: I hear where you’re coming from, Sami, with that one.
Guy Lawrence: Just to wrap it up, what does the future hold for Sami Inkinen? Any more challenges ahead or anything in the pipeline?
Sami Inkinen: Well I’m working very hard on my MacBook Air, just kind of on the technology side of things, but athletically I’m doing the eight-day mountain biking stage race in South Africa in March called Cape Epic, so it’s, you know, five to seven hours on the bike each day for eight days. So that’s coming up in less than two months, so two months’ time. Excited about that, so that’s my athletic in the horizon, so I’d better get myself on the bike.
Stuart Cooke: My word, I’ve been a mountain biker all my life, I would shudder at the thought of undertaking something like that, so I would… We’ll keep an eye on that one, for sure.
Guy Lawrence: Definitely! And for them listening to this, Sami, if they want to, you know, track your progress or follow you, do you have a website or a blog they can check out at all or a URL?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, well maybe a couple of things, the row, if you’re interested in learning more about the row, we have a website called Fat Chance Row, fatchancerow.org, so you can go there and read a little bit about the background and we raised money for a non-profit and we are still doing that, so if you want to support, none of the money comes to us, it goes directly to the non-profit. So that’s one, and then, if you want to follow me on Twitter, one way to follow what I might be up to, is just my first name, last name on Twitter, so S, A, M, I, I,N, K, I, N, E, N, Sami Inkinen on Twitter, and you know I sometimes blog on my website, but it’s not too frequent so…
Guy Lawrence: No worries. We’ll put the appropriate links to that on the show anyway and help spread the word. Thanks, Sami, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was awesome and I have no doubt everyone is going to get a lot out of that today.
Stuart Cooke: I think so, very, very inspiring. Really appreciate the time, Sami.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. My pleasure, so thanks so much, guys.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: Make no mistake, the importance of gut health is becoming more paramount than ever and it’s something I believe should not be ignored. So who better to ask than a board-certified neurologist who truly understands the gut, brain and health connection!
Our fantastic guest today is Dr David Perlmutter. He is here to discuss his brand new book ‘Brain Maker’ – The Power Of Microbes to Heal & Protect Your Brain For Life.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s unique approach to neurological disorders is founded in the principles of preventive medicine. He has brought to the public awareness a rich understanding that challenging brain problems including Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, and ADHD may very well be prevented with lifestyle changes including a gluten free, low carbohydrate, higher fat diet coupled with aerobic exercise.
Full Interview: The Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome & the ‘Brain Maker’
In This Episode:
Why gut health and microbiome is critical for long lasting health
The quick ‘checklist’ to see if you have a healthy gut
What to eat daily to nurture your gut health
David’s daily routines to stay on top of gut & microbiome health
Guy:Hey, guys. This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition. Welcome to today’s health sessions. This is a podcast I certainly thoroughly enjoyed recording and it’s one I’m definitely going to listen to again. There’s a lot of information on here that I’ll need to go over, but ultimately, I think it’s a podcast that if you take the time to understand what’s been spoken about and actually apply the things that are said, it can make a dramatic change to one’s health, to your own life and of course your longevity and quality of life moving forward. I think it’s that big a topic. The topic at hand is going to be pretty much with the microbiome, gut health. Our awesome guest today is Dr. David Perlmutter.
If you’re unaware of David, David is a board-certified neurologist and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. I almost didn’t get my words out there. He’s been interviewed by many national syndicated radios and television programs, including Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, the Today’s Show. He’s been on Oprah, Dr. Oz, the CBS Early Show. He is actually medical advisor to the Dr. Oz Show. Yes, we were very grateful for David to come on and give up an hour of his time and share his absolute wealth of knowledge with us today. He’s written a couple of awesome books in Grain Brain. He’s got a brand-new book out called the Brain Maker which is what we generally talk about today. That’s obviously the brain and gut connection.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s approach to neurological disorders has been founded in the principles of you could say preventative medicine, which is why we’re super excited to have him on. He has brought public awareness now to a rich understanding that challenging brain [00:02:00] problems include Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, ADHD may very well be prevented … All these things with lifestyle changes. Think about that for a moment, including a gluten-free, low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, coupled with exercise and aerobic exercise.
Anyway, strap yourself in. This is fantastic. For all you guys listening in the USA, if you haven’t heard, you might have heard me speaking on a couple of podcasts, but 180 Nutrition and now superfoods are now available across America wide which is super exciting for us. If you haven’t heard about it, you can literally just go back to 180nutrition.com and it’s a very simple way of replacing bad meal choices. If you’re stuck and you’re not sure what to do, we encourage a smoothie and a scoop of 180 with other things. It’s the easiest way to get nutrient-dense foods and fiber-rich foods really quickly. All you have to do is go back to 180nutrition.com and check it out. Let’s go over to David Perlmutter. Enjoy.
Hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie.
Stuart:Hello, Guy. How are you?
Guy:Our fantastic guest today is Dr. David Perlmutter. David, welcome to the show.
David:I’m delighted to be here, gentlemen.
Guy:It’s fantastic. We’ve been following your work for some time now and be able to expose us to the Aussie audience, I’m very excited about. With that mind, would you mind, for our listeners if they haven’t been exposed to your work before, just sharing a little bit about yourself and what you do?
David:I’d be delighted. I’m a brain specialist. I’m a neurologist, and that probably doesn’t explain what I do. I’m very much involved in various lifestyle factors as they affect the brain, as they affect human physiology, and really have begun exploring well beyond the brain, [00:04:00] what are we doing to ourselves in terms of the foods that we eat, both positive and negative? More recently, how are our food choices and other lifestyle choices affecting the microbiome, affecting the 100 trillion organisms that live within us because we now recognize that those organisms are playing a pivotal role in terms of determining whether we are healthy or not. That’s pretty much in a nutshell what I do.
Guy:There you go.
Stuart:Fantastic. We first heard about you, David, when you wrote the book, Grain Brain which was fantastic. For me, I think it was important because we heard a lot of stories and press about grains and how they’re making us fat and they’re ruining our health. Other ways made the connection of it’s grains … I’m okay with grains. I don’t get any gut ache. I don’t get any gastrointestinal issues, but I never thought about it from a brain perspective. I just wondered if you could share just a little bit about why you wrote Grain Brain, what inspired you to write it?
David:Stuart, the real impetus behind Grain Brain was for the very first time, I thought it was critical for a brain specialist to take a position of prevention, of looking at the idea that these devastating brain conditions that I’m dealing with on a daily basis, autistic children, adults with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, you name it, that some of these issues are preventable, and that really flies in the face of pretty much mainstream doctrine. It is going against the grain, if you will which it seems to fit. It became very clear to me that our best peer-reviewed, well-respected literature [00:06:00] has been publishing information not only about gluten but about more generally, carbohydrates and sugar for a couple of decades, and no one has paid any attention.
It’s been published, but I really found that somebody needed to step forward and make that information known to the general public. I began implementing these practices in my clinical practice in treating patients day to day and began seeing really remarkable results. That is what got behind me writing the book, Grain Brain, really exploring how sugar, carbohydrates and gluten are absolutely toxic for the brain. Ultimately that book was translated into 27 languages and is published worldwide. The message has really gotten out there. I’m very proud of that. These are people reading the book that I will never see and yet, I know the information that they’re gleaning from reading this book is going to help them, and it makes me feel good at the end of the day in terms of what I’m doing.
Guy:Yeah, that’s fantastic.
Guy:Awesome. It’s interesting about grains because people seem to have a real emotional attachment to sugar and grains. The moment you ask them to start cutting down, reducing, removing, it can be quite challenging.
David:People have a religious connection to grain. It’s in the Bible. Give us this day our daily bread. For somebody to come along and say, you know, maybe that’s not what you should be eating, it challenges people on multiple levels. Number one, bread and carbs and grains are absolutely comfort foods that we all love. We all got rewarded as children by having a cookie or a piece of cake on your birthday. We love those foods. We love sugar. We are genetically designed to seek out sugar. It’s allowed us to survive.
The reality of the situation is we’ve got to take a more human approach to this in terms of our higher level of understanding and recognize that we [00:08:00] as a species have never consumed this level of sugar and carbohydrates, and that gluten-containing foods are in fact challenging to our health in terms of amping up inflammation, which is the cornerstone of the diseases I mentioned: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, even cancer and coronary artery disease. In that sentence, we’ve covered a lot of territory.
You mentioned grains, and I want to be very clear. There are plenty of grains that are around that are not necessarily containing gluten; and therefore, my argument against them doesn’t stem from the fact that they contain this toxic protein called gluten but rather because they’re a very concentrated source of carbohydrate. Rice, for example, is gluten-free and you could have a little bit of rice. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of rice, but you have to factor the carb content of that serving of rice into your daily carbohydrate load and don’t overdo it. I’m not coming down on grains across the board, but I’m really calling attention to the fact that these grain-based foods are generally super concentrated in terms of sugar and carbs.
Guy:I understand your carbohydrate tolerance. You answered the next question where I was going to speak, like, should we limit it to all grains or just the heavily refined and processed carbohydrate kind of …
David:See answer above.
Guy:Yeah, there you go.
Stuart:What about the [high street 00:09:28] gluten-free alternatives where people are saying, well, look, it’s grain-free, gluten-free?
David:Again, Stuart, exactly my point. People walk down the gluten-free aisle thinking, hey, I’ve got an open dance card here. It’s gluten-free. How about it? That opens the door to the gluten-free pasta, pizza, bread, you name it, flour to make products, cookies, crackers and you name it. Again, the issue is that one of the most devastating things that’s happening to humans today [00:10:00] is that our blood sugar is rising. There is a very direct correlation between even minimal elevations of blood sugar and risk for dementia. That was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September of 2013 where they demonstrated that even subtle elevations of blood sugar well below being diabetic are associated with a profound risk of basically losing your marbles.
Please understand, when we’re talking about Alzheimer’s and dementia, there is no treatment available for that issue. Having said that, then this whole notion of prevention and preventive medicine as it relates to the brain really takes on a much more powerful meaning and urgency.
Guy:Would glycation pop in there as well then where you’re speaking … Would that all stem then from the processed carbs and the fact the brain is …
David:That’s right. Guy, you bring up a very good point, and that is this process of glycation. Just for your viewers, let me just indicate what that is. Glycation is a biochemical term that deals with how simple sugars actually bind to proteins. That’s a normal process, but when it gets out of hand, it changes the shape of proteins, amps up inflammation and amps up what are called free radical production.
We measure glycation really very simply in the clinic, and I’m certain that’s done worldwide, by looking at a blood test called A1C, hemoglobin A1C. Diabetics are very familiar with this term, because it’s a marker of the average blood sugar. A1C is a marker of the rate at which sugar is binding to protein. The higher your sugar, the more readily that process happens. What we’ve seen published in the journal, Neurology, is a perfect correlation between levels of A1C or measures of glycation [00:12:00] and the rate at which the brain shrinks on an annual basis. There’s a perfect correlation then between higher levels of blood sugar through glycation that you bring to our attention and the rate at which your brain will shrink.
Well, you don’t want your brain to shrink, I can clue you. A smaller brain is not a good thing. That said, you’ve got to do everything you can, and that is to limit your carbs and limit your sugar. What does it mean? It means a plate that is mostly vegetables, above ground, nutrient-dense, colorful, fiber-rich vegetables, as well as foods that actually are higher in fat. That means foods like olive oil. If you’re not a vegetarian, that would be fish, chicken, beef that is preferably not grain-fed but grass-fed, fish that is wild as opposed to being farm-raised, like the chicken being free range.
This is the way that we actually give ourselves calories in the form of fat calories that will help us lose weight, help reduce inflammation, help reduce this process of glycation that we just talked about, and in the long run, pave the way for both a better brain but also a better immune system and really better health all around.
Guy:That’s a fantastic description of glycation as well. I appreciate it. Would you recommend everyone to go and get that tested once?
David:Yes, absolutely. In fact, in Grain Brain, I present a chart that demonstrates what I just talked about, the degree of glycation plotted against the shrinkage of the brain’s memory center called the hippocampus. In our clinic, hemoglobin A1C is absolutely a standard test just like fasting blood sugar, and also fasting insulin, the degree of insulin in your body. The level of insulin in your body is really a marker as to how much you’ve challenged your body with sugar and carbohydrates in the past. You want to keep [00:14:00] insulin levels really low.
When insulin levels start to climb, it’s an indication that your cells are becoming less responsive to insulin, and that is the harbinger for becoming a diabetic. Why am I fixated on that? It’s because once you are a diabetic type 2, you have quadrupled your risk for Alzheimer’s. That’s why this is so darn important.
Guy:They start just growing and growing, especially with diabetes as well.
Stuart:In terms of the growing number of people that are suffering neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and the like, is it too late for those guys or can they …
David:Not at all. I recently gave a presentation with the director of the Alzheimer’s Research Program at UCLA here in the states. We gave a talk, an evening talk at a place called the Buck Institute. This individual, Dr. Dale Bredesen, is actually using a low-carbohydrate diet, gluten-free, normalizing vitamin D levels, getting people to exercise, and actually put together a program of 36 different interventions, has now reversed Alzheimer’s in 9 out of 10 of his original patients. Only 10 patients, it’s not a large number, I admit that, but it is a start.
We are in western cultures so wedded to the notion of monotherapy; meaning, one drug for one problem. You say high blood pressure; I give you a drug. You say diabetes; here’s a pill. You say Alzheimer’s; here’s a pill. Well, the truth of the matter is there is no pill, despite the fact that there’s something on the market, but there isn’t a pill that will cure Alzheimer’s or even have any significant effect on treating the disease and its symptoms. That’s where we are as we have this conversation.
Now, it looks like the work [00:16:00] of Dr. Bredesen is showing that Alzheimer’s is a multifactorial event, and that to cure it or at least turn it around, you have to hit this problem from multiple angles at the same time. It’s happening. It’s not happening through somebody owning the rights to a specific medication.
Stuart:That’s fantastic. That’s radical.
David:I’ll send you the link to the lecture that we gave.
Stuart:Yeah. That was my next question. I would love to find out.
David:Consider it done.
Stuart:Thank you. In your new book, Brain Maker, you dig even deeper and talk about the connection between the gut and the brain. I wondered if you could share a little bit about that as well, please.
David:I will. Let me just take a step back. Last weekend, I went to University of California San Diego, and I met with, of all people, an astrophysicist who is actually studying the microbiome. If you think a neurologist paying attention to the gut is a stretch, how about an astrophysicist? It turns out that he is probably one of the most schooled individuals on the planet in terms of using a supercomputer technology to analyze data, and they drafted him there to look at data that deals with the microbiome in that they have probably the world’s most well-respected microbiome researchers there. They brought Dr. Larry Smarr on board to help Rob Knight really work with the data.
The things going on in the gut in terms of just the information are breathtaking for sure. We now understand that in one gram, that’s one-fifth of a teaspoon of fecal material, there are 100 million terabytes of information. This is a very intense area of research just because of the sheer amount of data [00:18:00] and information that it contains.
We recognize that these 100 trillion organisms that live within each and every one of us have a direct role to play in the health and functionality of the brain, moment to moment. They manufacture what are called the neurotransmitters. They aid in the body’s ability to make things like serotonin and dopamine and GABA. They directly influence the level of inflammation in the body. As I talked to you about earlier, inflammation is the cornerstone of things like Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s and even autism. The gut bacteria regulate that, and so it’s really very, very important to look at the possibilities in terms of affecting brain health by looking at the gut bacteria.
Having said that, one of the patients that I talk about in Brain Maker, a patient with multiple sclerosis named Carlos came to me and his history, aside from the fact that he couldn’t walk because of his MS was really very profound in that he had been challenged with respect to his gut with multiple courses of aggressive antibiotics. Why would I be interested in that? I’m interested because the gut bacteria control what’s called immunity, and MS is an autoimmune condition. At that point, I began reviewing research by a Dr. Thomas Borody who happens to be in Australia.
What Dr. Borody did, who is a gastroenterologist, a gut specialist, is he performed a technique on patients called fecal transplant where he took the fecal material with the bacteria from healthy individuals and transplanted that into people with various illnesses. Lo and behold, he noted some dramatic improvements in patients with multiple sclerosis. Think about that: [00:20:00] Fecal transplantation for patients with MS. His reports are published in the journal, Gastroenterology. I sent my patient Carlos to England. He had a series of fecal transplants and regained the ability to walk without a cane. He sent me a video, and I have that video on my website. This is a real person who underwent this procedure.
I just took it to the nth degree. The question was how do we relate the gut to the brain? Now we’ve realized how intimately involved brain health and brain dynamics are with respect to things that are going on in the intestines. It’s a very empowering time.
Guy:Yeah, that’s huge. Regarding gut health, and let’s say somebody is listening to this and they’re relatively healthy and they’re going about their day, but they might be curious to know if their gut integrity is good or isn’t. Are there telltale signs that your gut might not be quite right?
David:Absolutely. As a matter of fact, if you turn to page 17 in Brain Maker, I have a list of over 20 questions that you can ask yourself to determine if in fact you are at risk for having a disturbance of your gut bacteria. There are laboratory studies available of course, but these questions are things like were you born be C-section? Did you have your tonsils out as a child? Do you take antibiotics fairly frequently? Are you taking non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs for inflammation? Are you on an acid blocking drug? Do you have an inflammatory condition of your bowel? Are you suffering from depression? Are you more than 20 pounds overweight?
The reason these questions actually have traction when it comes to their inference with reference to the gut is because these are situations which really point a finger at disturbance of the gut bacteria. I open the book with those questions [00:22:00] because many people are going to answer a positive on multiple parameters and then I indicate to them that that’s not uncommon, but the rest of the book, the rest of the 80,000 words is all about, okay, we’ve all made mistakes in our lives. We all have taken antibiotics. Many of our parents had our ear tubes put in or we were born by C-section or who knows what? The important empowering part about the rest of that book, Brain Maker, is, okay, we messed up. How do you fix it?
That’s what I really spend a lot of time doing in that book, and that is talking about those foods that need to come off the table, those foods that you need to put on the table, fermented foods, for example, that are rich in good bacteria: foods like kimchi and cultured yogurt and fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, for example. How do you choose a good probiotic supplement? What about prebiotics? What about this type of fiber that we consume that actually nurtures the good gut bacteria within us? That’s contained in various foods like jicama, Mexican yam, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, dandelion greens, etc. These are foods that are really rich in a specific type of fiber that then goes ahead and amplifies the growth of the good bacteria in your gut.
I really wanted to write that book in a very empowering way for all of us living in western cultures where we’ve messed up. The evidence is really quite clear when you look at the microbiome, at the gut bacteria in western cultures and compare what those bacteria look like with more agrarian or more rural cultures, less developed countries.
Stuart:We’ve gone to page 17 and we’ve filled out the checklist and now we’re concerned. How can we test [00:24:00] the diversity or the quality of our gut bacteria?
David:That’s a very good question. There are tests that are available and they are improving year by year, and you can have them done. I’m not sure what you have available to yourselves in Australia, but there are several companies that make those tests available here. The real issue though is I don’t think we yet know specifically what a healthy microbiome should look like. We know the broad strokes. We know that there are ratios between two of the larger groups of organisms called Firmicutes and Bacteroidete that tend to be associated with things like diabetes and obesity, etc. We really don’t know what it means to have a good microbiome.
One thing that’s really quite clear is that one of the best attributes for your microbiome is diversity. When you look at rural African population microbiome compared to westernized microbiome, the main thing that really jumps out at you is the lack of diversity in our type of microbiome, the lack of parasites, the lack of a large array of different organisms. You may have raised your eyebrows when I said a lack of parasites, but it turns out that we have lived quite comfortably with a wide array of parasites throughout our existence on this planet.
There is something called the old friend hypothesis, which means that we’ve had these bugs inside of us for a long time and not only have we developed tolerance to things like parasites, but we’ve actually been able to work with them and live with them in such a way that parasites and various worrisome bacteria actually contribute to our health. When we sterilize the gut with over-usage of [00:26:00] antibiotics, for example, we set the stage for some significant imbalances in terms of our metabolism. As we sterilize the gut with antibiotics, we favor the overgrowth of bacteria, for example, that can make us fat.
Why do you think it is since the 1950s we’ve been feeding cattle with antibiotics? Because it changes their gut bacteria. It makes them fat. Farmers who raise those animals make more money because the animals are bigger and they’re selling them by the pound.
Guy:Another question popped in. I don’t know if it’s a stupid question or not. Do you think we’ve become too hygienic as well? If we shower …
David:No question. That is called the hygiene hypothesis. I think that it really has been validated. That was first proposed in 1986 when it got its name. It holds that our obsession with hygiene … I paraphrase a little bit … Our overdoing with hygiene, the sterilization of the human body and all that’s within it, has really paved the way for us to have so much allergic disease, autoimmune diseases, what are called atopic diseases, skin-related issues.
We understand, for example, that autism is an inflammatory condition and really correlates quite nicely with changes in the gut bacteria. There’s an absolute signature or fingerprint of the gut bacteria that correlates with autism. Now there are even researchers in Canada, Dr. Derrick MacFabe is one … I’ve interviewed him … who correlate these changes in bacterial organisms in the gut of autistic children with changes in certain chemicals that have a very important role to play in terms of how the brain works.
This is the hygiene hypothesis. It’s time that we let our kids get dirty and stop washing their hands every time they walk down the [00:28:00] aisle in the grocery store and recognize that we’ve lived in an environment that’s exposed us to these organisms for two million years. It has a lot of merit, the hygiene hypothesis.
Guy:Sorry, Stuart. Another question that did pop in there at the same time.
David:Take your time.
Guy:Stress, worry and anxiety because you feel that in the gut when you’re … Have there been studies if that affects microbiome?
David:Without a doubt. I actually have written about these in Brain Maker. It goes both ways. We know that stress increases the adrenal gland’s production of a chemical called cortisol. Cortisol ultimately begins in the brain. When the brain experiences stress and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis is turned on and that stimulates the adrenal glands from make cortisol. Cortisol does several important things. It is one of our hormones that allows us to be more adaptable momentarily to stress but the downsides of cortisol are many. It increases the leakiness of the gut, and therefore increases the level of inflammation in the body. It actually changes the gut bacteria and allows overgrowth of certain organisms, some of which are not actually even bacteria but even yeast. In addition, cortisol plays back and has a very detrimental role on the brain’s memory center.
By the same token, we know that gut-related issues are front and center now in looking at things like depression. We now understand, for example, that depression is a disease characterized by higher levels of inflammatory markers specifically coming from the gut. Think about that. There is a chemical called LPS or lipopolysaccharide. [00:30:00] That chemical is only found normally in the gut to any significant degree. It is actually part of the cell wall of what are called gram-negative bacteria that live in the gut. When the gut is permeable, then that LPS makes its way out of the gut and you can measure it in the bloodstream.
There’s a very profound correlation between elevation of LPS and major depression. We see this correlation with major depression and gut leakiness and gut inflammation, and it really starts to make a lot of sense when we see such common events of depression in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s.
Stuart:Back to the balance of the microbiome so gut bacteria. What three culprits, what would be your top three culprits that really upset the balance?
David:Number one would be antibiotics. We are so aggressively using antibiotics in western cultures. I think every major medical journal is really calling our attention to that. The World Health Organization ranks antibiotics among the top three major health threats to the world health of this decade. Antibiotics change the gut bacteria. They change the way that bacteria respond to antibiotics, in the future making it more likely that we’ll have antibiotic resistance, making it more difficult to treat bacterial infections when they should be treated. I think that we really have just begun to understand the devastating role of antibiotics in terms of changing the gut bacteria. The over-usage of antibiotics in children has been associated with their increased risk of things like type 1 diabetes, asthma, [00:32:00] allergic diseases.
You asked for three. The other big player I think would be Cesarean section. C-sections are depriving children of their initial microbiome because understand that when you’re born through the birth canal, right at that moment, you are being inoculated with bacteria, bacteria that then serve as the focal point for your first microbiome. When you bypass that experience, you are born basically with the microbiome that’s made of whatever bacteria happen to be on the surgeon’s hands or in the operating room at that time. Interestingly enough, children born by C-section who don’t have that right microbiome have a dramatically increased risk for type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, autism, ADHD and even becoming obese when they become adults.
We’re just beginning to understand really what an important event that is, and that is when you’re born that you receive genetic information from your mother that is what we call horizontally transferred as opposed to the vertical transfer from mom and dad in terms of their genome. Understand that you’re not just getting the bacteria but you’re getting the bacterial DNA. When you get your arms around the idea that 99% of the DNA in your body is bacteria contained in your microbiome, then the whole process of being born through the birth canal really takes on a very, very new meaning, doesn’t it?
Stuart:It does. It’s massive.
Guy:The thing, again, they almost can be beyond our control as well. Like you mentioned, it could have been given antibiotics as a kid and C-section. I just want to make a point that when you start to repair these things, [00:34:00] it’s not a short-term fix, I’m guessing, that it takes time to repair the gut. If somebody is listening …
David:In our practice, we see improvements happening very quickly. We often see people get improvements in as little as a couple of weeks, especially children. They seem to turn around so quickly. The truth of the matter is that we now see literature that indicates that antibiotics, each time you take them, change your gut bacteria permanently. There may not be a total reversal that’s possible based upon some of our lifestyle choices. That said, we are now seeing some really impressive results from what’s called fecal transplantation where you put in to the gut healthy bacteria from a healthy individual.
One researcher, Dr. Max Nieuwdorp in Amsterdam has recently presented his treatment of 250 type 2 diabetics, giving them fecal transplant, and he basically reversed their diabetes by changing their gut bacteria. It’s pretty profound.
Stuart:It’s quite a hot topic over here, fecal transplants. They ran a story a few weeks ago of a chap who was suffering from an autoimmune disease and he first went out of country and received the fecal transplant and his improvements were off the scale, but he put on huge amounts of weight. He was a skinny guy.
David:It’s not the first time it’s happened. Actually, the main use of fecal transplantation is for the treatment of a bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile or C. diff. Here in America, that’s a disease situation that affects 500,000 American [00:36:00] every year and kills 30,000. The antibiotic cocktails that are used for C. diff. are about 26% to 28% effective. Fecal transplantation is about 96% effective. There was recently a publication of a woman with C. diff. and she elected to undergo fecal transplantation and chose her daughter as the donor. Unfortunately, her daughter was very big. Immediately following the fecal transplantation, this woman gained an enormous amount of weight. I think something in the neighborhood of 40 pounds very quickly.
You’re right. It calls to our attention the work by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon here in the states who has demonstrated in laboratory animals that when you take human fecal material from an obese person and transplant that into a healthy laboratory animal, that animal suddenly gets fat even though you didn’t change its food. We’re beginning to understand the very important role of the gut microbiome in terms of regulating our metabolism, in terms of our extraction of calories from the food that we eat.
So many people tell me, you know, Doc, I am so careful with what I eat and I just can’t lose weight. The reason is because through their years of eating improperly, of having antibiotics, etc., they’ve created a microbiome that is really very adept at extracting calories from food. One of the biggest culprits, for example, is sugar. Sugar will dramatically change the microbiome. What do people do? They begin drinking sugarless, artificially sweetened beverages. It turns out that the weight gain from artificially sweetened beverages is profound and in fact, the risk of type 2 diabetes is much higher in people consuming artificially sweetened drinks than those who drink sugar sweetened drinks.
I’m not arguing in favor of drinking [00:38:00] sugar sweetened beverages. I’m simply saying that there’s no free ride here. What researchers in Israel just published was the explanation. The explanation as you would expect is that artificial sweeteners dramatically change the microbiome. They set up a situation of higher levels of certain bacteria that will extract more calories and will also help code for inflammation. There’s no free ride. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to get back to eating the types of foods that will nurture a good microbiome.
Guy:Do you think the local doctor or GP is going to start looking at microbiome in the near future? Because there’s only an antibiotic that gets prescribed when you go there, you’re not feeling well or you get a cut …
David:No, I don’t think so.
Guy:You don’t think so?
David:No. I wish it were. I wish that were the case. Next month, I’m chairing an international symposium on the microbiome with leaders in the field from all over the world, well-respected individuals. The people who are going to attend are really a very few group … a small group … It’s be a big group, but these are people who are really highly motivated to stay ahead of trends, and by and large, this is going to take a long time to filter down to general medicine. It just isn’t going to happen any time soon.
Guy:Proactive approach always seems to be the way.
David:You got it.
Stuart:Say I wanted to be a bit proactive right now and I’m going to jot down to the chemist and think, right, I’m going to ask them for their top pre- or probiotics. Is it a waste of time?
David:No, I don’t think so, especially as it relates to prebiotics. You can’t go wrong by increasing your consumption of fiber, but prebiotic is a special type of fiber that in fact nurtures the gut bacteria. [00:40:00] You can go to your chemist and in fact, they may very well sell you a wonderful prebiotic that’s made from, for example, Acacia gum or pectin or something like that. There happen to be some pretty darn good probiotics on the market as well. I think there are certain things that you have to look for. I’ve written about them in my book. There are certain species I think that are well-studied and there are five specific species that I talk about in the book like Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus brevis, etc.
The point is, hey, we have more than 10,000 different species living within us, so it’s hard to say what’s best. We do know that some of these species have been aggressively studied and do good things in the gut with research now coming out indicating that interventional studies, in other words where they give certain bacteria to people, there are changes that are measurable. Let me tell you about one interesting study that was just published.
A group of 75 children were given a specific probiotic for the first six months of their life; it’s called Lactobacillus rhamnosus. They followed these kids for the next 13 years. What they found was that the children who had received the probiotic, half the group, none of them developed either ADHD or a form of autism. Whereas the group that did not receive the probiotic, there was a rate of autism or ADHD of about 14.2%. What does it say? It says that balancing the gut helps do good things. This study took 13 years to complete, maybe another year or two to publish, but we’re getting to the point where we’re seeing interventional trials of specific organisms having positive effects [00:42:00] on humans. I think that’s what the future is going to open up with. I think we’re going to see much more of that.
Guy:Definitely. Even from us, we’ve been involved in the health industry for quite some time and we’ve seen microbiome, gut health, more and more information is coming out.
David:Yes, you are. It’s time. It’s really going to be very, very empowering.
Guy:Yeah, it’s become a hot topic. Look, I’m aware of the time, David. We have a couple of questions that we ask everyone on the show that they can be non-nutrition-related, anything.
David:Is this the bonus round?
Guy:This is the bonus round, man.
Stuart:I just wanted to pop in, Guy, just before you hit those last ones. I was interested, David, as to do you have a tailored personal daily routine specifically to nurture your microbiome?
David:Yes. It’s what works for me. I’m super careful about what I eat. The truth of the matter is I am at risk for Alzheimer’s. My dad passed away about two months ago with Alzheimer’s so I know I’m at risk. Probably one of the most important nutritional things I do is exercise. It’s nutrition for the soul. I guess I have a little leeway there. It’s really good for the microbiome as well. It really helps protect the ability of that LPS from damaging … ultimately leading to damage to the brain. Exercise actually increases the growth of new brain cells through something called BDNF. My dad is very low in carbohydrate, extremely low in sugar. I use a lot of prebiotic fiber, 15, 20 grams a day. I take a strong probiotic, vitamin D, vitamin E, fish oil, a multivitamin, a B complex. You didn’t ask about supplements but I just toss that in for the heck of it.
I generally, for me, do well with only two meals a [00:44:00] day. I don’t yet know who wrote down that you have to have three meals a day or the world would come to an end, but somebody must have obviously. Because I like the fact that I haven’t eaten from dinner until I have either a later breakfast or an early lunch the next day. That sometimes can be as long as 12 to 15 hours of not eating. It works really well for me because as I wake up in the morning, my brain is sharp and I never really liked exercising with food in my belly. A lot of people have breakfast and go to the gym. Fine. It doesn’t work for me. I like to go to the gym on an empty stomach and then have lunch and then dinner.
Stuart:That’s excellent. Does the type of exercise make any difference to the way you feel?
David:Well, sure it does. The type of exercise I really gravitate to is aerobic because as I talked about in Grain Brain, aerobic exercise is the type of exercise that actually will turn on the genes that will code for this BDNF chemical that will allow you to grow your brain cells. That’s what the studies at University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated. You really need to do aerobics. I do a lot of stretching and I lift weights as well. I think those are good for you, good for a person. I’m prone to back issues. I do a whole routine for my back. The one thing that it’s inviolate in terms of my routine is the aerobics part.
Guy:Fantastic. I appreciate that. That’s awesome. Back to bonus round, have you read any books that have had a great impact on your life that you’d like to share?
David:I have. From a medical perspective, there’s a couple of good books by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories, and another one called Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. I would recommend the latter, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It [00:46:00] because it is so clear in terms of mechanisms that relate to sugar and weight gain and inflammation.
I’ve read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse on a number of occasions. I think it has resonated with me on a personal level in terms of my life journey, one of the most perhaps influential books for me. Pardon me?
Guy:Fantastic. You’re not the first person to say that book as well.
David:In fact, I just looked at it earlier today. I love books. I don’t know if you could see [crosstalk 00:46:41]. A lot of people these days send me their books to review so I’ll write a comment on them. I’ve got this really great conduit of new books coming to me, two and three a day now, which is really great. I really am fortunate because I get to see a lot of books before they’re actually even published. I reviewed a book today from a Harvard researcher on what is it that makes us hungry and what to do about it, a really incredible book.
I recently reviewed a book by Dr. Frank Lipman talking about the 10 things to do to stay healthy. Really it was The 10 Things That Make Us Fat and Grow Old, is the title. It isn’t out yet, but I read that book this morning, a very, very powerful, clean-cut, straightforward information that’s totally in line with current science.
There’s another really good book I would encourage people to look at called The Disease Delusion, and it’s written by Dr. Jeffrey Bland. It really is an important book because it talks about where we are in terms of how medicine is practiced, how we look at patients and really paints a good picture in terms of what medicine could look like in the [00:48:00] future. I’d encourage your viewers to take a look at that book.
Guy:Fantastic. We certainly encourage Brain Maker as well which [crosstalk 00:48:07].
David:Thank you. I appreciate it.
Guy:Last question: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
David:My dad used to say no matter how … As you go through life, my friend, let this be your goal. Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole. It always worked for me.
Stuart:I like it.
David:There’s one other, I don’t know if it’s advice, but a statement that was made by Maurice Maeterlinck, a Belgian Nobel Laureate. I first read this when I was visiting a friend, Dr. Amar Bose. He’s the one who has Bose audio, the headphones and speakers. He took me to his laboratory in Massachusetts and I was very impressed, but then we went into his office and on his glass door was the following quote by Maurice Maeterlinck: At every crossway on the road that leads to the future, each progressive spirit is confronted by a thousand men appointed to defend the past. That always meant a lot to me because Dr. Bose really went against the system as he created his audio products. People said it couldn’t be done. You can’t cancel sound, on and on.
I really know what it’s like to be opposed by a thousand men appointed to defend the past because the stuff that we talk about is not status quo. It’s not what everyone is doing. I’m grateful for that. I think that it hopefully is ahead of the curve. Time will tell. We’ll see where we go. When maybe the three of us have a conversation in a couple of years, we’ll see where we are.
Guy:Yeah. Fantastic. We really appreciate it. For anyone listening to this who would like to get more of you, where would be the best place [00:50:00] to go online?
David:My website is drperlmutter.com. That’s D-R, Perlmutter, P-E-R-L-M-U-T-T-E-R, dot-com. Facebook I post every day. Oddly enough, David Perlmutter MD. My books are in Australia. They’re around the world so people can read my books if they like as well.
Guy:Yeah, fantastic. Greatly appreciate you coming on the show today and showing your knowledge and time with us and the listeners.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
How do you put a claim like this into a short video (above)? In all honesty you can’t, but hopefully it will whet the appetite enough for you to dig deeper and listen to the full fascinating interview with investigative journalist and NYT bestselling author Nina Teicholz.
In 2014, Nina released her book ‘The Big Fat Surprise’ that was nine years in the making. Within the book she reveals the unthinkable: that everything we thought we knew about dietary fats is wrong.
The book received rave reviews including:
“Most memorable healthcare book of 2014″ – Forbes.com
Full Interview: A Big Fat Surprise! Why I Eat Saturated Fat & Exercise Less
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions.
So, if you’re watching this in video you can see it’s a beautiful day here in Sydney as I stand on my local Maroubra Beach and I might even be tempted to get a wave a little bit later, as well, but on to today’s guest.
We have the fantastic Nina Teicholz today. So, if you’re unfamiliar with Nina, she is an investigative journalist and she spent the last nine years putting a book together that was released in 2014 called “The Big Fat Surprise.” It hit The New York Times bestsellers list as well, which is an awesome achievement.
So, if you’re wondering what Nina’s all about, well the title of the book is a slight giveaway, but yes, dietary fat. And if you’ve been frustrated over the years, like myself and Stu, about the mixed messages of nutrition and what the hell’s going on, Nina sets the record straight today. Especially when it comes to what fats we should be eating, what fats we should be avoiding and even the whole debate around vegetable oils, which I avoid like the plague anyways. I don’t even debate about it anymore.
So, there’s gems of information.
Now, I must admit, I didn’t know a great deal about Nina, but she came highly recommended and this is the first time I met on this podcast today and I thought she was an absolute rock star. She was awesome. And yeah, it was a pleasure interviewing her and yeah, you’ll get a lot out of it.
Stick with it, because it’s action-packed and it’s probably a podcast I’m going to listen to twice, just to make sure I understand all the information.
Last, but not least, I know I ask every episode, but if you could leave a review for us. If you’re enjoying these podcasts and you get something out of it, all I ask is that you leave a review. Five star it and subscribe to it. This is going to help other people reach this information too so they can benefit from it as well.
One of my ambitions is to get the Health Sessions into the top ten on iTunes, in the health and fitness space and I really need your help to do that. So, we’re definitely gathering momentum. We’re moving up the charts and this would mean a lot to us if you just took two minutes to do that.
Anyway, let’s go on to Nina. It’s an awesome podcast. Enjoy.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie.
Stuart Cooke: Hello buddy.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Nina Teicholz. Nina, welcome to the show.
Nina Teicholz: Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here.
Guy Lawrence: It’s awesome. Very excited about today. It’s a topic that definitely fascinates us. We’ve had various people coming on the show, talking about all things, fat especially, and looking forward to getting your collective experience over the years and being able to share it with us and our audience. Yeah, it’s going to be awesome. So, it’s much appreciated, Nina.
So, just to get the show started and the ball rolling, would you mind just sharing a little bit about yourself, what you do and your own personal journey for everyone?
Nina Teicholz: Right. Well, I’m a journalist. I’ve been a journalist for decades. I live in New York City. And about a decade ago I sort of plunged into this whole area of nutrition.
And that started because I was doing a series of investigative food pieces for Gourmet Magazine, which is a food magazine in the states. And I was assigned to do a story about trans fats, which are now famous, but back then nobody really knew about it. I wrote this story that kind of broke that whole topic open in the U.S. That led to a book contract and I started writing a book about trans fats.
And then I realized that there was this whole, huge, untold story about dietary fat in general and how our nutrition polices seemed to have gotten it terribly wrong. And then after that it was decade of reading every single nutrition science study I could get my hands on and just doing this, like, deep dive into nutrition science. At the end of which I wrote this book called, or I came out with a book that was published last year, called “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”
That book has been controversial, but also successful. It became a bestseller internationally in, you know, it really was the first book to really make the case for why not only fat was good for health, but saturated fat. You know, in butter, dairy, meat, cheese, the kind of fat in animal foods was not bad for health.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And maybe those foods were even good for health. So, that, of course, turns everything know upside down on its head. So…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
So, just thinking then, Nina, that you’re completely absorbed in research and medical studies and things like that. At what point during that journey did you question what you were eating?
Nina Teicholz: Well, I started out as a, you know, what I call a near-vegetarian. Since I was in my late teens I had basically, like most American women, I had eaten a pretty low-fat diet, very nervous about eating any kind of fat at all. And I hadn’t eaten red meat in decades. I had like, little bits of chicken and fish. And I was, you know, I was a good deal fatter than I am now. But I also used to just exercise manically. I use to, really, for an hour a day, I would bike or run and I still wasn’t particularly slim.
So, when I started this book, it took me, I would say, a few years until I started really believing what I was reading. Which is to say, that fat wasn’t bad for health and I started to eat more fat.
And then I started to; like, I would say it took me a good five years before I would; I could actually cook a piece of red meat. Like, buy a piece of raw red meat and taste it, because I just hadn’t, you know, all I had in my; I’d only had vegetarian cookbooks and it just seemed; it was like a foreign thing to me.
But, I’m not one of these people, like, I know you probably have listeners who they just like they see the light from one day to the next and they can radically remake their whole diet and that was not me. It just took a long time for me to make that transition.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. In a way it’s such a big topic to get your head around in the first place, because we’ve been told the low-fat message, well, I have my whole life, you know. And when I first started hearing this myself, I was like, “Really? Come on. No way.” But then over the years, you know, I applied it and it’s changed my life, really.
So, what I’m intrigued in as well, if you wouldn’t mind sharing with us, Nina, is how did we end up demonizing fat in the first place?
Nina Teicholz: Well, that really goes back to the 1950s. I mean, there was always this idea that fat would make you fattening, because fat calories are more; they’re more densely packed. And there’s nine calories per gram of fat and there’s only four or five in carbohydrates.
So, there was always this idea that maybe fatty foods would also make you fat. But it really didn’t get going as official policy that all experts believe; it started in the 1950s and I have to back up a little bit if you don’t mind?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go for it.
Nina Teicholz: I mean, it actually started with saturated fat, right? It wasn’t; it all started with the idea that saturated fat and cholesterol were bad, would give you heart disease. And that really started the 1950s.
It’s a story that I tell in my book, it’s been told by others, how a pathologist from the University of Minnesota named Ancel Keys, developed this hypothesis. He called it his diet-heart hypothesis, that if you eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol it would clog your arteries and give you a heart attack.
And this was in response to the fact that there was really a panic in the United States over the rising tide of heart disease, which had come from pretty much out of nowhere. Very, very few cases in the early 1900s and then it became the number one killer. And our president, Eisenhower, himself, had a heart attack in 1955; was out of the Oval Office, out of the White House for 10 days.
So, the whole nation was in a panic and into that steps this Ancel Keys with his idea. It wasn’t the only idea out there, but he was this very aggressive kind of outsized personality, with this unshakable faith in his own beliefs and he kind of elbowed his way to the top.
So, the very first recommendations for telling people to avoid animal foods, saturated fats and cholesterol, in order to reduce their heart attack risk, those were published in 1961 by the American Heart Association, which was the premier group on heart disease at the time, still is. But at that point there was nobody else.
And so, that started in 1961. Then by 1970 they’re saying, “Well, its not just saturated fat. It’s all fat, because if you reduce fat in general that’s likely to keep calories low.” That was always the argument. That somehow it would just keep calories low and so that was probably a good idea to avoid fat all together. That started in 1970.
Then you see this low-fat diet, which, you know, there’s no evidence. There was no clinical trials. There’s no evidence at all. It just was like; kind of this idea that people had. That was adopted by the U.S. government in 1980, so then it became federal policy.
The whole government is kind of cranking out this idea and all its programs are conforming with it and then throughout the ’80s you see it spreading around the world. So, it spreads to your country. It spreads to Great Britain. It spreads everywhere. And then all Western countries follow the U.S. and our advice.
So, that’s how we got into this whole mess.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Nina Teicholz: And, you know, it’s; now we’re starting to get out of it. But it’s been decades in the making.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. It’s ludicrous when you think about it based upon zero, I guess, concrete medical knowledge at all. I’m just; I’m intrigued about the studies that are set up, that guide us on this journey. I mean, how are these nutritional studies, I guess, initiated? And it seems that they can be so easily biased. Is that true?
Nina Teicholz: Oh, you know that is such a huge topic.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: I mean, there are thousands of nutritionists studies and we all know what it’s like to feel like be whip-sawed by the latest study and how do you make sense of them? How do you put them in perspective? Is really the question. What do you make of the latest mouse study to come out?
So, the way it all began was with the study that was done by Ancel Keys, called the “Seven Countries Study.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And that was done on nearly 12,000 men, men only, in seven countries, mainly Europe, but also the U.S. and Japan. And that was a study; it’s called an epidemiological study; and that’s the key thing to know about it. It’s the kind of study that can show an association, but not causation.
So, it can show; it looks at your diet, and usually these studies they test diet just once and they ask you, “What did you eat in the last 24 hours?” You know how well you can remember that, right? And then 10 years later they come back and see if you’ve died of a heart attack or what’s happened to you.
So, even in the best of studies where let’s say they ask you three times what you at in the last 24 hours or they try to confirm what you say with what they measure; maybe they measure your diet. But even in the best of those studies, they can still only show association.
So, let’s say they find, as Ancel Keys did in that first epidemiological study, let’s say they find that you don’t eat very much saturated fat and if you’re one of those people, you tend to live longer. But not eating a lot of animal foods, you know, in post World War II, let’s say Greece or Italy or Yugoslavia, which is what Ancel Keys discovered; that was; those people were also, they were poverty-stricken people, devastated by World War II. They also didn’t eat a lot of sugar.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: Right? Because they didn’t have it. But; so you don’t know, was it the sugar? Was it the fat? An epidemiological study can never tell you. Or is it something you didn’t even think to measure? Was it the absence of magnesium in the soil? Was it your, you know, now is it your internet use? Is it your exposure to plastic? You don’t know all those things you can’t think to measure. You’ll never know in an epidemiological study.
But that was, that Seven Countries Study was the basis of that original American Heart Association recommendation and it’s also been the basis of a lot of other bad advice that’s based on these kinds of studies that only show association.
So, the better kind of data is called a clinical trial, where you taka a group of people and you divide them into two groups and you give one group this kind of, you know, a high-fat diet; the other group a low-fat diet and you see; everything about those groups is the same. It’s what’s called “controlling.” You’re controlling for internet use, for magnesium in the soil, or whatever. You take them in the same city; you assume they’ve got the same exposure to all that stuff, so you don’t have to worry about it. You just can measure the effect of the diet or you know, give one a drug and the other not a drug.
So, clinical trials are the kinds of studies that can provide rigorous evidence. And, you know, that they’re harder to do. They are expensive. It’s expensive to feed people. It’s expensive to; you know, usually the good clinical trials really control the diet all day long. It’s best if you do them on institutionalized people, where you can totally control the diet.
But there are clinical trials out there now; now there are after all these years, and you know, all those clinical trials show first, you know, one that saturated fats does not cause heart disease, does not cause any kind of disease, and that the low-fat diet that we embarked upon, when it was finally tested in big clinical trials, was shown to be either, at best, totally ineffective and at worst, it looks like it could very likely provokes heart disease by creating worsened blood lipids.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Nina Teicholz: So, but, those clinical trials, when they eventually came out it was sort of too late, because the official dogma had already charged ahead.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. Yeah. We’re still seeing an absolute barrage of low-fat goods on the shelves and that message is still loud and proud. People are still completely fearful of fat. It’s insane, isn’t it?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I don’t know what the official recommendations are in Australia, but I know in the U.S. they’ve tried to back off the low-fat diet. Like they don’t include that language anymore.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: But they still model all their diets as being low-fat. Low-fat is sort of defined as anywhere between 25 and 30, 35 percent of calories is fat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.
Nina Teicholz: You know, before the low-fat diet we were; all our countries were eating 40, 45 percent fat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: So, we’ve really dramatically reduced our fat intake. But, you know, our officials just can’t; it’s hard for them to back out of it. It’s just our; all of our food supplies are based on the low-fat diet. I mean, all of our cattle has been bred to be leaner for instance, you know, amongst many other things.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. From over the years of what I’ve seen as well, even if people adopt a higher-fat diet, there’s still a huge amount of confusion about fats themselves.
Nina Teicholz: Right.
Guy Lawrence: So, I’d love to get a little bit of clarity on that today as well. Like for vegetable oils for instance. You know, where did vegetable oils come from and the idea of them being healthy, when, you know, when I avoid them like the plague.
Nina Teicholz: Well that’s another amazing story and I’m not flogging my book, but it’s only place where the history of vegetable oils is really set out. And I just couldn’t believe what I’ve discovered about them. I mean, so the basic thing to know it that they didn’t exist as a foodstuff until really the early 1900s.
Before 1900, the only fats that were really used, well at least in America, I don’t know about Australia, but were butter and lard. Around the world it was butter and lard were the main fats that were used in cooking. And there was some olive oil in Italy, you know, in the Mediterranean.
But that starts later then you think, actually. And before that all oils were used; they were used for industrial uses. They were used to make soap. There were a lot of uses of oils, but it was not for eating.
And then; and so the very first oils introduced for eating, just as plain oils, they didn’t come around; in the U.S. they were introduced in bottles in the 1940s and before that they had; oils are unstable, you know, and they oxidize and they go rancid and they won’t last in shelves.
So, before that, in 1911, in the U.S. at least, they were introduced as like a kind of imitation lard. It was called Crisco that we have. And that they harden the oils through a process called hydrogenation and that produces trans fats. Which is why we all know about that now.
But that was first invented to make those oils stable, to harden them, so that they don’t oxidize and grow rancid.
So, that’s when they came into our food supply. That industry, the vegetable oil industry includes some of the biggest companies in the world now; ADM, Monsanto, Cargill, IOI Loders Croklaan. I don’t know if those are familiar names to you, but they’re huge companies. And they from the very; from the 1940s on, they figured out how to influence; like for instance, they were hugely influential in launching the American Heart Association. Which then wound up recommending vegetable oils for health. Because …
So, if you get rid of the saturated fats, what do you replace them with? You replace them with unsaturated fats and that’s vegetable oils.
So, these companies got their products recommended for fighting heart disease, basically. And they did that by infiltrating into our most trusted institutions, including the American Heart Association and also the National Institute of Health. And that’s why we think vegetable oils are good for health.
I mean, the main argument was that they lower your total… and originally it was they lower your total cholesterol. And then we could measure other things like LDL and HDL, the argument was they can lower your LDL cholesterol and therefore they fight heart disease. Well, I mean, that whole cholesterol story turns out not to be so simplistic.
So, that’s how they came into the food supply and that’s how they came to be viewed as healthy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah and did it in everything. Like when you walk into the local supermarket, well the commercial supermarkets, I should say; they’re in so many foods.
Stuart Cooke: Well, yeah, 99 percent, I think, of our processed and packaged foods will contain them in some way, shape or form which is kind of crazy. And you touched a little bit on trans fats as well earlier; Nina and I wonder whether you could just talk a little bit about that today? Because that is, that’s a phrase that is quite fearful over here and I know on the packaging at least a lot of the manufacturers are very proud to say, “zero trans fat.” So, what exactly is it?
Nina Teicholz: Well, so when those vegetables oils are hardened, that process that I just mentioned called hydrogenation, that’s just an industrial process and one of the side effects of that process is it creates some amount of trans fats in that hardened vegetable oil, right? You harden the vegetable oil so it can be used precisely as you say in those packaged goods, right?
So, a lightly hydrogenated oil would become; be used as the basis of like a frosting or something. A soft, creamy substance. And the more; if you create; a more highly hydrogenated oil containing more trans fats would be used to say make the hard chocolate coating of a candy or something.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: So, you have varying amounts of trans fats in all of those hardened vegetable oils that are the backbone of our food industry.
Trans fats, you know, from that very first introduction of Crisco imitation lard that they were always in there and scientists kind of knew about it and were worried about it, from the 1970s on. But it really wasn’t until they were; really didn’t become exposed and known until the early 1990s. And it turns out that they slightly raise your LDL cholesterol. I mean, that’s; that was the evidence that upon which trans fats were kind of hanged by various expert agencies.
Trans fats are not good for health probably, but not for that reason. I mean, I think their effect on LDL is very minimal. They also seem to interfere with the functioning of your cell membranes. They kind of lodge themselves into critical key spots in every single one of your cell membranes. And they increase calcification of cells.
So, definitely trans fats are not a good thing. They were kind of condemned, I think, for the wrong reason. But, you know, the main issue now is like, what’s replacing trans fats? So, if you get rid of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, what replaces them? And my worry is that they’re just being… in restaurants, which used to use these hydrogenated oils in their fryers.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: Again, they were hydrogenated to be stable. That means not to create oxidation products when heated. So, in this country at least, restaurants are going back to using just regular old non-hydrogenated oils, which are toxic where they’re heated.
They create these hundreds of oxidation products and they create massive inflammation in the body, I mean, there’s all kinds of very worrisome health effects of those non-hydrogenated regular vegetable oils.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: They’re also inventing new oils. There’s something called, interesterified oil that they’re inventing to try to use instead of these trans fats oils. So, the trans-free options are to me, like, equally worrisome or if not more so. And, you know, what should be happening is just to return to butter and lard. That’s what we used to use.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: That’s what we used to use. Those are solid, stable fats that … and tallow, McDonalds used to fry their French fries in tallow. They’re solid and they’re stable and they don’t oxidize and they don’t go rancid.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And that’s what we should return to. But we can’t, because we’re; there’s this taboo around saturated fats that we can’t use them.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s incredible, isn’t it? I was going to say with the next question, like to just to simplify everything we’ve just discussed for the listeners, is like, what fats would you eat and what fats would you avoid? Like from everyday to …
Nina Teicholz: You should cook with stable natural fats. Lard. Butter. Ghee.
Guy Lawrence: Ghee.
Nina Teicholz: Coconut oil. Tallow if you have it. Those are stable. They’re natural. They’re the fats that we’ve always cooked with throughout human history.
If you want an oil for your salad dressing or whatever, olive oil, which; olive oil is better than vegetable oils. The reason is that olive oil is what’s called monounsaturated. It only has one double bond that could react with oxygen. Vegetable oils are polyunsaturated, meaning they have multiple double bonds. Every single one of those double bonds can react with oxygen. So, you want to just keep your double bonds low and that means using olive oil in favor of those other vegetable oils.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Nina Teicholz: Is that enough?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s good advice.
So, you touched upon the olive oil as well and I’m just thinking about, you know, in our society today we’ve got a diet for everything. You know we’ve got Paleo diet, low carb/high fat, Mediterranean; crikey there’s so many. With the research that you’ve done, are any of these existing diets close to optimal for long-term health?
Nina Teicholz: You know, I think; so, looking at the clinical trial research again, that kind of good rigorous data …
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: It’s strongly supports a lower carb/higher fat diet for better health. That diet is better at fighting helping people lose weight, at keeping their blood glucose steady and under control, which is how you keep diabetes; prevent diabetes or keep diabetes under control and also for improving cardiovascular risk. The majority of cardiovascular risk factors seem better on that diet. So, that’s a diet with anywhere from 45 to 80 percent fat even and carbohydrates, you know, 20 to 40 percent carbohydrates.
I mean, people really respond to diets differently.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And so, your nutrition needs are different if you’re young, if you’re a child, if you’re elderly. It’s just so important to know that people respond differently to different diets. But; and critically it depends on whether or not your metabolism has kind of tipped over into this unhealthy state.
So, if you’re obese or if you have diabetes or if you have, are fighting heart disease, you are more sensitive to carbohydrates. So, your tolerance for them is lower. If you’re healthy, if you look like you guys, your tolerance is higher for carbs. If you’re active and you’re burning calories a lot, your tolerance is higher.
So, you know, you have to kind of adjust your nutrition plan based on that. But, you know, I think that one of the key things to realize is to eat a higher fat diet you have to eat, and if you want your fats to be natural, based in natural real foods, you just; it has to be a diet that’s higher in animal foods.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: You know, that’s again why; it’s one of the reasons why meat, butter, dairy, eggs, cheese is important to have in any kind of diet. The other reason is, is those are the foods where, you know, the majority of nutrients are, like almost all nutrients are, that you need for good health. And that’s not true in plant foods. It’s very hard to get the nutrition you need on a plant-based diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah and this is coming from someone that was a vegetarian, like you said as well.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. Oh my God, you know, I had anemia. I had; most of my young adulthood I had anemia and all kinds of health issues that I had no idea were based on nutrition, but seem to have been now that they’re resolved.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow. And just to tie up the fat thing and I know because one question we get asked a lot, “Well, how much fat do I eat?” So, what would a plate look like for you at a meal? Could it be as simple as you cook your veg, you have your steak and then you put a big knob of butter on it kind of thing to have the dietary fat for that meal? What would your advice be?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I mean, that sounds like a great dinner to me. I mean, I’ve heard various ways of explaining it to people, you know. Like, half your calories should come from animal foods and half the volume on your plate should come from plant foods. Or what did somebody else say? Eat meat; eat animal foods until you are full and then have some fruits and vegetables.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Nina Teicholz: You know, I think, yeah I think like visually if you think like half your plate is being; having animals foods on it, like eggs, meat, diary and then the other half being salad greens, you know, fruits and things. That’s probably a pretty healthy diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Just keeping it simple.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. So, just thinking now then based upon where we are right now, with all the information that’s coming from, you know, the government, the doctors, you know, health advisors. So, if I go to the doctor’s and the doctor says, “Look, you know, you need to get in better shape. I need you to adopt a low-fat diet.” Now, that’s hugely confusing for me now with this barrage of information, new information that’s come out, saying the complete opposite. So, where would I start if I come back from the doctors with that info?
Nina Teicholz: Right. Well, first you sign up for your podcast.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s a good one.
Guy Lawrence: We send it to so many people and friends, you know, who have had that message.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. And then you send your doctor my book or you send him your podcast. I mean, this is; I mean it is confusing. I think that until the paradigm shifts and our expert advice shifts, we’re going to live; we’re all going to live with this kind of cognitive dissonance between what our doctors say, who, you know, by the way have; most doctors, at least in America have about one hour out of their entire, what, seven-year education is at one hour or one day is devoted to nutrition. Really, they don’t know about nutrition. Even though if you look at polls, most people get their dietary advice from their doctor. So, that’s unfortunate.
But you really do have to become a little bit of an independent thinker, I think, on this subject. You know, especially if you feel like if the low-fat diet isn’t working for you, then there’s your own; I mean, in nutrition everybody is their own “n=1” experiment, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yup. Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: You know, you can go on a low-fat diet and see if it works for you over time. And then if it doesn’t you can go back to your doctor and say, “You know, that really didn’t work.” And he’ll say, “Well, you didn’t exercise enough and you didn’t lower your fat enough.”
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And you can try that advise and see if it works for you. Or you can go on a higher-fat diet and see how well that works.
I mean, I just think that this is a field where there is a kind of alternative view and you have to kind of wean yourself from expert advice in this field. Because the expert advice is really misinformed and it’s entrenched. So; and I think that’s not going to change any time.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s a huge topic and its, yeah, which; you touched on exercise as well. So, question would be, exercise and heart disease are highly related, you know, heart disease and prevention. What’s your thoughts on that?
Nina Teicholz: You know, the recommendations for exercise are mainly based on this idea of burning calories, right? And that’s all based on this idea that weight, your weight, is determined by your calories in, how much you eat, subtracted by your calories out, how much you exercise.
And so, that’s why their recommendations are, you know, burn as many calories as you can. Or, you know, exercise an hour a day to burn calories.
But it just turns out that, you know, weight is not so simply regulated by calories in versus calories out. And we all know, like, I could probably go to a meal with you guys and you’d probably eat a massive amount of food and I’d be sitting there eating like, nothing and thinking, “Why are these guys so slim?” I mean, we all know people for whom that’s true and we all know fat people who just don’t seem to eat very much and we assume that they’re all, you know, stuffing themselves with ice cream every night. But that’s not necessarily true.
The experiments on exercise are uniquely depressing. I mean, they show that when; here’s the most depressing one I’ve ever read, which is kind of emblematic of the whole field, which is, they took a group of people. They had half of them do nothing. The other half trained for marathons for an entire year. They ran like a hundred miles a week, at the end of which the groups were the same in weight. The marathoners hadn’t lost any weight or any more compared to the controlled group. And that was, because when you exercise a lot, you get hungry and then your body, well, your body’s not an idiot, it knows; like it just wants, you know it will make you hungrier and then you’ll eat more and then you’ll replace the calories that you burn.
So, that kind of aerobic exercise does not seem to be effective and there’s a lot of studies like that. I mean, I’m sure you’ve talked about it on your program, the kind of exercise that seems to be supported by better evidence is, like, intense exercise, like, lifting weights or doing sprints or you know, really intense exercise that changes your actual muscles at a cellular level, will actually change their sensitivity to insulin.
Which is totally fascinating. But you don’t have to do a ton of that exercise, you can just do like 15 minutes of it, of intense exercise, and that seems to make, you know, enough of a difference to have an impact.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect. Yeah, I have a little 6-minute workout that I do couple of times a week and I’m done and dusted in 6 minutes, but it knocks me sideways. But I feel great for it and I sleep better afterwards and I don’t have to spend hours in the gym on a treadmill.
Nina Teicholz: It’s too bad you’re so obese, really. Obviously it’s not working.
Stuart Cooke: I know. Well, you can’t really see the full body …
Guy Lawrence: Stu, I tell you, as I’ve mentioned on many podcasts, Stu’s body fat is probably at about 8 percent, right? I mean, he eats like a horse, like I can’t keep; like he probably eats physically twice the amount of food I do in a day. It’s incredible. I don’t know how he does it or what he does, but …
Stuart Cooke: Well, it is interesting because we had some genetic testing done on the both of us and our makeup is so very, very different. And it really is a slap in the face for everybody who counts calories, because we are so uniquely different. I couldn’t put on weight if I tried and I have tried. Whereas it’s the opposite for Guy. So, it really does, you know, take a little bit of a mind shift to think, “Well, perhaps it isn’t just about what I’m eating.” Because our bodies are kind of chemical machines rather than just, you know, adhering to the simple principles of energy in/energy out. So …
Nina Teicholz: That’s great.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: For women, I would say for women, especially women, you know, of a certain age like me, you know, then there’s other factors; your hormones become involved.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Nina Teicholz: I mean, your fat in technical terms, your fat deposition is controlled by your hormones, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And the reason that carbohydrates fatten you up more is that they trigger the release of a hormone called insulin, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And then when you get to be my age your hormones change and it becomes; and so that also messes with your fat deposition and then you have to, you have to make adjustments or figure that out. But I mean all of that just shows you that fat is controlled. The deposition of your fat on your body is controlled by your hormones. Insulin is one of those hormones and other hormones have an effect as well.
So, it’s really not about the number of calories that you eat.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: One of the great things about eating a higher-fat diet is it just; you don’t have to count calories. Which is like such an enslaving, awful way to live. You know, you can just eat until you’re full. All the tests on the so-called Atkins diet, all the formal scientific experiments, they don’t tell the people to control calories. That diet works even without counting calories. So …
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And that’s a fundamental thing, because that is a terrible way to live. Like where you’re counting the number of calories in your toothpaste, because like, you know, you’re just; you’re, I mean, you’re like, “I’m never going to get back in that dress.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. The other …
Stuart Cooke: I was just thinking that’s just a perfect product; just low-carbohydrate toothpaste. Why didn’t we think of that? We’d make a fortune.
Nina Teicholz: If you’re counting calories.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. True. True.
Guy Lawrence: And the other thing we see all the time as well, is that when people are counting calories, a lot of the calories they’re indiscriminate about what they eat. Like, there’s no nutrients in to them whatsoever except glucose half the time, you know. It’s just processed carbs and they keep to that. I often wonder what that would be doing to you know, the gut health, the inflammation and all these knock-on effects that are coming from that as well. It’s huge.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And just supports; we certainly don’t push the calorie-counting message, that’s for sure.
Stuart Cooke: So, given the fact then, Nina, that you’ve written this amazing book and you’ve just got a wealth of knowledge and it’s a question now that we ask everybody on our show and if you don’t mind and I apologize in advance; can you tell us what you ate today?
Nina Teicholz: Sure. I don’t mind. It’s not very interesting. Let’s see, I two fried eggs for breakfast.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: I drink a lot of coffee. And then I had a huge bowl of full-fat cottage cheese with walnuts and some raisins for lunch. And I haven’t had dinner yet, because I’m here in California. I don’t know what time it is there, but I haven’t had dinner yet.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Okay.
Nina Teicholz: That’s it.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: And just touching on that, another thought that came in, because for anyone listening to this that is still eating a low-fat diet, you know, what would you advise them in terms of what you found on transition, you know, to allowing the body to adapt and utilize fat more as a fuel?
Nina Teicholz: Well, so a few things; one is that if you’re transitioning to eating more red meat, if you haven’t eaten red meat in a long time you don’t have a lot of the enzymes that you need to digest it and it does take awhile to build those enzymes back up. So, that’s kind of a slow transition.
The other thing is that typically when people switch to a higher-fat diet, I’m talking about like an Atkins diet that’s quite high in fat, there’s a transition period during which you feel awful. And one of the problems with a bunch of these trials on the Atkins diet is they were like, “Oh, let’s test it for three weeks.” And everybody feels horrible during those three weeks. And they’re like, “Oh, that diet must not work.”
But you have to test it for a longer period of time, because there is this transition period. Your enzymes are changing; your regulatory pathways; your metabolism is changing; you’re switching to burning fat rather than glucose as fuel. That takes time and there are resources to try to help you make that transition without suffering too much.
You know, you’re supposed to drink bone broth and have more sodium and you know, there’s various things that you can do to try to replenish some of the nutrients that are depleted. And you know there’s books; I can recommend a book about that. But you have to get through that transition period and then you start feeling better. That’s the crucial thing.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Yeah I just wanted her to touch on that.
And we have a couple of wrap up questions that we ask on the show every week and one was what Stewie just asked for, what you ate today?
Another one is, what books have influenced you the most or what would you recommend to people and this can be outside the nutrition or anything. Is there any that spring to mind?
Nina Teicholz: Well, I haven’t read anything other than nutrition for so long. I feel like, oh yeah, there was probably “Catcher On The Rye” back when I read other kinds of things. But, you know, in nutrition the most important writer in nutrition in my view is Gary Taubes. His book, “Good Calories, Get Bad Calories,” is like the Bible, I think, of this whole field. I think it’s, you know, fantastic. It’s; my book covers a lot that same territory, but it’s maybe a little bit lighter and also covers some other things.
So, yeah, I think that’s the most important book I can think of in this field. He also wrote a book called, “Why We Get Fat.” That’s a little more user-friendly.
Yeah, and then you know, Jane Austin. Read about human nature. Never gets better than that.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. That’s excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent. And the last one, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Nina Teicholz: Oh, you know I get asked this and then I’m like, “I don’t know anything about; I don’t know how to live.” I don’t know. Actually I just don’t know how to answer that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: I think that maybe in this field, for this audience, the point about taking care of your sleep. I’m a chronic insomniac; I’ve been for years. And that so interferes with your weight, and your ability to function and I’m just getting my sleep in order and I would say, yeah, attention to your sleep. It’s just as important as what you eat.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect and we certainly agree with that one.
Stuart Cooke: That is excellent advice. I am absolutely consumed by all things sleep right now. So, in another conservation, I could chew your ear off about that topic.
Nina Teicholz: Oh, I would really like that. I would really love to hear actually what you know.
Stuart Cooke: Likewise.
Nina Teicholz: It’s a whole; that’s another topic where, you know, where you go to your doctor and what they say is so unhelpful, you know.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Nina Teicholz: And what you find on the internet is largely unhelpful and it’s hard to find your way to good information. So …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, they’re all alike. I’m been; I have been infatuated by this probably for the last two years and I’ve read a billion books and a million podcasts. And yeah, I’ve got all these strategies as well that are just like gold and I know now that if I do this thing I’ll have a better nights sleep and it just works. So, yeah …
Nina Teicholz: Thank goodness.
Guy Lawrence: Can you share with us tip, Stu for anyone that’s listening out there.
Stuart Cooke: Okay. One tip; I’ll give you two tips.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Blue light and devices wreck sleep, because it interrupts with the body’s production of melatonin. So, if you’re staring at a laptop at 9 o’clock at night and then expect yourself to go into a blissful sleep, it won’t happen.
So, I’ve just been; I wear these blue light blocking glasses. You know, I look like a construction worker. But, crikey, you put them on and ten minutes later you feel sleepy. It’s that crazy.
Nina Teicholz: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: And so, yeah, for me it’s kind of devices off at kind of 6 p.m. and then I try and get into more of a sleep routine where I read and listen to music and prepare myself for sleep wearing those glasses. So, that works.
And the other thing, is a little bit of carbohydrate-cycling. So, following a reasonably low-carbohydrate diet, I tend to have most of my carbohydrates at night before I go to bed. And that really helps with insulin and puts the body in this sleepy state and helps me stay asleep during the night.
So, I find that if I restrict my carbohydrates in the meal at night and just have, I’m going to say carbohydrates, but I’m thinking more of the starchy carbohydrates. So like, sweet potato, things, you know, outside of just the veggies. It works. So, a baked potato, with like guacamole on it; a steak, some veggies covered in olive oil; is my go-to-sleep meal.
We have that on a Monday evening almost religiously and I get the best sleep on Monday night. I just do. So, I’ve been researching a little bit more about that; just about starch and stuff like that and how that plays with our sleep.
Nina Teicholz: All right, I’m signing up for your pod. I’m …
Stuart Cooke: No problem.
Nina Teicholz: Those are great ideas. I’ve heard them, but I mean, that is; really sounds very smart and you’re right. If you can encapsulate that advice and get it out to people, that’s incredible service. So, sign me up.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: All right and thank you.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a good one, Stu. That’s awesome.
And so, what does the future hold for you, Nina? Anything exciting coming up?
Nina Teicholz: No. I hope to be; have a very dull life and get a lot of sleep. But I am; I’m particularly interested in trying to change the actual nutrition policy, you know, that exists, so that; which is so influential. That’s why your doctor gives you the wrong advice, is that they get their recommendations straight from the government and that’s also true in Australia, I know.
So, I think that that needs to change and I’m hoping to work to try to move that along. And basically, you know, nutrition reform. I mean, it’s one thing to write a book, but then you just have to get that message out there. So, I’m working on that.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And for everyone listening to this, where is the best to go to get more of you so that you; your website?
Nina Teicholz: I do you have a website.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: It’s not so active, but there’s a lot of information there, which is: www.thebigfatsurprise.com.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And they’d be able to get your book from there too or just on Amazon?
Nina Teicholz: Yes. I think it should still be on Amazon. There’s actually a new version that’s being sold in the UK without the thousands of footnotes at the back. So, that’s; might even be considered beach reading, because it’s a light enough book to carry with you.
Guy Lawrence: Well, Stewie’s going through it at the moment, I’m waiting for him to finish and then I’m going to be reading it.
Nina Teicholz: Oh, good.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Nina Teicholz: Great. Well, it’s lovely to talk to you both.
Guy Lawrence: Thank you so much for coming on this show, Nina. That was an awesome and yeah, everyone’s going to get so much out of it. That’s brilliant.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you again, Nina.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Nina.
Nina Teicholz: It’s really been great to talk to you.
The video above is 02:17 long. Use your time wisely ;) Please share with anyone you know who has high cholesterol or is on cholesterol lowering medication.
Are you confused by what your cholesterol levels really say about your health? Don’t you wish someone could just spell it out in simple English and tell you what, if anything, you need to do to improve your heart and overall health?
Full Interview: Cholesterol Clarity & the Truth About Heart Disease
Health blogger Jimmy Moore shares with us some invaluable lessons including why consuming saturated fat is good, why carbohydrates are detrimental to attaining the best cholesterol numbers and why there is a growing number of physicians, researchers and nutritionists who believe treating cholesterol numbers is virtually irrelevant.
Cholesterol Clarity: Jimmy teamed up with Dr. Eric Westman, a practicing internist and nutrition researcher, to bring you one of the most unique books you’ll ever read on this subject, featuring exclusive interviews with twenty-nine of the world’s top experts from various fields to give you the complete lowdown on cholesterol.
In this weeks episode:-
Cholesterol Clarity: The inspiration behind the book [015:34]
Simplifying the cholesterol jargon [015:34]
What really is the best way to measure heart health [019:45]
What to eat for ultimate heart health [038:58]
What alcohol can we drink for heart health? [040:30]
Are you confused about high cholesterol? Did you find this helpful? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
Jimmy Moore & Cholesterol Clarity: The Transcript
Guy: Hey this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to Podcast #18. Our very special guest today is no other than podcast legend Jimmy Moore. Jimmy’s here to tell us about his brand new book that he’s written called Cholesterol Clarity and I think he interviewed 29 experts to put this book together and, well, what he has to say is just incredible, really, so I urge you to listen to it and more importantly, if you know anyone with high cholesterol or is on cholesterol-lowering medication to share it with these people so they can get a different perspective on the whole industry and make a more informed decision moving forward.
Jimmy’s a very honest, sincere, very upbeat guy and it was just awesome to have him on the show today and share all these gems of information that you just don’t think about. As always, if you are listening to this through iTunes, please leave a review for us. It helps us get the word out there and improves our rankings on iTunes and more people can find us and the message that we’re actually trying to spread and if you are so, come over to our blog, 180Nutrition.com.au/blog and you can see these videos in action as well. So until the next time, please enjoy the show.
Guy: This is Guy Lawrence, I’m always joined with Mr. Stuart Cooke, and our special guest today is no other than Jimmy Moore. Jimmy, thank you for joining us. I pretty much want to expose you to an audience over here as well that might not know who you are. And, you know, from what I’ve followed you over the years, you’re pretty much the rock star of podcasting now, I think. How many podcasts have you actually done now?
Jimmy: So if you count all three podcasts that air five days a week, I’d say it’s probably close to over a thousand episodes.
Guy: That’s insane.
Jimmy: And just the one has 700 what did we just pass, Christine? Like, 720, something like that.
Guy: And that’s the Livin’ La Vida Low Carb, right? And what;
Guy: What would the other ones be, Jimmy?
Jimmy: So, Thursday nights I do a live show at 7 p.m. Eastern time in the United States and it’s called “Ask the Low-Carb Experts.” So we take somebody that I know is an expert on some subject and we talk about that subject. I have people, you know, call in with questions and emailing questions and it’s a lot of fun. I like that show and then on Fridays we do a show called “Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends” where we have headlines that are out there, I know you guys get them there in Australia. The health headlines that make you want to scream, so we scream about them on that show. I’ve got a registered dietician, Dietician Cassie is her name, and we invite on some people in the community. We’ve actually had some people from Australia on. It’s a little hard to get the time zone thing right.
Stuart: Yeah, tell us about it.
Jimmy: So, yeah. That’s—
Guy: I can imagine. I can imagine. So, what we thought we’d do is before we, y’know, ’cuz we want to cover your brand new book, Cholesterol Clarity, but before we do could you just tell us a little bit I guess about yourself? Your journey, why you started podcasting and what led you up into this point, really. I think.
Jimmy: Sure. So, if you’d asked me ten years ago, Guy, if I would be one of the people out here in the world talking about health and diet and nutrition and fitness, I woulda laughed my head off. I would say 410-pound man, how many kilos would that be?
Stuart: That’d be 200 kilos at least.
Jimmy: Oh. Yeah. So, 200 kilos and I had 5-XL shirts. I wore a size 62-inch waist pants. I was a big boy. And I was doing some really (as far as nutritionally,) I did care about nutrition. I just ate and I thought Coca Cola was food, I thought Little Debbie Snack Cakes were food, you know, big plates of pasta; that’s food. I was the typical American eating a crappy diet. And I was on prescription medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breathing problems. I was literally a ticking time bomb at the age of 32 and I needed to do something. So my mother-in-law actually gave me a copy of a book called Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution for Christmas in December of 2003. So, thanks, Mom. She gave me a diet for Christmas. I read the book and I thought, “Man this guy is wacked out. How do you eat more fat and lose weight and not get clogged arteries? How do you eat less carbohydrate, isn’t that how you get your energy? Aren’t you going to be lethargic all day? So I had tried low-fat diet after low-fat diet so many times, Guy, I was just frustrated and so I was like “Okay, well I’ve tried all of these other low-fat ones, so let’s try a high-fat diet.” And the first month I lost 30 lbs, what’s that, about 15 kilos.
Jimmy: At the second month I lost another 20 kilo and by the end of 100 days, I’d lost almost 50 kilos and by the end of the year it was right around, right around 90 kilos that I had lost.
Guy: That is…
Stuart: Huge. I often hear people frustrated, they can’t change. And, y’know, they seem to do the same cycle constantly. What was the changing factor for you? Because you’d tried to diet and it just wasn’t working. You didn’t give up, though.
Jimmy: Right. Y’know, for me what it was was for the first time in my life, I ate in such a way that I didn’t feel like I was dieting. So all those times before that I’d done low-fat diets, I felt hunger. I felt cravings, I felt deprivation. I felt all of these things that make people give up on a diet. But when I started Atkins and started eating high fat, low carb, I mean you tell somebody, “You can eat fat, butter, real butter. You can have bacon, you can have all of these things that have always been forbidden on a diet,” suddenly they now become health food, which bacon is health food, by the way, and suddenly you’re able to get a buy-in factor. So, for me the buy-in factor was, I had no hunger. I had no cravings after a certain period of time. I had great satisfaction in the foods I was eating. And it took me probably about six months to totally say, “You know what? I used to be a sugar addict and a carbohydrate addict, but I don’t miss those things anymore. And here it is, almost a decade later, and I still don’t miss bread. I don’t miss pasta, I don’t miss the sweet things. I don’t want any Coca Cola in my mouth, much less 16 cans a day. I mean, it was those kind of changes up here that just, the switch happened. And seeing the results I was seeing on my body, losing weight, but more importantly than that was all the ways that I just felt better. I knew there was something special about what I was doing.
Stuart: And then you had to podcast about it.
Jimmy: Well, the first thing I did was I started a blog. So everybody knows me for my podcast now, but I actually started a blog about a year and half before the podcast. And so I started Living la Vida Low-Carb blog in April of 2005 to start sharing and then some people noticed that and one of them was a guy that produces podcasts. He said, “Dude, you gotta get a podcast show” and I was like, “Well, what in the world is a podcast?” This was 2006. And he said, “Oh, you just talk on the radio and do like some rants.” And I’m like, “I can rant.” So I started doing that and the first 50 episodes of the Living la Vida Low-Carb Show were indeed just rants, and then I started stumbling upon going to these conferences and trying to learn about this and meeting obesity researchers and medical doctors that are treating patients and I started doing interviews and of course I started doing that and loved it. And now it’s kinda the forte of what I do on my shows.
Guy: Yeah it’s fun times. For anyone listening to this, I urge people to go on and check out your podcasts and to have em. Because the guests you’ve got on there, Jimmy, are just fantastic, they’re phenomenal.
Jimmy: I’ll interview anybody, too. That’s the fun part. I’ll have obviously paleo and low-carb and primal people, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, those kind of people, Loren Cordain, Gary Taubes, I’ve had all of ‘em on there, but I’ve also thrown in a few vegans from time to time like Durian writer in your neck of the woods. I’ve had Dean Ornish and I recently had John McDougall on, whose a big starch-based diet guy. So, you know, we like to have fun and the key is not to necessarily follow everything that you hear from everybody. But I think there’s something at least in everybody’s story, even Dean Ornish and XXTough??XX MacDougall. There’s something that they have to offer that you can apply in your life right now to make yourself healthier.
Guy: That’s a really good point. Cuz we, I stumbled across Tim Noakes on your podcast as well, that was the first time I’d heard of Tim and we had him on the show a couple of weeks back.
Jimmy: Love him.
Guy: He was awesome. Funny enough was, Tim, the switch that changed him was the diet, the Atkins book as well for him. I’ll have to read ’cuz I haven’t read the Atkins book, actually.
Jimmy: If you read one I think it’s interesting to kinda read the progression of how Atkins came about and progressed, because the original one that came out in the early ’70s, “Atkins Diet Revolution” was the name of that one, he was hardcore, I mean it was all about all meat, like very high fat and protein and that was pretty much it. Maybe a few veggies. Then he had to moderate a little bit, because people were like, “That’s too boring, I want to do something a little more,” so that why in the ’90s he came up with “Atkins New Diet Revolution” and there was an update in the early 2000s with that one. And then in 2010 a group of researchers, all three of which have been on my podcast, wrote a brand-new Atkins book; they called it “The New Atkins for a New You.” I believe that’s the one that Tim Noakes read. So you can kind of see the progression of how Dr. Atkins started doing this even before any science proved that what he was saying was true. He was putting it out there. Now we have science that supports it and the “New Atkins for a New You” definitely presents that in a really clear way.
Guy: Absolutely. So talking about books and talking about your brand-new book, Cholesterol Clarity, what made you decide to move toward this topic and write about it, Jimmy?
Jimmy: So after I lost 180 pounds, the 90 kilos in 2004, I went to my doctor a really excited guy. I was like, “You know what, he’s going to be so proud. My health is gonna be so amazing.” I felt amazing. And so I get there and he was indeed proud of the weight loss, he said, “But let’s run your cholesterol.” So I said, “Okay, no problem.” I got the cholesterol results and I saw my HDO good cholesterol was 72.
Jimmy: Anything over 50 is really good, 72 was rocking it. So then I checked my triglycerides, and they were 43, which again, anything under 100 is spectacular. So I was doing really well there. So I go into the doctor’s office and I said “Aren’t my cholesterol test results amazing?” And he said “No. They’re horrible.” I said, “What are you talking about? My triglycerides and HDO got measurably better on this diet.” He said “Oh, but your total cholesterol (and I know you guys have different ways of measuring it in Australia) was something like 285,” so whatever that translates to, it was kind of high compared to what they want. What would normal be would be like the equivalent of like 200 in Australia.
Guy: I looked at the maths here yesterday. So for every one, I think it’s millimole here, it’ll be 38.6 in the states. So. So there’s the maths.
Jimmy: Somewhere around 5.0 sounds like it’s about normal and mine was about maybe 6.2 or 3. Anyway, it was high on his kind of parameters for looking at this. So I said, “So, is this negating all the good things that happened to the rest of the panel?” All he was paying attention to was total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and he was pushing a statin drug on me. Now, a statin drug is a cholesterol-lowering medication, things like Lipitor and Crestor and you guys are lucky in Australia they can’t advertise on television, is that right, the pharmaceutical companies?
Jimmy: So, here in the States absolutely they advertise the heck out of us. What they do, you guys, is they send nicely-dressed beautiful young people to go in as pharmaceutical reps into the doctor’s offices, I assume they do that in Australia too, but they do that here and they tell ’em, “This is the cure for heart disease, you need to be putting all your patients with high cholesterol on these medications” and then on television we’re sitting there watching it as a consumer, “Go lower with your cholesterol numbers. So ask your doctor about taking Lipitor.” So people go to their doctor, they have a high cholesterol come in and they dutifully ask their doctor about the medication. The doctor: “Why, yes, I do have that medication. In fact, I have free samples to give you today to help you go lower.” So it was that whole kind of ruse, for lack of a better term, that got me first starting to think about this. There’s more to this story than total cholesterol and LDL and yet even here in 2013 around the world there’s still obsessed those two numbers and predicating all treatment just on those numbers.
Stuart: The cholesterol jargon I think would certainly go; certainly goes over my head. It certainly goes over most people’s heads. They’re generally aware of high cholesterol, or your cholesterol’s okay. And when you do go a little bit deeper, you’ve got your HDL, LDL, triglycerides, C-Reactive proteins. So for the likes of you know, me and Guy and our audience, how can we simplify this? What should we be looking for?
Jimmy: Well, that was one reason I wrote Cholesterol Clarity, because I wanted people to know that this is not as complicated as it’s been made out to be. And even beyond that it’s not as simplistic as total cholesterol and LDL.
Jimmy: People think: “LDL bad, total cholesterol high bad, and HDL well, maybe it’s sort of good and they know nothing else. I think what we’re trying to get people to understand is, all of that is dead wrong. Because your total cholesterol really doesn’t tell you much about your health. And I’ve been using this analogy on other stations, but I said, “Your total cholesterol is like knowing the end of a baseball game is 25.” Now does that make any sense at all? Would you know if it’s a 24-1 blowout or a 13-12 barn-burner,;you just don’t know what that ‘25’ represents.
Same with your total cholesterol, and there’s two wrinkles in total cholesterol that people need to know about: HDL is the good cholesterol that you want to have higher, so maybe part of your total cholesterol being above that level they deem as safe, maybe a lot of that is your HDL cholesterol. I had a lady last week, she was freaking out because 225 total cholesterol and her doctor was pushing a statin drug. Well, I asked her what her HDL cholesterol was; it was 105 of that. So almost 40 percent of her total cholesterol was this kind you want to have very high.
So that’s flaw number one in the total cholesterol. Then, number two is that LDL C number is only a calculated estimated number. It’s not an exactly-measured number. There in Australia, you don’t even have an ability to exactly measure what your LDL is. They use this equation called “The Friedwald Equation” to determine what that number is, but if you have low triglycerides and high HDL, that Friedewald Equation isn’t going to calculate your LDL correctly, so it’s gonna make you look like you have a high cholesterol than you really do. Luckily here in America we have a test that we can have run called an NMR lipo-profile test, a little bit more fancy test and unfortunately it’s only available in the United States because they run it out of North Carolina. And it measures exactly the number of particles, the LDL particles that are in your blood and that’s what’s important now. In Australia you have a way to test for particles, it’s called an apo B test. So you can have that run and your doctor can have it run. It will show you the number of LDL particles through that apo B number.
Guy: Wow. I think was listening to the podcast you were with Abel James and he used the analogy of standing on the scale and I thought that was a very good analogy as well, because it doesn’t give you the true makeup of what the weight is, whether it’s muscle mass, body fat, visceral fat, there’s so many things going on.
Jimmy: Or if your wife is stepping on the scale behind you. [Guys laugh.] Sorry, honey.
Guy: So. One of the messages is plenty clear, is not to be just fed information. So if someone is listening to this with high cholesterol, do your homework. Start looking for other opinions as well and research it. You’d have to be, otherwise, if, I guess the point is as well, what should we do to check for good heart health? So, if somebody is listening to this with high cholesterol, they’re now confused and not sure and they go, “What should I be doing to measure my heart health?”
Jimmy: Sure. So, there are some key markers that can help you understand. Number one: cholesterol is not anything to do with heart disease. I hope people understand: high cholesterol in and of itself is not a disease. It may indicate that there’s other things going on somewhere in your health and we talk about that in the book as well. You know, low thyroid can raise your cholesterol, losing weight can raise your cholesterol. One thing that I learned when I visited Australia last year, I spoke with a holistic dentist in Sydney, Ron Ehrlich, so he told me if you have periodontal issues going on and I had several root canals that had gotten infected, that can raise your cholesterol. I’ve since gotten that fixed and I’m anxious to see what it does to my cholesterol levels and I also had some mercury amalgams taken out and replaced, so.
Guy: Wow, there you go.
Jimmy: That toxicity can raise your cholesterol as well, so there’s all kinds of things that can raise cholesterol. So cholesterol being elevated in and of itself is not a problem. The problem comes into play when you have inflammation levels and you guys mentioned earlier: the key test for measuring for inflammation is CRP. So get your C-Reactive protein, it sometimes shows up on the test as HSCRP, High-Sensitivity C-Reactor Protein. At that level you want to have under 1.0. My current level of CRP is .55.
Jimmy: And so you want that to be as low as you possibly can, because without that inflammation in your body, you cannot have heart disease.
Guy: There you go. So is there a universal reading? Would that be the same in Australia?
Jimmy: I believe, yeah, I believe the numbers translation one for one because I think it’s like A1C is the same in Amer-yeah. We’re kind of weird in America, we kind of use all these kinda different readings, but I do think that one is exactly the same, yeah.
Guy: Yeah. So, so–
Jimmy: In the back of the book we do provide, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.
Guy: That’s okay.
Jimmy: In the back of the book we do provide a conversion table for all the numbers in the book so that anybody internationally that doesn’t understand kinda numbers that I’m writing in the book, you’ll get a translation of every single number in the book in the back of the book.
Stuart: Perfect. That’s a good bit of information, Jimmy, it really is.
Guy: Absolutely. So for anyone wanting to get their, I guess, cholesterol checked today.
Guy: C-Reactive would be up there on the list, you have to get that done.
Guy: So would that perhaps be, and is that just through just standard blood test, you go and say “Look, just C-Reactive protein”?
Jimmy: Yep, that’s right. It’s a very easy test. Any doctor in the whole world can run that test. And then if you wanna look at your cholesterol panel, I’d say the very, the most uninteresting part of that panel is your total cholesterol. It really doesn’t tell you a whole lot and neither really does the LDL C, which we explained already is merely an estimated, calculated number. So forget those two numbers, I know that’s what your doctor wants to obsess about, and he obsesses about it because he’s got a pill that can lower those numbers, that’s the only reason he obsesses about it.
Stuart: So—Sorry Jimmy, keep going.
Jimmy: I was gonna say, so if you want to look at something interesting on your cholesterol panel, look at the triglycerides number, look at the HDL number. If the ratio between the triglycerides and the HDL is one or less, you’re beautiful. You’re doin’ great. That’s extremely healthy for you to have that ratio and it’s that ratio between the triglycerides and the HDL that people need to be more aware of than total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Guy: Jolly. So it’s high HDL, low triglycerides and a low score for C-Reactive protein.
Jimmy: You’ve got it. Those things are in place, you’re beautiful.
Stuart: And if your C-Reactive protein is high in the results, then you should look at what’s causing the inflammation for that.
Stuart: Which is—
Jimmy: And we talked thing—
Stuart: What you mentioned.
Jimmy: Exactly. And we talk about in the book two major things in your diet that if you’re eating right now, you probably want to back off on ‘em, like, a lot. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise coming out of my mouth what one of them is: carbohydrates are a huge inflammatory part and not just like all carbs, I mean obviously green leafy vegetables are good, non-starchy vegetables, but we’re talking about the highly inflammatory sugars and grains that are not healthy, whole grains. They’re very highly inflammatory grains. The human body was never meant to consume grains and yet people eat bread and pasta and they don’t even think twice about it. Sugars, grains and anything, really, that’s gonna spike your blood sugar. So if you can get a glucose monitor, are they prolific to get a blood sugar monitor there in Australia that you can just buy it at a pharmacy?
Stuart: Yeah. You can get them.
Jimmy: Yeah, so get one. See how you’re doing in your blood sugar and it’s gonna tell the tale. And then as far as the other food that you’re eating that you need to be cutting out is vegetable oils. I know David Gillespie, who was one of my great experts, we had 29 total experts in the book and I was so happy to get David Gillespie, because he just literally wrote the book on toxic oil and talking about all of these vegetable oils. I mean, I’m so proud that one of your countrymen is really kind of pulling the curtain out, I mean he did it with sugar, now he’s doing it with the oils and these oils, everybody and their mama’s eating these oils and it’s in all the packaged foods.
Jimmy: I mean , if we got rid of the carbs and got rid of the culprit carbs and got rid of the vegetable oils, man, how much healthier would we be as a world?
Guy: Yeah. Massively. Massively. Yeah, absolutely everywhere, like you say.
Stuart: And they’re just two things. Y’know, and they’re, but the problem is they’re insidious, and you go to the local supermarket and they’re in everything.
Jimmy: They’re ubiquitous and in literally every food that’s manufactured by some company. And that’s why I say just eat real food because guess what? That steak, those eggs, that real butter? They’re ain’t no carbs and there’s no vegetable oils to be found. Now, you gotta be careful with butter, because sometimes they like to mix in vegetable oil with butter as a blend and ooh, “This is butter? Blend!” and I’m going “No no no no no, you put some nasty soy bean oil or whatever in there and no thanks.”
Guy: The message is certainly different than what we’re told.
Stuart: Why do you think… I kind of like in this message to a little bit of a Fight Club scenario…there are these small pockets of activists who really get this and fight for it and understand it and it makes so much sense and you feel so much better, but it’s still an underground message. Why doesn’t this go mainstream?
Jimmy: You know what, but for the internet this would still be an underground, y’know, nobody’d ever heard of message. And I think there’s not enough people paying attention to be honest. And the mainstream has not, up until this point, I mean we’ve seen a few glimmers, I know David Gillespie’s gotten some nice publicity there in Australia, Gary Taubes has gotten some pretty good, and Robert Lustig here in America, but for the most part, the people just aren’t getting this information, which is why I’m so passionate about doing a podcast, I’m very honored that it gets a quarter million people pretty much listening every single week. That’s not near enough when there’s literally hundreds upon hundreds, even billions of people around the world. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, so why isn’t it getting out? The powers that be? Big pharma? Big agri? All of these companies that have vested interest in keeping people buying into the low-fat mantra, buying into the cholesterol-is-the-cause-of-heart-disease…as long as people still believe that, they’re not gonna hear anything else. Which is one reason I wrote the book Cholesterol Clarity is that I didn’t think enough people and including doctors even knew about this stuff. And so we’ve got all these medical doctors and researches and activists like David Gillespie, y’know, in the book to give it kinda some credibility and look, this is not just some friend’s Joe Schmo, you know, guy that used to weigh 410 lbs saying this, this is a group of respected people that say “Look, we’ve been lied to for long enough. It’s time to tell the truth.”
Stuart: Fantastic. I think you, was it 29 experts for your book? That you kinda…
Jimmy: Yeah, 29 experts, plus my co-author, Dr. Eric Westman, who, ironically, was the co-author on “The New Atkins for a New You” as well, so I was very honored to have him come onboard, he literally guy, he went behind everything I wrote and made sure everything I was saying lined up with the science, that it is accurate. He wouldn’t have allowed me to not do that. And I’ve gotten a little bit of criticism from some reviewers so far of the book, they say, “Well, you didn’t cite it. You didn’t have, like, references all in the back of the book. You know, Gary Taubes and ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ had 150 pages worth of citations.”
Guy: That’s right.
Jimmy: That would have scared so many people that I was trying to reach with this book. This book includes a lot of studies, but we just cite all the information about the study in the book itself and then if somebody’s interested they can go Google it.
Guy: Yeah, I think the key is to just get people to start thinking a little differently, you know? Even if they don’t understand or, sure, at least be aware that there’s other options. Or, “Hang on, maybe what I’m being told is not quite right, I need to look to other ways of information.” You know?
Jimmy: Yeah. And that’s a goal.
Guy: What about on the other side of the coin? Low cholesterol. If, for instance, we’re going to be tested and our cholesterol is very low. Is that an issue?
Jimmy: Yeah, it is actually, and we wrote a whole chapter about this: “What Do You Mean, My Cholesterol’s Too Low?” And that will shock people because all we hear, you don’t hear, but we hear commercials on our television here in America, “Go lower, go lower, go lower.”
Jimmy: You, you know, you would have, you know, you go on the street and you say “Hey, what’s the lowest cholesterol that’s healthy?” Some people would say zero and they would be so ignorant of the fact that cholesterol is vital to literally every cell in your body. Without cholesterol, you would die. And so lower levels of cholesterol and especially HDL cholesterol it’s bad news.
I mean, you’re putting yourself at more risk and there was a famous example in the book of an American journalist. He was the host of “Meet the Press,” a very famous news show here in America named Tim Russert. And Tim Russert, we tell this story in the book, had a total cholesterol of 105, which is extremely low. I’m not sure how that translates, but I think it’s something like 2.5 for you guys; it’s really, really, really low. So he died of his very first heart attack in his 50s. He was on cholesterol-lowering medication, a statin drug, he was eating a low-fat diet, eating healthy whole grains, riding a bike every day, and yet he had this incredible cholesterol that just one month before he died, his doctor told him, “You are the picture of heart health.” Because his cholesterol was 105 and yet one month later, he died of his very first heart attack in his 50s.
You wanna know why he died? His inflammation, so there’s that CRP number again, inflammation level was super high; it was like 6 or 7. And he had a heart scan done, I know you guys can’t, I don’t think you can get that done, maybe you can, a CT scan of your chest, and it will measure for calcified plaque. His heart scan score was very high as well, 500. Mine’s zero, by the way. And it’s those kind of things that people, they don’t understand. “Wait a minute, how did that guy die if he had 105, I thought that was healthy,” and yet it was extremely unhealthy and then the side effects that we talk about in that chapter, the neurological effects. If you don’t have enough cholesterol, you start getting moody, you start having all of these kinds of fits of suicide, I mean, it’s really bad news so, if you’re listening to this and you have very low cholesterol, please go eat a stick of butter right now.
Stuart: People are so scared of it, though, like I know so many people that just terrified of fat food, especially when they’ve consumed a bunch of carbs.
Guy: They have to be, they have to be scared, look at the industry, the message is everywhere.
Stuart: I remember being back here. I was in the UK last year and I was making a family member in hospital and I was making visits daily and the moment you walk through the door in hospital there’s a great big huge poster advertising margarine that was cholesterol-lowering heart healthy. And I’m just thinking “This whole message is just ahhh.” It was just painful, so painful.
Jimmy: And in America you can hardly find butter, you can hardly find full-fat Greek yogurt, I mean they’ve got huge, huge space on the shelf for all this margarine and I can’t believe it’s not butter (but I can) and all this horrible, horrible stuff. And then same on the aisle with all the vegetable oils. Literally, like 25, 30 feet worth of just canola oil and soy bean oil and all these vegetable oils that people are cooking in and have no idea it’s killing them.
Guy: Such a big industry.
Stuart: Feed them the hydrogenated oil and then come in the statin drug that you advertise to lower your cholesterol.
Jimmy: It sounds like the best conspiracy sick theory of all time, doesn’t it? It really does; it’s hard not to think that way.
Guy: I think they’re gonna be making films about this in 15 years’ time and it’ll be insane.
Stuart: In your view, Jimmy, how safe are statin drugs?
Jimmy: In my view, my personal view, I think they’re probably the most insidious thing you could possibly put in your mouth as a drug. If you’ve had a cardiovascular event, there’s been some research that says maybe, just maybe, you’re able to stave off another one but I don’t think it’s necessarily the cholesterol lowering that it does. They’re now saying “Oil! We never meant for it to be the cholesterol-lowering effects. It’s the anti-inflammatory effects of statin, so you know, the jury’s still out from a standpoint of whether they’re safe or not for those people, but they’ve never been tested on women in large-scale studies, they’ve never been tested on guys like us, who are very healthy and maybe have cholesterol levels high. We just don’t know what the effects are and the biggest problem is all the people that go on these statin drugs, and my father-in-law’s one of them, all these people go on them and then they start getting all these effects that mimic aging and they’re not aging at all. So it’s sad.
Stuart: So if somebody was prescribed a statin drug, obviously through the doctor, what would your advice be to them?
Jimmy: Well, certainly that’s a patient’s decision and one thing we tried to do in this book is: You are in control of your health. Stop advocating your responsibility to the man in the white coat to tell you what to do about your health. Do your own research, listen to podcasts like this one you’re listening to now. You know, go out there and Google information. There’s so much information out there, learn, learn and never stop learning.
So I know one of my experts in the book said, “Hey, why don’t you help the doctor out? Take that statin drug prescription and then never fill it. I mean, just because you take it doesn’t mean you have to go down to the pharmacy and fill that prescription. You take it, then you allow that doctor to do his due diligence. He was able to say, “You know what, insurance company? I wrote the script, the patient took the script, now you can go eat a paleo, low-carb diet after that and improve your numbers that way, and never take the script. In fact, I get emails like that all the time, you guys, from people that say, “You know, hey, I got that script, I threw it away, went and did paleo, went back and they’re like ‘Wow that Lipitor did really good!’ I never took the Lipitor.”
Stuart: Well, I’ve got my—
Jimmy: Those kinds of things are going to change people’s minds.
Stuart: Completely. And I’ve got a little bit of a story where my father was prescribed a statin drug and he took the statin drug for six months and did start to feel…didn’t feel right. He had all of these crazy side effects so I started digging deep on the internet and I stumbled across a movie called Statin Nation.
Jimmy: Yes, Justin Smith. Yep.
Stuart That’s right. And purchased it, watched it, sent it over to him in the UK. He watched it and of course that raised alarm bells, yeah, in his mind and then he took that DVD to the doctor and the doctor said “Right, we’ll stop your script for now, I’m gonna watch this.” And he, and that’s it, he’s off the statins. He’s feeling better.
Stuart: Yeah and I just think there’s a message there.
Guy: Did you get any feedback from the doctor, Stu? Do you know?
Stuart: The doctor said that he was gonna pass it on and you know, in his circle of associates. And take it to them.
Jimmy: You know what’s ironic about that? You found out about it there in Australia, the film was made in the UK and you sent it to somebody in the UK. Of course that might have helped him kind of connect with it, because all the accents in there was British.
Stuart: Yeah, but it’s just, it’s frightening. But yeah, great, huge resource. Just dig deep, do your own, do a little research of your own. Everyone’s different.
Guy: We’ve spoke about as well, cuz I know it’ll back to food. We spoke about the foods that we should be eliminating, especially the hydrogenated oils. Vegetable oils. Some grains, bread, you know, things that spike your blood sugars. What food do you encourage then to start eating?
Jimmy: Oh, this is the fun part. Saturated fat is your friend, so things like butter, coconut oil, lard. You guys in Australia, you don’t realize how privileged you are to have some great monounsaturated sources like avocados. I mean, they’re everywhere, avos are everywhere in Australia. I’m so jealous.
Stuart: I had one this morning.
Guy: We live off them. We live off them.
Jimmy: And the other thing that you live off of that’s extremely high in fat that’s very healthy for you is macadamia nut oil and macadamia nuts.
Stuart: Is that hard to get over there, is it?
Jimmy: It is an extremely expensive, they’re imported from Hawai’i. So you guys have them right there and I remember when I was in Australia last year, we went to some farmer’s market or something and they had a big package of ’em and it was like, what was it, Christine? It was like $10 for this humongous package and we get like a little bitty jar and it’s like $8.99 here in America.
Stuart: Yeah, they’re so good. Absolutely.
Jimmy: So healthy.
Stuart: Aussies in general are stereotypically, reasonably big drinkers. So on the subject of alcohol, where does that sit for healthy heart, you know, cholesterol, overall health. I mean we, everybody thinks, “Oh, red wine, drink your red wine,” but what are your thoughts?
Jimmy: And certainly red wine, if you’re gonna drink something, red wine is probably, you’re gonna have maybe one to two glasses. One of my experts, Paul Jaminet, said, “That’s a good way to raise your HDL.” So it’s not totally off-limits for you drinkers, you Aussie drinkers. I’m not a drinker normally. I’ll have one every once in a while, but it’s extremely rare, so I don’t have personal experience with “I really like to drink.” Definitely not beer, cuz that’s got the hops which is the wheat. So you stay away from that, and then Robb Wolf is all about the North Cal Margarita, so you get some tequila and mix it with a lime and a little bit of soda water and that kind of thing. So if you’re gonna have alcohol, just know it’s gonna have an effect on your blood sugar in excess. So that’s where I’m not a fan of the term ‘moderation’, I think that’s a bogus diet term that’s been put out there. But when it comes to alcohol it’s probably a good term.
Guy: Yeah, okay, good advice. And what, could you give us an example, Jimmy, of what you ate, say today? Just for…
Jimmy: Today was kind of weird day because I took my wife Christine out. Do you guys have a Brazilian steakhouse type places there?
Stuart: Yeah. We kind of have meat on a stick, all you can eat.
Jimmy: Yeah, they bring the meat out on the stick and they keep comin’ and keep comin’ until you tell them to stop. I did that for dinner. We do that, this is my date night, this is Friday night so I, so spending my date night with you guys. Hey! But we went to one of those places and we just got lots of really great meat and I loaded up this salad plate with butter and mozzarella cheese. So I take a bite of butter, a bite of mozzarella cheese and then stick it on the fork with a piece of meat, stick that in my mouth and ahhhh. So that’s kind of an atypical, I don’t usually eat like that every day.
If I eat during the day it’s usually about one to two meals a day. It’s extremely high in fat, mostly saturated fat. So for example, yesterday, about midday, I had five pastured eggs from a local farmer, cooked in some grass-fed butter, Kerrygold butter. I’ll sometimes cook it in coconut oil as well, just kind of get a few MCTs in there. Then I’ll melt some raw cheese on top of that and then have some sauerkraut on top of that, some sour cream on top of that and sometimes I’ll have an avocado on the side with that. As you can see, very, very high in fat. Very moderated in protein and virtually zero carbs. About the only carbs are in the sauerkraut and the avocados, so.
And I can go 8, 10, 12, sometimes even 24 hours between meals when you eat a meal that way. And my blood sugar stays stable, I measure my blood ketone levels, which we can talk about if you want to. All of those things mean I’m burning great fat. I think the last time you saw me, Guy, I was about maybe 15-17 kilos more than than I am now.
Jimmy: So I’ve lost even a little bit more. And I’ve tried to be a little more weight-stable because the active weight loss does mess with your cholesterol levels. I’m curious to see where my cholesterol will kind of level out at. So I’m trying to stay weight stable right now just to kind of see that but then I’m hot and heavy back at it again.
Stuart: Have you remained in ketosis since the last thing?
Jimmy: Yeah. In fact, I just measured just before it was one hour postprandial after that Brazilian barbecue place, that steakhouse place, and I measured my, what was my blood sugar one hour after eating, was 94, which is really good. It was in the 70s before we left, which is pretty low, pretty good. And then my blood ketone level was 1.2, which is in nutritional ketosis. So. It’s beautiful, I mean I love testing, I love kinda being a guinea pig for all this and sharing the information with other people. Not that I think everybody needs to test as much as Jimmy Moore does, but hopefully as my testing gives people good information about actionable things that they can do in their own routine.
Stuart: Yeah, absolutely. I urge anyone to check your blog to, because you’ve been documenting the whole journey for a little bit unsure.
Guy: How frequently do you think we should be getting our bloods done? Is it, like a dental checkup every six months?
Jimmy: Are you talking about like your cholesterol?
Guy: Yeah. General, kinda, yeah.
Jimmy: Yeah. I think if you do it a couple times a year, that’s probably good. I mean and keep in mind, don’t do it in the midst of like stress time in your life. Don’t do it in the midst of a weight loss. Don’t do it if you’ve got bad teeth pain like I had. Cuz that’s all gonna skew the numbers. Wait until you’re weight-stable, wait until your life has kinda calmed down a little bit. You know, wait until you’re kinda dialed in with your diet a bit. If you haven’t gotten the carbs and the oils under control you gotta do that right now. Don’t even think about getting your numbers run unless you just wanna know how bad they are before you start. And see how good they get doing this, but you’re really, yeah I think that a couple times a year is gonna be more than enough. And the bottom line is don’t obsess about the numbers. I think that’s what’s gotten us into trouble to begin with. I think we’ve gotten so obsessed about what’s your cholesterol, what’s your cholesterol, what’s your cholesterol, that people forget how do you feel? How is everything how you’re moving and how you look and perform and all these things? I think that’s a lot more interesting to me than knowing that I have a total cholesterol of 306.
Stuart: Yeah. That is spot on, actually. Y’know, if you feel fantastic and you’re doing immensely, it tells you the numbers are wrong. I don’ think you need to panic instantly, you know?
Stuart: Absolutely. Look, I just checked the time. We’ve got a couple of wrap-up questions for you as well, Jimmy.
Stuart: So if somebody’s just listened to this podcast, their cholesterol’s all high, they might be on statins and they go “Holy shit,” if you could offer one piece of advice to improve your health from this point, what would it be for that one person. What’s the first thing they should do?
Jimmy: Yeah, I mean, if you’re spiking insulin and blood sugar, you gotta get that under control, so got get that glucometer. You can go down to the pharmacy right now. You might even be driving in your car, you might be in the gym. Wherever you are, go get a glucometer because that’s gonna tell the tale. You got to get that blood sugar down and if you get the blood sugar down, guess what happens when you do that? You have better insulin sensitivity, your triglycerides will come down because the way you get your blood sugar down is cutting your carbs, your HDL will go up if you’re eating those healthy fats and stop fearing fat. I mean, that’s the message I want to get out there loud and clear: saturated fat, monounsaturated fats, they are not the enemy, they are not gonna clog your arteries. We dispel all those myths in my book. Go eat the fat. Eat fat and be merry because fat is where it’s at.
Guy: Make a great T-shirt.
Jimmy: I’m gonna wear that sometime. Fat is where it’s at.
Stuart: Absolutely. All right, and this is one question we ask on every podcast, Jimmy.
Stuart: What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? And that can be anything. Doesn’t have to be health related.
Jimmy: The best advice I’ve ever been given and I’ve passed it on to everybody that I come into contact with is be authentically you. Because once you stop being you, you’re no longer you and you’re being somebody else and how can you possibly in this world influence other people if you’re not being you. You, warts and all, I mean, I get criticisms for being me, y’know, cuz I try to live my life, y’know openly, I try to be very honest and integrity in everything that I do. If people would just do that, man, how much more could we change this world if people just started being authentic in who they actually are rather than putting on some face that says “Ooh, this is me, this is who I am” when it’s nothing of the sort.
Guy: Fantastic. I like it.
Stuart: So true. So for everybody out here in Australia, how can we get more of Jimmy Moore? And where can we find your great book?
Jimmy: Get more Moore? I love it. So you want my website, is that what you’re asking for?
Stuart: Yeah! Where should we go? So people can connect with your messages?
Jimmy: Yeah, so if you Google my name, Jimmy Moore, you should find on the whole front first page is like all of my stuff, but I have a website “Livinglavidalowcarb.com” and on there it has literally everything about what I’m doing. If you’re interesting in Cholesterol Clarity it is coming out. It just, in a few days here in Australia, and it’s at CholesterolClarity.com if you wanna kinda learn more information. We got a free sample chapter there. We’ve got other interview that’s I’ve done. You referenced the Abel James one, that’s in my media page. We’ve got a video that kinda tells a little bit about the book, but it’s literally anywhere books are sold there in Australia, you should be able to pick it up.
Stuart: Awesome. Jimmy, I’ve learned so much today on cholesterol level. It’s awesome.
Jimmy: Woohoo. Mission accomplished, my friend.
Stuart: Absolutely. We’ll spread the word.
Stuart: Thank you for your time, mate. That was brilliant and yeah. Hopefully we’ll get to see you when you come to Australia.
Jimmy: Oh, for sure. That’s definitely gonna happen.
Stuart: Thank you so much, Jimmy and enjoy the rest of date night.
Jimmy: Thank you, yes, my wife is like “Okay, can we get on with date night already?”
Stuart: Yeah, let’s wrap this up.
Jimmy: Thank you so much. Take care.
Stuart: You too. Thank, Jimmy.
Guy: Thanks, Jimmy.
By Guy LawrenceEat fat to lower cholesterol… What about dairy, is it healthy? Can I run an ultra-marathon or CrossFit on a low carb/ high fat or paleo diet? These are just some of the questions we cover in this episode of The Health Sessions as we catch up with Nora Gedgaudas, best selling author of Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet. I’ve time coded the bullet points so you jump straight to the bits that interest you most in the video.
But when you’ve got the time, it’s well worth kicking back and watching the whole video as the content is invaluable!
Why we shouldn’t be taking cholesterol lowering drugs
Why cholesterol is a good thing [011:42]
Can kids eat a paleo diet [029:50]
From ultra-marathon & CrossFit on a low carb/ high fat diet [035:43]
What Nora Gedgaudas eats in a day [1:00:53]
Is dairy healthy? [1:06:50]
and much more…
Did you enjoy this interview with Nora? Would you like to share your own journey with us? Love to hear your thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
Hi. This is Guy Lawrence and I’m with Stuart Cooke and I’m also joined with a lovely guest today, Nora Gedgaudas. And Nora, I have to say, I met a nutritionist last week. We caught up for a cup of tea and we were chatting and I said, “Do you know of Nora? I’m interviewing her next week.” And she just got really excited and, basically, she said, “Oh, I went to see Nora two years ago when she came to Sydney and I worked with her. She blew my mind.” Nora: Oh, really? Guy: Yeah. Nora: Oh, that’s great. Guy: And I have to agree. So, honestly, it’s an honor to have you today. Now, what we thought we’d do; we actually put out a couple of questions on Facebook to ask our audience if they have any questions for Nora and we thought we’d run through them. Nora: OK. Guy: But before we start that, and I’m sure you’ve been asked this a thousand times, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself. Who’s Nora Gedgaudas, and, more importantly, who you came to writing such an awesome book, “Primal Body, Primal Mind”? Nora: Well, it all started in a little hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 10th, nineteen sixty. . . No. I’m not going to go back that far.
My interest in nutritional science really goes back a good 30 years or more now. Actually, more than that now. So, it’s been a passion, kind of from the get-go, for me. But over the years, my interests in nutrition changed from thing to thing a little bit and I never really had an underlying really, kind of, foundational way of looking at things. I mostly looked at from the standpoint of minutiae, lots of people were promoting vegetarianism is sort of the ultimate healthy diet. Which I attempted and it didn’t do well for me at all. And I was in lot of denial about that for awhile, as I think a lot of people probably are. It just seemed; I was really determined that that should be healthy for me, but it ultimately wasn’t. I developed an eating disorder. My depression deepened. And eventually. . . And I couldn’t stop thinking about eating meat. And eventually I just sort of transitioned out of that, feeling a little bit, maybe, like I’d failed at what was supposed to be the healthiest diet and then went on with things. And the eating disorder clearer up, and eventually, with dietary changes and ultimately some neurofeedback work, the depression lifted for me and that’s been permanent for more than 15 years. But, at any rate, I’ve led a lot of different lives in this lifetime. I’ve worn a lot of different hats. I’ve done many different things. And one of the hats that I’ve had on for awhile was work in behavioral wildlife science. And I spent a whole summer, many people know this story now, that I spent a whole summer living less than 500 miles from North Pole with a family of wild wolves. The four-legged variety. And during that time period, you know, I was living on a frozen tundra for an entire summer, and it was still quite cold, generally below freezing, sometimes below zero, wind chills coming up off the fjords and off the Arctic Ocean. But, you know, it was relatively green but still permafrost. And I’m sitting there looking across this vast landscape while the wolves slept and slept and kind of contemplating that landscape, it seemed so primitive, in a way. So, “primal,” if you will. And I looked at it thinking that it really was probably not dissimilar from what a lot of northern Europe might have looked like during the throes of the last ice age when Cro-Magnon humans were migrating across North America 40,000 years ago. That there may have been a lot of clarity to some of these landscapes. And the whole time I’m sitting there, I was just craving fat-rich foods, which I had not been eating prior to going up there. But while I was sitting there on the tundra, I was kind of obsessing about it. And it wasn’t necessarily the best selection of high-fat foods. I know we had a lot of non-perishable things like, oh, I don’t know, aged cheeses and salami and things like that. But once a week we made a pilgrimage to a weather station where there was a mess hall there. And we’d be there at 3 in the morning when everyone else was asleep, and the OIC there said that we could, if there was something laying out that we were interested in eating, that we could have at it. Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about [XXbackground noiseXX]. I . . . You have cars in Australia. I just heard a car go by. Guy: We do. Nora: Anyway. . . Yeah, but you drive on the wrong side of the road. You guys gotta do something about that. Stuart: Well, be careful when you come over. Nora: I was on the freeway one day and sitting there in the passenger side and I look over and there’s a dog sitting in what, to me, looked like the driver’s seat. It was something akin to what an LSD trip must be like. I don’t know. Guy: Do the dogs over there not drive? Are they not allowed to drive cars? Nora: Well, you know, dogs and cats really only get partial privileges over here. You have to let them think they’re running the show, but. . . And they think that they are. But, anyway, with respect to the wolves and that time there, I ate; I went through quite a bit of butter while I was at that weather station. I would make a piece of toast, which I was still eating in those days, and then I would put about that much butter on there. The toast was a vehicle for the butter, you know? And by the end of the summer I’d lost something like close to 30 pounds. And, mind you, there was very, very little physical activity. Mostly what we did was we sat near the wolves’ den and watched them do whatever it is they were doing. We tried not to move around too much, in fact, because if we got up and started walking around near the den that was sort of upsetting to them. We had certain; there were certain, sort of, standards of conduct that they expected of us when we were in their home vicinity, and so we tried to honor that. And if we messed around with that too much, it was unsetting. So we sat, generally, quietly and watched them. And the one time we were allowed to move was when they were on the move. Then we’d follow them on their hunts and whatever else. So, anyway, and when we did so, it was on a four-wheeler. So, the ground was very hummocky. And a lot of just, kind of; it was very, very bumpy ground and difficult to traverse on foot. In other words, there wasn’t a whole lot of exercise. I certainly wasn’t eating a low-fat diet. And the only other factor, of course, was that it was fairly cold. Although it got as high as what would be 60 degrees Fahrenheit was the warmest day that we had in the dead of summer. I actually got in a pair of shorts that day just to take a couple of pictures and then put my insulated stuff back on. But anyway, that taught me something. I looked back at that and I thought, wow, you know. Back at home I had been doing a lot of all of these vegetables and salads and I’d been juicing, and I didn’t have a single craving for any of those things while I was up there. My cravings were all for fat-rich foods. And I thought, our ancestors would have had to have been pretty similar, because fat is really the primary fuel that we use to keep warm, which helps explain, in part, why I lost so much. But also it turns out that if you want to lose fat, it helps to eat fat. And so I never really forgot that lesson. But it really took until I ran across the work of Weston Price to start to connect the dots a little bit more and realize that it wasn’t just the Inuit that would have eaten a high-fat diet. It would have been all primitive cultures, for the most part, that would have coveted fat as a very; as a sacred foot, literally. The most sacred foods in all cultures were the most fat-rich foods. And it suddenly started to make sense to me. And then what the Weston Price work did was it dialed me in to the idea of looking at diet and health from more an ancestral or an evolutionary perspective. So, that led me down the paleo path, so to speak. And then I began looking at things like the hormone leptin and recognizing that that was actually a fat sensor and something that made all of the sense in the world to me. That, of course, the most critical hormone in the body would be a fat sensor, because fat, to our ice age physiology, means survival. And everything boils down to survival. There’s nothing more important than that. So, if we don’t eat fat, your body considers that a problem. In fact, it is a problem, not just from an energetic standpoint but from the standpoint of fat-soluble nutrients, that they require the dietary fat in order to properly absorb it and be utilized correctly. And if we’re not eating fat, your body’s gonna gosh darn well become really efficient at synthesizing it from whatever else it has available. Mainly carbohydrate. Guy: Why do you think that message has gotten lost, you know, in today’s society? I can give you a good example. I know somebody that works in the medical industry, let’s say, and is actually on cholesterol-lowering drugs and is on a very low-fat diet and is completely paranoid about eating any fat whatsoever, you know. And that blows me away, really. Nora: Well, there was, in the term you used, “medical industry.” Statins are a $29-billion-a-year industry. And the irony is that they have absolutely no use in human medicine whatsoever. I can’t think of a single thing that statins do for anybody, other than deprive them of one of the most essential substances in their body, which is cholesterol. And there isn’t “bad cholesterol” and “good cholesterol.” There’s only one type of cholesterol. There are different carrier mechanisms for it, like high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins, but high-density lipoprotein is a high-density lipoprotein. It’s a carrier. And so low-density lipoproteins take cholesterol, whether processed by or synthesized by your liver, and move it out to the periphery of your body where it’s used for all kinds of things. There are lists and lists of things as long as your arm of all kinds of things that your body uses cholesterol for. In fact, it’s such an important substance, every cell in your body has a means of manufacturing its own supply if it absolutely has to. Its complex, multi-step process the body doesn’t do very efficiently, but it speaks to the underlying importance of this particular substance. And so, once the body has used up or spent that cholesterol in some form, then high-density lipoproteins come along and sweep up that cholesterol from the periphery and bring it back to the liver in order to be recycled back into, you guessed it, low-density lipoproteins again. LDL and HDL are just carrier mechanisms. Now, what I see cholesterol as is a; it’s an indicator. It’s an intermediate indicator that can kind of give you some general ideas of certain things that may be going on. If I see cholesterol that is particularly elevated or particularly depressed, then I worry much more about somebody whose cholesterol is too low. In our terminology, that would be anything below about 150 milligrams per deciliter. In your terminology, gosh, I should have looked that up; I need to look that up before I come out there. Although it’s interesting, because the optimal is actually somewhere between 5 millimolars to, let me see here, to. . . There was a study done in Norway called the Hunt 2. It was a meta-analysis, actually. And if your listeners don’t know what a meta-analysis study is, it’s a study that takes a whole bunch of other studies and it screens them for corroborative data to either prove or disprove a theory. It takes a whole bunch of different cholesterol studies to try to figure out, you know, is there something to this or isn’t there? What these researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found, looking at over 52,000 subjects that were part of this study (that’s a very highly, statistically significant study), between the ages and 20 and 74. And they had adjusted for factors like age, smoking, and blood pressure. What the researchers found were that women with so-called “high” cholesterol, which would be in excess of about 270 milligrams per deciliter, which here is viewed as, “Oh my God, get on statins now!” actually had a 28-percent lower mortality risk than women with so-called low cholesterol, which they called under 200. Guy: That’s amazing. Stuart: Crikey. Nora: So, for women, there was literally a zero correlation between cholesterol of any number (it didn’t matter how high it got) and any elevated risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke whatsoever. So, the risk for heart disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke also declined as cholesterol levels rose. And you have to understand, cholesterol goes about patching up lesions. It’s your body’s version of duct tape. And it’s also an antioxidant. So, if cholesterol is there, what it tells me is that there is something going on for which cholesterol is actually needed. It doesn’t tell you what’s going on. It just says, “OK. The engine light’s on.” And by the way, in this particular study, the lowest coronary heart disease risk was actually seen between, in your language, between 5 millimolars and 6.9 millimolars. The lowest coronary heart disease risk. And that includes stroke. Guy: I think you used the analogy of the fireman putting out the fire, wasn’t it, with the cholesterol? Nora: With the statin, in order to get rid of cholesterol, it is really quite akin to getting rid of the firemen who are coming to put out the fire and blaming them for the fire. And in men, by the way, there were about 24,000 or so men that were included in the Hunt 2 study, there was a whole U-shaped curve. The lowest risk for all the causes of death was seen in the 5 to 5.9 millimolar category, compared to those with serum cholesterol under 5, those in the 5 to 5.9 category enjoyed 23 percent, 20 percent, 6 percent
. So, in other words, and in folks over 50, where cholesterol had no relationship, by the way, to cardiovascular disease or total mortality, and also other studies as well. I have so many other studies that I’ve cited. But it showed that in older people, elevated cholesterol was actually predictive of greater longevity. It’s literally a longevity marker. But, you know, and what the researchers concluded from that meta-analysis study of over 52,000 people was, “Our study provides an updated epidemiological indication of possible errors. . .” You think? “. . . in the cardiovascular disease risk algorithms of many clinical guidelines. If our findings are generalizable, clinical and public health recommendations regarding the ‘dangers’ of cholesterol should be revised.” Yeah, I think so. “This is especially true for women, for whom moderately elevated cholesterol by current standards may prove to be not only harmless but even beneficial. So, to me, cholesterol is an indicator. But to the medical industry, cholesterol is a $29-billion-a-year-business. Stuart: It will never change. Nora: You know; in the form of statin medications. And physicians are taught by the drug companies. Guy: For anyone that’s watching this, then, that could be on statins and is worried about their cholesterol, like, what would be the best approach to go? Because obviously doing what they’re told, they think they’re doing the right thing. Nora: Well, I don’t actually start thinking, “OK. This person’s cholesterol’s kind of getting a little edgy, you know, and I’m not worried about the cholesterol per se. I’m never worried about the cholesterol by itself, per se, at all. And I only look at HDL and LDL as indications of what kind of a diet they’re likely eating. If their HDL, and I only know my own United States terms for this; our measurements, anything below about 55 tells me that I’ve probably got a carbivore on my hands. You know, somebody who is eating a high-carbohydrate diet. They’re eating too many carbohydrates, which tends to depress high-density lipoproteins. But if it’s in excess of 55, then I know, OK, well, there’s kind of a window there between about 55 and 75. And if it’s in that range, it’s like, OK, I’m not too; their diet is probably reasonably OK. However, if it starts climbing much over 75, unless it’s always been high, there’s some familial genetic anomaly this way where people just have naturally really high HDL. But in a person who, you know, has been seeing the HDL climb up in a range that’s sort of new, anything over 75, 80 implies to me some sort of non-specific form of inflammation someplace in the body. Again, cholesterol is there to do a job. And so there may be many things that will elevate it. If you have somebody with depressed thyroid function, I promise you they’re gonna have elevated cholesterol. That always elevates cholesterol. And my eyes are darting around the blood chemistry all over the page to see what might be correlating with that. And any kind of chronic infection is going to elevate your cholesterol. Inflammation elevates cholesterol. Certain things like certain forms of dysbiosis in the gut will elevate cholesterol. Even stress can elevate cholesterol; chronic stress. So, all of these things may potentially elevate it, but be happy that it’s elevated. Cholesterol’s doing its job. Your job, at that point, is to lift the hood up on the car, look underneath and see why your body feels the need to produce more. Don’t worry about that number in and of itself. It doesn’t really mean anything by itself. You’ve got to dig a little. What it tells you is, Oh, OK, you may want to dig a little deeper and see if there’s something else that needs addressed. The point never to beat cholesterol down with a club. Stuart: That’s right. I like the analogy of the car and the hood. It’s so much like a little warning light. You’d probably want to check the probably without taking the bulb out. Nora: Well, exactly. And what are statins effectively doing? They’re unscrewing the bulb, you know, and saying, “See? All better.” And you have no idea; no idea what these things have done. By the way, the risk of problems with things like food-borne illness and other infections actually increase on statin drugs. There are a lot of potentially serious side effects of statin drugs. One of the most egregious side effects is that they invariably totally deplete your CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 is the single more important nutrient for the heart. And it’s actually also known as ubiquinone because it’s ubiquitous in the body. It’s in every single organ and tissue. You can’t have normal metabolism, normal energy production, normal mitochondrial function without healthy CoQ10 levels. And, as CoQ10 gets depleted, guess what the first organ in the body to suffer the effects of that is? The heart. So, one of the things that’s increasing as a result of statin use is heart failure. Also, dementia. Fully 25 percent of all the cholesterol is actually found up here in the brain. And we need to have it there, because it’s absolutely essential for the normal, healthy functioning of the human brain. And people who are on statins for long periods of time start developing memory issues, may even start exhibiting symptoms of dementia. And so I see absolutely no use at all. Now, there are some people that sit up and get kind of a little hot under the collar and say, “Well, but it’s anti-inflammatory. You know, statins are anti-inflammatory.” No, they’re not. What statins are known to do is depress CRP levels. Now, that’s supposed to be good, because, you know, C-reactive protein is an acute reactivity marker. It’s an inflammation marker in the body. You want lower CRP levels. However, CRP is manufactured in the liver. And if you’ve been on statins a good, long while, what happens is statins do damage to the liver. And after awhile, enough damage has been done to the liver that the liver cannot produce CRP anymore. Again, somebody has unscrewed the light bulb, is what is happening. Guy: Yeah, right. Nora: But it’s not anti-inflammatory. It may have exactly the opposite problem. You know, CoQ10 is such an important antioxidant. You deplete that, you’re at all sorts of risk for the damage that free radicals can do. And your heart is most at-risk. You know, the TV commentator, Tim Russert; I don’t know if you guys ever knew about him. He was a political commentator here in the states. He had perfectly normal cholesterol levels but his doctors put him on statin drugs preventatively. He dropped dead of heart failure. And as far as anybody knew, he didn’t necessarily have cardiovascular disease. And my own father, of course, was a victim. He was not on statins. But he was always extremely proud of his low cholesterol. He dropped dead of a heart attack. More than half of people who drop dead of heart attacks have normal or below-normal cholesterol levels. So, there’s almost; there’s a very poor correlation between elevated cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk, and yet these drugs persist because the money persists. And the public has been sort of taken in by this now over a period of; there was the whole lipid hypothesis that came along in the ’50s and ’60s, right around the time that vegetable oils were getting in vogue in margarine. And animals being vilified. And there was a hypothesis that dietary fat caused heart disease. well, there was a researcher by the name of Ancel Keys that; I call him “researcher” tongue-in-cheek because he basically cherry-picked data from the World Health Organization because something called the Seven Countries Study, and he selected a number, seven countries, where there appeared to be some epidemiological correlation or observational correlation between high-fat diets and rates of heart disease. However, he ignored data from 20-some-odd other countries that either were inconclusive that way or showed exactly the opposite. He cherry-picked data, published it in the Journal of the American Medical Association, got himself on the cover of Time, and became the father of what is known as the Lipid Hypothesis. And there has been a concerted effort ever since to promulgate this idea that somehow animal fats, which we’ve been eating for, it turns out now, in my book I say 2.6 million years; there’s new evidence to point to 3.39 million years, you know, we’ve been eating animal fats to no apparent detriment until about 1911. You know, if you graduated medical school in 1910, you never heart of coronary thrombosis. And in 1911, the first four cases of coronary thrombosis were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association as this strange, anomalous thing called “heart disease” that seemed to be occurring. And it appeared to be isolated cases. And there was a physician at the time named Dr. Paul Dudley White. He had been personal physician to President Eisenhower. And he took an interest in all of this. He thought, wow, what an interesting phenomenon that’s emerging. And he selected it as his area of specialty in medicine. And his colleagues thought he was nuts. They said: Why would you waste your time in a specialty area that was so unprofitable? And by the 19. . . in no time flat that ended up becoming one of the primary causes of death. But, again, dietary fat is something that we had been eating for millennia and what had actually happened was that our intake of animal fats was going down at that time, and our intake of vegetable oils, which was a very new food to us as a species, were starting to skyrocket. And particularly these hydrogenated fats like margarines. And our carbohydrate intake, of course, the food industry was rising to power at that time and we were starting to eat a lot of processed carbohydrates and things. Guy: I mean, if you would look at what the next generation as well has been brought up on eating, it’s kind of scary. Because I know you’ve got concerns. Stuart: I have, yeah. Absolutely. Because we’re talking about, you know, heart disease and cholesterol and lots of people think, well, I won’t worry about that till I’m old. But what about the young generation? Because I’ve got three kids and I wanted to know whether there were any special considerations for youngsters for this primal way of eating. Because I have heard that, “Oh, kids need more carbohydrates because they’re so active.” And, of course, there’s a myriad of children’s products now on the market that are so processed and offer so little nutrients but seem to be very popular. Nora: Absolutely. And, again, you kind of have to follow the money on this. Look, you know, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s pyramid, right? USDA Department of Agriculture‘s pyramid. Oh, you know, “11 servings of grains a day.” Grains are an entirely new food to our species within the last 10,000 years. That’s less than .4 percent of our history have we been actually consuming any significant amount of grains or legumes in our diet, and yet we’ve changed; genetically, we’ve altered within that same time period perhaps .05 percent. And what the evidence seems to be suggesting that we’re actually over time now becoming less adapted to those foods and not more. The incidence, for instance, of full-blown celiac disease, which only constitutes about 12 percent of the totality of what can be termed an immunological reactivity to gluten; only about 12 percent of those cases are actually hard-core celiac disease. The incident of celiac disease alone has risen over 400 percent in just the last 50 years. So, we’re not become more adapted to these foods; we’re becoming less adapted these foods. A carbohydrate-based diet is a new phenomenon to the human species. But children actually; there is not a living. . . OK; of the three major macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates), the only one for which there is no human dietary requirement established anywhere in any medical text anywhere is carbohydrates. We can manufacture all the glucose that we need from a combination of protein and fat in the diet. We store little bit of glycogen, you know, in the liver and in the muscles, and we also have the capacity for something called gluconeogenesis, which is just making glucose. We can do that very efficiently. So, we’re actually designed, and have always been designed, to derive our primary; so, there are two sources of fuel that we have available to use as human beings that we can rely on for primary energy. One is either sugar or glucose and the other is fat in the form of either ketones or free fatty acids. That’s it. So, either sugar or fat. Now, what do you suppose the more efficient source of fuel is? Sugar is like kindling in the human body. It burns anaerobically. It’s fermentative and anaerobic. And it’s most efficiently used when we’re in a fight-or-flight situation when we’re either trying to run away from something that’s trying to eat us, or we are attempting to exert ourselves in some profound sort of way. And so carbohydrates are basically our version of kindling. And you can look at brown rice and beans and whole grains and things like that as fundamentally being like twigs on that metabolic fire. If all we’re doing is looking at carbohydrates from the standpoint of the energy that they provide us with, they’re basically kindling. Now, your white rice, your bread, your pasta, your potatoes. Those are much more (nice to see you again); those are much akin to being like paper on the metabolic fire. And things like sugary drinks, sodas, and alcohol, and, I’m sorry to say, including beer, ‘eh mate; including that old Foster’s lager, is like throwing alcohol or lighter fluid on that same fire. And if you had to heat your house using nothing but kindling, you could certainly do it. But you would be pretty much preoccupied all day long with where the next handful of fuel was coming from to stoke that fire. If, instead, you were just sort of throwing a big log, a big fat log, on that fire, you’re free to go about your business. And every once in awhile after however many hours you peer in the wood stove and, “Oh! The fire’s burning down,” well, just throw another log on the fire. And you can kind of go on with your business. You can sleep through the night, you don’t have ups and downs in that energy. It’s just even burning and long-lasting. That’s what fat is for us, and that is the most efficient fuel for everything that we do while we’re breathing oxygen and, you know, when we’re in an aerobic state. And so that’s most of what we do. We don’t need rocket fuel just to kind of go to work every day, unless your job is, I don’t know, a fast; Olympic sprinting. But even then, you know, you may be able to get by with whatever glycogen you have stored in order to get through that race. You don’t necessarily have to eat extra fuel or store it. Or eat extra, anyway, to do that. Stuart: Because I know, Guy, you had a question, didn’t you, on that very topic? Guy: Yeah. I got a question from a Dan Bennett and it’s very much related. “As an ultra-endurance athlete, I’ve been curious if it’s possible to compete in such events without carbs that are traditionally used in this sport.” Nora: You’re better-equipped to excel in that sport, especially endurance sports, because endurance sports; you’re burning oxygen. You know? Endurance sports require long-sustained energy. And carbohydrates can’t provide long-sustained energy. We can’t store more than about 2,000 calories’ worth of carbohydrate. Now, some elite athletes may train themselves to store a bit more than that, you know, by challenging themselves and carb-loading and whatever over time. But it takes work to increase that capacity. But that’s not a natural capacity for us. Carbohydrates were not necessarily a readily-available fuel for us for most of our evolutionary history. You know, we had meat and fat and we had the above-ground types of plant foods. We didn’t have fire for cooking or we weren’t cooking our food universally instead of many more like 50,000 years ago. So, things like; and also a lot of starchy roots and tubers. Apart from the fact that we can’t process them at all when they’re raw, they just pass through us as unusable, they need to be heated. You have to cook them very thoroughly in order for the starch in them to become available to us. And that’s a lot of effort for something that doesn’t yield a fraction of the energy that fat would. So, for endurance athletes anyway, there is nothing more efficient than being a fat-burner. But the transition from being a sugar-burner to a fat-burner can take three to six weeks to pull off. There is a process. Your body has to kind of acclimate itself to a dependence, to a primary dependence, on a different sort of fuel. Stuart: So is that training the part of the body that burns ketones, essentially? Nora: Yeah. Ketones and free fatty acids; the brain uses pretty exclusively ketones. When you go into very well-adapted ketogenic state, which takes a little bit to get there, but once you’re there, your brain relies almost entirely upon ketones and will only turn to glucose if there’s some, yet again, extreme thing happening that it needs the glucose for. But, again, your brain can do nearly everything it needs to do on nothing but ketones. Guy: What about for, like, myself and Stewie, CrossFit. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with CrossFit. Nora: Sure. It’s big in the States. Guy: And they promote paleo as well and it’s obviously short, explosive exercise. The workouts are generally pretty short in time. Could it be the same; just become ketone-adapted exactly the same principles? Nora: Absolutely. Absolutely. We’re designed for short bursts of exertion, and we should have more than enough glycogen stored up and more than enough ability to generate glucose if we need to for that anaerobic activity. And we should be able to replenish that pretty readily. Now, you know, where I’m still sitting on the fence a little bit is where it comes to, say, Olympic-level elite athletes, say, sprinters, who are training for extremes of exertion. Not the endurance sports. Endurance sports, fat’s got that down. Fat always should own endurance sports. But when it comes to the sprinters that do these extremes of exertion; and it’s not just for one event. But what these people do in order to train for these events is they work out all day long. I mean, they’re doing something very unnatural in order to perform at a certain level at these events. And if one of our ancestors got up against one of these people in an Olympic event, they’d probably give them a very healthy run for their money. But our ancestors would have looked at their training regimen like they were nuts. You know: “What are you doing?” And I’m not saying they shouldn’t do that for those events, but it’s not something that we evolved doing. Our ancestors would have thought that was a ridiculous expenditure of energy and they would have thought there are better things to do with energy, you know? Hunting and gathering and spending time with family. It was; the extremes of stress that professional athletes put themselves under, you know, might demand something a little bit unnatural. But for your average weekend warrior and your CrossFitters and your people trying to excel at everyday sports, even bodybuilding, for that matter. A ketogenically well-adapted state actually spares your branched-chain amino acids. You’re not as likely to burn them for fuel. And the rate-limited factor for protein synthesis are those branched-chain amino acids, leucine. And if, after a workout, you’ve had sufficient protein to replenish that, the XXaudio problemXX isn’t going to make you any more anabolic at that point. There’s really no need. Stuart: Well, on that subject of carbs, I’ve got a question regarding myself. So, Guy and myself recently were tested; our DNA. Nora: Uh-oh. What was it related to? Stuart: Well, we were intrigued as to a kind of; we’re almost living in a one-size-fits-all world and were speaking to a good friend of ours, a naturopath, who said, well, look, we’ve got some; I’ve got a crowd that I’m really interested in looking at DNA testing for your specific body type, and they might be able to give you some pointers for the rest of your life that will help you out. So, we were tested and we had radically different results. And I’ve been advised to follow a low GI diet. And, for me, conventionally would be grains, legumes, and I’m just wondering how would I do that when thinking about the Primal Diet? Nora: Well, leave out the grains and legumes. That’s the lowest GI diet of all. Stuart: So, really, just, again, such as meat? Fats? Nora: Again, there is nobody; I don’t care what your DNA tells you, there’s nobody living or breathing on this planet that has a grain or legume deficiency. There is no such thing. These are new to our species. And they contain immunologically, potentially antigenic compounds. In other words, immunologically reactive compounds and lectins and things like that that in some people trigger autoimmune disorders, but can cause people a lot of grief. There’s nobody that is walking around with a starch deficiency. There just isn’t. And I know it’s very PC to say, “Well, everybody’s different.” Well, that’s a popular viewpoint, but guess what? We’re so much more alike than we are unalike. You know? We all have the same; our body relies on the same complement of nutrients in general in order to function. We all have a necessity, a blood pH of between 7.35 and 7.45. You know, we all have certain basic, fundamental requirements. We all produce cholesterol. We all need fat-soluble nutrients in order to function. And, again, there are some people who may tolerate some of these foods better than others; starchy foods. Or things like grains and legumes. But there is nobody in my personal view for whole they are an actual health food. And I realize that’s a controversial statement. But, again, there are foreign proteins in these things that can potentially compromise us. And one of the things that I am seeing now, as an epidemic here in where I’m at, is autoimmune processes. There are people walking around with autoimmune antibodies that are inappropriate levels of autoimmune antibodies than not. It’s literally that epidemic. And autoimmune diseases are seen as relatively rare because people don’t get diagnosed with them very often. But what people fail to recognize is that the standards of diagnosis for autoimmune disease are abysmal. That in order to be diagnosed with celiac disease, and in some countries it’s even more stringent than this, just celiac disease being the most common of the autoimmune disorders out there, there are villi; something called villi lining your small intestine. They look like these finger-like projections. And they’re basically increased surface area in which you absorb your nutrients. And what happens over the course of celiac disease is this ends up eroding down and becoming this. So, basically, until this has totally become this, until your shag carpeting has turned into Berber, you are not diagnosable with celiac disease until that has occurred. So, if you go and you get an intestinal biopsy and your gut looks like this, you’re fine. Have some bread. That’s the standard diagnosis. Now, with, say, if you’re producing antibodies against your own adrenal tissue, and lots of people are, if you have, say, 45 percent obstruction of your adrenal tissue, I promise you you will notice it in every part of the way you feel and function in your life. But you will not be diagnosable with Addison’s Disease until you have had a minimum of 90 percent tissue destruction to your adrenals. Then you’re diagnosable. So, autoimmune diseases. . . And, if you have; the second most common, actually, autoimmune disease in the world right now, and although it’s debatable depending on who you talk to, which is more prevalent between that and celiac disease, is autoimmune thyroid disease. Eighty percent of all low-functioning thyroid cases are autoimmune in nature. And yet it’s almost never diagnosed. People, they go to their doctors: “Oh, look. Your TSH is high, your T4 is low.” Whatever. “We’ll put you on some Thyroxin or whatever and call it good. And that makes for prettier labs but it may not change the person’s symptoms any. And it doesn’t; it is a rare thing for a physician to actually test for thyroid antibodies, and the reason it’s so rare is that whether it’s diagnosed or undiagnosed, conventional medicine has absolutely nothing to offer you. Nothing. They’ll treat it exactly the same way they’ll treat it if you’re just a primary hypothyroid case. They’ll just put you on medication. But I’m here to tell you that if your thyroid is producing antibodies, you have an autoimmune thyroid condition. Your primary problem isn’t thyroid. It’s immune. And it has to be addressed on that level if you have any hope whatsoever of leading a reasonable symptom-free and normal life. And yet it’s completely not; they don’t care. They’re completely unimpressed with that diagnosis. Stuart: It’s back to taking the light bulb out again, isn’t it? Nora: It is. Well, but, you know, it’s like, “OK, so the light’s on. So what?” You know? They don’t know what to with it anyway. There are no medications with which to treat an autoimmune thyroid. But I’m here to tell you that there’s never been more that’s been understood about the mechanisms behind what drives autoimmunity. And those mechanisms are very, very easily managed in a very comfortably natural way. There are dietary things that can help manage those mechanisms that drive autoimmunity, that can help mitigate immune polarity and inflammation and things like that. And there are supplemental things that a person can do also in order to manage their immune function. There’s no cure of an autoimmune disease once it’s taken root. Or an autoimmune process. Most of us have autoimmune processes occurring. Whether or not they ever are diagnosable as a disease down the line depends on how far they’re allowed to advance. And what we do to either perpetuate it or to bring it under control. And there’s only one lab in the world, too, that’s doing that type of immunologic testing and I’m sorry to say it’s here in the States. I’ve actually had a couple of people from Australia fly over here just to get that testing done; to get answers to questions that nobody else was ever able to offer them. Stuart: Amazing. Guy: It’s scary. Nora: The medical industry is; somewhere around World War II, medicine ceased to become a profession and became an industry. And it’s largely driven by the interests of pharmaceutical companies. That’s who funds the medical schools and that’s where medical doctors get their training. And I do not mean to sound disparaging of hard-working and very well-meaning MDs. And there are some MDs out there that totally get this. I have a friend who’s a medical oncologist practicing at a facility; at a medical center outside Philadelphia. And he has found, actually, that the exact diet that I promote in my book, which amounts to, fundamentally, a fat-based ketogenic diet, is the single most therapeutic diet; the most preventative and the most therapeutic diet for cancers. As well as diabetes and heart disease and kidney disease and neurological problems and pretty well you-name-it. And yet because there’s no profit in just simply making a dietary change, he runs into; he’s done peer-reviewed research but it’s like pulling teeth trying to shop around for people willing to publish that work. Because it doesn’t toe the party line. Stuart: Yeah, I can believe that. Guy: I’ve got a Facebook question that kind of ties into what we’ve been talking about, because we’re talking about the stresses on the body of food. And so this question is from Darren Manser. And he says: “Modern-day stress is different compared to Paleolithic stress due to the fact that the stress these days is likely to end your life yet more continuous. Is there anything we need to be aware of to help accommodate continual stress of modern-day life?” Nora: That’s a very, very great question, actually. Because our stress levels are so much worse than anything our ancestors even knew. I mean, yeah, they had droughts and floods and they had to endure the extremes of an ice age here and there or volcanic eruption. Give me that any day over what we have to put up with with our water, food supply, our depleted soils. EMF pollution. Radiation from Fukushima up here in Northern Hemisphere. That’s a huge problem up here right now. You guys are quite fortunate to be where you are. I mean, eventually you’ll be dealing with it too but you guys have a bit of a reprieve. And things. . . Give me the throes of the ice age any day to dealing with Monsanto. You know? And what we’re dealing with are largely corporate interests running everything. And so people today have much more to worry about and we’re dying. . . Actually, today, the children are expected to live not as long as their parents did. And 30 years old is the new 45. Because people are developing diseases of aging at least 15 years earlier now. These are realities. Guy: It seems no one dies of natural causes anymore. Nora: Well, yeah. What’s natural causes? But yeah. So, the three top causes are death are: cardiovascular disease, cancer, and the number three cause of morbidity and mortality in the entire industrialized world is autoimmunity right now, whether people are aware of it or not. Collectively, as a whole, autoimmune diseases are the number three cause of death. And, again, morbidity, you know, problems. And what’s also interesting, though, is the number one cause of death in a person with celiac disease is actually a cardiovascular event. The number two cause of death in a person with celiac disease is malignancy. So, there are tie-ins to the number one and two causes of mortality as well. And there’s new evidence, actually, I just stumbled across the other day to suggest that the onset of atherosclerosis is actually an autoimmune process. That was news to me. That was a little bit of a shocker. And people who have autoimmune antibodies, they’re like cockroaches. If you have one, you’re bound to have more. So, polyautoimmunity is rapidly becoming a norm. And autoimmunity, of course, is a state in which your body is basically attacking itself. It’s destroying its own tissues in a highly inflammatory way. And, again, there’s a lot you can do. But conventional medicine, at this point, is not really equipped to do very much to help with that. They mostly put people on prednisone, which is a horrible substance, or they’re doing some interesting things now with low-dose Naltrexone. So, anyway, to get back to your friend’s, or your Facebook question, I think his name was Dan, yes, stress is the biggest thing that we’ve got. And, you know, we’re designed to be in a calm, parasympathetic, relaxed state 99.99 percent of the time. And the other .1 percent of the time, the saber-toothed tiger jumps out from behind the bush and chases us around a little bit, hopefully we survive the ordeal, and then we get to pick up our umbrella drink again and sit back down and relax. And what we have today is exactly the opposite of this: 99.99 percent of the time we’re being chased around by saber-toothed tigers 24-7, and the .1 percent of the time, if we’re lucky, we get a trip to Tahiti. And I don’t know who these fabled people are; I wouldn’t get that. And, you know, all people really accomplish with that is really stressing out the Tahitians. You know? Guy: That’s right. Stuart: And their livers with all of the alcohol that they drink while they’re on holiday. Nora: Exactly. Exactly. We lead extraordinarily unnatural lives. And that’s one reason why I wrote the book I did. You notice that the subtitle of my book is “Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life” because we don’t live in the same world our ancestors did. There are things that; whatever it was, whatever we had available to us as food over the bulk of our evolutionary history, you know, for nearly three-point-whatever million years, certainly would have established our nutritional requirements, would have established our physiological makeup. And we have to look at that. To me, it’s an essential starting place. There are principles to be had. I mean, there is no such thing; more is less is no such thing as a true Paleolithic diet anymore. I mean, how many wooly mammoth steaks do you find in restaurants and things? It’s the kind of thing where what we’re left with are some of the principles that our ancestors lived by. And those principles are basically that we had a diet that was largely based in animal-sourced foods that was supplemented with various types of plant material as seasonally or climatically available. And as we were able to, as we had the technology in order to process. Again, cooking would have made a lot of plant foods a lot more edible to us than a lot of wild plant foods; a lot of wild plant foods have toxic compounds in them that would have been detrimental to us in any significant quantity. And the amount of calories you would burn just simply by selectively picking and processing these plant foods would have far exceeded their caloric value and nutrient value to us. So, I think that plant foods are probably more important to us now, in fact than they were in our evolutionary past. Because of their phytonutrient content, because of the anti-oxidant content, because we’re facing so many more pollutants in our air, water, and food supply now. And we’re facing genetically modified organisms and so many other things that we need bigger buffers. And we still need those same principles. And we still require animal-sourced foods to get certain nutrients. There are some things that can only be gotten in animal-sourced foods effectively, and some things that are best gotten in animal-sourced foods. Plant foods, I think, are more important to us now than they ever used to be. And so, again, sugar and starch were never essential to us and they’re not essential to us now. It’s just; sugars, of course, are a known vector for free radical activity, for the production of advanced glycation end products or AGEs, appropriately enough, because that’s what ages us. Glycation is a process by which fats and proteins combine with sugars to become sort of misshapen and start to malfunction. And it’s a critical; and then you end up with proteins cross-linking and degrading in the presence of these things and it’s a key part of how we age. But also insulin is a very, very key aging hormone as well. And the less insulin we produce, as it turns out, because part of what I base my book on, too, is really new information from modern longevity; human longevity research. And all the evidence points to the fact that the less insulin that you produce in the course of your life, the less insulin you require, I should say, in the course of your life, the longer you’re gonna live and the healthier you’re gonna be, by far. And, of course, the primary macronutrient that seems to have an elevating effect on insulin are sugars and starches. So, what I advocate for is eating relatively sugar and starch free. You know: eat a few berries when they’re in season or something like that. But I wouldn’t be making a point of incorporating sugars and starches in my daily diet. What I would be doing is moderating my protein intake and then eating as much fat as I need to in order to satisfy my appetite while also adding the fibrous vegetables and XXfruits?XX for both. Guy: What would a typical day of Nora’s life look like in food-wise? Nora: Well, a lot of mornings I will either cook, scramble, say, a duck egg in a little duck fat. Duck fat’s my new butter. Oh my God, it’s delicious. Or, one of my favorite breakfasts, just because it’s so quick and easy, involves taking a small; actually, probably just half of a small bowl of skinless chicken thigh and broiling that for, like, six minutes. I know it doesn’t sound that great, but it’s actually a very quick way to cool it. It’s actually a very safe way to cook it. It tends to preserve; the fats don’t oxidize as readily. And then I’ll slather it to swimming in coconut oil and then put a bunch of curry and garlic salt and that sort of thing on it and just sort of enjoy that. The fat, of course, that I add to it is extremely satiating. Sometimes I’ll use a chimichurri sauce or something like that as well, which is marvelously satiating and delicious as well. And if I haven’t eaten anything by; I’ll eat that at maybe 7 in the morning. If I haven’t eaten anything by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, by that point I’m starting to think, yeah, I’m kind of hungry, it would be nice to eat something. But the difference is between that dependence on carbohydrate and eating that starchy breakfast and all of the mid-morning snacks and whatever, your average person dependent on carbohydrates for their primary fuel were to go, you know, six or more hours without their next meal, they would have snakes growing out of their hair, probably. You know? There would be mental fog, there would be fatigue, there would be cravings. There would be an attitude of: “If I don’t eat something soon, somebody’s gonna die.” And I don’t experience those things. There’s only one way that we’re supposed to feel before we eat and that’s hungry. And there’s only one way that we’re supposed to feel after we eat, and that’s not hungry. If, prior to eating, if you’ve gone a few hours without eating something and you’re feeling tired or jittery or irritable or something that rhymes with “itchy,” and, if, after eating, you feel more energized, or, if, after eating, you feel more drowsy. If any of that sounds like you in any way, shape, or form, you basically have a blood sugar problem. None of those things are normal. None of those things are supposed to happen. If you haven’t eaten in awhile, you’re supposed to feel hungry. That’s normal. And then, once you eat, you’re not hungry anymore. But you’re not supposed to be more energized or more fatigued after a meal. That’s the difference. Guy: That’s pretty much nearly everyone I know, to a degree. Nora: Well, it is. Guy: Yeah. Nora: And think about. . . So, remember that analogy with the woodstove. How, if you’re having to heat your house with nothing but kindling, you’re spending your day constantly preoccupied with where that next handful of fuel is coming from to run your metabolic fire. Who do you suppose profits when the world is eating in that sort of fashion? You know, listen, there isn’t a single multinational corporation on Earth that I can think of that doesn’t stand to profit handsomely that isn’t heavily invested in every man, woman, and child on the planet being dependent on carbohydrates as their primary source of fuel. It’s cheap, it’s profitable, and it keeps us hungry and it also keeps us sick. And it keeps us quite vulnerable. Now, most people aren’t more than two missed meals away from a state of total mental and physical chaos, honestly, and metabolic chaos. And that makes us sort of malleable. And it’s a very; there is nothing more destabilizing to the body and brain than sugar and starch, honestly. Because you end up with this sort of wave of rushes of glucose that are then being suppressed by insulin, and then cravings again and another meal of raising the blood sugar back up and another crash. And so many people, their energy patterns and their mental energy patterns and their cognitive functioning patterns and their moods and everything else look like this all day long. That’s the way that they’re eating. And, again, if you’re relying on fat as your primary source of fuel, you’re free. You know? You eat as you choose to eat when it’s convenient for you to eat. You’re able to make healthier choices because you’re not sitting there craving something going half out of your mind with cravings and just trying really hard to exercise discipline and trying not to eat that dessert that you know is gonna pack the pounds on. It’s just sort of a natural thing, you know. When I see dessert. . . I used to love desserts. I used to love bread and pasta and things like that. Now, when I see them, I look at them the way most people are looked at by their cat. I look right through it. I just don’t see that it’s there. They come by with a dessert cart after a meal in a restaurant and I look at that. It’s not like, “Oh, I shouldn’t.” It’s, “Eh.” Guy: Fair enough. We have time for one more Facebook question, and it will tie into, you mentioned the fat. Neil Nabbefeld asks, “Is dairy truly bad for humans?” I think because of the argument within Paleo: should we eat dairy, shouldn’t we eat dairy. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Nora: Right. Well, again, I say “beyond the Paleo diet,” so. . . I don’t consider myself, you know, religiously paleo. Although I believe that those fundamental principles have a lot to teach us and that they have to be a starting place. It’s very clear that there were human people groups traditionally, not Paleolithically, but traditionally, seemed to do quite well in Weston Price’s time on things like raw milk and also fermented products made from raw milk. Certainly the Masai drank a lot of whole-fat, raw milk and that sort of a thing and it certainly hasn’t done them any harm, at least traditionally. That said, what most people call milk and dairy today is not something that you could even get a baby cow to drink. Right? It’s heavily processed, it’s been adulterated, it’s been homogenized, it’s been pasteurized. All of the enzyme value of it is completely gone; it’s been obliterated through the pasteurization process. The animals are being stuffed full of recombinant bovine growth hormones and things like that, which. . . One of the other hats that I wore once upon a time, I was involved in doing some veterinary work and I remember going around to some of these large dairies and other livestock facilities and seeing cows, and we’re not even talking big factory operations. Relatively moderate operations. And every single cow in these milking lines all had mastitis. All of them. And they were all on antibiotics. And you would go to milk them by hand and you would see literally pus coming out, which is obviously incredibly gross. But nobody cared about that because all of it was basically going into these huge steel vats where it was all getting boiled and sterilized. So, I guess if you don’t mind drinking sterilized pus, that’s fine, but it’s not my beverage of choice. So, conventionally generated dairy, to me, is not food. And I have no use for that. For some people, I think raw milk, and there are certain types of components of raw milk, like early; like colostrum and whey that in some people can be highly therapeutic. Now, that said, roughly half of everybody that has a gluten intolerance also has a casein intolerance. I happen to be one of them. I can’t do dairy at all. My immune system is highly reactive to dairy products, and that includes heavy cream and butter, I am sorry to say. And I know in previous editions of my book I extolled the virtues of butter and heavy cream, and for some people I think those foods are probably fine. But I didn’t know that I had an immunological reactivity to dairy until I tested with appropriately sensitive testing. And the moment I eliminated those foods from my diet, it’s like 20 pounds fell off of me I didn’t even know I had. There were just so much inflammation all the time that I didn’t even realize that I was struggling with something until it go removed as an issue. So, for some people, I think dairy can be fine. For some, it can even be therapeutic, from healthy, entirely pasture-fed raw dairy sources. From, again, trusted raw dairy sources; dairies that are really doing it the right way, that are sanitary and whatever else. I think that there’s a place for that, not on my dinner plate, but for some people I think that there can be a place for that. So, it is an unnatural food for adult people, though. Animals, I mean, and you can always make that argument that we’re the only species that drinks milk past infancy and we’re drinking the milk of not human milk but cow’s milk. Guy: Interestingly enough as well, I’m not sure what the laws are in the U.S., but here, if you want to buy real milk you have to buy bath milk because it’s illegal to sell. Nora: What’s it called? Guy: It’s called “Cleopatra’s Bath Milk.” Nora: Ah, I see. You know, there are some raw dairies around the country that will call it “pet milk.” Guy: Yeah, you always feel like a drug smuggler when you have to go and buy it. Nora: There are also these what are called “cow share” programs. I don’t know if you have that there, where people actually go to a farmer who has a cow, be it a nice Jersey, a XXunintelligibleXX cow that is eating a nice, grass-fed diet, and they’ll buy an interest in the animal so that they’re basically considered an owner. And there are no laws against drinking the milk of your own animal. So, they kind of get around the law with that. I don’t know if Australia has these cow-share programs or not. Stuart: I think they exist, actually. Yeah, I do think they exist. Nora: I would say that, where dairy is concerned, if you’re drinking raw milk and you’re still symptomatic, you might want to lose the dairy. And I would actually say fly over to the States and get some Cyrex testing and figure out whether you have that kind of sensitivity or not; whether you have intolerances. But the only other way to really figure it out is by completely eliminating that food from your diet for a period of time and seeing what happens. Guy: One last question, Nora. Do you have any books in the pipeline? Nora: You know, that’s a great question. I’ve got a couple of e-books in the pipeline. And, of course, I’m working so hard and creating all these talks I’m getting this year it gives me precious little time outside of my very full-time practice. I see clients for eight hours hours a day during the week and it doesn’t leave a lot left over to work on new projects. I have two e-books in the pipeline. I have the outline for and some of the preliminary stages of a new book I’m working on, but it’s going to be some time unless. . . There are some projects I’m working on that might change things a little bit for me that may allow me to put much more of a full-time effort into putting out new material, which I’m really passionate about wanting to do. There’s so much more new, wonderful information and I am so very, very excited to impart it. And, again, right now I’m working seven days a week, and there’s very little time in that seven-day-a-week work to actually create new things, but I’m doing it as I can. So, the one book is actually, that I’m hoping to get out before the others, is actually a bit of a workbook; kind of a quick-start guide to primal health, to kind of help people implement healthy dietary changes and help them understand what they need to do, kind of hand-hold them a little bit, what to expect. Give them a few more details; a little more hand-holding through that process so that they’ve got something that they can work with to help them through it. Guy: Yeah, absolutely. I think that Gary Taubes did something similar, didn’t he? Because he released “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” which was just this monster of a book. And then he brought out a later edition which was a bit more, sort of, daily practical things that you could apply. Nora: Right. Right. Which is, you know, it’s needed and it’s something I’m working on. Lots of things, actually, coming down the pike. There are lots of projects in the pipeline. But nothing I can give you as a, “Well, as of this date it’s gonna be released.” Guy: As long as we know there’s something coming in the future, that’s the main thing. So, you’re coming to Sydney to speak and it’s gonna be mid-May in Sydney. Is that the only talk you’re doing or. . . Nora: I’m also going to be doing a talk, oh, boy, what is the date? In Dubbo. Guy: Ah, I did see that, actually. I can put the dates up on this blog post. Nora: Those dates are available, I believe, on my website and the Dubbo event should be a lot of fun. I’ve got some friends there and I think they are already actually selling tickets for that as well. Guy: Fantastic. Nora: Yeah. I’m excited. The MINDD foundation conference seems to be a marvelous event and I’ll be really happy to impart a lot of information, some of which will be familiar to people if they’ve seen me talk before, but some of it’s going to be quite new, and I think probably pretty interesting. Guy: Well, we’re certainly looking forward to it and I’m sure there will be a lot of other people. Well, look, Nora, thanks for today. It’s absolutely been mind-blowing again. Amazing. I look forward to meeting you again in person, in Sydney. Nora: Absolutely. I look forward to meeting you, Stuart, and seeing you again, Guy, will be terrific. You’re really wonderful to have me on your program and it’s been really enjoyable. Guy: Awesome. Stuart: Safe journey and we will see you next month. Nora: Sounds awesome. Guy: Awesome. Stuart: Thank you, Nora. Thank you. Guy: Goodbye. Nora: Goodbye.
Salt. Public enemy No.1 along with fat. And just like fat I have come to the conclusion it’s actually essential for the body, but just like fat there’s salt I will not touch and then there’s salt I ensure I have daily. So is salt healthy? Depends… and here’s my thoughts…
There’s an ongoing argument as to whether salt is healthy or not with raised blood pressure, hypertension and the increased risk of premature death being just a few of the pleasant side effects.
But a quick dig around on Google and you’ll soon see not everyone agrees, including science writer Gary Taubes -
With nearly everyone focused on the supposed benefits of salt restriction, little research was done to look at the potential dangers. But four years ago, Italian researchers began publishing the results from a series of clinical trials, all of which reported that, among patients with heart failure, reducing salt consumption increased the risk of death. – Gary Taubes, NY Times
What do I think?
The bad salt
I don’t use regular table salt. From my understanding it’s 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemicals such as moisture absorbents, and iodine. Dried at over 1,200 degrees fahrenheit, with the excessive heat altering the natural chemical structure of the salt.
This has nothing in common with natural salt and makes no sense to me, so why would you want to use it?
According to Dr Mercola, every gram of table salt (sodium chloride) that your body cannot get rid of, your body uses twenty three times the amount of cell water to neutralize the salt. Eating common table salt causes excess fluid in your body tissue, which can contribute to:
Rheumatism, arthritis and gout
Kidney and gall bladder stones
When you consider that the average person consumes 4,000 to 6,000 mg of sodium chloride each day, and heavy users can ingest as much as 10,000 mg in a day, it is clear that this is a serious and pervasive issue.
The good salt
I use Himalayan rock salt which has 84 trace minerals. A far cry from your regular table salt. These are just some of the benefits listed from Dr Mercolas site which I happen to agree with -
Regulating the water content throughout your body.
Promoting a healthy pH balance in your cells, particularly your brain cells.
Promoting blood sugar health and helping to reduce the signs of aging.
Assisting in the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in your body.
Absorption of food particles through your intestinal tract.
Supporting respiratory health.
Promoting sinus health.
Prevention of muscle cramps.
Promoting bone strength.
Regulating your sleep – it naturally promotes sleep.
Supporting your libido.
Promoting vascular health.
In conjunction with water it is actually essential for the regulation of your blood pressure.
How much do I consume?
I always add a pinch of Himalayan rock salt to my salads or whilst cooking. I also add half a teaspoon to 600ml of water when I’m at CrossFit/training etc
When purchasing you need to make sure it has that pink colour.
I’ve come to believe that if you cut out must junk and processed foods from your daily diet, you would have eliminated most salt from your diet. This is one of the reasons I’m proactive with my daily salt intake. This is also an area worth looking into if you eat a low carbohydrate diet.
Do you use Himalayan rock salt? Do you use salt? During exercise? Would love to hear your thoughts, Guy
On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thought’s and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.
If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thought’s in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…
“Your paradigm is so intrinsic to your mental process that you are hardly aware of its existence, until you try to communicate with someone with a different paradigm”. – Donella Meadows
Are you conscious about your health?
This post is not for the coke swilling, choccie bar munching monster with no real concern about their health. It’s for the person who is genuinely trying to make better daily choices to improve themselves. If there’s one thing that really frustrates me, it is seeing people who are investing time into their health and getting completely confused on what the right choices are.
THIS IS SIMPLY MY OPINION. Admittedly I am somewhat passionate about the topic, having worked as a Personal Trainer for 6 years and now running a company that deals directly with this topic, but still it is simply my opinion. I say this because I encourage anyone and everyone to check out the facts for themselves. As far as I’m concerned, there is vail that covers the whole food industry and it’s up to the individual to lift it up and take a look behind. More
Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed by a complex set of factors. These signs and symptoms of a disturbed metabolism travel together: fat accumulation, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, low HDL (”good cholesterol”) and high triglycerides. Taken together, they establish an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. They are also associated with cancer and Alzheimer’s. What goes wrong in our metabolism when we gain weight, and how can we get back on track?
Award-winning science writer Gary Taubes. Taubes, in his 2010 book Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, debunks the common theory that people gain weight because of character defects – because they eat too much and exercise too little. He shows why focusing on counting calories does not solve the underlying problem. He explores the science of how and why calories are stored in fat cells. He draws us in to the radical conclusion that the way to lose fat and correct our metabolism is to eat more fat and protein, avoiding carbohydrates, especially refined sugars and refined flours.
How can you lose weight by eating more butter and less potato?
Taubes explains that insulin is the carrier molecule that gets sugar into a cell, so that it can be used for energy. Carbs, and especially refined sugars and refined flours, flood the blood stream with sugar, which prompts the body to release a lot of insulin.
When the muscle and organ cells are threatened with an oversupply of sugar, they rebuild cell walls to “resist” accepting the insulin carrier. They become barricaded against the excess sugar – this is what is called “insulin resistant.” The fat cells, unlike the muscle cells, do not become insulin resistant. When the muscle cells are resistant (or when the blood is overloaded with sugars for any reason), the insulin carries the sugars into the fat cells, where they are converted to fatty acids. This is good in the short run, because high blood sugar is dangerous. But in the long run, we gain undesired weight.
Fat cells release fatty acids for the cells’ use as energy, but only when insulin levels are low. This normally happens at night, when we’re not eating and blood sugar levels dip. It also happens when we eat protein and fat, with few carbs to stimulate insulin. Unfortunately, when we are insulin resistant, the body begins to over-produce insulin in order to get enough sugar into the resistant muscle cells.
The underfed muscle cells (remember that the sugars are being swept up by the fat cells) clamor for food, resulting in hunger, more consumption of carbs, and another release of too much insulin. Then the cells respond in a vicious cycle with more insulin resistance, and more storage in the fat cells. The cycle is broken when we stop stimulating insulin release with carbohydrates. When insulin levels fall, the body can (and must) release fatty acids for energy use.
The push for a low-fat diet has been a national fiasco.
The emphasis on eating low fat appears to have contributed to the increase in obesity and diabetes we’ve seen in the last few decades. Eating low fat means eating more carbs, and we have replaced a lot of fat calories with calories from refined sugars. Our national per capita consumption of sugar has skyrocketed to over 150 pounds per year!
We owe a debt of gratitude to Gary Taubes for painstakingly reviewing over a century of research and clinical experience around issues of weight and disease risk in his previous book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. It’s a fascinating story of how hypotheses, clothed in flimsy supporting data, were enshrined as public health doctrine. Public health doctrine then controlled funding of future research, preventing the exploration of other more plausible hypotheses.