Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
We love getting peoples perspectives on health and nutrition, especially when they’ve interviewed dozens of health leaders around the world, then made two inspiring documentaries that go on to transform and enhance the lives of millions of people!
Our fantastic guest this week is James Colquhoun, the man behind the fabulous movies ‘Food Matters’ and ‘Hungry For Change’. We ask James in the above short video, what three food hacks would you suggest we could do right now to improve our future health? I bet you can’t guess what they are!
Below is the full interview with James, where he shares with us his personal story regarding his dads illness of chronic fatigue syndrome and how he took massive action to intervene. Because he couldn’t get his father to read about nutrition and natural health, he figured he could probably convince him to watch a film on the subject. What follows is a journey of transformation, inspiration and two internationally acclaimed widely popular documentaries.
Full Interview with James Colquhoun: Why Food Matters & I’m Hungry For Change
In this episode we talk about:
Why he spent his entire savings on making the movie ‘Food Matters’
The ‘tipping points’ that inspired his dad to turn his health around
The most amazing transformational story he has ever seen!
The foods he goes out of his way to avoid and why
Why he created a ‘Netflix’ for health & wellness – FMTV
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Today is a beautiful day here in Sydney and I’m at my local Maroubra Beach, so I thought I’d bring my introduction outside. As you can see it’s just stunning here.
I’m fresh back off a Joe Dispenza workshop over the weekend in Melbourne.
Now, if you’re not aware of Dr. Joe Dispenza, we interviewed him on the podcast a couple of weeks ago and I highly recommend you check him out. And if you get a chance to attend one of his workshops, it’s a must. It was phenomenal. It was probably one of the best experiences, when it comes to workshops I’ve ever had, and he really puts the science behind the “woo woo” as he puts it in terms of meditation, understanding the brain, and being able to better our lives with the thoughts we think and how we move forward with that.
So, yeah, I highly recommend you check that out.
So, anyway, moving on to today’s guest. Well, we’ve got a pearler for you today.
So, I’m sure you can all share these experiences. You know, when you decide to make the change you voraciously change your habits through the foods you eat, the exercises you do and you get rid of the low-fat diet. You cut the processed foods out and you can see all the changes happening to yourself. And of course, you then want to go on and tell the world.
I know I did, anyway, with my family and friends. But when you go and share this with them, you find half the time they might as well be wearing earplugs, because the words never seem to go in and of course, they’re on their own journeys too and have to make the changes for themselves.
To take that to the next level with today’s guest, he shares with us how his father started to become very ill and of course wanted to change the way he ate and the way he looked at his health. It was very difficult.
So, what did he decide to go and do? Well, he went and decided to go and make a documentary and spent the next two years and his entire life savings and pumped it all into this documentary.
And yes, our special guest today is James Colquhoun and he’s the creator of the documentary Food Matters. He is one inspirational guy and of course, he went on then and made Hungry for Change.
We delve deep into everything behind what James went and did. Why he did it in depth. And of course, he got to then go on and experience interviewing some of the best thought leaders in health around the world and put them into a documentary. And of course, apply that in his own life.
So, we get into his daily routines. What he does. The best tips he’s learned and practical applications of what we can bring into our everyday life, as well.
One thing was clear with James is that he is a very, very, very upbeat inspirational guy. You’re going to get lots out of this today.
It was just a pleasure to have him on the show.
Now, you may recall, as well, a couple of months ago, if you have been following us for a long time; we actually sent out an email asking you what your biggest challenges are, just to get some feedback. We have been listening. We had an awesome response and we’ve been behind the scenes, me and Stu, for the last couple of months, actually, putting them into a quiz, if you like, and putting videos behind it so that you can discover what your number one roadblock is.
So, if you’re struggling to drop the last five kilos. If you’re, how can we say, if you’re struggling to stick to the diet. Or if you’re confused, you get it, but you don’t get it. You know that sugar’s not good. We should be eating more fat. But you know there’s still lots of areas that you’re trying to plug and trying to figure out. And that’s half the reason why we put this information together. But obviously, we want everyone to get a crystal clear understanding.
So, that’s going to be on our home page of our website, 180nutrition.com.au. It’s going to go live very shortly, maybe even by the time you listen to this podcast. But I highly recommend check it out.
And of course, if you do have those relatives that are struggling with their own journey, send them to this, because it’s a nice message and they’ll be able to get a lot of clarification on being able to take the right steps moving forward.
Anyway, so, that’s at 180nutrition.com.au and of course, if you’re listening to this through iTunes, leave a review, subscribe to us, five star. It’s really greatly appreciated.
Anyway, let’s go over to our awesome guest today, James Colquhoun. Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi Stuart.
Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is James Colquhoun. James, welcome. Did I pronounce your surname correct that time?
James Colquhoun: You got it spot on. Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. Yeah, thanks mate. Look, I’m very excited to discuss all the work you’ve done over the years, which is obviously the documentaries, and I just think it’s absolutely fantastic what you’re doing.
But we always start the show, mate, just to get a little bit about your own journey, I guess, just for our listeners, to fill them in a bit. I mean, have you always been into making documentaries in nutrition or did that sort of evolve along the way?
James Colquhoun: Well, it’s actually really far from it and I think that’s common with a lot of people I speak to about their journeys into health and nutrition, is they were on a completely different trajectory before something happened; a sort of catalyst. And for a lot of people it’s illness in the family and that was certainly the case for us.
But, you know, I was a ship’s officer, driving high-speed passenger ferries, container ships, tankards…
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.
James Colquhoun: Private yachts. Worked for two of the top ten wealthiest people in the world for about three years, driving their big toys around. And got to see first-hand that all the money and all the freedom in the world doesn’t altogether mean happiness and health.
And these people struggle with some serious health conditions. And it was funny, but at the same time my dad was unwell, on a lot of medications and I was like, how come there’s this block for healing? How come people can’t get well?
So, this spurred a little bit of an interest in nutrition and personal development. Understanding more about how I could be healthy or how I could help my dad. And out of nowhere I started becoming interested in health and nutrition. Went to a few seminars; namely saw that big American guy with a thick accent, Tony Robbins.
Guy Lawrence: Of course. Yeah.
James Colquhoun: He had a day in his program, in the early, 2000s, when I went and saw it, on health and nutrition, which talked a lot about alkalizing and cleansing and topics I’ve never heard before, and started implementing some of that into my life. Sort of started to steer the ship in a bit of a different direction, so to speak.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that thing that fascinates me as well is that you went out and actually made a documentary to create change. I mean, most people struggle to even just implement change in their own, in themselves, let alone actually go out and do something.
Stuart Cooke: Where did that idea come about? I mean, crikey, I get that you’ve; you’ve embraced this new world, this health and wellness and you start to attach yourself to the power of, you know, food can have on the way that; on our well-being. But what inspired you to go, “Right! I’m going to make a movie.” Because that isn’t something that Joe Public would do generally.
James Colquhoun: Well, I think; that’s a good question. And it just came about from having studied nutrition and seeing that we could make an impact in my father’s health and then thinking further beyond that.
“Well, how can we influence my dad?” I think that was one of the biggest questions we had. And when we were sending him books, it didn’t really work. We were sending him articles by email, “Hey, check out this research. Check out this latest information about vitamin B3 or about detoxification.” And, you know, that didn’t seem to work either.
And then we thought, “Well, how could we help him?” We thought, “What about a documentary? What about a good film?” Because for me, at the time, I was learning a lot from documentaries and I thought, “What if that could help my dad?” And we started looking at what documentaries existed around health, nutrition, cleansing. You know, empowering your own immune system to heal itself. And also covered a lot of the topics about the pharmaceutical industry and the agricultural industry.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: And none really existed at the time that covered all those topics and I think that was something that sort of spurred a thought in our minds that said, why don’t we look to see if we could create something to help influence my father and then also help reach more people with that same message.
Guy Lawrence: Did it take a while to get the message across to your dad, you know, from the early days? Or was he very open to it all?
James Colquhoun: Well, you know, early days he was not at all open to it. I mean, he was; every time we’d send him something or we’d send a book across, my mom would read it enthusiastically and then he would always disbelieve it. He would go, “No. I trust my doctors.” He was suffering from severe chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety; he was on six different medications and he was practically bedridden for about five years.
And the medical profession, the best that they could offer him was a continuing juggling or a mixing up of his cocktail of medications, basically.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
James Colquhoun: Saying, “Let’s go up on this one and down on this one. Well, let’s introduce this new one, which has more side effects. Or we’ll have this other drug come in.” And they were basically saying, “One day we may find the correct cocktail of medications that will have you at some level of health. But we can’t guarantee that you’ll ever actually be cured from this.”
And you know, for him and a lot of people out there that suffer from chronic conditions of lifestyle; anything from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, mental illness; especially things that are called a syndrome, like chronic fatigue syndrome, for instance. It means that we don’t really know what causes it. We don’t really know how to fix it.
And even a lot of these chronic illnesses I just listed off, they’re sort of; you’re not given much hope from the mainstream medical fraternity and to me that’s frustrating. Because we know for a fact that many of these diseases are caused by diet and lifestyle-related elements.
We know that food toxicity, lifestyle habits, how you handle stress, etc. play a deep part in these particular illnesses and that’s been proven now. However, we don’t acknowledge their part in getting rid of them and to me that’s ludicrous. It’s like, how can you acknowledge that there’s a causative element and yet there is no curative element to that.
So, basically, we know these factors play a part, but when you get sick, “Let’s not worry about them too much; let’s just focus on drugging you.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: Which basically causes toxicity of the body, toxicity to the liver. And, you know, it’s a tricky situation from there.
Guy Lawrence: Another thought that popped in for me and I know a lot of people could relate to this, is that; you know, even happened with my own family is, sometimes you can get very frustrated because you’re trying to get a message across to somebody that; whose illness could be getting worse and they just; they don’t want to listen or they don’t want to know and what’s very hard is to get that message across. But there’s normally a snap, a tipping point or something that goes “ah” and then all of a sudden they let the whole information in. Like what was the case for your dad?
James Colquhoun: Yeah. Sure. Before I go on, I just lost your video there, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I know. It’s just spinning around. I’ll have to stick a nice, good looking shot next to us all and play that.
James Colquhoun: Sorry. You know, it was really tricky for my dad, in that, he did have that turning point and he did have that catalyst. And for him it was a unique one and I bet it’s different for everybody. It might be a thought of not being around for your grandchildren. It might be, you know, it might be the thought that you might not make it yourself or get to achieve some of the goals in your life. Or it might not be that you have to have the physical health and the abundance of energy in order to be able to do the things that you want to do on a day-to-day basis.
But for my dad, some of the information that really shocked him was, one of the particular drugs he was on, which was a brand leader of antidepressants, called; it’s an SSRI antidepressant called Prozac. And that was a blockbuster drug for the company who made it. And they were coming out with a new version of the drug.
And when you come out with a new version of a drug, you have to say, when you put the patent application in to renew the patent, you have to say how it’s better than the existing drug.
So, what they do it they tinker with the molecular structure of the drug. Make a few improvements, a few changes and then say, “It’s better than the previous one, because of this, this and this.”
And one of the things my dad was suffering from was some really severe side effects. One of which was like suicidal thoughts and it was completely out of character for him. I mean, he had thoughts about taking his own life and that was something we knew wasn’t him. We knew it was the drugs, but he didn’t really believe that, and he thought it was because of his ill state of health.
And what happened was when Prozac was coming out with this new drug called, “Prozac(R).” At the time they said it will not cause the suicidal effects of the previous drug. And they had denied that for ten years.
Stuart Cooke: Oh boy.
James Colquhoun: They denied it. They denied millions of cases of payouts. They denied the fact that there were many cases in the U.S. where young kids had been put on these drugs and committed suicide and they said it had nothing to do with these drugs. And yet they had discovered later on that it did cause suicidal effects in some people, which meant many of them went on to take their lives.
And to me that’s; that was to me and to my father as well, a huge loss of trust, I think, in the medical fraternity, because the veil was lifted and he was able to see that there was such an economic confluence of events that happened in the background of that industry that caused these sorts of things to get passed over.
And I think, you know, when you start to look at where the money flows, you start to see a topic for what it really is. And when you look into the pharmaceutical industry and when you look into the agrichemical or the agribusiness industry, you start to see a really clear picture that it’s money that drives policy. And you have this revolving door syndrome between the regulatory body and also the industry. And they collude together in order to benefit shareholder outcome, but not so much patient outcome.
So, for my dad it was that big veil was lifted and he was like, “Oh my goodness. I have lost trust in the medical profession.” And that’s a huge thing to instill in somebody.
You know, you and I can’t do that around the dinner table with our uncles or aunties, because they just shoo it off and say, “Thanks, Stu. Thanks Guy. I appreciate your advice. I’m going to stick with my doctor.”
But if you think about sitting them down to watch a film, they can’t deny when you have MDs, you know, naturopathic doctors, medical researchers, journalists from around the world, all agreeing that there is this egregious aspect to the way that these particular industries are run and their outcome is not really focused on patient outcomes. They’re focused on profit.
And once you can get that clarity, then you can start to make decisions; like, “OK, well, this drug might be important because it’s short-term life saving.” The drugs have to be treated like a crutch. You know, you use it until the limb’s better and then you throw it out.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: But all the drugs that the drug companies are making these days are actually focused on, you know, white, wealthy, middle to upper class people that have diseases that are caused by what they eat.
So, they’re never going to be cured by the drug, but they have to take them for life. And that’s the perfect customer, if you think about it from a drug company. So, for me that was my dad’s big shift and we helped him, in a three-month period, go off all his medication. And he went on to a cleaned-up version of a diet; an upgraded diet. And in a matter of three months he lost 25 kilograms. He was off all six medications. He was practically back to perfect health after five years overweight, sick and on all these meds and offered no hope.
And so, that was another awakening for him and he’s like, “OK, I’m fully on board. This is amazing.” And he sort of helped us finish the film. We borrowed 50 grand from him. “Bank of Roy,” we call it, and finished the Food Matters film off and it then went to actually premiere in a cinema in Sydney and then went on to be seen by tens of millions of people the world over. It’s in multiple languages now. So, very grateful for this chance.
Guy Lawrence: That’s phenomenal. Look, just for the listeners, having watched Food Matters, what’s the basic concept of it?
James Colquhoun: Well, Food Matters; the basic concept is food is better medicine than drugs and you’re the best nutritionist and the best doctor that you can get is you. And that is; that’s it in a nutshell.
And I think the whole movie just goes to prove that nature has provided so much abundance and so many answers and yet we’ve confused it. We’ve made it difficult. We said, “No. No, nature doesn’t have those answers. The answer lies in this special chemical made-up formula.”
And really, all these manmade chemicals practically came about post World War II and to me that’s crazy, because World War II is not that long ago. I mean, we have great grandparents that were in that war. And so, that’s one and a half generations.
So, basically, in that time we have gone from everything prior to that, practically everything, was certified organic or not certified, it was organic. There was no or very little toxic chemicals that existed. There was a period around World War I/World War II where we were experimenting with some, but on a wide scale it didn’t really happen.
Post World War II, we started releasing wholesale into the environment over 44,000 manmade chemicals and we took the chemicals that we were using for warfare and we put them into completely unrelated uses. Like, if this chemical can kill people, we could use it in smaller doses to kill bugs or to control insects. And to me that’s a bit scary, because that’s your food. That’s what sustains you and it allowed us to do agriculture.
But then we use chemicals in so many different ways; skin care, food products, additives, preservatives, colors, flavorings. And we’ve really made a massive mistake. It’s been a huge, it’s been a huge experiment on our population and you know, maybe after a hundred million years, we might be able to evolve, to be able of digest some of those toxic chemicals. But the story of humanity is that we’ve never, we’ve never had them in our diet. We’ve never had in our lives. So, we shouldn’t have them now, is what I believe.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s terrifying.
Stuart Cooke: I do wonder in a hundred years’ time we’re going to look at us, back at ourselves and think, “What on earth were we thinking?” Like, “This is ludicrous!”
James Colquhoun: Yeah, yeah. I think, I think that’s hindsight always.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: We’re always going to have that perspective. We have that prospective on our lives too. We look back five years in our lives, “What were we thinking?” You know, we might be 20 years from now looking back, you know.
But I think it’s just really having a sit-down, getting the facts right and having a look at it and saying, “Hang on, this is not really adding value to our society.” It’s really adding value to some of the big multi-national corporations that have patents on that technology. So, really …
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: There’s certainly not a huge amount of cash to be made from being healthy, from some people’s perspective.
James Colquhoun: Well, good health makes a lot of sense, but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: That’s from the Food Matters film, Andrew Saul, and it’s true. It’s a hundred percent true.
Stuart Cooke: So, just thinking about the principles of the movie and everything that you’ve learned during your father’s journey as well and you know, million dollar question, what three things could I do for me, myself, right now, to improve the future of my health?
James Colquhoun: Sure. You know, it’s always; you know one of the hardest things when you make a film is take 40 hours of footage and then take it down to 90 minutes.
Guy Lawrence: Wow!
James Colquhoun: That’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Then you’ve got to go from 90 minutes down to 90 seconds …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: … and that’s so infinitely impossible. But it’s part of the film process and you do it. And I guess that’s what life hacks are about too.
It’s like, how can we take this infinite knowledge and try to condense it down and it’s not an easy thing. But one of the focus; the focus of the films is really about adding in these healthy foods and focusing less on taking out, although that can be very important; but focusing on adding in.
And if I think about three things, the first thing that comes to mind would be hydration. Most of us are hydrated at some level, varying from dehydration to chronic dehydration.
You know, Dr. Batmanghelidj is an eminent doctor and researcher in the hydration space. And he was an Iranian doctor that got locked up in Iran and had only water to help heal patients he was dealing with in the hospital that he was also locked up with. And he started to do a lot of research in his life about it and it’s become foundational for a lot of other research that’s happened. But hydration, with either some sort of structured hydration or just good quality water, spring or filtered water. Drinking a lot of that.
And what water helps to do is it helps to flush the body, it helps to move things out and it solves one of the biggest problems, which is constipation. I mean, it’s something that many people don’t talk about.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
James Colquhoun: But regularly detoxifying your system, that’s one of the main elimination channels. I mean you’ve got the skin and sweat. Then you’ve got the bowels and then you’ve got urine. They’re the major ways that we shed and eliminate and process and get rid of toxins in the body.
You know, with a newborn baby coming into this world, having over 200 manmade chemicals already in its system, that’s a study coming from the Environmental Workers Group in the U.S.; you know, these are chemicals that have even been banned for 50 years, like some of the DDTs and PCBs. They’re still in women’s breast milk to this day.
Stuart Cooke: My word.
James Colquhoun: So, we have this level of toxicity that’s just now the new set point.
So, you want to assist your body, not just from a detoxification perspective, but from also from an energy perspective. When you’re properly hydrated the blood cells can bounce along and move through the blood freely. A lot of your blood and your lymph system is all regulated by how hydrated you are and especially goes for a lot of the organs as well.
So, hydration; you know you can grate a bit of ginger and squeeze a bit on ginger into it, fresh ginger, and then a little bit of lime or lemon juice in some water. That’s a really great way to hydrate.
So, the first thing is hydration. Probably the second thing, I would say, is greens. Getting enough green plant food can be super powerful. It doesn’t matter what diet you do, vegan, pesca, lacto-ovo vegetarian or whether you’re paleo or whether you’re low carb/high fat or high fat/low carb or whatever you do, it doesn’t matter.
Greens are still some incredible goodness from Mother Nature and it’s in the way that they concentrate sunlight and concentrate it in chlorophyll. And when you consume greens, either through green juice or some sort of green powder that you can mix into water or you have sautéed greens or however you do it, you’re adding that concentrated sunlight into your diet. And that helps to alkalize and cleanse your blood. A lot of the bitter greens can be fantastic as well.
You know, it’s not a coincidence that in folklore they say, “bitter medicine,” because a lot of the bitter foods that you find in nature have stronger medicinal capabilities. And if you think about how a culture consumed food, there was this scale. There was this like everyday foods. Then there’s like sort of super foods or more powerful foods. And then there’s like medicinal foods.
And even in that is psychotropic drugs. They would have rituals where they would take certain types, either a brew or some sort of hard cider that they would make or some sort of; or even mushrooms, or some certain things. But tribally, if you just look at a tribal culture, they have this big array of foods and some of them would have up to 300 different species of plant and animal foods that they would be consuming.
Now, we’re down, stuck on this tent, we’ve got like iceberg lettuce; like next to nothing, you know.
So, try to get as many different types of greens; bitter greens. You know, get into your garden. Pick your weeds, I mean, you know: dandelion. You can also pick lots of different things, gotu kola sometimes is growing in people’s backyards.
Try to identify what some of the local green soft leafy herbs that you can have in your diet. You know, throw five or six different types of herbs into a salad, juice soft herbs, juice green vegetables, put them in a smoothie, however. Just try to get move of that green plant food into your diet and that will help.
Again, like the hydration helps to clean your blood and keep it alkalized and help to keep the cells energized. And if you look at blood from somebody who’s dehydrated and over-acidic, you’ll see you can identify their blood very clearly. And if you look at somebody who’s very well hydrated and someone who has a lot of greens, regardless of what they have in the other percentage of their diet, you’re still going to notice a very different quality of blood. If you look at the quality of blood, I can guarantee that will be who you are as a person; whether you’re more energetic and alive or more dead and sloth-like.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Oxidative stress and inflammation spring to mind straight from that.
James Colquhoun: Spot on. Spot on.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
James Colquhoun: So, that’s two. Sorry.
Guy Lawrence: That’s two. There’s one more. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I’m hanging out for number three.
James Colquhoun: Three I would have to say would be fermented foods. I mean, fermented foods is the most epic fail that humanity ever made. It’s not that it was a fail, I mean, it was; ultimately they did it to preserve food. And so, they succeeded at that. It wasn’t an epic fail, it was mostly an epic success, really. But what was funny was that they didn’t realize how; the effect on health that those cultured foods would have.
And so, you know, the process of fermentation was they were controlling some bacterial fermentation from the environment in order to be able to preserve foods, such as cabbage made into sauerkraut. Or, you know, milk fermented into a kefir or into a hard cheese. Or you look at cultured veggies, cultured pickle from Japan. You’ve got the cultured condiments from India, the pickled vegetables. Tomato sauce or catsup in the States is originally a fermented food. You look at dill pickles.
And there’s always this history of consuming fermented foods with cooked foods.
And, you know, it was a fantastic thing that we did that as humanity to preserve foods.
But one of the most incredible things that we’re discovering more and more about now, especially as we start research more about the microbiome and the make up of the bacteria in the gut and how powerful that is for our immunity. And that even when a child comes out through the birth canal, that fluid that coats its mouth and then goes into the gut or if you take some of that fluid and put it on there, if there’s a different style of birth, that’s its first shot. That’s its flu shot. I mean, that should really be the only flu shot it gets. And then you can top that flu shot off with more cultured bacteria.
Now, most of the fermented foods are either wild ferments or they have been inoculated with a veggie culture starter. But we’re moving; more research now showing that the human bacteria can be very powerful in that fermentation process.
So, yeah, but fermented foods have a strong history for humanity and I think they’re one of the most healthful things that we can have. Every time I have a cooked food, I try to get a fermented condiment there with it.
So, of those three things: hydration, greens, and fermented foods, I think it’s super important.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: That’s excellent and I wouldn’t have expected that answer. Because things like sugar and vegetable oils, you know, are buzzwords and everybody thinks, “Oh crikey! I’ve got to do that.” But as simple as hydration. And I wonder how many people listening to this, right now, will pause it and rush off and get a glass of water and just stop to think about, “It makes perfect sense.”
Guy Lawrence: And put some greens in it.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
James Colquhoun: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: So, a couple of things, questions, occurred with Food Matters. Did; what was the; how was it received when it first came out? Did you have any criticism around it, because it was such a strong topic as well? Or did everyone just embrace it?
James Colquhoun: You know, it’s a great; it’s a good question. I often get that question. And I; to be honest I was really shocked, because we really had a very hard go at the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry. We were calling out particular drugs. We were referencing companies that were involved in this sort of deception of the human population. And part of me was a little bit, I guess, worried about what was going to happen. And another part of me said, “Why should I even care about it? This is the truth. Let’s get it out there.”
I think I was inspired by Michael Moore, because here’s the gentleman that made a movie about the then president of the United States of America, ripping to shreds every policy decision he’d ever made in his tenure and then getting broad, full theatrical distribution in the US.
And to me that marked a massive shift in an era where cinéma vérité or free cinema was now allowed. I’d imagine if Michael Moore was 20 years earlier, he probably would have been shot or taken out by the CIA.
I sort of felt protected by him. It was as if Michael Moore was my bodyguard. I’m like, if somebody came for me, I’d just call Michael Moore and say, “Do you want to make a film about this?” So I think that’s the problem now is that if anybody tried to attack us, that’s just great material.
I mean, if you had a pharmaceutical company try to say, hang on, this is litigious, or take us down, or buy us out, I mean, there’s another documentary and then they’re going to be put into a whole media spin.
So, I guess we didn’t really receive any lashback. One thing was we were booked during a press tour once in the U.S. to go on GMA, or Good Morning America. It’s America’s largest, most-watched breakfast show. And it got cancelled the night before.
And the producer loved the film. Was really batting for us. Absolutely wanted us on. And then she; legal went over it and basically canned it, because, they didn’t say, but because she said “it came from legal,” my guess was because a lot of the advertisements they run in between there are for drug companies.
So, we’re gonna go on and say, “Hey, food’s better medicine than drugs,” and it’s gonna cut to a break and it’s gonna say, “Take Zoloft.” And that would not be great for advertisers.
So, that’s probably the only thing that was quite subdued. But we have not really got the film onto many mainstream broadcasts. I mean, it’s been on some of; our films have on Jetstar or Singapore Airlines or we’ve also been broadcast into 33 French-speaking countries and we also channel in New Zealand.
But as far as TV and mainstream media, not a whole lot. It’s been very much more of an underground movement.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And do you have any estimates how much that’s been viewed over the years; how many people that’s reached now?
James Colquhoun: I’ve made a few guesstimates. Certainly over 10 million would be on the lower side. I mean, just looking at the Netflix stats alone, there are 630,000 ratings of the film. And Netflix don’t share view data. So, if 1 in 10 rated a film, for instance, that’s 6.3 million on Netflix alone. And just through our websites and a lot of the community screenings all around the world. And the free screenings events that we run on our site has done a few million views over the last few years through those events. So, yeah, I’d say. . .
Guy Lawrence: Well done. That’s amazing.
So, then you go on and decide to make a second movie.
James Colquhoun: After Food Matters, we wanted to make another one. We saw through my dad’s transformation that one of the biggest things people noticed was how well he looked and how young he looked and how he’d lost so much weight. They never went and asked, “How did you get off the drugs?” It was like it was a taboo question. And it’s like religion and politics; cancer. You can’t talk about these things at the dinner table.
So, family would always go, “Wow, you look great. You’ve lost a lot of weight.” And then had Laurentine and I think more about well, we are really, as a culture, attracted to being healthy, to looking fit, to looking trim. And that’s a big thing that people strive for. And yet, statistics show that we’re getting fatter and fatter, as a society. I mean, obesity, especially in our younger population, teenage kids, is skyrocketing in the U.S. and Australia and most of the Western developed world, for that matter.
And we’re spending more than ever on diets. There’s $80 billion a year spent on diet and diet-related products in the U.S. This is like: sugar-free, fat-free, cleanse programs, fat pills, weight-loss surgery. I mean, it’s a huge industry. And yet, if you look at the statistics, that amount of spending is having zero to no impact on obesity statistics.
So, how, if we’re spending that much money a year, can we be getting bad results? I mean, surely there is some huge flaw in our thinking around this issue. Which is a hugely important issue, because obesity is the number one leading cause of death. And you think, well, hang on; how is that possible? Well, if you do the research, it’s because it’s the largest precursor to most chronic illness. So when you’re obese or overweight, the chances of heart disease or cancer or diabetes skyrocket. So, you become the biggest risk factor for those illnesses, and that’s the biggest gateway to a lot of those problems through obesity.
So, we started looking into it and then saw that, you know, a lot of what is promoted as a way to lose weight was very; did a lot of damage to the body; wasn’t helpful or healthy long-term. And we just wanted to uncover a lot of those issues and then try to set the record straight and say, well, what do we know about the human body, how can we handle these weight and body transformation issues in a healthy way. And then we interviewed a lot of people who had had success in that and were doing it in a good way. And that became Hungry for Change.
Guy Lawrence: Hungry for Change. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: With those two movies, then, in mind, do you have, like, a standout transformational story?
James Colquhoun: The biggest one by far is Jon Gabriel in Hungry for Change. I mean, that guy. He’s, luckily, now, the godfather to my son. He lives about a 45-minute drive from here. And so I’m super lucky to have him locally, because he’s from the states originally.
But Jon lost over 200 pounds over about a three- or four-year period and was able to keep it off for seven years. And that’s going from morbidly obese. You know, most people don’t even have that much weight. They don’t even weigh that to start with, let alone losing that much weight.
So, Jon is incredible in that he really brought together two disparate elements, I guess, in health and nutrition. One was the mind and one was the body. So, everyone was focusing on this. Like, “Have your lemon detox drink, eat nothing for 30 days, or juice for 30 days straight.” I mean, some of these are good ideas; some of these are crazy ideas. “And then you’ll lose weight.”
But not many other people were going, “Hang on. What’s the emotional component? How can we look at using meditation or visualization to reduce stress in the body. Or, how can we, like elite athletes do, use the power of visualization to visualize the exact outcome you want?
So, athletes would visualize running that hundred-meter sprint or they would even visualize doing that big aerial maneuver. Or they used the power of this visualization to enhance their performance.
And there’s actually a lot of science showing that when you visualize something in a really powerful way, your body is actually twitching its muscles as if it was doing that action as well, whether you’re jumping high to do a slam dunk or something.
So, Jon took that knowledge and put it into body transformation. So, he would create visualization, guided visualization programs, where imagining the body, the perfect body you want, walking along the beach with the body. Being in that body, like creating a vision of you in that body.
And it sounds a bit crazy, but the subconscious mind is so powerful that it’s put to work in so many different ways. It subtly starts to regulate appetite, hunger, secretion of fluids by certain organs in the body. All these processes that are happening because of that visualization.
And he’s living proof of it and he’s helped thousands of people as well go through this process. So, if you’re looking to have extra strength or to lose extra weight, incorporating some sort of visualization to it might sound strange, but’s it’s actually an awesome secret that most people aren’t fully embracing.
And even just from the stress reduction perspective, we’re so on-edge and we’re so over-stimulated with a lot of foods that we eat that having that relaxation element and having really high, dense nutrient foods so your body is actually getting the omega-3s and the essential fatty acids and the proteins and the grains that it needs. That combined is an unbeatable combination. And Jon’s living proof of that.
Stuart Cooke: That’s; it’s such an unbelievable thought that the power of our mind. . . I mean, stress can have more of an impact than bad food.
James Colquhoun: Yep. Yep. Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: We’ve actually got Dr. Joe Dispenza coming up on our podcast next week. And I’m looking forward to delving into that topic, because that’s exactly what he’s about, for sure.
James Colquhoun: Before the next question, on that stress-food relationship, I think what’s really important to just bring up quickly about that is, you’re spot-on. If you’re stressed about what you’re eating, or if you’re like “I can’t eat this” or “I can’t eat that” or “I can only have this much of that,” that stress is actually doing damage to the body as well.
So, you know, Jon’s program and what we advocate in Hungry for Change as well is, like, let go of the stress in our food. Even though you might want to aspire to eat that perfect diet, don’t worry if you slip up and have some gluten every now and then. Or “I had a grain.” You know. Don’t freak out about it. Allow yourself to eat as best as you can when you can, and if you slip up, just make peace with that and acknowledge that there’s an element of biochemical reaction when you eat food, but also there’s the biochemical reaction when you think thoughts. So, really create a relaxed environment around food. Always, hopefully, sit down to eat, spend a few minutes just being still before you start eating. Eat in a relaxed way and your body will produce better results for you.
Guy Lawrence: And slow down, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s helpful. And like you said, thinking and preparing for your body to digest and absorb it. Because you can be in another mindset, texting, watching TV, shouting at the kids, and your body isn’t ready to grab all of the good stuff.
James Colquhoun: They say that, you know, well, we’ve figured out that digestion doesn’t happen in the gut. It starts in the mouth, right? So the chewing and swallowing. But it starts before that. It starts when you see, when you smell the food.
But I think if you look at some of the longest-lived, healthiest people in the world, they sit down for hour, two-hour lunches. They’ve probably got multi-generations around the table. They laugh. They relax. The either some sort of prayer or some sort of gratitude before they eat. You know, all these really traditional people have it dialed, and the more we get back to that simple way, or try to incorporate some of those simple, ancient. . . You know, it’s Stone Age technology that’s gonna help overcome all the problems in the world. It’s just about how do we take that Stone Age technology, these ancient ideas, and bring them into everyday life? And I think those little rituals are super powerful.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. You mentioned something regarding certain foods you wouldn’t eat. What foods would you go out of your way to avoid at all costs?
James Colquhoun: Foods I would avoid at all costs. I think, wherever possible, and I don’t want to say that I avoid everything at all costs, because sometimes you will eat something at the bar and it’s got hydrogenated vegetable oils. And it’s like, “Oh, shit.” I discovered that afterwards. You go to a health food store and eat something you think’s health food, then it’s got agave syrup in there as a sweetener, which I’m not huge on, even though that was a big fad awhile ago.
So, you know, but I would say that some of the things that I really go out of my way to avoid, wherever possible: vegetable oils. Like, you know, vegetable oils go rancid in the body; cause all sorts of havoc. They’re a new food. They’re a modern food. We were never designed to really process vegetable oils in that way.
Good quality oils are great. Some cold-pressed olive oil, some other cold-pressed oils that are very stable: avocado oil, things like that are OK. Then really good butters; ghee. We need good fats. Cod liver oil. That sort of thing is fantastic. But these highly unstable, easily-turned-rancid vegetable oils, we have to get that out. That’s, for me, that’s an “out.”
Other things that I really try to avoid but never avoid completely are things like grains. You know, I do have some grains in my diet. I go out of my way to properly prepare them, either soaking or fermenting. But, you know, as a general rule I really try to steer clear of a lot of the white, fluffy, floury products. I think they’re usually detrimental to health. Everybody, at some level, has a sensitivity to gluten and grains, and you may be a little bit or you may be a lot. Right up here’s celiac.
So I think that avoiding or reducing them as much as possible is helpful. If you are gonna have them in your diet, try to get really ancient forms of these grains, either einkorn XXor earhorn wheat 0:42:32.000XX or an emmer wheat. And then soak, ferment, do all those sorts of things. And that’s how we always used to do it. Again, Stone Age technology is gonna solve it all.
And try to get the non-hybridized original version of it. I mean, wheat was like eight foot tall. Now it’s like that tall and it’s got crazy amounts of bushels on it. They just come and harvest that shit up. Mix it in. The more gluten the better, because gluten makes it fluffy, because gluten is glue. It’s essentially a glue. That’s why you knead it and it gets all sticky and gluey and stretchy. Gluten is the glue in bread and we’ve become addicted to that fluffy white carbohydrate.
So, if you’re going to have any sorts of grains, get back to the original. That’s what I am about. So, those two. What else would I avoid at all costs?
I think one of the other things I would really focus on is, when I consume animal products, to make sure wherever possible they’re organic, fed their natural diet, which could be grass or other things. And free-roaming and humanely raised.
Because any animal product, whether it’s a good-quality, grass-fed butter, or a meat, or a chicken, or fish, when it’s reared in a natural way it’s fine. But when it’s unnaturally raised or fed hormones or antibiotics or fed only corn, wheat, and soy, then those animals get sick. They also concentrate a lot of the pesticides and the toxins in that food into their body. Because toxins are lipophilic; they’re fat-loving. So toxins always attract to fat. So, if you have adipose tissue or fat tissue if your gut, or cellulite in your thighs, and you squeeze it together; you see all that. That’s fat tissue, and it’s often trapped toxins, and they say water detoxing can get rid of that.
If you’re eating a sick animal that’s been having a lot of foods that have been grown with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, then it’s concentrating those pesticides in its body. And then you’re eating a concentrated version of that toxicity.
So, any fat products, animal products, a lot have a high percentage of fat, good-quality fats, most of them, if they’ve been eating a good diet. But you also think about nuts and seeds which also have a high percentage of fat. You want to make sure those products, or I want to make sure those products, I, personally, are as organic as possible so that they’re not concentrating any toxins unnecessarily that I’m introducing into my diet.
So, I think those three things are the rules for me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. And when you think about the amount of people that actually eat them, mainly. You know, the foods that you go out of your way to avoid as well.
James Colquhoun: Yeah, XXunknown 0:44:57.000XX
Guy Lawrence: Unfortunately, yeah. Go ahead, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so, I was quite excited just for you to touch on FMTV. Now, this is something that, when I heard about what it was, got super excited. Without giving it away, joined up and spent months watching all this awesome stuff.
So, I wondered if you could just tell us a little bit about what FMTV is.
James Colquhoun: Cool. Cool. Well, since producing Food Matters and Hungry for Change, we just dropped it, a lot of the film industry, the way the we distributed those titles, we didn’t go to the festivals. We didn’t do theatrical distribution. We bypassed a lot of the majors and got to our audience. And that pissed a lot of people off. A lot of the studios and that.
But it’s created a huge surgence in filmmakers that are basically disrupting the system. They’re splitting up their rights, they’re assigning rights differently, they’re maintaining their rights to distribute their film on their website. I think it’s fantastic that that’s happening, because the power’s shifting back to the content producers.
Now, there’s still a big issue in that for each film that’s made, for every Food Matters or Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, or Carb-Loaded, or Hungry for Change, or Fed Up, or Food, Inc., there’s a hundred other films that are awesomely well-produced, made by budding filmmakers that have put together great content, that don’t get picked up by iTunes or Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime or any of these platforms.
And over the years, I would freely consult with a lot of these filmmakers and just give them; I’ll have a call with them for a couple of hours and just tell them everything I learned. Because I want. . . every. . . a rising tide floats all boats, and the more films in this genre that are succeeding, the better it is for everybody, because the message is getting out. It’s about creating that XXWin-A-Thon 0:46:42.000XX environment, I call it.
And so I would consult with all these filmmakers and they’d come back to me a year later and they wouldn’t have fully implemented their process or they wouldn’t have done it right, and they’d be asking me more questions again. And I got a little bit, not frustrated, but I got upset that a lot of these companies were not taking these films on board, or they would get knocked back by distributors.
So, I had a thought about bringing all this content together in one space and essentially creating a Netflix but for health and wellness. So, a home for all this information around nutrition, health, natural medicine, peak performance, transforming your body, meditation, mind-body, life purpose, like some of big questions around: How can we be the best human we can be? Whether you’re a mother, or an elite athlete, the knowledge is really similar.
And then: How can we have recipe videos from some of these experts showing up some of this content? How can we have some cool exercise and yoga and stretching and back strengthening and more power exercises? How can we have all that in one place, and using this new form of media that is taking over the world? I mean, you look at what industry terms SVOD, or Subscription Video On Demand, it’s exploded. I mean, Netflix went from no digital to like over 50 million subscribers in the last eight years, I think.
Stuart Cooke: Is that right?
James Colquhoun: Yeah, so they are absolutely crushing it. And to me that says two things: one is people want to consume content differently. If they want to watch a TV series, they just want to watch it back-to-back and watch all 20 episodes. That’s like, binge TV they’ve basically given rise to.
But another part of that equation is that I think it’s most of the world putting a hand up and saying, “I don’t want ads anymore. I don’t want to watch this b.s. on TV in between the program I’m trying to watch. I don’t want to be sold on a drug. I don’t want to be sold on Coke. I don’t want to be sold on fast food or Carl’s Jr. or In-N-Out burger or McDonald’s. I want to watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it, and I don’t want to be disrupted.”
And to me, that’s awesome. Because I’ve always hated disruption advertising. And, you know, I think that Netflix, in a way, has helped to pave a new movement of watching the content when you want. So, FMTV was born out of that, which stands for Food Matters Television. And it’s on FMTV.com, and it launched March last year, so it’s been going for just over a year, and we’ve had over a million view of content in the channel. We’ve got subscribers all around the world. And we’re developing for new platforms. We’re in Roku, which is like an Apple TV in American, and that’s in 10 million homes there. And really trying to help filmmakers that aren’t getting great distribution, plus also help people like you and I that are always thirsty for more knowledge and more information but want it in an entertaining way, where it’s fun to sit down and watch something, bring it together, and help get the message to more people and hopefully create more of a groundswell around this important knowledge.
Stuart Cooke: Brilliant.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s awesome. We subscribe, and we love it. And we’d certainly recommend anyone listening to this, check it out. FMTV. It’s a great one-stop shop.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just; I actually loved the mastery, from Food Matters, so you get to delve into more of the individual interviews and learn about that, and just, yeah. It blew me away. That kind of stuff really, really interests me.
James Colquhoun: Yeah, there’s so much great content that you have leave out of a film. And I’ve encouraged a lot of filmmakers that we’ve signed to FMTV to give us their outtakes; to give us the extended interviews. And we get them up there as well, because people watch the film and they get inspired and they go watch the whole interview with, like, XXDr. Ed Lorsoro 0:50:27.000XX and they’ll go watch the whole interview with Gary Tubbs or they’ll go watch the whole interview with whoever. And they’re like, whoa, this is a totally new depth of knowledge that got brushed over in the film, but in that interview they give you information that’s a lot more applicable.
So, yeah, I like that, too, so that’s fun.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s brilliant, James.
We actually ask a couple of questions on the show every week, before we wrap up, and the first one is: What did you eat yesterday?
James Colquhoun: OK. Cool, cool. For breakfast, I had some sautéed greens and I had a cabbage that was sitting in the fridge, almost turning itself into sauerkraut. So, it was getting old so I ripped a few of the sheets off, chopped the core out, chopped it up into chunks, got some Swiss chard, chopped it, lots of fresh herbs from the garden; got mint and basil.
And with the cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, you’ve either got to ferment it or steam or fry it, because the goitrogenic effects of the cruciferous vegetable. So, watch out for; they’re the most powerful vegetables we know, like broccoli, kale, cabbage, Romanesque, these sorts of vegetables, are better and more easily digested when they’re slightly cooked.
So, I took some of those greens, fried them all up in a pan, had some soft-boiled eggs. I love soft-boiled eggs; I know some people don’t like them. They’re one of nature’s perfect foods. And make sure to keep the yolks slightly undercooked where possible, because that’s where, contrary to popular belief about eating only the whites, you know, the yolk is where the nutrition is. I mean, that’s where the really powerful DHA and EPA, the essentially fatty acids that drive all sorts of processes in your body, especially in brain function, they’re in there, and they get damaged by heat, so having them slightly undercooked is a good idea.
I also had some breakfast meats, which I don’t do that often, but it was a Sunday morning. And so I had some organic, free-range bacon in there as well. So, that’s something that’s new for me. I started introducing, like, liver meats and organ meats as well. I didn’t have any of them for breakfast though. I didn’t have any toast or gluten. It was just basically greens.
To me, greens, eggs, and then some sort of protein source, so it could be a quinoa or it could be some sort of meat or something, that’s a really filling, super-hearty breakfast. And if you get that, you’re gonna have less blood sugar issues at 10, 11, 12 o’clock. If you wake up and have jam on toast, it’s basically rocket fuel on rocket fuel. So, your blood sugar goes “bang” and down.
So, that was breakfast. What did I have for lunch? What did I have for lunch? I can’t remember. If it comes to me, I’ll remember it. I had a smoothie in the afternoon and it was one that I don’t have often, but I’d bought some pineapples; were available, so I put a little bit of pineapple in a blender and then I put lots and lots of coconut; the creamed coconut. Not coconut cream in a can, but creamed coconuts. So, it’s like they take the whole coconut, they make it into almost like an almond butter cream. It’s ridiculous. Everybody should be on that. So I put heaps of that in. And then I put some coconut milk in as well. And watch out for all the additives and that sort of stuff. You want to try to find one that doesn’t have any of the guar gums or anything like that in there.
Then some ice, maca powder, whole hemp seeds (which are illegal for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand, so I didn’t say that. This was a facial mask, actually, that I made). So, what else did I put in there? That was about it, actually. So, it was like piña colada, really. Oh, actually, I put tahini in there as well, which is milled up sesame seeds. A little bit of that in there. Whizzed that up and it was absolutely amazing. I mean, I always, like, wing it with my smoothies. I’m not a recipe sort of guy, but that was one of the better ones that I’ve made in awhile.
Stuart Cooke: So, was it one or two shots of vodka in there?
James Colquhoun: There was none.
Then I went around to my dad’s place and got a haircut yesterday afternoon. And I had a beer with him at sunset, which was really nice. It was a hand-crafted, three-ingredient IPA from a U.S. brewery. So, always make sure your beers have three or less ingredients. Ideally just three. You can’t really have less than three ingredients. And that’s a German rule, 1846, der Reinheitsgebot, make sure you always try to have German beers if you’re having any.
And for dinner, I actually had a lamb curry, which I made from scratch. And it was like, we had made the recipe in the office the week before. We were doing some filming. And it was so delicious I wanted to make it at home. So I made that from scratch and we had lamb curry with rice.
And to healthify that sort of dish, what we do is have, like, three or four big, heaping tablespoons of sauerkraut on there. So, you’re getting that fermented food with the cooked food. And then also we made another fermented side, which was yogurt with, like, turmeric in there, which is good for inflammation, and fresh cucumber chopped up. And if you don’t do any organic dairy yogurt, you can always have a coconut yogurt in there as well, so it’s no dairy.
And, to me, I still get to have that beautiful, rich, delicious meal, but then have the sauerkraut or the yogurt; any of those fermented sides. Even mix it. I’m not a mixing guy. I like to piece it together. But that was my day. I still don’t remember what I had for lunch, actually.
Guy Lawrence: Maybe you skipped it because your breakfast was so nourishing.
James Colquhoun: Yeah, it was a big, late breakfast. Maybe it was just the smoothie, actually. Yeah, that was yesterday.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate.
And the last question is: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
This generally stumps everyone.
James Colquhoun: Yeah. It’s a tough one, because I try to think, well, was it nutrition-based, or is it life based. I mean, you said “best advice.” That’s just wide.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, anything.
James Colquhoun: I think it’s probably from the big man Tony Robbins again, who I admire his work. He XXcollates? Curates? Creates? some of the best personal work 0:56:55.000XX on the planet, and peak performance work on the planet as well.
And, to me, his statement, “take massive action,” is so simple, but it’s super radical. I mean, you think about that all of us have so many ideas in our day-to-day life. I mean, you guys started an awesome company, you’re getting great information out there; that started as an idea.
I mean, all of us have, and I know you guys probably have another 30 or 50 ideas that you’re thinking about right now. And so am I. So, it’s taking those ideas, distilling it down to your top two or three, and then not thinking about it anymore. Just going and doing it. And, to me, a lot of the things where I’ve had success in my life was from taking massive action, whether that’s learning about a new piece of nutritional information or whether that’s learning about something where you want to have an impact or do some philanthropic work or something. It’s about taking massive action.
It might seem like a little bit of a copout, that statement, but to me that’s a really important element of my life. I think if you learn something and you want to do it, just go do it. And have a blatant disregard for the resources that you have on hand at the time. So, I think people then go, “Well, I can’t take action because of this.” And that’s just b.s. Again, act as if that’s not an issue. You know what I mean? Just go for it. And you find the resources, you find the way, you make it happen; possible.
And with just about everything I’ve done in the last seven or eight years, after completing it, if you’d asked me, would you have done that knowing how difficult it is, it’s like, I probably wouldn’t have started.
Guy Lawrence: No way, yeah.
James Colquhoun: And I think that’s true for everybody. And if you think about that, then it makes that statement even more powerful, which is “take massive action.” Because you realize that had you stalled any longer or had you had hindsight, you probably wouldn’t have done it. So, you’ve got to do it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It was the same with us. Like, we had nothing when we started. We had no idea what we were doing. But we were passionate and had the intention of getting out there.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. And I remember reading a book by Richard Branson, and that was his driver. It was: Just do it. Get on with it, and do it. Create the problem, and then something will happen. Because there’s an energy there already.
James Colquhoun: Yeah. Yeah. He did it in a massive way. I love his work as well. “Let’s negotiate a lease of an aircraft!” It’s like, what? Are you kidding me?
And that’s the sort of thing. I think even with the TV station, like, “Let’s create a subscription TV service.” It’s like, well, how do you do that? We’ll need a contract to sign content. OK, let’s do that. Then you need a delivery platform. All right. Let’s build that.
It was like, we had no idea. We just built it from scratch. And now we have an awesome team in here that’s acquiring content. We’re speaking to the biggest distribution companies in the world. They’re based in New York, in L.A. We’re speaking with Jamie Oliver’s team and all these people about signing this content, and we’ve basically made this idea up 12 months ago, 18 months ago, and put it on a contract. And I think that; I don’t think anybody would; I mean, that’s how most businesses start. How most ideas start is it’s just something you’ve created a vision in your mind and you went and did it.
And I think that everyone will acknowledge, like you guys are now, and like I am here, is that if you go back 12 months, eight months, you know, we didn’t have a clue. And it’s that learning. Now I know about contracts. Now our team knows about contracts. You learn more about how to do it. That’s the fun.
Stuart Cooke: That’s brilliant, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And so with all that in mind, what’s next for you guys at Food Matters? Is there anything in the pipeline?
James Colquhoun: There’s a few things in the pipeline. You know, one of the things that, a core message; if I could show you into the kitchen, just around here in the office, we’ve got a poster here, it’s our guiding principle, really, which is how can we help share this life-saving message with more people?
So, I think we’re constantly looking, thinking about that, and musing on it, and thinking, well, how can we; what’s the next step for sharing this message? FMTV was a big deal, it took a lot of our focus, and now, you know, we’re focusing on some more things but we have some food products coming out this year. You know, we’ve got a whole food vitamin C powder, which is awesome because vitamin C’s such a critical nutrient and there’s so many awesome plant-based sources of that, and yet there’s very few quick powder drink mixes you can take. We’re one of the only animals that don’t produce our own vitamin C, so it’s important for us to get it from our diet, and that’s great for stress and all sorts of other things. And energy and mood.
So, there’s a few other products we have coming out like a chocolate and a protein and an update greens in new packaging. I’m looking at that calendar here. We’re working to help create a curated selection of the top sort of 30 or 50 products that Laurentine and I and the team here at Food Matters use on a regular basis and making that available in a store environment where people can just pick them up and stock their kitchen up. So, if you’re either coming at this fresh or you’re some sort of gastronomic guru, sort of get a little bit of a distillation of the years of research we’ve been doing. Plus, that’s been; our research has always been based on tapping into experts who have been doing years more research than us. And then saying, here are top sort of 50 products that we have in our house or in our kitchen and sort of helping recommend.
And it’s a tricky line to walk because we’ve been so heavily education-based, now that we have products it’s like, hang on, people are going to think we’re biased. But I’m just going to hold a pure intention and say, look, these are the products that we use. If you’re gonna have these products, then these are the ones we recommend.
It’s sort of like, you know, you’re welcome to buy it and you’re entirely welcome to go into a corner store and buy something different. I don’t really care. It’s more just about putting that out there, so we’re gonna get more of that out there.
And we’re working on a transformational program, like a 28-day challenge. Like Food Matters challenge or like a mind-body or a whole body challenge. We take people for 28 days and hold their hair through, like, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, exercise, movement, meditation, visualization, mind-body work, and sort of put together a 28-day program and help take people through a process and set them up for some healthy habits for life, because it’s a big challenge that people have and it’s something we want to have a deeper impact with the people that we get to reach. So, that’s on the pipeline for now.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Busy boy.
Guy Lawrence: That was fantastic, James. And, look, for anyone listening to this, where would be the best place for them to go to start if they’re not familiar with Food Matters, Hungry for Change, FMTV. Like, on the web?
James Colquhoun: Sure. I think FoodMatters.tv. That’s the hub; that’s the home. Go there. You know, jump on our newsletter list. Check out all the articles and the recipes that we have on the page.
But probably before that I would recommend watching the films. I think the films have this ability to just crack you open. And we all know when we watch a great documentary about a topic we knew nothing about, be it genetically modified organisms or even something completely unrelated, it just completely opens you up. You learn so much in such a short period of time.
So, I actually think if you’re starting here, if you’ve watched some great documentaries, go and watch five or 10 or 15 documentaries. It’s like doing a condensed nutrition and life degree, almost, because you’re getting curated knowledge from great filmmakers. So I’d suggest jumping on FMTV, which is FMTV.com. We have a 10-day trial there as well, a free trial, so you can register as a user and get 10 days free. And you can cancel within those 10 days. So, go in for 10 days to a movie marathon. Watch one a day for 10 days. And then you can absolutely cancel and it doesn’t cost you anything. Or stay in. It’s like $7.95 a month or $79 a year. So, really quite affordable.
And, you know, I guarantee that if you watch 10 or 20 films in there, I will guarantee you’ll have a shift in your perspective on life. And some of the big ones in there right now, I just jotted a few down here, are: E-motion, The Connection, Super Juice Me. Carb-Loaded is a great one about the whole paleo carb question. It’s a fantastic film. Perfect human diet is another one I think your viewers would really enjoy. There’s some great docs in there. Some of the life purpose ones, check on them, like The Shift or even The Connection documentary, the power of the mind-body, watch them and you will not be the same again, I guarantee it. You will be a different person. And that’s an exciting prospect. I mean, nothing’s more powerful than that. I love them.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, well, mate, that’s brilliant. We’ll link to all the show notes anyway, so anyone that comes in can read the transcript, they’ll be able to click through and check everything out. And may their journey begin there if it hasn’t already, which is fantastic.
So, James, we really appreciate you coming on the show today. That was mindblowing. That was awesome. And, yeah, I have no doubt everyone who listens to this is gonna get very inspired very quickly.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Yeah. There were some huge nuggets of inspiration in there as well. Take-home things. I just love that you can dial in for an hour, listen to a podcast wherever you are, and just empower yourself with this knowledge. Just do it. Start somewhere.
James Colquhoun: Keep up the great work, guy. Great chatting, Guy. Awesome, Stu.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, James. Speak soon. Bye-bye mate.
Guy:The video above is the short version of why we get fat and what we can do about it. Below is the fascinating long version as today we are joined by Dr Kieron Rooney, a Researcher in Metabolic Biochemistry.
Kieron is a fun, down to earth guy who gives us an incite to what is going in the world of nutritional study from an academic perspective. So if you are wondering why there could be so much disagreement out there on the world of nutrition, then watch this as Kieron sheds some light on what’s really going on!
Full Dr Kieron Rooney Interview: Science, Research & Nutrition. What’s the real deal?
Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our awesome guest today is Dr. Kieron Rooney. Now, to quote his twitter bio, “Dr. Kieron Rooney is a researcher in metabolic biochemistry. He campaigns for real foods in schools,” and awesome project, “He’s interested in cancer and sugar metabolism and he’s also a registered nutritionist.”
And, also, on top of that, a really awesome cool guy, and we’re pretty keen to get him on the show today. The one thing I’ve realized chatting to Kieron on this podcast today is that the more you know the more you don’t now. You know? So delving into the world of science and academic research with Kieron and trying to figure out why there’s this whole nutritional mess going on, really, with this low-fat, high-fat, high-carb, low-carb, what, you know, what’s going on and to get it from Kieron’s perspective is pretty awesome.
So strap yourself in. It’s pretty information-packed, but he does break it down in really simple terms, and we cover many, many topics, including all of the above I just mentioned, so I’m sure you’re going to get a lot out of this.
If you are listening to this through iTunes, a little review, awesome. It takes two minutes. It can be complicated; iTunes don’t make it easy for us, you know, but the reviews, and if you subscribe to our podcast, allows us to get found easily on iTunes and it helps get this message out there. So if you do enjoy our podcasts and you do enjoy the show, a simple review telling us, “Hey, guys, keep it up,” would be pretty awesome.
We know we’re reaching a lot of people now and we know you’re out there. Of course you can watch these on video. If you are listening to us through iTunes, just come over to our blog 180nutrition.com.au where we’ve got a host of things everywhere from blog posts, obviously these podcasts, our products, whatever, it’s all in there, and it’s all there to serve you and help your health moving forward.
Anyway, enjoy the show. Let’s go over to Kieron and let’s hang out for the next 45 minutes. Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: All right. I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m with Stuart Cooke and our awesome guest today is Dr. Kieron Rooney. Welcome!
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Hello.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: Before we kick off, I’ve got to say I’m very excited to have you on the show and now I do say that to all the guests, but even more so today, because, you know, I was just thinking this morning there’s a lot of smart people in this world, right? And a lot of academics and the rest of it, but for some reason we still can’t get a unison, harmony, if you like, on nutrition, so what’s going on? So I’m really looking forward to shedding some light on that today.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: And find out why everyone is so indifferent about it.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: I might not have a definitive answer for you, but I can at least come up with a few suggestions. How’s that?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’d be awesome.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: yeah? All right.
Guy Lawrence: Before we get into that, can you just explain to our listeners a little bit about yourself?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Oh, yeah, sure.
Guy Lawrence: And why we are excited to have you on the show?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Okay, so, look, professionally I did a Bachelor of Science degree from 1995 to ’98 at University of Sydney and then I did my honors and Ph.D in metabolic biochemistry. So I had four and a bit years where I was looking at the role of the phosphocreatine energy shuttle and how it reacts or behaves to shuttle energy around muscle cells, liver cells and the pancreas. I was particularly looking at whether or not it influence insulin secretions, so I then used a couple of different animal models to manipulate that, so we would use exercise as intervention, we would use high-fat diets as an intervention, and we’ll have a look to see what we could do to influence fuel storage and fuel utilization capacity, and that…
And then in 2003, I got my position as a lecturer just after the Ph.D lecturing in exercise physiology and biochemistry. I’ve spent the last ten years now developing curriculum for exercise science degrees, exercise physiology, that mostly focuses, my part mostly focuses, on what regulates fuel utilizations, how we store it, how we break it down, and the regulation behind that, and that’s my teaching side of things, and then for my research perspective what I’ve continued on is the investigations of fuel utilization. We’ve got a number of research projects have looked at how diet and exercise can influence how well we store and break down fuel.
Personally, because I know that you’re interested in the personal story, if we go back to 2006, 2005, I was a smoker weighing in at around 90 kilos, but I could still run 5Ks at around about 25 minutes, so was living thinking that I was fit, right, but then decided with my partner that we wanted to start a family so we probably really should get ourselves healthy as well. I started making more changes so I quit smoking. I quit the drinking of Coke, which at that time I was probably around about two liters a day, and then I quit drinking Coke again in 2008, and then I quit drinking it again in 2010, and I quit drinking it again in 2013…
So, that one’s been a little bit of a recurrent one for me, but look…about two years ago I decided to go, well, I guess, the focus was not eating processed food. It was removing as much of the highly processed foods that were in my diet, which at the time was huge, right? That’s twos liters of Coke a day and there was a lot of pasta, there was a lot of breads, it was eating out a fair bit, and so once I, or the family, jumped onto that thinking and we removed a lot of the highly-processed refined flours, those types of foods, health just started improving even more dramatically.
Everyone like weight stories. I dropped. I went from 91 kilos at that point down to 75, but more importantly I think I’m still running quite well, although, I’ve cut that out and I’ve started doing more strength work and my power outputs at the gym have been increasing over that same time, so I know I’m feeling stronger and now I’m feeling better, and some people tell me I’m looking better.
Stuart Cooke: Oh boy, okay. You’re qualified to answer my next question then.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: On two fronts, right? I get the academic perspective and the personal anecdote N=1 that nobody likes.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. You’re right. You’ve certainly touched on what I think the answer is going to be, but in your scientific opinion why do you think we’re getting fatter and sicker as a nation?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: My perspective on this has changed dramatically over the last ten years. My training was from a biochemistry point of view, small animal models, cell models, looking at individual metabolic pathways, looking for particular energy transfer systems that might explain why it is that we’re storing more fat or more carbohydrate, whatever it might be, or not accessing it properly, and so therefore we might be storing it but not breaking it down, but five years ago, 2009, 2010, I started collaborating with a psychology group who were, at the time, looking at sugar-sweetened beverages and sugar-sweetened foods to influence cognition, and we got collaborating going, “Well, you guys will measure behavioral adaptations to food, I can have a look at the metabolic perspectives in those same models, and we’ll see what happens.”
So, for the last five years, we’ve been publishing that work. Last year we were able to get an ARC grant to start trying to translate into human population. So, look, ten years ago I would’ve said to you, “We’ve got some nice discrete energy pathways that are defective in individual cells within the body, and that might be what it is that’s driving us to be fatter and sicker.”
But, over the last five years, as I start looking more at the behavioral, the cognitive side of things, I see it’s much more of a mix between the two, and I think one of the biggest issues we’ve got at the moment is as individuals we want our meals to be convenient so they can fit in with our busy lives. We want them to be cheap, so they can fit in with our finances, and more and more, we want them to be increasingly tasty, flavorsome, and so what we’ve done as a society is we’ve created a niche there where the food industry have come in and provided exactly what we’ve been wanting with highly processed foods that are energy dense, taste great, and relatively cheap.
Now what that’s done is that it’s lead us to be eating more, and so we no longer just have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which are in moderate proportions, but we’ve also got the mid-morning snack, the late-afternoon snack, the food that I’m going to eat on the drive or the bus ride home, I’ve got my dessert, and I’ve got my late-night snack before I go to bed. So we have an environment where we’ve got a surplus of food, but the big issue is that metabolically our systems can’t meet that capacity, and so we’ve put our metabolic systems, which have a limited threshold to utilize energy into an environment where we’re providing it with vast excesses.
Now, our bodies do burn energy. Absolutely. We’ll try and excrete as much of the excess as we can, but any excess we store, and that answers the question as to why we’re getting fatter, shall we say, or larger, right? So, we’re eating the wrong foods. We’re eating too much of them. We’re eating too frequently, such that the system doesn’t have a chance to recover and remove the excess that we’ve taken in, but the other big issue there is that we’re not eating the right foods. We’ve gone for the reliance on the convenient, cheap, highly-processed foods and we’ve moved away, we’ve forgotten about food quality, and so when you move into eating those types of food, they meet the nutrient requirements for your metabolic capacity and you don’t tend to overeat all of them.
Guy Lawrence: A question, a thought just popped in there, Kieron. With your own personal circumstances, you know how you say you dropped this weight from being over 90 kilos…
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: And you’ve changed the quality of your food dramatically, obviously, in the Cokes and that. Did the consumption change as well, or did that remain the same?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: I’m a little bit of a, because I’m a scientist at heart, I tend to collect a lot of data on myself, so I do have spreadsheets of energy intake, energy expenditure, what I’ve been doing, since around 2004, and when we have a look at the total energy intake, that hasn’t changed that much, but what has happened is that my frequencies of meals.
So, for example, I don’t eat breakfast anymore. All right? When I wake up in the morning, I’m not hungry. I might have a cup of coffee. That gets me to work. My first meal is usually around about half-past ten, eleven o’clock, so you might see me attacking my fridge in about an hour, but what I’m seeing is I’m eating far less often during my day, but those meals are much more nutrient dense, and that’s getting me through the day.
So, what I’m probably finding, if I was to look at my own system, is that there are far more times during my day where I’ve got a recovery period and I don’t have a constantly high metabolic load coming in onto that system that my digestive system and my endocrine system have to deal with.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. From a science perspective, then, because we’ve been pushed a low-fat diet for many, many years, you know, I think Ancel Keys was the breakthrough scientist, and do we know what we know now back then? So, has opinions changed dramatically, or have we just had new discoveries over the last couple of years? Or has it always been a mixed bag of information over the last twenty or thirty years?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think…when you think about it from a nutrition research, nutrition information, public health policy point-of-view, the science and the evidence hasn’t necessarily changed significantly. We still know very much what we knew quite a long, long time ago. There’s been evidence from early turn of the century that particular foods behave in different ways when you consume them, all right? So whether or not that knowledge has changed is not really the issue. I think part of the big problem is how it’s being marketed, how it’s being utilized in health promotion, and that’s what necessarily has changed.
We knew years ago that if you ate too much, if you ate more energy than you’re going to, than you expend, then you’re going to store lots of it. We knew twenty years ago, thirty years ago, forty years ago exercise was important for prevention of cardiovascular disease, the prevention of diabetes…I think the big change that is happening at the moment is people realizing that maybe one of the biggest fallacies that they’ve had is that they’ve only thought about food and nutrition from an energy perspective, and what we really need to identify far more is how individual foods react or changehow our metabolic systems work.
So, the whole energy in, energy out argument, which works as a nice simple piece of dogma to get a particular message across, that is, “If you eat too much, you’re going to gain weight. If you eat less, you’re going to lose it,” that works to some extent, but it doesn’t explain how food relates to metabolic disease, because food is far more than just the energy, right? 150 calories from a sugar-sweetened beverage is going to metabolically impact your body far different to 150 calories from cheese.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: And in that instance then, eating, and our nutrition advice should all be about not so much just what the energy balance is about, but what rather what are the food types that you’re eating? What’s the quality of that food? Where is your energy coming from?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s certainly coming at the forefront. I mean, because we play around with this a lot, don’t we, Stu? Like, you know, and for myself, personally, I can dramatically increase the calories providing it’s natural fat, and as long as my carbohydrate intake remains reasonably low, I can, I generally don’t put on weight even if I increase in calories quite a lot, from a personal perspective, and Stu can eat all day and not put on…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I come at it from the other side of the fence, where I have always struggled to maintain weight, and I can eat literally anything, but the difference for me is the way I feel. You know? I may look slim and skinny, but I just feel wasted if I eat some food low in nutrients, to put it that way.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, so, you’re touching on a couple of things, and so I’ll start with Guy’s. Guy touched on carbohydrate content relative to fat, and that’s where we see a lot of the social conversation happening at the moment, a little bit of the academic conversation happening, and that is, “What is this discussion around the balance of carbohydrates and fat?”
And you’ve got a number of different approaches to how you balance those macronutrients. We’ll come back to that in a moment, but Stu, you also touch her on something else that a lot of the behaviorialists talk about, but very few of the metabolic researchers have until recently and that is if we think about food as more than just this energy content, what’s its impact on our quality of life, our general outlook on things, and that’s an area in which there needs to be far more attention, because we’ve got qualitative data from individuals, but people like to think that that’s not strong enough to warrant investigation, but yeah, it’s definitely a theme that keeps popping up, so you’ve got a macronutrient issue, but you’ve also got a consideration of whether or not food is more than just the energy and there it is, but the third thing that you’re touching on here is individual variance, and how you can get a number of individuals eating the same diet, but they might respond very differently.
Okay, so, give me a couple of minutes, I’ll try and cover those ones for us, right? So, if we go to the carbohydrate/fat ratio thing, right? Now, it’s an area I’m particularly interested in, because I think one of the biggest things that’s changed over the last twenty years with our general society eating is the introduction to liquid calories and, in particular, sugar-sweetened beverages.
Okay, so I’ll declare my bias. I’ve researched in the area for five years, so I might have a little bit of an idea about what I’m talking about, and I’ve received funding from the ARC to investigate this in the next few years, right? But we can show on our models what others have shown quite consistently that the excess calories that you take from sugar-sweetened beverages or the sugar that you’re getting in from that will have a completely different effect upon individuals, between individuals, will have a completely different effect to the carbohydrate sources that you might get from whole foods and real foods, right?
So, when we talk about individuals who go along restricting processed foods, removing those nutrient-poor but energy-dense types of foods what you might typically find is people drop their carbohydrate intake, because when you have a look at the processed, a lot of the processed foods, they’re high-fat and high-sugar, but they’re far more carbohydrate in there relative to the fat that might be in there.
Now, when we think about how our metabolic systems are designed, we have a minimum, sorry, we have a maximum threshold for how much carbohydrate we can tolerate. Now, we’ve been told within the profession and therefore have translated it out to the social, to society, that there’s a minimum requirement of carbohydrate of about 130 grams a day, as a theoretical value, and in actual fact, my opinion, from what I’ve read, from what I’ve researched, is that 130 is not a minimum requirement, it’s a maximum requirement.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: And where we calculate or where that 130 has been calculated from was discrete experiments that have a look at what’s the minimum requirement of the brain, the central nervous system, what are tissues burning within you cells, sorry, what are the cells within your body utilizing as their predominant fuel. Now, if you accept that that number is a maximum threshold, then you start looking at the metabolic systems that get kicked in when you start eating over it.
Now, the most recent national nutrition health survey data of Australians that came out a couple of months ago showed that on average we’re eating right about 250 grams of carbohydrate, and there are individuals in amongst that group, that’s on average, so there are some individuals in that group who are eating in excess of that up to and over 300 grams of carbohydrate a day.
And there’s an acknowledgment in that data that there’s underreporting, so in actual fact, it’s probably over that amount. Right? Now, that means if we have a metabolic system that can only handle 130 grams of carbohydrate, give or take a few carbs for individual variance, then if you’re an individual who’s eating 200, 250, 300 grams, then your body is not going to catabolize that fuel. It’s not going to burn it and break it off; it’s going to store it or do its best to excrete it. Now, we initially store carbohydrates as glycogen, but we’ve got a maximum threshold of how much glycogen we can store, and then once you’ve met that threshold, the overflow goes elsewhere.
And there’s multiple pathways in which that excess carbohydrate can go, and there’s good evidence to show that it can go into fat or it might go into other metabolites. So, you’re carbohydrate content there has its maximum threshold, Guy. Now when it comes to fat, there’s no published minimum threshold for fat, and there’s no published maximum threshold for fat intake. So if you go to the NIH where there’s where this 130 grams of carbohydrate came from, in that same table for fat they’ve got a dash, right? It’s an unknown number, right?
What we do know is that there are essential fatty acids that our bodies can’t create, so therefore there are certain fats we do have to eat, right? Now, so, when I think about what you’re telling me, Guy, and that, yeah, you can fluctuate your energy intake but if it’s fat you can get away with it a fair bit. What you’d think about is the people who come from the low-carb, high-fat philosophies say, “Well, if you maintain a very low carbohydrate content, so you’re sitting around about 50 to 80 grams of carbohydrate, then your body adapts to be a fat-burner.”
So, all the metabolic systems within your tissues that can burn fat stay up-regulate, so you’ve got more of them, and you down-regulate, or reduce the amount of carbohydrate pathways…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Which means that if you’re eating fat, your systems tune to burn that fat, right? Now if you put carbohydrates into that system, though, because you’ve down-regulated the pathways that would burn carbs, you’ve got a reduced capacity to catabolize them and perhaps a more increased capacity to store them, so you need to be careful of that balance and when you’re going to bring those different macronutrients in, so, one of the issues we need to identify is that the human body is an adaptable system. It will change its metabolic processes to deal with the foods that you’re putting into it.
So, if you habitually live on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, then the metabolic systems within your muscles, within your liver will adapt to deal with those fuel systems. If you live on a high-carbohydrate, lower fat system, then those tissues in that system will adapt to try and handle that as well as they can, but we have a limited capacity to deal with carbohydrates and excesses over that will flow in.
Now, what we don’t know is what really determines individual variance. We know habitual diet can have a play. We know genetics has a huge play, and there are big studies in hundreds, thousands of individuals that have tacked individuals over years. I think about this one called the Heritage Study, which has been running for a good twenty odd years or so. It’s got grandparents, parents, children. It’s got quite a number of generations within families. They have endurance training programs. They’re monitoring food.
And one of the outcomes of interest that comes from that route is that you’ll find a reported average benefit of the endurance training program of, yeah, anywhere of around about, yeah, a liter per minute of vo2 max, so that means your physical capacity is improved this much, all right? On average.
But if you have a look at the individual data, you’ll find that there’s individuals who’ve been doing the exact same lifestyle intervention for four, five months and don’t respond at all, so, no response whatsoever, and others who have responded that much, right? So, what we need to be careful of is when we start thinking about dietary advice, exercise advice and try and translate it out to everybody, we need to be aware that absolutely we’ve got the evidence from research that shows we have individual variance.
There will be some people that respond to particular interventions far better than others and…
Guy Lawrence: Sadly, it’s not marketed like that, is it? Like, it’s always like, “You must do this!”
Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right! That’s right! And so what you really start thinking about then is a research study. If we want to get that published, if we want to get that funded, we need to have large numbers of participants, and they’re the real good funding bias, or not good, real poor, bad, but they are the fact of publication bias that we like to favor publishing positive results, right?
So, if you go and do a huge study, and you show that your intervention didn’t have a good outcome or didn’t have a significant outcome, then it’s much harder to get that paper published than if you’ve got an intervention that has had a positive outcome, right? Whether it be one way or the other, right? So, what we find is that we can have a publication bias that only published papers and interventions that have had this significant effect. Now, to get that significant effect then you want to make you’re, you don’t want to, but what people tend to, which is not really part of scientific method, is they will search for populations that will meet that need.
So, knowing that we’ve got individual variance, you can design your parameters in a way that ensures a much more likelihood of a significant result, right? So, we get papers published. It shows that we’ve got this significant adaptation or outcome in one particular direction, that’s the message that gets sold because it’s the simplest, it’s the clearest message, but if you go into the individual data sets then you can see that there’s quite a big variance at how individuals respond to that.
And so the idea of the message should actually be, “Well, here’s a couple of different approaches that an individual might want to take in society. Try them. Find out what works for you. You might be an individual that thrives on a lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet, or you might be an individual that thrives on the Ornish Diet, 80 percent carbohydrates, very low fat, but the idea is that the way we should be thinking perhaps is that future-wise, when we think about the research, the messages that come out, it’s not so much saying here’s one protocol that everyone should be trying. It should be more along the lines of, “Do you know what? Here are a number of different approaches that people have used and that have worked for them.”
And it’s about experimenting with ourselves engaged in finding what works best for us.
Guy Lawrence: Is that what’s happened with the low-fat diet? Because, like, everyone I know, or most people, generally are just conditioning to eating a low-fat diet. It’s always been that way, you know, when I grew up everything about it. I remember, you know, avoiding fat like the plague, and you know that information had to come from somewhere.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right. So, you know, there’ve been plenty of books written about it. There have been public seminars given about it. The big turning point in nutritional history would’ve been, everybody refers to it in the ’70s in America, identify what are some dietary guidelines for Americans to follow from the ’70s onward, and one of the things that we need to keep in mind with Australia is those guidelines don’t directly impact what our advice is.
Yes, there was some influence. They did get translated into our Australian population and that underlying theme of reducing saturated fat or reducing fat intake does persist within our guidelinespre-2013 and to some extent within the current 2013 ones as well. That wasn’t necessarily a turning point directly for Australia, but that message has been what has come through and translated to everybody.
So, we have a ’70s time point in America where there is enough evidence for some individuals to say< “We need to focus on high-fat intakes as being a problem.” The marketing and the messaging around that then severely demonizes fat as a negative macronutrient and that we shouldn’t be eating too much of it, and more often not, you see people will have, the professionals will advise a cap at around about 30 percent of your daily energy intake coming from fat. Anything over that, they would refer to as a high-fat diet. And so, that’s right, what most prevalent in most people’s thinking is, “Fat’s the problem; we need to remove it.”
Now, that’s probably got a much stronger message than anything that comes out at the moment, because it’s the first one that’s come out, right? So, we’ve had dietary guidelines form America since the ’70s. In Australia, they came around ’80s, ’90s or so. Now, the very first time then a society’s being told we’re being told we need to watch what we eat, the focus is on fat, and so that’s the prevailing thought that comes into everybody’s thought, “I’m dieting. I need to restrict fat.”
But the evidence that is subsequently being collected suggests that it’s not as simple as that, right? We can’t just focus on that one macronutrient. We can’t just focus on putting a cap at 30 percent on that one macronutrient and in actual fact, some individuals who go onto that diet do not perform well, all right? They’re eating far more carbohydrates than their systems can adapt.
So, if we force those individuals to stay on that regime, on that dietary advice, they are not going to perform well and they’re going to get sick, but the big issue that we have, or one of the big issues that we have, is if we framed a professional situation now where we make individuals feel that they can’t go against that advice, right, and that’s a big issue that we’ve got when we think about, “How do we translate the evidence from science into nutritional policy into health promotion and health advocacy?”
There is evidence in the science to show that individuals on a high-fat diet, low-carbohydrate diet can perform quite well in health outcomes, not just in weight, but there’s also within those same papers evidence that suggests that individuals on that diet won’t perform well. Just as much as there’s evidence to show that individuals on your low-fat, moderate carbohydrate diet will or won’t perform well. What we can’t have is a system which is dogmatic, that says everybody should be following this macronutrient distribution. What it should be is identifying individuals respond differently to various programs and it’s about you as an individual finding out what works for you.
And then we should be, as academics and professionals, setting up a system that supports that, right? Identifies what’s your relationship with food, what’s your relationship with your eating patterns, and whether or not part of the issues or problems that you might be having is because you’re forcing yourself to fit a paradigm that doesn’t fit for you.
Stuart Cooke: So what should we be doing right now at home to address this confusion, because from a commercial standpoint, you know, “Fear cholesterol, you know, eat healthy whole grains.” We still seem to be doing the wrong things being told to do the wrong things, so right now, what could I do to figure out what works for me?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: The safest option for you is to find yourself a qualified professional who’s going to support you in identifying what works for yen,
Stuart Cooke: How would I do that based upon traditional food practices and doctors who are again aligned with perhaps cholesterol-lowering drugs, you know, and the like. How would I find a , I guess, I’m almost looking at a new age doctor who understands.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, it doesn’t have to be being New Age. You can’t put that umbrella over it or make people think that they’re quacks and…
Stuart Cooke: How do you think I can about that? I’ve been to, well, in the past, I’ve been to a number of doctors who have been grossly overweight, and I figure, “Would I really want to go to you for nutritional advice?” That would be my concern.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Hey, look, you raising an interesting issue and I’m not remembering the journal that it was published in, but there was a paper that came out a year ago or maybe early this year, which was looking at clients’ perceptions of receiving advice from the professional that I’m talking about, and without doubt there’s very much that feeling that some people would walk into a room and look at the individual and go, “Well, how am I going to trust you?”
It’s an issue I’ve had trying to teach biochemistry. The vast majority of people that walk into a biochemistry lecture have already decided that they’re going to hate it, and they’re basing that on more likely their experiences with chemistry in high school, and there’s a really good reason for people to feel that, right? Because chemistry and biochemistry can be intimidating. It can be something that people hate, so as a lecturer in that topic, I’ve had to take onboard very early on how do I get people to engage with that topic? Do I have to be the topic myself? Right? And now I find myself, yeah, answering a question in which I’ve got to turn that philosophy onto, well, yeah, does the person giving the message have to represent the message that they’re giving? I’m going to say no for a moment, right? And I’m going to say no because what you’d have to appreciate in your analogy there, Stu, is that we don’t get fat and sick overnight.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: WE get fat and sick over thirty, forty years of small incremental differences in our metabolic behaviors but also in our cognitive behaviors, right? So, you could have a very wise health professional who’s reading the up-to-date evidence at the moment, who’s beginning to challenge their own beliefs and what they’ve been practicing, what they’ve been doing over the last twenty or thirty years, but they won’t represent that right now, right?
And, so, to put that kind of assumption on an individual is kind of being unfair to that profession, right? What you need to be able to appreciate is that while a health professional I don’t think has to embody the evidence that they’re giving out, right? Because what we’ve got at the moment is a real change in the zeitgeist, right?
The conversations that happen in society, the conversation that’s happening on social media, the conversations that are happening in academia are changing, so what one individual might advise a patient tomorrow could be quite different to what they advised last week, two weeks ago, even a year ago, but they won’t see that impact straight away, right?
If I think about my own personal journey, if we just looked at weight as an outcome, yeah, I lost, what was it, 15 kilos, but it took eight months to do that, all right? But I started feeling perceptual benefits, yeah, within a couple of weeks. I was feeling great. I was feeling energized. I was feeling like I made the right choice, and I was going to stick with this new approach to living, new approach to eating, but if you’d come and seen me three weeks into my program and had gone, “Yeah, you’re still fat, right? Clearly, it’s not working for you.” Then I would have lost you very early on, right?
So to say to expect that immediate change and for us to represent that, I don’t think is exactly fair, right?
Stuart Cooke: If I had come to see you while you were guzzling two liters of Coke a day, I perhaps would have been questioning your advice as well.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Absolutely. If I’m telling you to cut out the sugar-sweetened beverages while I guzzle down on one, I, perfectly, I accept that 100 percent, right? I mean, for people who’ve come across me already, they might be aware that for at least the last year or so I’ve been campaigning to change the nutritional guidelines for what we sell in schools, right? At least in New South Wales, if not nationally.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: And one of the challenges that we’ve got there is the New South Wales government has said, “The person responsible for implementing healthy eating practice in schools is the principal, right? So, that means that the government have put this policy in place then they’ve washed their hands of it and gone, “Local schools; local decisions. You can take care of it.”
So, if you’ve got a principal who’s walking around the school playground guzzling Coke, eating Party Pies, sausage rolls, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas. He’s the person, or she’s the person, that we have to convince to change what food they serve to kids, and the message gets lost right away. So, point granted. If at the time that they are delivering their health advice they’re not following it themselves, they have good reason to question it, right?
Stuart Cooke: Got it. Got it. So, I’ve gone to the doctors and I’ve looked past the appearance of my doctor. The doctor looks okay, and I’m questioning my doctor, “What should I eat to be healthy?” Where would we go? What should I be looking for? What do you think my doctor would be advising me to do?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think one of the first things that the doctor should be doing is asking you, “How much processed food are you eating?” You would classify in nutrition and dietetics as being discretionary food, so if you go to the Australian dietary guidelines, there’s a nice couple of peaches, there’s some good worded paragraphs that shows you exactly what are classified as discretionary calories.
Now, one disclaimer: I do not believe that anything, in my opinion, such as a discretionary calorie, right? There’s no such thing, so your body does not take a calorie that’s coming from a sugar-sweetened beverage and go, “Oh! That’s one of my 10 percent discretionary calories, so I’m going to put that over in my discretionary calorie bank account, and this is a good one.” Right?
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think the, in my opinion, the rule should be processed foods are out as much as you possibly can, right?
Guy Lawrence: Can we just explain the umbrella of processed foods? Just in case…
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Sure. The best thing I can do here in such a timeframe would be to advise people to look up the NOVA Classifications of Food Processing. All right? So that’s N, O, V, A. It’s originated out of Brazil. It is providing an alternative classifications on foods on the degrees of processing.
So, there’s foods that have not been processed, such as your vegetables straight out of the ground, shall I say. Then you’ve got your minimally processed, where you might be including your dairy products in there, so you’ve had to do some kind of human interference to it in manufacturing. Then you go up to highly processed, up to ultra-processed, and when you’re getting into those degrees what you’ve got is industry coming in, they’re taking what was once originally a whole real food and they have mashed it, they’ve homogenized it, they’ve extracted out what nutritional scientists have said are the good bits and they’ve repackaged them into something that’s highly palatable, cheap, and convenient to eat.
Now, at that point, we cannot say that the nutrients within that food behaves the same way as if you ate the nutrients in their original form. All right? So, what you should be looking for is reducing as many of those ultra-processed, highly processed foods out of your diet, because what we’ve got is although they might be packaged saying that they’ve got all the nutrients that you need to be fit and healthy individual, they also bring alongside a number of products that you don’t need to be healthy and active, healthy individual, but also may be what’s making you sick.
They’re also designed to make us eat more, so what I would like is my doctor to tell me, “Well, Kieron, the first thing I want to find out is how many of these discretionary calories are you eating? Have you gone beyond what the dietary guidelines recommend you should be eating?”
And, if we go to the National Nutritional Health survey that came out a couple of months ago, thousands of Australians interviewed over a couple of years period, we saw that between 30 to 40 percent of our energy intake was coming from these discretionary foods. Right. So, if I’m an average Australian that fits into the data that came from the National Nutritional Health survey data, then my doctor would be making the assumption that 30 to 40 percent of my daily energy intake is coming from these discretionary highly processed foods.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: And, if we have a look at what the Australian dietary guidelines are saying, whether or not you agree with them on any particular level, just at a very simple point they say no more than 10 percent. So, already we would have identified a key area that you need to reduce food intake from. Now that does not mean you stop eating them and don’t replace them with anything. All right? That would be a starvation diet, and we’re not advocating for that. All right?
What it would be doing is going, “We’re going to remove those processed foods and the energy that you’ve lost from that we’re going to reintroduce, but we’re going to reintroduce them from your minimally or nonprocessed foods. All right? You’re going to be cooking at home with the real food, raw ingredients that you’ve purchased from your fruit and veg shop. Right?”
In that instance you should have already drastically minimized your total energy intake, although that won’t necessarily be true for everybody, but what you will have done is you’ll have removed preservatives, additives. You’ll have removed, you will have inserted probably far more fiber, because you’re eating proper vegetables because they’re in their whole form, but you’re also bringing their nutrients in the format in which you would have been, your body would digest them and expect them.
Guy Lawrence: It’s quite a simple form now, isn’t it?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. That’s right. You look like you want to ask another question.
Guy Lawrence: No, no…I’m trying to keep myself restrained.
Stuart Cooke: You’ll struggle to read Guy’s face. I’ll tell you that, Kieron.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, okay.
Stuart Cooke: I think he’s just thinking about his next meal.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, yeah, right? But that’s what I’d be expecting from my health professional. All right? If my health professional started dictating a particular prescription that I had to follow, then I’d be concerned. Now, how do you find one of these individuals? Well, I’m not aware of any particular database. I would not Google “new age doctor.” All right?
Stuart Cooke: You should try it.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: But, you know what, there are enough health professionals on social media sites, qualified dieticians, qualified medics, who are out there talking about what their message is that you should be able to relatively easily find someone who is still not going to dictate to you their new philosophy, but at least support you in investigating for yourself what might work.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect, and I guess referral plays a large part in that as well.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeas, as in, you mean, word of mouth if you’ve come across individuals that have supported one individual…
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. Yeah, absolutely. Guy has found a wonderful new age doctor. I like what he says. I’m going.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Now I love my GP. I’ve had the same GP since I was five now, so he’s known me for quite a long time, and he’s seen me go from a preschooler up to a qualified academic now, and we have great conversations. He knows I’m only coming to him because I haven’t tried to figure out first what went wrong with me, and I already have a long list, “I don’t think it’s any of these, so it’s over to you now. All right?”
Stuart Cooke: That’s exactly right. Fantastic.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: But he’s more than willing to support and go, “All right. Well if you’re going to go that way, let’s have a look and see what happens.”
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. And again, just to break it down, overall message: Great place to start would be to eat more whole foods, get in the kitchen, start cooking with real ingredients, and just try and reduce the packet food.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right, and if you find yourself eating a meal out of convenience because you’re trying to fit it in between a meeting or between one other priority, then we need to rethink how we’ve approached what our food intake, what our behaviors are, because once we start doing that type of mindless eating, you can very easily increase more snacks, your taking in food more regularly, your energy intake is going to shoot up, and depending upon what the macronutrient content is, you could be doing yourself far greater harm.
Stuart Cooke: Got it, and I guess it’s kind of an exercise in time management as well, because if we’re putting ourselves into a space where we simply don’t have time to eat and we have to make these processed choices then we should perhaps go back and look at how we structure our days.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: It’d be lovely to think that’s what our holistic approach is. All right? And at the moment, we, as a community, have allowed our society, our environment to be dictated to us, and I’m going to jump on the big food bandwagon for a moment and say food industry, they want us to be distracted. They want us to be busy because that’s what their product is. Their product is in a box. It’s quick. It’s convenient, and it apparently has all the nutrients that you need to be fit and healthy, but it’s not. Right?
You’ve removed, you’ve given up your right to listen to your body, to take control of what it is that you’re going to feed it, and in that instance, if we keep our environment set up that way, we’re only going to get worse, right? So, you want to have an approach to eating in which you’re in control and you’re not being dictated to by marketing, because let’s face it, food industry they’re here to make profit, not to look after your health. All right?
And your priority should be your health and not an individual’s profit, and look, it’d be nice to think that what we need is a big social debate with our unions, with our workers, with our employers, with our workplace individuals, to say, “Look, what we’ve actually allowed to happen over the twenty, thirty, forty years that we’ve been here is we’ve created an environment in which our health is suffering, because we’re filling our lives up with priorities that are external to us. Right? We’re working for somebody else. We’re earning other people money. We’ve got this focus on commercialization, and in that instance our priorities have been distracted, and so therefore, one of the big areas that we’ve allowed without source is healthy eating, and that seems to be one of the biggest mistakes that we’ve made.”
Stuart Cooke: Well, I’d happily sit there and discuss that with you, if you want to form a coffee club. I’ll bring the biscuits.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: I have to say, in some circles I’m not qualified enough. I’ve only got a Ph.D. and 14, 15 years of research experience, but I don’t have a dietetics qualification, so all of this you’re getting as a nutrition academic who’s researched the area for 15 years.
Stuart Cooke: Well, you file me your details. I’ll order you one on the internet and we’ll get back to you before the end of the day.
Guy Lawrence: I know time is slowly creeping away from us, but I really wanted to ask you this, because I understand you’re looking at the relationship between cancer and sugar, so this is going way off tangent. What have you found? Can you just explain a little bit about that?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, sure, okay. So, look, I should point out I haven’t yet done any direct research myself, but if anybody’s listening, watching who is interested in having a look at the role of low-carbohydrate diets or even ketosis diets in case studies or patient, cancer patients undergoing treatment, I’m more than happy to have a conversation.
I came into this topic because though in my background readings and my support readings in sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar intake, impact on metabolic diseases, and I stumbled across these readings on ketosis diets and the treatment of cancer patients, and it turns out way back in 1924 there was a Nobel Prize-winning hypothesis, well now this wasn’t what the Nobel Prize was for, but the individual who won the Nobel Prize came up with this other hypothesis and that’s called the Warburg…
Guy Lawrence: Is that Warburg? Yeah, Otto Warburg.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, Otto Warburg, who identified that in particular cancer cells there largely dependent upon glucose as their predominant fuel source. Now Warburg said that every cancer cell expressed this need, right, this desire, but subsequently we, you know, evidence comes out that shows not every cancer cell. There are particular cancer cells that are more dependent upon glucose than others. There are some that can adapt to a low-glucose environment to utilize other fuels, but for the large part, the vast majority of cancer cells have this increased reliance on glucose as a predominant fuel.
So there’s evidence coming out now and research being conducted, mostly in the States, which is investigating the starvation of cancer cells from sugar, and because the working hypothesis is, “Well, if we’ve been able to identify the particular cancer cells dependent upon sugar to survive, well, if we restrict access to sugar, does this cell growth arrest, shall we say?”
And then there’s an added benefit on top of that that some people such as a group XXat ????XX [0:50:11] in Florida are showing that ketone bodies themselves might have a protective effect, so the sugar and cancer story is a developing one. All right?
The general lay of the land is this, there are particular cancer cells that seem highly dependent upon glucose as their predominant fuel source for a number of things, not just as an energy source, but the pathways by which we make new DNA and new cell membranes and all the biomolecules we need to make new cells, which is what cancer cells are doing, is completely dependent upon glucose and that’s the pentose phosphate pathway.
So the thinking is if we restrict glucose from cancer cells, we deprive them of their energy source, we also deprive them of the building blocks of the new cells, but the overarching effect, which other research is looking at, such as Eugene Fine, is independent of the acute effect of sugar on cells, if you’re restricting sugar intake you’re having another whole body effect, and that is you’re reducing the amount of insulin that you’re secreting, and insulin is a specific growth factor that stimulates cancer cell growth.
Now, every time you eat carbohydrates, you secrete more insulin, so there is a window of opportunity there for a cancer cell to have increased growth factors which allow them to grow in that particular time. Now, look, certain cancers are very slow-growing cancers, right? Just like diabetes, just like heart disease, you don’t wake up one day and all of the cancer cells have exploded, right? It’s a progressive disease.
So what you need to, what some people are looking at is, well, regardless of whether or not the Warburg effect or Warburg hypothesis is true for every cancer cell, what is a more common theme amongst cancers is that it depends upon growth factors to stimulate growth, and one of the most predominant growth factors that have an impact is insulin. And what is the major driving force for insulin secretion? Carbohydrate.
Guy Lawrence: So does that mean then this could be a cancer prevention? Actually keeping your insulin production reduced?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, some people come at it from that perspective, yes. At the moment, I would say that the thinking would be more as a collaborative treatment, shall we say, so undergoing your chemotherapy, your traditional approaches to cancer treatment, whether or not they can be boosted, supported, by your also having a low-carbohydrate ketosis diet which ultimately leads to lower insulin levels throughout your entire day and therefore reduce the instances of growth factor stimulation on those cells.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. That is fascinating.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: That is, from my personal perspective, that’s reading at the moment, that’s talking to some of those researchers via email at least, but hopefully in the coming years the opportunity to work with a couple of professionals in the area to develop some case studies if not some intervention studies to see where the data’s coming, but there is good evidence coming out in recent times to identify low-carbohydrate ketosis diets in assisting the management of chemotherapy and treatment of cancer cells.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. Fantastic. Thanks for that. Stu? You look like you’re going to say something.
Stuart Cooke: No, I’m just…Yeah. I’m fascinated and intrigued by this talk and I’m just wondering how far away we are from hearing a lot more of this in mainstream media.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, it’s getting out there. All right? There’s a focus in some of the research that’s looking at…Unfortunately, I think, at the moment a lot of the research is still focusing on macronutrients, right? Carbohydrates, the fats, the protein ratios, what’s the impact of those? Are they in or not in calorie deficit, so, yeah, taking individuals, forcing them onto a particular diet and have a look at it…
What…last month there was a low-carbohydrate versus a moderate-carbohydrate standard diet paper that came out. There’s a rapid weight loss, there’s a long term weight loss diet study coming out also. There’s lots of intervention studies that are currently running or slowly coming out. It’s a matter if how quickly that evidence base is going to build to influence the profession
What we’ve got with the academic world, I think, is an environment which is completely different to what traditional academic would ever have been experienced to it. If we think about up until ten, fifteen years ago, and academic could have a long-lasting career doing their own research, publishing their own papers in scientific journals and the only people that would ever read that would be other scientists.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: In the last five to ten years with free access to publication journals such as Plus One, the Frontiers range of journals everyday individuals are getting access to the evidence XXin the science space 0:55:21.000XX, so we’ve got social groups who are moving quicker than the academic fraternity. Right?
And so the information’s gonna get out there well in advance of a consensus change from the profession. And so the information is out there, but if we’re expecting leadership from academia, already you’re a good 15, 20 years away from it still. Right? Because academics, we’re obliged to look at all the evidence. Right? We are obliged to take our time to make sure we’ve checked all the pros, all the cons, crossed the Ts, dotted the Is.
And with every new study that comes out, it doesn’t change our thinking. It gets absorbed into our current ways of thinking and we see whether or not it changes us.
Now, some of us are more open to being adaptive. Others, right? And it’s a measure of whether or not the community, the academic community, are readily taking on new evidence and allowing that to alter their current perception, or whether or not they’re ignoring it.
Stuart Cooke: “Watch this space.”
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t like that phrase, Stu.
I’m going to be in a different space, surely, in a couple of years’ time. If I’m still sitting in this office I’m going to be very upset.
Stuart Cooke: I’m going to print that on a T-shirt and send it your way.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent. Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Just before we wrap up, Kieron, I know when we were having a chat on the phone the other day you mentioned that you’re going to be looking for some test subjects in Sydney next year.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. Yep.
Guy Lawrence: Do you want to quickly mention a little bit about that? Because…
Dr. Kieron Rooney: OK. I’d love to. I’ve got; we got funding for two major projects that we’re going to be running from 2015, 2016 onward. The first one is we are looking at trying to translate some of the research that’s been conducted on animals on sugar-sweetened beverages into a human population.
But what our key focus is on is on behavioral changes. Right? So, there are many groups that are already working on the metabolic impact of sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar-sweetened beverages, from my opinion and from my research, are a particularly nasty processed food to be consuming. Our bodies deal with liquid calories differently to solid calories.
We also, when we consume liquid calories through sugar-sweetened beverages, put a huge dose onto our metabolic systems in a very acute time frame. And that’s gonna have another impact.
Now, other groups are already looking at the metabolic outcomes. And so we’re trying to be a little bit clever. We’ve got funding. We’re going to be doing metabolic outcomes. But we’re mostly interested in whether or not they’re impacting your behavior, your perceptions of foods, your eating behaviors, your intake.
So, that’s currently going through ethics at the moment. It should be, hopefully, approved by January, February of next year. And we’ll be looking for individuals for around about March, April onwards to come into our labs at the university and have some acute eating and metabolic measures taken during and after sugar-sweetened beverages. And we’re also looking at the impact of artificial-sweetened beverages as a control groups. That’s one study.
The other study that we’ve got currently running is going back to that individual variance question. And that is: touching on research from the ’80s and ’90s, going back to some of that data, shows that if you’re an individual who has a habitual diet that’s low in carbohydrate or low in fat, and then we give you a fat meal, you metabolize that fat completely differently.
So, we’ve got genetic studies running at the moment. We’re now going to put on top of that exercise, individual work, and what we’re gonna do; we’re gonna get individuals in, we’ll screen you for your fitness, we’ll screen you for body composition, and then we’re going to have to play around with some acute testing of fat meals and carbohydrate meals and see how individuals respond to that, depending upon your habitual diet.
So we’re going to be looking for hundreds of individuals across a wide section of the Sydney population. So, we’re going to want the paleo guys. We’re going to want the clean eaters. We’re going to want the vegetarians. We’re going to want the standard Australian diet individuals. And we’re going to try and identify, through a large observational cross-sectional study, whether or not we can identify key differences in these example populations.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Well, you’ve got two here.
Stuart Cooke: Keep us in the know. I’ll put Guy forward for the sugar-sweetened beverages study, if that’s OK. Go for that slot. You’re in there, Guy.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Well done.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent.
Stuart Cooke: Right. So, we’ve got time for the wrap-up question, Guy?
Guy Lawrence: Let’s do it. Let’s do it. So, we ask this question on every podcast, Kieron. OK? And it’s simply: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve even been given? It can be anything.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: I’m still waiting for something. I’ve been given lots of advice in my time. Right? The biggest problem is that I haven’t listened to a lot of it. All right? So, I’m going to go with the one that’s popping into my head acutely is one from my dad, and that was always: “Don’t let the turkeys get you down.”
So, quite often I find myself in situations where I might be talking to a lot of individuals who disagree with what I have to say, and they’re telling me that I might have missed things or I might be wrong, and when I go back and read things I try to find and see that, no, no, I should be getting listened to. So, in those circumstances it’s very easy to lose confidence in your own research, your own work, thinking that you’ve missed what other people have got. And then you realize later on when they’re not around, you haven’t.
So, that can get you down a fair bit. So, I say: Don’t let the turkeys get you down. If people are telling you that you’re wrong, as opposed to getting into a XXscrap meet 1:01:04.000XX with them right there, just go away, fine more evidence, build on it, and come back and fight another day. How about that?
Guy Lawrence: Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: That’s perfect. That will do.
Guy Lawrence: That will work. And if anyone wants to get in touch with you, Kieron, or find out more about next year or got any questions, all the rest of it, shall I just link to your bio on the university website?
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, that’s the best way to do it. I’m not on Facebook. I think that’s a fad. I don’t think it’s going to be around for long. I am on Twitter. I’ve been on Twitter for roundabout 10 months now, so I’m getting into that.
Guy Lawrence: I see your Tweets coming through daily, mate.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: They can find me there or if you link to the home page on the university website, that will have my contact details there. When we’re at the point of recruiting and advertising the studies, we’ll have announcements up on that.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: That was brilliant. Thank you for coming on, Kieron.
Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, no worries. Thanks for having me.
Guy: Have you ever considered that stress is actually burning you out, interfering with sleep and holding weight loss strategies hostage? I’ve spoken to so many people that say they simple can’t shift that stubborn body fat, even though they are eating well and exercising every day.
Immediately what springs to my mind is stress, cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue. Naturopath Tania Flack has covered them here in this fantastic post.
When you think of being stressed, it’s easy to imagine someone flogging themselves at work till all hours trying to finish that essential deadline, but there are so many other factors to consider:
Poor sleep quality
Psychological stress (worry, fear,anger etc)
to name but a few…
So if you feel like you just can’t shift those extra kilos and are constantly running up hill, then I highly recommend you check out this post! Over to Tania…
What is Adrenal Exhaustion?
The adrenal glands help to give us our get up and go. But if you are continually surfing on adrenaline and running on empty they can eventually start to under function. So what is Adrenal Exhaustion and what can we do about it?
The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for the secretion of adrenaline, cortisol, DHEA and other hormones that are required to help your body function during times of stress, whether it is physical, emotional or mental. Chronic stress causes the adrenal glands to become exhausted and so does the person. The whole body including the immune system becomes weak and vulnerable. Adrenal Exhaustion can be very detrimental to your over all health. It causes diminished cortisol and DHEA levels which can adversely affect thyroid and sex hormones.
Cortisol is one of the most important adrenal hormones. Normal cortisol levels are responsible for maintaining normal blood sugar levels, it mobilises fat and protein stores for mores energy and has an anti-inflammatory action in the body. Cortisol has an effect on most blood cells that participate in immune of inflammatory reactions as well as having an effect on blood pressure. It has an effect electrolyte levels in heart tisse as well, heart beat, and influences the central nervous system controlling mood and behavior.
During the early stage of adrenal stress, elevated cortisol levels contribute to weight gain, elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, altered brain checmistry (which causes depression and anxiety), it also has an effect on insulin resistance and osteoporosis to name a few. During later stages of adrenal exhaustion the once high levels of cortisol eventually fall to low levels where it is insufficient to adequately normal function and good health.
Another important adrenal hormone that declines during periods of stress is DHEA which is considered the “youth or anti-aging hormone”. DHEA’s main actions are through conversion into other more potent hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. It also appears to have its own action on the immune system and endothelial cells helping to boost the immune system and help protect against atherosclerosis.
If production of DHEA decreases under stress and is not rectified, a hormonal cascade can occur, resulting in a deficiency of sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. If these hormones get too low then a whole range of other symptoms and problems can occur such as PMS, menopause, andropause and hypothyroidism.
3 Stages of Adrenal Exhaustion
Stage 1 – Alarm (fight or flight)
In this stage the body launches into the fight or flight response by releasing elevated levels of noradrenalin, the “anti-stress hormone” cortisol and the”youth/anti-aging hormone” DHEA. In short bursts this is a healthy reaction and the adrenal cope well, but as stress continues the adrenals are put into overdrive to cover the early signs and symptoms of fatigue. The pancreas is also effected, blood sugar becomes imbalanced, resulting in low energy. Many use a quick fix of either sugar, carbohydrate or caffeine at this stage to over come fatigue.
With chronic or severe stress the adrenals become unable to cope. Many people carry out their every day activities but really start to struggle with fatigue. The body needs more rest and is slower to recover. Anxiety starts to set in and people become more irritable and less able to cope with stress. Sleep difficulties are common and the body starts to show other symptoms such as hormonal problems and hypothyroid type symptoms like cold intolerance, sluggish metabolism and weight gain. Often the thyroid gland is effected at this stage.
Stage 3 – Exhaustion (shut-down)
As adrenal function weakens further the adrenals are no longer able to keep up and cortisol output starts to decline. The body enters a survival stage where its main aim is to conserve energy in order to survive. This happen very gradually. The body starts taking energy from tissues, this stage results in muscle breakdown and protein wasting. Exercise tolerance is reduced and depression, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia is common. Every major system of the body is effected including the immune, hormonal, neurological and metabolic systems.
Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Exhaustion are usually a combination of some of the following:
More prone to illness and infection, slow to recover
Increasing hormone problems
Depression and low mood
Dark circles under the eyes
Adrenal Exhaustion can lead to….
Ongoing severe stress and adrenal depletion can lead to serious health problems and acute adrenal insufficiency. Generally, the earlier symptoms of adrenal exhaustion (Stages 1 + 2) are debilitating enough to force people to seek help. The earlier it is identified and treated the better the chance of recovery.
What Causes Adrenal Exhaustion?
Any major life stress, work, relationship, family etc
Physical, emotional or psychological stress
Lack of sleep
Overexertion and over work
Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and recreational drugs
Excess sugar and high carbohydrate diet
Acute or chronic allergies, infection or illness
Toxins, pollutants and exposure to heavy metals
Fear and anxiety
death or serious illness of a loved one
The link between Stress and Adrenal Exhaustion
Many people don’t realise that the body responds to different kinds of stressors in the same way, so when we talk about stress many people only consider emotional stress.
Here are some examples of the types of stress that can contribute:
Environmental Stress: Heat, cold, noise, light
Chemical Stress: Pollution, toxins, chemicals, drugs, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
Physical Stress: Overexertion, trauma, infection, injury, surgery
Biochemical Stress: Nutritional deficiencies, excess sugar, high carbohydrate diet, dehydration
Emotional Stress: Any major life event, death, birth, changes in relationships, work
Adrenal Exhaustion and Mental Health
Depression and anxiety are commonly associated adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal hormones are involved in cognitive function, mood and mental states in complex ways. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function is effected during depression. Stress, with associated high cortisol and DHEA has been associated with anxiety and depression, and people with low levels of DHEA and cortisol have been seen to experience depression, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and poor memory recall. Fluctuations in night time cortisol add to sleep disruption experienced associated with depression.
How is Adrenal Exhaustion Detected?
Low levels are detected by either a blood, urine or salivary hormone test. Repeated cortisol levels are usually taken through out the day to get an accurate picture of adrenal status.
What Other Tests are Useful?
As adrenal exhaustion effects many body systems, it is important to have a thorough check up if you have been diagnosed with low adrenal function. It is important to look at hormonal, cardiovascular and mental health as well as assessing your ideal weight.
Can Adrenal Exhaustion be Reversed?
Adrenal health can be restored, providing steps are taken to address stress, and that diet and lifestyle are optimal. Many herbal medicines and nutritional supplements are effective in addressing low adrenal function. It can take some time to achieve results, but the quicker it is identified the faster you can address it. It is always easier to address adrenal fatigue in its earlier stages, so if you feel you you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue seek professional help as soon as possible.
Top 10 Tips for Beating Adrenal Fatigue
Stress: It is imperative that you address all stressors in your life, if emotional stress has played a role, its time to get some counselling.
Lifestyle: Its easy to push yourself if you’re used to surfing on adrenaline, but taking a good look at your lifestyle and making some positive changes really helps
Relaxation Techniques: Whether it be yoga, meditation or cooking, find what works to relax you and make time for it every week.
Exercise: Probably the last thing you’ll feel like doing but regular gentle exercise it a true stress buster.
Diet: Out with the fast food and in with regular, nutritious meals, nutritional deficiencies are just another form of stress, so eat well. Get some professional advice on this if you don’t know where to start.
Avoid Stimulants: Alcohol, sugar, caffeine, nicotine, recreational drugs have all got to go.
Address any other health problems: Chronic allergies, infections and leaky gut are all a source of stress on the body, get these sorted out asap!
Hydrate: Drink at least 8 large glasses of water per day, dehydration adds to your stress load
Just say no: Don’t over commit your self, manage your work/life balance and be a bit selfish so you can give yourself time to recover your adrenal health
Get some Professional Advice: See your Naturopath, herbal and nutritional medicine can make the world of difference. Don’t rely on over the counter products and guesswork. A well balanced treatment plan from a professional Naturopath, including dietary, lifestyle, herbal and nutritional medicine will really help.
If you want to know more, you can contact Naturopath Tania Flack here.
Have you ever suffering from adrenal fatigue or have overcome it? How about over-training? Would love to hear your thoughts below, Guy