Introduction: In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: Which supplements can you replace with real food, how to grow more facial hair, calories in protein vs. amino acids, are energy drinks acidic, can healthy food be inflammatory, and how yo-yo dieting destroys your metabolism.
Welcome to the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast. We provide you with premier exercise, nutrition, weight loss, triathlon, and wellness advice from the top fitness experts in the nation. So whether you’re an ironman tri athlete, or you’re just trying to shed a few pounds, get ready for non-run-off-the-mill, cutting edge content from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
Brock: I kinda wanna scream something in a guttural voice like this… This is Sparta! Ehh, This is Sparta!
Ben: Yeah! I’m officially Spartan now whatever that… which I think means I’m actually not supposed to say anything or I’m supposed to speak in a, in like a kind of a guttural Scottish accent ‘cause I think that’s what they used in the movie 300.
Ben: Everybody knows that these Spartans are actually Scottish. No actually dude, did a super Spartan race on Saturday and did a Spartan sprint race on Sunday and I got to tell you and the listeners, I’m hooked! Those things are fun.
Brock: Yeah? Hmm.
Ben: It’s like I’m covered in scrapes and wounds and barbwire punctures but, yeah, and I learned that I need to learn how to climb a rope with muddy hands but yes, super fun you just red line for the super Spartan. It was like an hour and a half just like full on mud crawls and fire jumps and rope climbs and wall climbs and atlas rock carries and the sprint was very similar but extremely fun. I would encourage everyone to go and try out the Spartan event because I had a blast, I’m hooked, I’m already signed up for four more so….
Brock: You know I have to ask you…
Ben: And plus there was no bike packing required which is plans for a change.
Brock: Yeah well, and you only have to wear a loincloth right? So…
Ben: You know I actually wore a loincloth and a headband. It’s a great look! Just add some compression socks and that’ll round things out.
Brock: Okay, this is the time when Ben tells you about some interesting studies that he has come across in the last little while and I think you’ve got what, 3-4 of them on top for us here.
Ben: Absolutely! And you know what Brock we’re so into drugs on the show that I figured why not start off talking about coffee, smoking, drinking and pot.
Brock: I’m so high right now.
Ben: That’s fantastic and it considered 8 0’clock in the morning. So Brock goes and grab some more Doritos. The effects of caffeine, nicotine, ethanol and tetrahydrocannabinol (my favorite) that’s weed for those of you who want the monosyllabic version on exercise performance. This was a study that came out in nutrition and metabolism and …. are you ready for the drum rolls Brock? I’ll give you the overview of each one.
Brock: Okay, here’s the drum roll….
Ben: Coffee! So, here is the take away on coffee. Coffee at about 3-6 mg per kg of body weight which is the equivalent of about a good 4-6 cups of coffee is a proven ergogenic aid for exercise especially in endurance exercise more than strength and the reason for that is it targets skeletal muscles metabolism enhances fatty acid utilization so it might spare some carbohydrate as well and it has a really big batta bom boost for your central nervous system.
Brock: A kick in the butt.
Ben: I’m not necessarily saying that I recommend that you use caffeine to that extent all the time but should you need to pull out caffeine as an ergogenic aid it certainly helps and post exercise caffeine intake seems to benefit recovery by increasing your rate of glycogen resynthesis. So if you workout and you’ve got another workout coming up quick and you combine a cup of coffee with your post workout meal, it will help you restore your carbohydrate levels even more. And of course….
Brock: What can coffee do?
Ben: I don’t know ….
which may be why it has been banned by the WADA, by The World Anti-Doping Association and I’ll fill you in on each of these different drugs that we talked about whether or not it’s banned but from 1962-1972 and then from 1984-2003 caffeine was on the WADA’s banned list. And according to WADA one of the reasons they removed it from the ban list recently was that it’s so ubiquitous in beverages and foods that it would be very very tough to sanction athletes just because there’s so much kinda social and dietary consumption of caffeine going on.
Brock: That’s very understanding of them.
Ben: And apparently that’s not happening with wheat and alcohol so let’s move on to smoking/nicotine. So here’s the summary on smoking/nicotine. (drumroll) which I know all of our listeners love and use quite frequently.
Brock: Yes I’m sure we’ve got a very large portion of the audience is chain smoking while they’re listening.
Ben: That’s right when they’re riding their bicycle. Nicotine seems to have ergogenic potential so what it can do is it can activate what’s called your sympatho-adrenal system so it can cause increased catecholamine release which is kinda similar to what you’ll get from like high dose caffeine but you’ll also get increase in muscle blood flow and also an increase in lipolysis which is essential breakdown and utilisation of fatty acids. And one reason that smoking can also make you skinny and sexy. One of the components of nicotine action acts on the dopamine pathway as well which of course means it is a little bit addictive. So as far as nicotine goes of course there are some negative effects of cigarettes in terms of lung capacity and your potential for a lot of the carcinogens and the toxins when you inhale when you use cigarettes but nicotine can be used as a supplement, you can use nicotine patches, you can use nicotine gums and the World Anti-Doping Association for that reason has included nicotine categorized as a stimulant and put it on its 2013 monitoring program so it’s not on the prohibited lists but what that means is that the World Anti-Doping Association wants to monitor it to detect whether or not athletes might be using nicotine to gain an illegal performance in it and advantage in sports. However….
Brock: Aha, suggest like talking some gum in the corner of their cheeke or slapping a patch on their arm before they do the race.
Ben: Gum patch etc., research shows that it’s actually kinda worth trying for workout so there you go or maybe an e-cigarette.
Brock: Have you actually incorporate those in the open?
Ben: No, but I’m actually gonna try one of my next Spartan race, I’m just gonna have an e-cigarette hanging out the corner of my mouth.
Brock: I was at a party just before Christmas and there’s a fellow smoking one of those or just breathing through one of those and it was cookie dough scented. It was really disgusting.
Ben: Wow! Cookie dough scented e-cigarettes, that’s fantastic!
Brock: Yeah, at first I was standing and just saw he was sniffing there and what, what is that? And then when I realized what it was I started talking to him and by the end of the conversation I couldn’t get away from him fast enough and it wasn’t his personality, it was just the, the cookie dough smell was driving me nuts.
Ben: Hmm, someone is gonna strike gold when they do the cinnabon e-cigarette. So, I don’t know if we lost our drum roll but let’s go back to our drum roll….(drum roll) Alcohol! Alcohol in terms of its ergogenic effect on exercise performance is kinda nil. You get a significant impairment in cardiac and skeletal muscle. It slows post exercise recovery because it inhibits protein synthesis so your muscles don’t repair quite as quickly, you get a decrease in testosterone and often that’s accompanied by an increase in cortisol and alcohol has pretty much across the board fairly significant detrimental effects on exercise performance and it is also prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Association for the following sports: aeronautics, archery, (I guess they don’t want straight arrows) automobile racing, karate, you wouldn’t want a misplaced kick but by someone who has a few many shots of vodka for actually karate competition) motorcycling and power boating. I’m surprised skiing and snowboarding and things like that aren’t also listed and until recently they actually have pentathlon also included on that list of events for which having any levels of alcohol on your bloodstream would get you banned.
So, I don’t know why someone want to do that anyways but it turns out that if you actually do want to perform at your very very best, alcohol is probably not gonna be your best choice.
Brock: And just in the study itself they actually specifically say ethanol, and now that’s green alcohol.
Ben: Ah well, it’s basically alcohol when you consume it is going to windup whether it’s from wine or beer or whatever metabolites producing ethanol so….
Brock: Oh okay.
Ben: …. you’ll gonna get that as an end product anyway. So, there you go.
Brock: All right, there you go.
Ben: So finally and we will link to this study in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/269. We get to cannabis drum roll….(drum roll) So cannabis, can it help out with sports? And it turns out that cannabis has no ergogenic potential in sports and there’s actually quite a raised eyebrow in the research community belt why cannabis would actually appear on the World Anti-Doping Association list when in fact it is completely useless and actually impairs exercise performance and impairs psychomotor performance, has a sedative effect, slow your reaction time and it …..
Brock: It slows the time from getting off the couch.
Ben: Yeah, it can also decrease cardiac output so there is absolutely no way that weed helps at all with sports or an exercise performance in a form of marijuana or hashish or caramels or brownish or any other form of edible smokable or I don’t think you can actually inject weed. I’m sure you can pretty try to figure out how you can inject endo cannabinoids yeah. So there you go Brock, I would not go for a run after recording this podcast.
Brock: Okay. Good thing I got that over with…..
Ben: All right so we’ll link to that one in the show notes but all these talks about drugs, I should mention another study that came out on coffee and dehydration. This was kinda interesting because it‘s often suggested that coffee causes dehydration and so you’re supposed to avoid consuming it so that you can maintain good fluid balance. But what they did is they took a bunch of habitual coffee drinkers who consumed 3-6 cups of coffee per day and what they did was they have them consume this coffee and then they looked at common markers of adequate hydration. So, they looked at creatinine, osmolality, another component called USG in the kidneys and these are all common ways that you would measure to see what your hydration status is and they compared this group to a group that drink pretty much the equivalent amount of water and it turns out that the coffee hydrated these guys just as well as water does and the researchers came to the conclusion and this is quote from their abstract “these data suggest that coffee when consumed in moderation by caffeine habituated males provide similar hydrating qualities to water” so….there you have it.
Brock: So, is the significant part of that sentence the habituated? So if you weren’t habituated it may have a different effect on you?
Ben: Hmm, it’s possible that what happens is your body gets use to the diuretic effect of caffeine and you eventually quit losing that much water so yeah that’s certainly possible but for folks who are frequent coffee drinkers you don’t really need to worry it seems about coffee dehydrating you.
Brock: There are other things to worry about but you don’t have to worry about getting dehydrated.
Ben: And while you’re drinking all that coffee you may want to consider adding a little beet juice to it. It has a …..
Brock: Wait, wait, adding beet juice to the coffee or along side?
Ben: Uhm, uhm. I will I would just put it in there kinda like a bulletproof coffee. Like a really horrible horrible version of bulletproof coffee.
Brock: Yeah, bulletproof coffee gone completely sideways.
Ben: Yes, bastardized bulletproof. This is based on a study that beet root juice that was co-ingested with caffeine had enormous effect on exercise performance compared with drinking beet root juice or using caffeine by itself and in this study what they gave people was about 5 mg per kg of caffeine so around the equivalent of 4 cups of coffee. You may want to achieve that with something like no dose tabs if you try this one out and then they combine it with beet root juice to get that nitric oxide effect and it turned out that you’ve got the ergogenic effect ….
…..of beet root juice that increase in blood flow and increased ability to have a lower rating of perceived exertion and then increased time to exhaustion but that increase time to exhaustion was about 18% higher than just drinking beet root juice and 27% higher than just drinking coffee or using caffeine when you combined beet root juice or you could use beet root powder with coffee or with again like a caffeine pill. So there you go….
Brock: That’s significant! Wow!
Ben: …. and I know, it’s very significant there’s a lot of companies out there producing beet root powders and stuff and I would imagine based on the results of this they’ll probably gonna start to add caffeine and tweet as well.
Brock: Yeah, I’ve got the whole bunch of the neogenis beet elite packs around. I tried dumping one of those in a cup of coffee and see what happens.
Ben: There you go, uhm yummy. Okay, so far we’ve got thumbs up on caffeine, we’ve got thumbs up on beet root juice, we’ve got potential thumbs up on a nicotine patch or nicotine gum …
Brock: I think that was a thumbs up, that was an odd thumbs up.
Ben: And thumbs up on cinnabon e-cigarette for sure and we’ve got a thumbs down on weed and we’ve got a thumbs down on alcohol. So, finally we’re finished with a big thumbs up for exercise because this last study actually looked at the neuronal response in food reward brain regions when folks engaged in aerobic exercise. I thought this was interesting because a lot of times we hear that when you exercise you engage in this compensatory effect meaning that you know that you exercise so you go out and you eat more food but what this study shows was that exercise actually reduces the reward response to food in the brain regions that are responsible for giving you pleasure when you eat. And so if you get food cravings, carbohydrate cravings, if you’re really wanting a meal if you’re feeling hungry etc. you may actually be able to shut that down by engaging in exercise and in this case the exercise that was used was 60 mins of aerobic exercise on a bicycle. But I personally experiment with this a little bit when I get hungry and I’ll do something a lot shorter than that like you can do a hundred or 200 jumping jacks for example and what you’ll find is that just that bit of dopamine release that you get from the exercise and the natural endo cannabinoids and endorphins that are released from just a brief bout of exercise can actually cause a pleasure from the exercise and also reduce the neuronal response to food reward and so that snickers bar might actually look less appealing after doing a little bit of exercise vs. what we would all kind of intuitively think which should be that it might be more appealing ‘cause you’d be hungry from exercising. But this, you know, if you get food cravings you may wanna actually try this as a strategy just go exercise, go for a walk, go for a little bike ride and do some burpies, something. So that study was interesting as well and again I’ll link to that over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/269. A cup of coffee, some beet root juice, some nicotine and exercise while avoiding weed and alcohol is the take away from today’s news flashes.
Brock: So how did your PaleoCon little seminar thing go the other day?
Ben: PaleoCon. It went well even though I’m not Paleo. I eat lots of tasty dairy but it went well. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to check it out, I did a big seminar on Raising Primal Kids and that that goes and beyond dressing up your children as saber tooth tigers but you can ….
Brock: Or putting bones in their noses….
Ben: Or putting bones in their noses, you could check all that out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleocon for a bunch of pretty cool presentations by Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf and all these other folks in the kinda like the paleo/primal communities. Really good talks over there and it is free to watch the talks live and then like if you wanted to go back and see the reply of my talk etc., there’s a, do you know how much it is Brock?
Brock: I don’t actually it’s not much I think it’s like 50 bucks or less. Not positive on that.
Ben: Okay, yeah but pretty good event I mean this type of online summits and events and the health space now are happening about every week or so I’d say but there’s a few that I actually jumped into and endorse after seeing who’s talking and what they’re talking about and this is one that I like.
So it’s at bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleocon.
Brock: Yeah, you’ve got another one of those coming up to the entheos thing online.
Ben: Yes actually for people listening to this podcast on the day that it comes out for those who are really on the ball and just basically live your life with your finger poised over the mouse button clicking on iTunes. Entheos, I’m teaching my second class at entheos this week. That’s gonna be on Friday, January 31st at noon so you can skip lunch and go listen to How to Rev the Human Machine listen to and watch actually. This one is on recovery, I’m going over at ten different ways to push the re-boot button on your body and kinda what your first four to eight weeks of pushing that re-boot button should look like. So this is part of a three part series that I’m doing with entheos, the first part is this part this Friday on re-booting and recovering your body and then the next 2 parts will go into kind of like building your body and elevating your body to prepare it for more advance human performance and we’re gonna end by talking about how to really take things to the next level but the class is about an hour long and you can register for free in the link that we’ll put in the show notes so that should be a fun little live video class so we’ll put the link over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/269. Along with the link to go join Brock and I in Mexico.
Brock: I’m excited escaping the winter cold and March is gonna be so awesome!
Ben: Quick trip, it’s 5 days long it’s called PrimalCon Vacation Tulum, Mexico. It’s put on by Mark Sisson and I’m gonna be there like I mentioned Brock will be there, Jessa is gonna come, we’re gonna be doing classes, clinics, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Cate Shanahan, Darryl Edwards, a lot of leaders in the Paleo, in the Primal, in the Ancestral Health community. We’re gonna be there drinking tequila in the beach and maybe doing some body weights squats or something. So check that out we’ll link to in the show notes called PrimalCon, I know that’s coming up soon, it’s only a month and a half away but if you wanna toss in a quick little vacation to Mexico that’s the gonna be the way to do it. So check that out.
Brock: And you should do make sure to put Ben’s name in the referred by little slot when you’re signing up because that just means you’ll get treated extra special.
Ben: That’s right and they put a few nickels in our hat when you do that so check that out.
Brock: In our hat.
Ben: In our hat, in our…. I don’t know.
Ben: Yes, I won’t be bringing my hat to Mexico just my Speedo and maybe my Spartan headband.
Did you know that Ben Greenfield personally mentors trainers, coaches, physicians, and nutritionists from around the globe? From business building tips to advance human performance and health concepts, it’s all part of a private mastermind called The Superhuman Coach Network. When you join, you get instant access to monthly workshops with Ben. A Q and A forum, over 40 hours of cutting edge audio and video education and much more! Check it out today and become one of the world’s leading health and fitness experts at superhumancoach.com/podcast that’s superhumancoach.com/podcast
Anil: Hi Ben, hi Brock! My name is Anil Andromedida. ….(inaudible) I want a six-pack abs and a normal body and biceps and triceps but my problem is that I don’t want to take these proteins. I want to make my body only to use natural foods on by my meals and everyday. I don’t like any additional proteins like that so can I do this without just using the produce, this gonna make the six abs and another question is how much will it take to my success? Thank you.
Brock: Now I have a feeling that some people out there probably may have had a little bit of trouble understanding or even hearing this question so Miguel just give a quick little recap. He wants to know how he can get six-pack abs, good shoulders, biceps and triceps without taking any protein powders or supplements based on these when it comes down to. ‘Cause it’s a little hard to understand or might, or I had to listen to it a few times myself.
Ben: Yeah, yeah I mean the short answer is yeah, you can eat real food as a replacement for supplements and I think that it’s good that I get into this just because the past couple of weeks and episodes 267 and 268 we talked a lot about multi-vitamins and supplements and I don’t want to give anybody the impression that I think that that stuff blows real food out of the water because it doesn’t.
It all comes down to something called food synergy. So this idea of food synergy is that there’s a lot of nutrients in food that affect each other absorption. So like vitamin C can actually be enhanced by the presence of iron or the lycopene in a tomato is actually enhanced by other elements in the tomato itself which is like taking lycopene as an isolated supplement. Now the other thing is that a lot of times when we’re consuming foods in their whole synergistic format like say like the trans-fat from an animal, it’s a lot different than the food process trans-fat that we get from like the hydrogenation of vegetable oils. So when you consume naturally occurring trans-fats those are actually really healthy and they’ve been shown to up-regulates your body’s ability to fight inflammation, they’ve been found to help you form proper cell walls and cell membranes and even like the tiny little cell bodies that help you to fight out infections like liposomes so when you look at foods in the synergy of foods eating foods in their real form gives you a lot of these synergistic effect and there has to be certain conditions met in order for that food synergy to actually work. So the first thing that kinda needs to be present if you’re going to take advantage of food synergy is that there has to be some balance in terms of all the constituents of the food. What that means is that when you look at proteins and you’re consuming proteins, they have to be accompanied by things like proteases and carbohydrates have to be accompanied by the digestive enzymes that would breakdown carbohydrates like maltase, lactase and sucrose. And you know, a lot of fats and molecules similar to fats need for example like phenolic acid and flavonoids and antioxidants consumed along with them in order for them to be absorbed and utilized to their highest extent and that’s only happening all those constituents are only present when you’re eating food in its entire form and so what I mean by that is like eating a steak vs. eating like a whey protein isolate is gonna give you all of that food synergy and it may not be convenient and we’ll get into that in a second to cook up a steak right afterward workout.
Brock: Keep your steak in your pocket.
Ben: But you’re getting more of the enzymes and even some of the phenols and the flavonoids and other components in terms of the antioxidant assuming that cow let’s say was like a pasteurized grass-fed cow so you’re getting a lot of that food synergy that you’re just not getting if you were to take like an isolated powdered protein. Now you know, coffee is another example, coffee has what’s called hydroxycinnamic acids in it and those can actually help you to essentially deaminate and methylate coffee meaning that there’s certain elements in coffee that in order for it to be digested and pass to your system properly, you have to have certain acids present in that coffee to actually occur. This hydroxycinnamic acid is found in coffee but you’re not going to find it like the no doze pills I was talking about earlier. So, essential oils, essential acids that’s also really important for food synergy to occur in the right now and it actually turns out that coffee like in its whole form vs. say like caffeine pills actually has a much much better effect on cholesterol and especially the lowering of oxidized cholesterol levels so there’s that as well. A lot of vegetables that you look at you know, I mentioned lycopene as being an element of tomatoes that has a greater effect on decreasing risk of prostate cancer when it was consumed along with the tomato vs. when it’s in its isolated form.
Vitamin C is another example, so isolated vitamin C is less effective than like an apple along with the skin when you look at the actual absorption if you’re trying to get in its whole food format. You can use the example of like breast milk vs. infant formula as well. Breast milk has a lot more bio active compound in it. It’s got what are called lactoferrins in it, it’s got colostrum in it, it’s got a lot of these elements of whole food that you’re aren’t gonna find in isolated powder or formula or supplement. So, whole food should really form the staple of your diet and so when you’re trying to build muscle or get a nice body you can certainly get by without supplements. Now this whole synergistic effect of whole food is why if you’re going to take a supplement I recommend you use whole food nutrients vs. synthetic isolated nutrients. So when I’m talking about that what I’m referring to are these supplements that are whole food supplements made from concentrated whole foods. The vitamins that you find in those vitamins aren’t isolated, they include all the enzymes and the co-enzymes, and the antioxidants and the trace elements and the activators and the minerals and everything else that you would need like I’ve talked before how I used like the protein powder that I use is living protein—protein powder made by Living Fuel, that stuff is not just isolated protein powder. It comes packaged with the enzymes and the probiotics and the antioxidants and everything that you’d find in that case it’s a rice and a pea based plant but its everything that you need. Same thing like the whey protein that I used, it’s actually –it includes all the minerals and the antioxidants and everything else you’d get. It’s more expensive to get whole foods supplement like that, but it’s way way different than the isolated versions same thing with multivitamins. Whole foods base multivitamins usually have to take annoying crap load of capsules because they are the powdered whole food but they include that synergy that I just got done talking about, they aren’t separating the vitamin complex from the actual activating micronutrients. It actually is packaged along with everything else. So that’s why when you’re looking at supplements you wanna get whole food supplement if you are gonna use them as kind of something that you use along with just real raw whole food. So that’s really important as well. Now, when we look at why you might want to use supplements, there are some considerations so for example there’s the whole convenience scenario and that’s one of the primary advantages when you’re trying to build muscle. You are pulling out like whole food based protein bar or protein powder or amino acids capsules after a muscle building workout is going to be way more convenient, than going home and making chicken or fish or steak or something like that. There’s also the digestive component and a lot of times food can take 3-4 hrs to digest and you know, in some cases it can take over 8 hrs and going after something that’s more easily absorbed especially when we’re talking about like building muscle can come in handy. When you’re trying to build muscle if you’re skinny you’ve got to eat a lot of food and sometimes the amount of effort that you put into preparing all that food and the amount of time that it takes that can also kinda be an impetus to include like powders or supplements or capsules along with consumption of real foods so there’s kind of that convenience aspect of using a lot of these powders and stuff as well if you wanna accelerate your rate of muscle formation. As far as some supplements that you could potentially replace with real food, they’re certainly out there. So you know, there’s like the whole fish vs. fish oil thing so when you look at fish, you know, about a fillet of fish like the standard size, chunk of fish that you’d eat for dinner that has about a gram of fish oil and for muscle gain I usually recommend 4-6 grams of fish oil which means that you’d have to eat a huge huge chunk of fish everyday to get some of the muscle building and hormonal stabilizing and joint protection effects of fish oil when you’re an extremely active athlete and so that’s why I recommend that you not just eat fish for your fish oil but that you include something like a good like triglyceride based natural fish oil if you’d not want to spend all your time like you know, catching and cooking fish or producing and cooking fish.
Brock: Every single meal is fish.
Ben: That’s right so you know, there’s that aspect of fish oil. Vitamin D is another one like eggs are an excellent source of vitamin D and there are some other good sources of vitamin D as well. If you look at like, you have a lot of foods that are fortified with vitamin D. Fish is a really good source of vitamin D, you’re still looking though at if you’re just using whole foods at anywhere from 400-1000IU of vitamin D that you might be getting but if you’re a hard charging athlete who is getting a lot of hormonal turnover who’s trying to replace testosterone, progesterone, DHEA with vitamin D which is a steroid and a hormone precursor sometimes the amount of food that you have to eat to get your vitamin D levels up above about 40 in terms of your 25 hydroxy vitamin D blood levels, you have to have a lot of eggs, a lot of these fat soluble kind of foods in order to achieve that so….
Brock: Kinda makes it even worse this time of the year or when you live in the northern climate like we do. We’re not getting a lot of sunlight either so you need to sort to make up for that short fall as well.
Ben: Yup exactly. Vitamin B12 you can get that in steak, clams are really good source, fish, eggs, poultry like raw dairy. You could pretty much get away with not using a vitamin B supplement like a vitamin B12 supplement if you are to be consuming those foods in their real form so you could enough vitamin B12 whereas like vitamin D, fish oil those two you’d probably need to supplement with if you’re a hard charging athlete. Co-enzyme Q10—co-enzyme q10 you can find that again in red meat, you can find it in sardines, you can find it in a lot of your cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, spinach, etc. Usually you don’t need to take a co-enzyme q10 supplement if you’re getting enough of that stuff in your diet and you’re not exposed to a lot of toxins, pollutants, etc. so co-enzyme q10 is one that you could get from food sources….
Brock: Jack Kruse uses tons of that stuff when he flies.
Ben: Yeah, exactly and that’s a situation where you know, there’s certain times when you may have to use extra antioxidants like I double up on my intake of that antioxidant powder that I take, the Lifeshotz when I’m flying just because there’s so much oxidation that you’re body gets exposed to when you fly. What else? As far as other considerations here, you can certainly get a lot of what you need for real food but there are other reasons to supplement as well like for me it’s part of it comes down to better living through science to a certain extent like I want to increase my longevity and I want to dump as many micro-nutrients into my body as possible to allow that to happen and for me it just makes sense, you know, for me at the end of the day I maybe throwing out some chlorella tablets or something like that and it’s just again pretty convenient if I have that stuff around to just take. So as far as building muscle, if you wanna completely do it without taking any protein powders or supplements you can do it but just use whole real food and understand that the synergistic effect of that real food is gonna blow supplements out of the water but there’s still some isolated nutrients like vitamin D, like omega 3 fatty acids that you’re gonna go through pretty quickly if you’re exercising to a high extent and it makes sense to supplement with some stuff when you dig yourself into that hole.
Brock: Earlier you hit on something that I thought was really interesting when you’re talking about eating an apple. You specifically mentioned leaving the skin on eating the skin and is that something you would suggest for pretty much all fruit and vegetables to ingest the skins?
Ben: Yup, yup in most cases assuming those organic or that you’ve like washed in vinegar to get rid of some of those herbicides and pesticides that would be present on the skin. You’ve got to be careful with the stuff that appears on what’s called The Dirty Dozen List because that tends to even when you wash it still contain a lot of pesticides and herbicides if you haven’t purchased the organic version, like strawberries and peaches and celery and stuff like that any of those vegetables and fruits of which you’d normally eat the skin but if let’s assume the skin is clean and it’s like from an organic source, yes skin of a fruit or vegetable typically has a lot of components in it that assist with absorption of some of the nutrients and vitamins within the actual fruit itself.
So consumption of the skin is something that I do encourage. And there are certain cases where that mites might come back to bite you like a lot of people who have autoimmune issues or joint pain or rheumatoid arthritis, they don’t do well with a lot of what are called the alkaloids that you’d find on potatoes with the skin, or eggplants with the skin, whereas they can usually do a little bit better when they eat those items in their skin version like a skinned tomato, skinned eggplant, skinned potato, things of that nature. So there are certain populations that may want to avoid the skins of certain night shades, and brutes, and tubers and things of that nature. But in most cases, eating the skin is helpful. And that’s where I disagree with the guy having the show Constantine Monasterski who’s the anti-fiber guy who actually skins every piece of fruit that he eats. I don’t think that that’s necessarily helpful. The only reason I would suggest that would be if you were ingesting bushels and bushels of fruit per day. In which case that skin might be a little bit irritative to the digestive tract but you’ve got other issues going on if you’re eating a bushel of apples a day.
Beard: Hey, Ben and Brock! Love the show! I was just calling with kinda off-the-wall offbeat question for you. I wanna grow a badass beard, right? And unfortunately, I’m Irish and English descent and you’d think that might be good for some beard genes, but it’s not. And I have a very patchy face as far as facial hair goes, including under my chin, there’s a little bald spot under my chin and my cheeks. Okay, it’s kinda a weird question, but is there any way to grow facial hair or grow better facial hair. I’m not sure if it’d be supplementation or some kind of ointment or cream or something like that? Who knows? Just thought you might be able to help me out there. Have a good one. Love the podcasts!
Brock: Now I just shaved my winter beard off. I know it’s pretty mature winter’s all over but I was kidding just a little to – too homeless-looking.
Ben: You’re getting pretty beardy-looking, yeah! And you had a big beard going on. You should put a picture of your beard in the show notes for folks underneath this question from Mr. Beard. Why don’t you shoe off your beard? So if you want to see Brock’s beard, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/269 and prepare to be horrified by the tiny birds flying out of Brock’s beard, from the nest.
Brock: That is where I kept all my birds.
Ben: That’s right! Yeah, you could certainly do some things, to enhance the growth of the hair on your face.
Brock: Really? I was sure you’re gonna say, “Nope, there’s nothing you can do.”
Ben: Yep! You can. You can. Number one exfoliate your face so if you are just getting started on your beard removing dead skin cells is gonna help promote hair growth and exfoliation is just like a loofah and you can certainly get more fancy exfoliation compounds you can keep in your shower. Anything that’s grainy, sandy, that type of thing, that works for exfoliation. So exfoliate your skin. Facial massage to increase blood circulation to your face that also stimulates new hair growth. So that’s also an option is self massage of your face, or if you can convince a loved one or significant other, or anyone else that you pay to massage your face, I believe that’s legal in all 50 states –facial massage. Moisturized skin really creates a really good environment for facial hair to grow more quickly and that can help you create a beard more quickly. You can use a cream or moisturizer to really improve the moisture of your skin but one of the types of oils that are very, very close to the natural type of fats you’d find in human skin and the natural oils that we normally produce in our skin is emu oil. Emu oil is really fantastic. That’s one of my favorite face-based moisturizers. I use emu oil and I use extra virgin olive oil quite a bit on my face.
Brock: What part of the emu are they getting the oil out of?
Ben: I don’t want to know.
Brock: Yeah, me neither. Why did I ask that? Sorry.
Ben: It’s a creamy milky –looking kind of oil. So it’s kinda interesting.
Brock: let’s not talk about that.
Ben: But anyways, though, emu oil. There’s also another kind of oil that’s used in kinda like natural medicine to increase the growth of hair and this is one that I haven’t used but a lot of people swear by.
And that’s called amia oil. It’s made from a type of fruit from a tree that grows in India. It’s really high in vitamin C and it’s one of the world’s oldest hair-conditioning oils. And it’s also known as Indian gooseberry oil. I’ll put a link to both emu oil as well as amia oil in the show notes. But you can actually get both of those off of a site like Amazon for example and you can use those as facial moisturizers to enhance hair growth. So that’s another way that you can do it in addition to exfoliation and massage. Now one of the noted side effects of smoking and the nicotine use that we talked about earlier is hair loss. So if you are trying to grow a beard you may not want to chew the nicotine gum or use the patches or smoke the e-cigarettes that we’re talking about.
Brock: Oh, but the beard looks so good with the cigar!
Ben: It does. It does. But cigars don’t have a lot of nicotine in them. So you’re safe there.
Brock: Or a pipe.
Ben: That’s right, or a pipe. So you could look like a captain of a ship.
Ben: Aargh! So another thing you could do as far as growing a beard is to pay attention to DHT which is dihydrotestosterone and that’s a very powerful male sex hormone, And a lot of times if you’re using a lot of these herbal testosterone type of supplements or, God forbid you’re using a testosterone cream or patch or injection or something like that, what can happen is you can get male pattern baldness because hair follicles tend to be very, very sensitive to this dihydrotestosterone or DHT and it’s one of the reasons that big, macho men with lots of testosterone tend to also go balder or have less hair. It’s kind of an interesting phenomenon.
Brock: I always thought I was just something that bald guys told themselves to make themselves feel better, saying I’m bald because I’m so manly!
Ben: They actually can have more testosterone. So if you’re trying to blast up your testosterone levels using one of these testosterone kind of supplements, that can actually come back to bite you when it comes to male pattern baldness on the growth of hair on your head or your face or anywhere else. Now it’s different if you were to simply up-regulate your body’s own natural production of testosterone versus dumping on exogenous testosterone in your body. For example, one way that you could increase testosterone without actually taking any of these herbal testosterone supplements or like natural hormone replacement therapy would be a one, two three combo of number one – using like a really good mineral, like sea salt, liquid minerals, any of the things that are going to enhance the enzymes responsible for forming testosterone in the Leydig cells of your testes. So minerals. Number two would be a really good fish oil. Like I mentioned earlier, like a really good triglyceride-based fish oil. I’m a big fan of guys who want to naturally increase testosterone level who take in about 4-6 grams of a good fish oil on a daily basis. And then Chinese adaptogenic herbs which are gonna naturally decrease cortisol a little bit and decrease stress and again up-regulate your body’s own production to produce its own testosterone, that can help out quite a bit as well. So you kinda one, two, three combo fish oil, minerals, and adaptogenic herbs and that’s actually the hormone pack that I recommend that folks take if they don’t want to touch any of these herbal testosterone type of formulas, if they’re concerned about, potentially like if you’re doing triathlons and stuff and you’re concerned about blood testing and just wanted to stay super clean, that’s what you would do if you just don’t want to play with fire at all. So, I’ll link to that in the show notes but you could use like a hormone pack. That’s basically a mix of mineral, Chinese adaptogens, and fish oil. And it’s safe and effective for pumping up testosterone without producing all these DHT that can result in more hair loss. So that’s what I would do. Yeah, within a few weeks, you should have some bird’s nest going on your face.
Brock: You know, it’s kinda interesting. I was going to- the only thing that popped into my head when I heard this question was –I have a fencing instructor back in college Jean Paul Fornier. He had a massive beard and all of us, we’re like…
Ben: It’s a great, great name for a fencing instructor.
Brock: It was perfect. It was kinda, it was like he walked out of a cartoon or comic book or something, it was awesome. But anyway, he had a great beard and we were all like 19, 20 years old trying to grow our first beards to be like him. And we asked him how he got such a good beard and he said that he put mayonnaise on his face every night.
Ben: Hmm. Interesting.
Brock: Which I always thought was a joke.
Ben: Yes, it has a moisturizing effect. You could do better when it comes to not smearing –you know your body absorbs the oils that you put on it. So you got like a high omega 6 fatty acid containing oil like a canola based mayonnaise, it’s gonna be super tasty but less effect of than using one of these more natural oils like an amia oil or an emu oil or something like that, so.
Brock: Maybe if you can find an olive oil mayonnaise then you could use that.
Ben: You could use an olive oil based mayonnaise, there you go. So, yes, smear some mayonnaise on your face and take some fish oil. There’s your beard recipe.
Connor: Hey, Ben! This is Connor Young. I’ve got a question about the digestion of protein because I’ve asked several experts and there seemed to be some contention around how we actually get calories from protein. My question came because I looked on the back of a protein supplement and I saw that there were about four calories per gram of protein in there. But if I looked on a similar package of amino acids, there’s actually zero calories. Now to me that doesn’t make sense if when I – when there’s the building blocks there of amino acids, that should be the same as the protein itself especially because the protein in your stomach is going to be broken down into di and tripeptide amino acids, even before it gets to your small intestine, so that has some ramifications in maintaining ketosis. I wanted to know whether amino acids actually do have any caloric value and in which case does that influence me staying in ketosis if I take amino acid supplements during the morning, during intermittent fast. And then of course the question of how high quality the protein has to be came up as well. Because if a protein is processed very high heat or low heat either way it’s going to be broken down into these small amino acid peptides. So why does it even matter. Is it a marketing gimmick? Any information about this would be really appreciated.
Ben: This actually confuses a lot of people because technically amino acids they’ve got calories in them but what happens is that when you consume a protein that protein has a lot of constituents in it. There I go, using that word again –that actually have to be broken down by your body. And if you eat a steak or piece of chicken or fish, the body will break down the proteins in that meat for example into amino acids during digestion. And then once those amino acids are in your body, they get reassembled into the proteins that your body would use for muscle repair and recovery. And in the case of a piece of steak or chicken or fish, usually it’s about 30-40% of the amino acids that are usable in that reassembly process. So they become body proteins like hair, or skin, or muscle, or enzymes, or bone or immune cells or anything else. So we’re not just talking about muscle, we’re talking about a huge range of things that are, that these amino acids are used for. And they aren’t burnt as fuel because they’re incorporated into the body structure itself. So they aren’t used as calories, wherein technically a calorie is something that’s burnt to generate heat in a bomb calorimeter in a lab. These amino acids aren’t being burnt in that sense, they are just being incorporated in the body structure itself. So technically, they have no calories. When you’re looking at the amino acid components of a protein or a protein powder. There’s about 60% of those amino acids in a protein powder that actually are not able to become your body’s protein. And the body does break those down for use as a fuel. And that comes out to about 4 calories per gram of protein in terms of the amount of the amino acids that are used as a fuel. In many cases those are the branched-chain amino acids components like the leucine or the isoleucine, and the valine.
Ben: Those are gonna be used more for calories in some of the other amino acids. But this is what a net nitrogen utilization of a protein stands for, the NNU. And it’s a scientific term used to describe how much of a protein is actually burnt as – considered a calorie by your body versus how much is used for reassembly processes in your body. So the NNU for most meats is between 30 and 40%. So what that means is 30-40% of that meat is not recognized by your body at all as calories. It’s simply utilized for that reassembly process. And then the rest is actually burnt or used for gluconeogenesis, the formation of glucose from proteins, etc. So when you look at like an egg, interestingly an egg has a net nitrogen utilization of 50%. So you’re technically getting fewer calories from an egg-based protein than you are from a steak or chicken or fish based protein. If you’re looking at an amino acid supplement, like, I’ve talked about the Master Amino Pattern before, for example, that’s got an NNU of between 95-100% meaning that there’s almost no amino acids left for calories because 95-100% of it is used to build body protein. And that’s why for example if you finish up a workout and you’ve say had a big meal before that workout, you know you’ve got enough calories on board but you just simply want to dump extra amino acids into your body for added repair, recovery, muscle growth, etc. That’s where for taking like an amino acid supplement comes in pretty handy because those amino acids are simply used to rebuild the body. They’re not used as calories, for example.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. So it’s kind of a deal- like a protein powder versus like an amino acid that’s already been predigested and very, very bioavailable to your body. As far as that relates to staying in ketosis, what that means is that technically if you didn’t want to risk the insulin spike and the potential for proteins to be converted into glucose, that would take you out of ketosis, you would want to get the majority of your protein and your muscle rebuilding compounds if you’re trying to stay in acidic ketosis from amino acids. The unfortunate thing is that amino acids are expensive. Amino acids powders, amino acids capsules, like a bottle of that stuff is like 50 bucks. It’s not necessarily inexpensive but if you’re looking for like every win possible, you just use like a pre-digested amino acid like that, And then your next best choice would be an egg-based protein, even though you need to be careful because egg-based proteins tend to be heated and oxidized egg based powders which creates some real issues when it comes to oxidized cholesterol that you could be consuming. And then cutting your next best choice would be like a protein powder like a whey protein isolate, what’s called a hydrosylated whey protein. Also like that living protein stuff that I talked about that comes packaged with the digestive enzymes, that are gonna allow it to be a little bit ore broken down. And also like a chicken, or steak, or fish, it definitely provides calories but you do get about, like I mentioned 30-40% nitrogen utilization which means 60% of that meat is actually used as calories at that 4 calorie per gram rate of protein energy. So hopefully that clears things up a little bit It just comes down to how pre-broken down the protein is.
Brock: Dr. Minkoff, Dr.David Minkoff did a big explanation over at the enduranceplanet.com about how the Master Amino Pattern works. And I know I learned so much from that whole talk about the difference between protein and amino acid and how it’s digested and used by the body so Connor if you’re still interested, I suggest you go over and listen in to that.
Ben: Do you remember how long ago he did that episode, Brock?
Brock: It’s probably, I bet as close to a year ago.
Ben: Okay. So, just go to –if you go to enduranceplanet.com they’ve got a really good search function over there. They do an ask-the-doctor about once every one to two weeks. We can link to…
Brock: We’ll put a link to it.
Ben: I actually I just found it was January 18th2013. It says Your Guide to Understanding Amino acids. So, I’ll put that one in the show notes for you.
Brock: And it’s only a deep dive for any of you out there who are interested in finding out more, that’s the place to go.
Ben: Yeah. Okay, cool so it is now in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/269 .
EnergyDrink: Hello! My grandson is 21 years old and he is consuming about 6-8 Monster energy drinks per day. He’s complaining of bad stomach cramps and coughing up blood. I want to find out if the monster drinks could be causing this problem.
Brock: If you’re coughing out blood, I don’t know if you should have waited for a podcast to answer your question. That’s really alarming.
Ben: Believe it or not, I’ve actually looked at the effects of energy drinks and whether or not they’re more acidic than things like caffeine or alcohol and stuff like that. And it turns out that the high amounts of caffeine in these energy drinks aggravates the amount of citric acid that are already in them. And there’s a huge amount of damage that occurs not only in your tooth enamel but also on the lining of your stomach. And I’ll link to this study but there was one study or research that looked at the fluoride levels, the pH, and what’s called the titratable acidity of 13 different sports drinks and 9 different energy drinks and the energy drinks were more acidic and more damaging to in this case teeth than even the sports drinks, like the Gatorade, or the Powerade or stuff like that. All of the compounds had a high amount of acidity but the energy drinks in particular had a much, much greater effect in terms of the damage and the potential for damage in the stomach lining and the actual damage that was shown to the teeth enamel, the erosion of the teeth enamel. So,yes, absolutely. If you are going to compare Gatorade to Monster energy drink to Coca Cola, the Gatorade is gonna do the least damage to the tooth enamel and the stomach lining even though it is acidic. And then next in line would be Coco Cola or maybe like a decaffeinated diet soda or something like that. And then the next in line would be an energy drink just because the combination of caffeine and citric acid can cause some serious issues. So I used to do about 4-5 energy drinks a day. I’m sure it did some damage to my stomach. I can’t dish out medical advice here but like I’ve said before in the show, if you need to heal up the stomach lining, bone broth is magical for that in terms like fixing damage that’s been done to the stomach from a poor diet. If you don’t know how to make bone broth or if it’s just difficult for you to get, you can order bone broth from thebrothery.com. You can also do like a high dose L-glutamine, you can get an L-glutamine and do about 1-2 grams of that per day. Colostrum is really good using a colostrum supplement. Aloe vera juice can be very, very soothing to the stomach lining as well. Licorice fruit is another that’s really, really good healing up the lining of the stomach. So it’s like some stuff that you can do to mitigate the damage, but ultimately, the – any time you’re taking in soda with phosphoric acid and citric acid and stuff like that and it’s also got caffeine in it, it’s gonna do a number to your stomach lining. So I’d be super careful there and hopefully by the time this podcast has come out you have convinced your grandson to stop drinking 6-8 Monster energy drinks per day.
Brock: The thing that scares me about that as well as those things are big, those are 500, 750 milliliters, so one’s gotta think that if you’re having 6-8 of those, you’re probably not drinking anything else.
Ben: Yeah. It’s like drinking a 6-pack of Red Bull. Actually not quite like that but yeah, they’re big…
Brock: Gotta get some water in there, too.
Ben: My kids actually know about the dangers of energy drinks because I’ve talked to them about this stuff before. When they see the Monster energy truck go by, they just freak out. You tell me how the stuff in that truck is gonna kill people.
Brock: And it’s not because of the claw.
Ben: That’s right.
Glen: Hi, Ben and Brock! This is Glen from Iowa. Over the past couple of years, a book called The Plan has been popular by Lyn Genet Recitas. I just have some questions on those as well. What do you think of The Plan’s strategy for finding foods that may be inflammatory to your system and what are your criticisms or praises for the system set forth in this book. Question mark. Oh, sorry. Thank you very much! Bye bye….
Ben: Well, I haven’t actually read The Plan.
Brock: Have you read The Secret?
Ben: I have read The Secret.
Brock: Oh, really?
Ben: That’s not a diet book, though.
Ben: That’s like a personal productivity enhancement book.
Brock: The Plan.
Ben: The Plan is actually the subtitle is Eliminate the Surprising Healthy Foods that are Making You Fat and Lose Weight Fast. I think that’s kind of the catch phrase is that some foods that are kind of considered to be traditional healthy foods like turkey and eggs and cauliflower and beans and tomatoes might be healthy, what they say in a vacuum they might be healthy, but when combined with your own unique chemistry, they might cause some kind of a toxic reaction that could trigger weight gain or inflammation or constipation or migraines or whatever. So I think that you could certainly make a case that some foods that we would traditionally consider healthy may in fact be mildly inflammatory for example if you go to one of my favorite websites actually inflammationfactor.com. I spent many a Friday and Saturday night…
Brock: Of course that’s your favorite website.
Ben: …weedling away at that website. Now when it comes to food research I should say it’s a great website. So if you go to inflammationfactor.com you’ll notice that there are many healthy foods that actually are “inflammatory” and inflammation can be a healthy and necessary part of the human immune response and mild inflammation from a food is not that big of a deal. Like blueberries, it’s often said that blueberries are anti-inflammatory and that’s because they contain compounds that when extracted from the blueberries have anti-inflammatory effects. But when you eat a whole blueberry, it actually is mildly inflammatory because of a little bit of fructose and stuff in the blueberry but that’s not necessarily a bad thing from a health standpoint. Whereas there are some things like the night shades that I talked about like tomatoes and peppers, etc. which are high in antioxidants which reduce inflammation, but there are certain people that have a really, really strong reaction to the alkaloids and what are called the solanines in those compounds and so, yeah, you could certainly make a case that certain people shouldn’t be eating that stuff. A lot of organic grass-fed meats and eggs and things of that nature are less inflammatory than their conventionally raised counterparts. But some people have trouble digesting those. That’s another case where things that are considered to be healthy may in some cases be harder for some people than others. The inflammation factor website shows that almonds are better choice than walnuts when it comes to inflammation. Strawberries might be better to you than apples. Tuna might be preferable than salmon, But for example like that tuna-salmon scenario, let’s say you have heavy metal toxicity and you’re eating a fish that’s higher up in the food chain, then that might not be doing you and your specific body any favors when it comes to a health food that would be traditionally a health food but that might not be healthy for you. So the whole idea behind this plan, again even though I haven’t read the book, but the synopsis of it is that they start off by doing like a detox cleanse where you’re essentially just like eliminating certain foods from your diet. Very, very similar to the Autoimmune Diet that I’ve recommended many times in the past, and then phase 2 you start to introduce foods back in like wine, and cheese and chocolate and stuff like that and I should mention that phase 1 is only 3 days long, which I do not consider to be long enough. It takes a good 4-8 weeks for your stomach lining to reinvent and your gut to heal and inflammation to get shot down. And that’s why I recommend like a paleo autoimmune protocol. That’s a really, really good ebook. I’ll link to it in the show notes. But that’s one that I recommend doing. Three days, I don’t think it’s long enough. And then on the 4thday of the plan, they start you into introducing these new foods to see which ones you’re reactive to and which ones you’re okay with. And then finally after that phase 2, which I believe is 20 days in, or it’s not 20 days in, it’s – what is it- phase 2, actually it doesn’t specify. I’m not quite sure how long ‘cause the whole plan itself is only 20 days long. Phase 3 you continue to test foods on your own until you get 20 days into the program.
Ben: So, I think it’s about 20 days worth of kinda like priming your body via a quick elimination diet for 3 days and then begin to introduce foods in the 4thday, continue to introduce foods for the next 16 days ‘til you get to day 20. So it seems kinda faddy, kinda hypie a little bit but when I say faddy I mean f-a-d-d-y, faddish, But ultimately- let’s say you wanna really truly figure out whether or not certain foods are gonna be healthy for you or unhealthy for you, you gotta do so much more than this. Like if you really wanna dig in, I would recommend that you do a gut panel, go to directlabs.com for example and get yourself a comprehensive gut panel to see what your bacterial balances are like, what your fatty acid balances are like, and whether you have yeast fungus overgrowth, things of that nature. I recommend that you look into doing a genetic test through 23andme.com to find out what your specific ancestry looks like and what your diet might need to look like based on what your ancestors were eating and what specific what are called methylation patterns that you have. And then also do a blood test, like use wellnessfx and look at your lipid panel and your thyroid and your metabolic health, your kidney health, your liver health, so you can determine what kind of foods might be good for you and what kind of foods might not be good for you. So for example what I mean by that is like if you’ve got –let’s say you’ve got high levels of hemoglobin A1c and high levels of fasting blood glucose. Hemoglobin A1c being like a three months snapshot of your blood glucose levels for the past three months. Then you might be somebody for when anything that’s going to bump up blood sugar like dark chocolate, red wine, sweet potatoes, any of those foods that we might consider to be healthy. For you, you might need to back off of those until you have a restored insulin sensitivity and you’re able to burn fatty acids more efficiently and bump down blood glucose levels. Another example of this would be like if you do 23andme tests and you find out that your genetic ancestry is more of like a northern European population, then you’d want to stick closer to fish, eggs, dairy, stuff like that and doing like coconut and citrus fruits based diet may not be the best thing for your particular body. If you get a gut test and you find out that you have for example, let’s say like a yeast or a fungus overgrowth or something along those lines, then it may turn out that there are certain high amounts of fermented foods that can aggravated that condition and if you’re one of those kombucha, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, ‘til probiotics are coming out of your eyeballs type of person, might actually aggravate in some cases a yeast or fungus overgrowth issue until you’ve knocked out that yeast or fungus for something like an oil of oregano protocol and then return to more intensive probiotic use after that. I mean like there’s all sorts of consideration here and I think that the hypothesis behind this book The Plan is good but that, just like 20 days of a basic elimination diet might not cut it versus kinda doing a lot of these other stuff. I mean, this is – what I do as a nutritionist, as a consultant, is I kinda walk people through this process, in many case, but, just understand that may go above and beyond just choosing a book when it comes to figuring out which foods are right for you and which foods aren’t if you want to really create a true and customized diet.
Brock: Some of the stuff that you mentioned there like those tests can be quite expensive. What would you say about using something like the food sense app that the sweet beat people put out?
Ben: Yeah. So that’s a case where you can monitor your nervous system response to food by tracking how much your heart rate rises in response to certain meals and that can give you some clues as well. I think that there are some cases where you may not get an increase in heart rate or research hasn’t been done to show whether or not you’re getting an increase in heart rate. Let’s say you have a yeast or fungus overgrowth issue and you eat a bunch of fermented food, could be that even that may contribute to yeast and fungus overgrowth especially in combination with carbohydrate intake. I’m not sure that your heart rate is necessarily going to rise that the 4-8 beats or actually gets higher than that.
Ben: I think it’s 15+ beats on the coca pulse test. Off the top of my head I don’t remember but the coca pulse test is what that particular app is based on. And it’s based off the fact that your heart rate goes up x number of beats in response to a certain meal and if that happens that’d be a meal you’d avoid in the future. Yeah, I mean that can certainly give you clues as can taking your heart rate variability and seeing whether or not your heart rate variability, a picture of the health of your nervous system, drops when you consume certain meals or certain foods like –I can tell you the one thing that shoves my heart rate variability down to rock bottom is antihistamines. Like if I ever take Benadryl or something like that, destroys my nervous system health for a good 48 hours. And it’s crazy! But, yeah, you can certainly use apps and stuff like that to quantify as well but it doesn’t give you quite as much insight as blood and saliva testing or poo testing or things like that. But yeah that’s a good point. You could use an app like that for sure.
Jessica: Hi, Ben! I’m twenty two years old, a female. I’m a former division one tennis player and I’ve been struggling a little bit with kinda just the yo-yo dieting and kinda find the wrong information that’s out there about fitness and nutrition. So I –my body fat has really fluctuated. I was at 18% then I was down to about 12 and I recently got a bod pod test and I was about 23% body fat. So I can’t really seem right now to lose the fat. I’m worried that I’ve sort of hurt my metabolism through kinda yo-yo dieting and restricting as far as calories. I work out about 6 days a week at least so I definitely work out a lot so cortisol and stresses of that is also another concern that I have that maybe my cortisol levels are a bit too high and I haven’t had my period in probably 6-7 months. So I was just wondering if you could give me some suggestions about how to go about fat loss and addressing some of my other issues. My goal is to be around 15-16% body fat. Thank you!
Brock: And Jessica emailed us earlier today. I think she was getting impatient. We better do advance …..
Ben: I knew when you ask a podcast question sometimes it takes like 4 weeks for it to get into the queue. So, patience. Don’t write us when your stomach is bleeding and expect it to make it to the podcast. But yo-yo dieting…
Brock: You might be dead by the time we talk about it.
Ben: You know you need to understand how yo-yo dieting can affect your metabolism. You need to first understand leptin. Now leptin is a hormone that is going to send satiety signals to your brain and one function of leptin is to set the long term energy spending pulse of your body based on your available food supply. So what that means is that your subconscious brain will take huge amounts of leptin that are being released and eventually become insensitive to that huge amount of leptin that could get released to tell your body that you’re full. And in many cases leptin resistance can signal to your brain that a famine is going on. Even though you’re often eating too much on a regular basis, it’s kind of this faulty perception of starvation that can occur. What happens is that in this situation, leptin can send a signal that will tell your hypothalamus to set thyroid hormone to a low level so that energy is conserved so your body doesn’t perish from starvation or from caloric restriction. So what happens is you down-regulate your thyroid production and in many cases you down-regulate the amount of TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone that your pituitary will produce. And so you’re basically turning down the volume on your metabolism so you can survive a famine, even though that famine might not actually exist. It’s just simply you engaging in calorie restriction. Now what happens is when your -in that case of a low thyroid and leptin –basically leptin resistance or the inability to be able to sense when your body is full because your body simply wants you to eat as much as possible when you actually do get access to food and then take that food and store it away as fat as much as possible by down-regulating your metabolism, what happens is once you actually get off that calorie restriction and you start to eat more, you get fat much more easily.
And so the amount of time that it takes to really develop this leptin resistance combined with down-regulation of metabolism and a drop in thyroid stimulating hormone is about 4 weeks or so. And if you’re engaging in heavy caloric restriction for that long, you’re going to create some of these issues that are going to cause you to have that leptin and thyroid issue pretty significantly once you start to eat a lot of food again, or once you even start to eat perhaps even a normal amount of food again, and this issue can be made even worse if you have any type of kinda like toxins, like chemicals like chlorine and fluoride, those can bind your thyroid gland, they can reduce iodine uptake so that can aggravate this issue. There are a lot of fat-soluble chemicals, particularly fat-soluble chemicals you get from personal care products –shampoos, soap, stuff like that- those can cross your blood-brain barrier. They can affect the hypothalamus gland specifically so that it can send thyroid or leptin messages accurately. And so that can cause an issue. There are some endotoxins from food that can not only elevate your stomach’s hunger signal, your level of what’s called ghrelin but they can also directly interact with thyroid-releasing hormone or that thyroid-releasing hormone region in your hypothalamus gland and turn that down and endotoxins from food you would often find in non-organic meats, commercial dairy, things of that nature. T4 is converted to T3 on the cell membranes of your liver so if you have a lot of liver stress from pharmaceutical or alcohol use or anything like that, that can aggravate this issue as well. So there’s a lot of kinda complex stuff going on here but ultimately what it comes down to is high amounts of dieting combined with use of fragrances, perfumes, personal care products, things of that nature, combined with not eating clean organic foods and then combined with shifting from one diet to another which a ton of specifically you see a lot of women engaging in this type of pattern really sets you up for this thyroid leptin issue and kind of a sluggish metabolism and a real, real propensity to just struggle more and more with weight gain the older that you get. And so that fix for this would be to simply eat a real healthy diet with moderate calorie restriction like simply not eating more calories than your body actually needs in any given day and just being very, very consistent combined with detoxing your home, detoxing your body, living a low-stress lifestyle and kind of looking at food and that dieting is more of a lifestyle than a fad. And so- but I thought it’d be helpful to explain what’s going on here from like a chemical perspective and it’s a combination of leptin resistance and down-regulation of your thyroid and if this is a situation that you fall into, you can fix it, I mean you can do things like go through a detox so go to like the Ben Recommends page over at bengreenfieldfitness.com. If you just actually if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/benrecommends , it’s right there but we can link to it in the show notes, too. It’s like everything I’ve ever recommended for digestion, to fat loss, to performance, and sleep and brain help and everything. There’s a whole section on there that goes into like how to detox your liver, things that naturally help to support your thyroid. All the stuff that you’d want to do in conjunction with beginning to eat a whole real diet on a daily basis. My favorite diet that I always recommend to people –I use the word diet even though it’s just a lifestyle- is The Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet. It’s really consistent with most people’s metabolism and dietary needs. You do something like that, go check out the ben recommends page to kinda reboot your body and reboot your metabolism and that’s what I would start off with.
Brock: There’s actually a new book by Jonathan Bailor that just came out that really goes into a lot of these as well, called Calorie Myth.
Ben: Uh-hm. Yep. That’s a good book. So we’ll put a link to Calorie Myth, we’ll put a link to The Perfect Health Diet in the show notes. And I’ll put a link to my recommendations page as well, and those would be three places to start – just read those two books, do a little bit of a detox and start into the information that you find in those books.
Brock: You know what else we’ll put a link to?
Ben: What’s that?
Ben: And at bengreenfieldfitness.com/love you can see a really cool video from Brock and I where we show you five ways to make yourself healthier using a common household tennis ball. So, there you go.
Brock: Is that what happened in that video? I thought that was when you signed up for the email list.
Ben: No, that’s when you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/ – actually you know what, when you go to bengreenfieldfitness, -okay now I’m getting confused. If you go to free …
Brock. Yeah, free –no, giftfromben.com
Ben: If you go to giftfromben.com , you get the video from Brock. If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/love you simply get to spread the wealth. And then also if you leave a review, we will actually send you a brand spanking new set of Ben Greenfield fitness swag, an awesome tech T-shirt, a BPA-free water bottle and a killer beanie.
Brock: How dare you call it a beanie? It’s a toque.
Ben: A beanie. A beanie or it’s the same kind of a toque. So what do we get this week for review, Brock?
Brock: We got a review from silentbob222. And he says, the title of it is “Complex Signs Presented in a Way a Knuckle Draggers can Understand”.
Ben: Nice. We do have a lot of knuckle draggers that listen in to the show.
Brock: Being knuckle draggers are so sweet. We have…
Ben: Knuckle draggers and Spartans.
Brock: Uh-hm. So silentbob says, “Even though I am a green beret and not a beloved navy seal, I still love this podcast. Haha”! I’m not sure. Is he joking about that?
Ben: I’m not sure. Is that how a knuckle dragger says “Haha”?
Brock: Perhaps. Haha! Anyway….
Brock: Anyone working in SOF is expected to push himself beyond what you think your limits are and I think the nutrition and fitness knowledge that Ben and Brock share on this podcast have helped me extend those limits and feel better at 33 years old than I did at 27. Not only do they have great information but also present it so the average person can understand it. Ben Greenfield Fitness is my go-to for health and nutrition as well as findings other resources as experts as his guests often have a ton of info to offer, too. Nice.
Ben: Well, silentbob, if you heard us read your review, just write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get some gear out to you. If you would like, you can leave your review over at iTunes. We’ll put a link on the show notes for you to do that. I think we should probably end this podcast, Brock, by giving our best knuckle dragger impersonations which I think just involves just lots of grunting.
Ben: Podcast over.
Brock: Podcast done.
Ben: Eat breakfast. Podcast. Hmm. Microphone. Microphone tastes good.
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