Dr. Phil Maffetone is a legend in the world of endurance training, for he has been advocating for a healthy approach to peak athletic performance for decades, and finally getting his due for presenting the most sensible and effective way to train for extreme endurance goals.
Dr. Phil has worked with some of the greatest endurance athletes in history, including triathlon legend Mark Allen, Mike Pigg, and Tim DeBoom. He was the first guy to call out the incessant use of sugary gels and drinks as lame and unhealthy, and advocate for the use of more nutritious fats to support fat burning during workouts. Phil’s other genius breakthrough was to tell athletes to slow down and observe their maximum aerobic heart rate during sustained cardiovascular workouts, for this would help improve fat burning efficiency and reduce the stress of the workout. Today, the “MAF heart rate” is endurance training gospel— MAF being “maximum aerobic function,” but also an ode to Dr. Phil’s last name.
Dr. Phil is a free-thinking individual who strives to second guess lame conventional wisdom while advocating for personal experimentation and intuition over the prevailing cookie cutter approaches to both fitness goals and traditional medical care. In this show, we get going on an assortment of topics relating to our constant exposure to manipulative marketing forces and sensationalist mainstream media. Consequently, Phil strives to exist in a bubble where you don’t consume mainstream media, barely knows what day it is, and is happier because of it. You gotta dig this guy’s approach, and I for one try hard to emulate it. In fact, our first Skype podcast appointment came and went, not because I forgot about my long-awaited conversation with Phil, but because I forgot what day it was and played morning Speedgolf, instead of connecting with him early at his new home base of Florida.
Dr. Phil explains that the reason we are exposed to manipulative marketing practices is because advertisers know it works! We make decisions with our reptilian brain based on instant gratification, or we make decisions based on analytical processing — quite often over-analyzing or allowing the primitive brain to hijack the process. We are most receptive to considering new input or transformation when we have experienced pain and suffering. Notice how many people come to primal/paleo/low-carb/keto from disease conditions that couldn’t be righted with a traditional approach. Ideally, Dr. Phil argues, we would honor our instincts and intuition, and inform our decisions with personal experimentation, instead of succumbing to the cookie cutter approach that is the norm in both fitness and traditional medical care.
Dr. Phil is always good for some juicy sound bites, as he acknowledges that it’s essential to fight the daily battle against manipulative marketing and BS artists. A few tidbits: Physicians are no longer experts on diet, but they often believe that they are. Phil talks about the global “overfat” epidemic. Unlike visible obesity, being overfat is represented by an excessive waistline measurement. Strive for a waistline less than half of your height in inches. This will help you avoid the prevailing disease triad of chronic inflammation, carbohydrate intolerance, and insulin resistance. First step to health: Ditch refined carbohydrates (sugars, flour/bread products, sweetened beverages) for two weeks per the Maffetone “2-week test.” Then you can reintroduce natural carbohydrates back in (fruit, sweet potatoes, etc.) and see what you can tolerate without adverse symptoms. For many people with insulin resistance and decades of junk food consumption, keto might be warranted. And what’s with all this disparaging of red meat? FYI, chicken is the worst meat because it’s high in the inflammation-promoting arachidonic acid. And yet, people are still so fixated on the importance of eating “lean meat” like chicken. Thankfully Dr. Phil is here with the hard facts and a desire to expose the truth. Enjoy listening to this radically informative and eye-opening conversation with Dr. Phil, and check out his great articles and products at PhilMaffetone.com.
Dr. Maffetone talks about separating fact from opinion when one listens to interviews or reads about fitness. [08:04]
The experience of working with thousands of patients can bring information that might not be in a book. [12:08]
One way our brains work is people are looking for instant gratification. [13:24]
The analytical way the brain works brings you to a conclusion after much thinking. [17:15]
One of the big problems we have in our society is people being overfed. [20:33]
How do we get people to listen!! [23:17]
There is a lack of consensus on things like diet and exercise and this causes people to be confused and not know who to listen to. [27:13]
It’s all about money. [29:19]
Much confused information about meats. [31:09]
Many of the professionals we go to for advice are no longer experts and are influenced by the same articles and advertisers. [39:01]
Dr. Phil is disengaged from media for a specific purpose: STRESS! [45:07]
The answer to “What should I do?” is very personal. [49:36]
Why are we all waiting around to go to a specialist when we could be more proactive? [50:51]
What does he mean by “overfat”? [53:12]
You can be normal weight and non-obese and still have excess body fat. [56:22]
If we’re concerned and we want to make some quick a redirection, turn things around, what would be the triad of things to do with our diet or our daily activity, physical exercise. How would you attack that? [01:02:35]
When you eliminate the bad foods, our brains work better. [1:10:22]
- “We want to personalize our journey in life.” (Dr. Maffetone)
- “Companies are allowed to convince us to be unhealthy.” (Dr. Maffetone)
- “If you want to reduce your body fat, you’re never going to do it successfully and permanently unless you get rid of the sugar.” (Dr. Maffetone)
- “Your waist measurement should be less than half your height.” (Dr. Maffetone)
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad: 00:00:00 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author and athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit and happy in hectic, high-stress, modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Brad: 00:03:52 Hey listeners, I’m so pleased to introduce you to one of my old friends and heroes and inspirations dating all the way back to my triathlon career. His name is Dr Phil Maffetone, prominent author and forefather of the aerobic training movement. He’s now finally getting his due after saying these important points that were so radical and discounted 30 years ago, and now we’re finally realizing the importance of a healthy, nutritious diet that eliminates those refined carbohydrates that humans endurance athletes lived on back in the day, and also slowing down and monitoring your aerobic training heart rate so that you don’t overstress and fatigue yourself, which also has been athletes banging their heads against the wall for decades.
Brad: 00:06:26 Finally, coming around to what they call the MAF approach. M a F, that is the first three letters of his last name and it also stands for “maximum aerobic function.” You’ll love his many, many books on the subject, so check out Phil maffetone.com he’s got some interesting healthy source supplements as well and we aspire to talk about endurance peak performance as usual. I have many shows with him on the Primal Endurance Podcast Channel, but we got to talking about the grand ills of modern society and the flawed and manipulative mainstream media and conventional wisdom about diet and nutrition that has caused so much damage and destruction and pain and suffering and how to fix that and chart your own course and honor your personal experimentation, especially his wonderful two week test, which is a carbohydrate restriction test where you ditch everything, see how you feel, alleviation of the common symptoms that we experienced from a high carbohydrate, high insulin producing diet. Oh man, you’re going to love this show from a free thinker and a big picture guy who’s one of the true pioneers and forefathers in all things having to do with endurance training, athletic performance, and doing it in a healthy manner. One of his first books was called the “In Ftness and in Health.” And he was kind of the first guy to call distinction to the idea that fitness is not necessarily aligned with health because you can pursue fitness goals in an unhealthy manner. Dr Phil Maffetone, you’re going to love it. Enjoy.
Phil: 00:08:04 It’s a passion. Because long ago I had this crazy idea that I wanted to help people wanting to help people be healthy and fit. And it was the journey I was on and I wanted to be the Johnny Appleseed of health and fitness and, and, and help others that while I was helping myself. And when you’re, when you ha, in order to do that, you have to battle. Uh, you have to battle politicians. You have to battle the media, you have to battle corporations. Um, and, and that’s not easy, um, because they have a lot of money. Um, so, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s, it’s frustrating. And so I get, I get pretty passionate and sometimes, um, say things that, uh, some times is offensive, but that’s too bad.
Brad: 00:09:06 Well, that’s also what’s beautiful about today is that you don’t have to, you know, use your PR firm to get you three minutes on the today show to spread the word and everything was so filtered and filtered through the giant pillars of media. We were talking just before we recorded about, uh, the, the LA Times and the New York Times. And if you can get your, the, the story about your book in the health section, it’ll, it’ll help your sales so much, and then they’ll, they’ll, they’ll take your interview and sprinkle in quotes from some random doctor discounting everything you said, and that’ll be the piece that goes out in the New York Times. And now we can turn on a recording device on a podcast and, um, get the, get the unfiltered scoop from, from Dr Phil. So start rolling, man. We’re, we’re not gonna, we’re not gonna edit you. We’re not gonna edit you.
Phil: 00:09:56 Good. Good. I’m, you know, I even in this, in this media, we, we have to, uh, for, for, for listeners and for us, you, you and me, um, we need to, we need to differentiate our opinion from, you know, making factual statements. Um, you know, if, if I say sugar’s bad, that’s not my opinion. There’s a consensus about that. There’s a consensus about junk food. There’s a consensus about beating your body up when you’re training for a marathon or, or a triathlon. Um, and there’s, you know, there’s this, there’s this weird thing that, that people don’t accept facts. They think everything’s an opinion. Um, and then, uh, sometimes it drifts over to religion because, you know, science is all one big question mark. And one bit, everything’s a theory. There isn’t that, there are no facts and none, you know, that we’ll get into philosophy and,
Brad: 00:11:12 Well, what’s, it’s, it’s tough because you can, you can draw upon science to make your point, whatever your point is. And that confuses me as a non-scientist. And then I have to always bring in, especially when it comes to the, the fitness realm, you know, I have, I have a long personal experience with, uh, training at an unregulated heart rate and getting injured and then going back and reading the magazine saying that, you know, high intensity workouts ver develop fitness faster than, than the slower one. So you should do only those and all this stuff that’s uh, you know, doesn’t, doesn’t jive well with common sense. So it’s, there’s no, there’s no hard, fast rule to just say, show me the science, which a lot of people say. And I’m like, okay, I’ll show you some stupid science that’s never worked. And zero elite athletes have ever followed this. Then we’re back to kind of a, the, the, he said, she said, type of strategy,
Phil: 00:12:08 Right? It gets, it gets to be emotional. And, um, and, and you, what you mentioned is, is really great because you mentioned experience and experience is a very valuable lesson. Um, and I often use experience, you know, that’s, that’s in particular clinical experience. So here, you know, here’s what I found when I was in, in practice there was seeing hundreds and hundreds of thousands of athletes. And here’s what I found. You know, a high percent of them did this when that happened. And you know, well that’s, that’s a very valuable bit of experience. Uh, we have to, we have to take that and do something with it. Does it correspond to some scientific study or is there a logic behind, can you explain it scientifically? Um, or not? And, and so it, you know, it’s all, it’s all tied together. It all comes down to simply that we’re all individuals. And although we have an awful lot in common, we all have five fingers and five toes and five fingers on the other side and five toes on the other side.
Phil: 00:13:24 But, um, we, we, you know, we want to personalize our journey in life. Otherwise it’s pretty boring. And then it’s hit and miss. We want to personalize our, our journey. And that’s, that’s what I’m all about helping people do that. That’s what MAF is. It’s, it’s not a program. It’s a, a way to personalize your journey of life in a way that you continually build health and fitness. Um, it’s a pretty good deal, but it’s also, it’s also weird. It’s all, it’s all, um, it’s, it’s so different because in our society, everything is cookbook. Everything is, Oh, you want to run a marathon? You gotta run a hundred miles a week. Oh, you want to, you want to get strong, you’ve got to go to the gym and uh, watch yourself in the mirror and it’s gotta hurt. You want to do that? Okay, here, here’s the cookbook. You wanna lose weight. You do that. I wish it was that easy, then I wouldn’t have to do all this crazy stuff.
Brad: 00:14:39 Why do we look for that type of solution? Just so we don’t have to think as much?
Phil: 00:14:46 Yes. That is exactly the reason. And, you know, decades ago, um, and, and this goes back, you know, to her early in, in, in history, it goes back to, um, how dictators were able to do what they did. But you know, in the 50s, the, the marketing boom came about in part because psychologists saw this interesting relationship with how people decide how are they going to choose something, you know, how are they gonna decide about buying a car? How are they going to decide about, um, buying this food product? And what they showed was that there are two ways that our, our brain works. One is it is an instant gratification, a simple, uh, got you kind of thing. Um, Brad, if you want to lose 10 pounds in one week, here’s the answer.
Brad: 00:15:57 I do. What do I do?
Phil: 00:15:58 That’s exactly what everyone, well not everyone, but that’s exactly what a lot of people listening want to know. Oh, now I’ve got their attention. They don’t think about what does it involved? Is it real? Can it, can you really do that? Um, they just, it’s, it’s the sizzle. They will, they buy the sizzle, not the steak to, to quote an old marketing person. Um, and, and that, that instant gratification, that quick fix is a reaction by our brain. It’s more of an amphibian brain response. Um, you know, we see a bug and we grab it. We don’t think about it, you know, hey that bug and it’s kind of green. I wonder if it’s not ready to eat yet. And you know, no, we just grab it and run. And the problem with that is that there are cognitive errors associated with that mentality. But it’s, it’s the way people buy stuff. It’s the way people attach themselves to exercise programs, to, uh, to diet styles, to philosophy.
Phil: 00:17:15 You know, it’s the other way we use our brains is, is, um, is an analytical way where we, we think, okay, I’m going to lose 10 pounds in one week. Let’s see, what am I going to have to do that? Let me see what it says about the foods I’m going to have to eat and the foods I’m not going to have to eat. And how, how am I going to be able to do that? I bring, I have to bring my food to work, you know, and, and you go on and on, you think about this for a while, sometimes days. And, uh, and then you conclude that this, this doesn’t make any sense or you conclude, you know, let’s, let’s give this a try. Um, and people don’t respond that way. And one of the, one of the problems I’ve always had, it began early in my practice when I recognized it, is that people would come in and say, well, uh, uh, you know, I’m getting, uh, too much body fat.
Phil: 00:18:16 I don’t understand. I’m training even more. Um, blah, blah, blah. And, and I talked about burning fat calories and sugar calories and, uh, and how, uh, carbohydrates, uh, increasing, uh, insulin and that imperious fit, you know, and just, and then they’ll say, well, well, my, my, my friend, uh, he just went on a low fat, low calorie diet and lost, lost weight. And it’s, you know, and I, and I’m thinking kinda just, I just poured my intellectual heart out to this patient to help them understand how they could be healthier. And they didn’t hear a word I said, all they know is that their friend went on a low calorie, low fat diet. And, um, you know, so, so that, and I’ve seen it in writing. I’ve seen, you know, I mean, back way, way back, you remember my, my early articles, my first book, you know, a lot of those things were here’s how you do it. And there was not a lot of, not too much explanation, not, not a lot of science behind. And I got into writing sciences as time went on because I thought people wanted that. I enjoyed it. Um, and, and it, it almost made things worse. Um, you know, you read a whole book about, um, you know how to run a 1:59 marathon and, and you say, yeah, but my, my, my, you know, my friend knows a guy who, uh, always runs under three hours in Boston and he eats lot of junk. Where in the world. did that come from,?
Brad: 00:20:14 So it sounds like we’re, we’re bouncing back and forth between this, this reptilian brain that’s not a high, highly functioning. And then we’re going into analytical and then jumping back to these random conclusions that, that kind of negate how you poured your heart out to the patient. Is that what’s going on?
Phil: 00:20:33 It goes, it goes back and forth. And in psychology it’s called system one and system two thinking, um, and it’s been applied to, um, economics and they’d been two Nobel prize prizes, one for both those, those, um, ideas. Um, and I just actually submitted a, an opinion paper to, uh, with my friend Paul Larson, to, um, uh, one of the big public health journals to say, hey, this is one of the big problems we have in our society and we wonder why we can’t keep up with healthcare expenditures. We wonder why 91% of Americans are overfed. We wonder why 80% of Indians are overfed. And, and here is the, the, the one of the big problems is, is how companies are allowed to convince us to be unhealthy. And, um, you know, with the recommendation that, hey, we need to do something about this on a public health level because we’ve done things in the past that have succeeded.
Phil: 00:21:49 You know, most people wear seatbelts today. It’s, it’s an automatic thing. We’ve, we’ve taken that system on mechanism and as reptilian as it is, it, it can be used for, for benefits because now when we get in our car, we put on our seatbelt, even they, even the movie people, um, you know, show you that, um, uh, you know, uh, we, we, we brush our teeth, we, um, we wash our hands, you know, these are, these are examples of public health activities that have been very successful in, in preventing, uh, serious health problems. And, uh, yet we don’t use them for the bigger things, the common sense things like, um, um, here, here’s some junk food. This is so good. You can give it to your baby. You know, so it’s, it’s really unfortunate, and in sports, if, if, uh, if that’s what we’re supposed to be talking about, uh, it’s, it’s used the same way it’s used by magazines. You know, run your best 10 K and in three weeks of training, um, uh, it, it’s entertainment, it’s emotion, it’s the sizzle and you’ve got to get to the steak.
Brad: 00:23:17 Cool. But then when we get to the steak into, took them out of that, uh, that, that sizzle brain that we’ll go down down to the parking lot and talk to someone else and, and change their mind completely and, uh, depart from a whatever best laid plans.
Phil: 00:23:43 Good question. I think you have, grab them with both your hands really hard and shake them and just keep shaking them until, no, I’m only kidding. Partially,
Brad: 00:23:54 Well, as an author, I mean that could be a writing strategy in, in on a serious note where you’re, you come out swinging, uh, you know, with, with the, with the, uh, the gloves off, um, it might be a necessary strategy. Just like we got started talking on the show. Um, you know, nice and polite might not fly when you’re, uh, when your message has been stomped on by the powers that be irresponsibly and unfairly.
Phil: 00:24:22 Exactly. Um, and I, I try typically to approach it from the standpoint of, Hey, if you want to get faster, if you want to burn off excess body fat, if you want to prevent injuries, if you want to perform your best, what a deal and then present the information. And if they don’t want to take it, then fine. My experience is they’ll eventually come back. Um, many of them, eh, because whatever they’re doing isn’t working.
Brad: 00:25:00 Ah Huh. So we talk about not, not addressing someone until they’re ready to receive. So maybe when you get to that point of desperation, uh, you’re, your a reptilian brain will relax a little bit. You’ll listen a little more carefully. Your, those emotions and all those things that kind of sent you down, uh, the crazy path, buying the latest, greatest, a magical product. Now you’re going to be a little more receptive due to due to pain and suffering. I suppose
Phil: 00:25:31 That’s the key word, pain and suffering is, is, is a part of it. And yes, that that gets people’s attention. Not, not that they’re in pain, they almost feel they should be in pain. But when, when I experienced this in practice and it’s really gotten me into literally into all sports cause I’ve, I’ve worked in all sports and this, you know, the same story, uh, is applicable to all the sports. When, when, when I’m in that sport and somebody in the media says, hey, how’d you get into motor sports? And you know, it was the same thing. Um, I had a driver who, who had pain or in the case on motor sports, I had a driver who, uh, had some neurological problems, um, that had to do with his eyes and I was able to correct it, uh, in, in sports. Uh, you know, I saw this young young kid who had a leg pain, chronic leg pain and, and he wanted to race in the upcoming weekend and I was able to fix his leg pain and he was able to race anyone. That guy was, was Mark Allen. And, and only then does someone like that start paying attention. Hey, he, he fixed my leg pain. What else can he do for me? And that, so that gets their attention.
Brad: 00:27:13 And then we have the, the problem of, uh, the lack of consensus on things like the refined vegetable oils where there’s a lot of data that’s saying these are the killing many, many people in the, in the modern world, uh, due to direct association with cancer and dysfunction at the cellular level. But we’re still going into Whole Foods and buying organic canola oil. So why haven’t we achieved consensus on some of these big ticket diet items that seem to the enlightened to be so obvious, but still, I know you mentioned the money behind it and the marketing dollars, but it seems like whew, um, it’s about time to kind of topple over these last remaining pillars of a flawed dietary advice and knowledge that we’ve taken to be true for so long.
Phil: 00:28:04 You’re right. And, and I was one of the points of, of my, uh, opinion piece to the, the journal that I, I submitted this system one /system two thinking article two about health and fitness. Is that it? It’s, it’s time. We, we stopped playing these games. Um, and it is about money. Um, there is a scientific consensus regarding the use of vegetable oils. There has been, um, gosh, I remember lecturing about this in the early eighties, I think. So it’s not new and there is a consensus we could, we could sit in front of a scientific audience and say, here’s why vegetable oils are bad and, or write a, a review article and have it submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine. And it would, it would be accepted because the scientific information, the, the backup for, for what you’re trying to say is all there. And it’s been there for a long, long time.
Phil: 00:29:19 Um, and it is about money. It’s about politics, which is about money. It’s about power, which is about money. It’s about corporate greed, which is about money. Um, and if I’m, if I’m selling you something and suddenly we find out it’s bad, I’m going to keep selling it to you. We look at the tobacco company did, they knew decades ago that they were going to have problems in certain parts of the world, like in the u s um, and so they’d diversified and they bought, you know, junk food companies and, um, you know, then, then they, they weren’t heard as much. But the fact is today, um, there are more cigarettes sold than ever. Tobacco is very popular worldwide. And the fact that, uh, you know, they had this big lawsuit in the u s and so in the u s you can’t advertise tobacco in magazines or on radio and TV. Um, it’s out there. It’s out there, it’s in movies, it’s on the Internet. Um, yeah, we don’t have Joe Camel, uh, but we still have Joe Camel. It’s, it’s all out there and kids are still smoking. So, uh, it, it’s all about money. And, um, uh, do we as a society allow that to happen while we have been allowing it to happen. And now we’re in a big mess. And what are we going to do about it? I don’t, I don’t, I have some answers, but I don’t know, uh, when the problem will be addressed, it’s certainly not being addressed now.
Brad: 00:31:09 Well, let’s say the, the well intentioned, open-minded consumer is trying to do the best they can and is trying to decide between a, a vegetarian eating pattern and this, uh, this, this Primal Paleo, low carb Keto stuff. Uh, and this is trying to be thoughtful and go to the bookstore and look at, uh, the, the, the prominent, uh, uh, authors and people that have, uh, in gendered respect in their careers. But we kind of had to, um, some forks in the road. And I’m still, I’m still wondering, uh, how to resolve that when I’m, you know, I’m sitting down at the family dinner table for Thanksgiving and the conversation goes to this direction or that direction and someone says, well, yeah, there’s this article that I said that, that I just read that says, uh, uh, eggs are bad and that cholesterol will clog your arteries. I mean, it’s still, it’s still floating around there, right in our faces with these documentaries that are coming out where the, I mean the doctor was on camera saying that eggs will kill you. And, and he’s, he’s a prominent physician with a long record and a respected name in the world.
Phil: 00:32:19 Yeah. It’s sad and that’s why I don’t do those Thanksgiving things or any holiday things, but, but for the first time I wrote an article that I think just recently came out on my website maybe last week about eggs and, and for the first, and I’ve been writing on it my entire career. I began doing it when I was a student, um, about the benefits of eggs. And for the first time in my career I was able to skip over the whole argument about why eggs are not bad and why they are healthy. And I just said, you know, now that the egg scare is over here.There are some great reasons to eating eggs and, um, hopefully, you know, hopefully the tide has turned with eggs along the salt. I have an article on salt coming out soon. Um, and, and s, you know, red meat, um, and, and, and this and that.
Phil: 00:33:28 There’s, there’s pretty good consensus for, you know, when, when we look at all the, the things that we’re confronted with when it comes to health and fitness, you know, what foods do we, what do we avoid? What do we do when, you know, before we exercise, what do we do during a, a long trail run? Uh, what about shoes? You know, what, what kind of training should I do? Should I run really hard every day because that’s what my neighbor does. Um, for, for most of those issues, there’s a pretty good consensus on a, on a scientific and a clinical level. Um, the, the confusion is that, you know, we have a lot of things lingering on for various reasons. One is the money issue. Um, the other is, um, it tradition is hard to break to, to s to say red meat. What, what’s so unique about red meat?
Phil: 00:34:42 Chicken is the worst kind of meat to eat. If you want to bash meat. Chicken is the worst kind of meat it has. Uh, the highest level of Arachidonic acid and Arachidonic acid, um, uh, you know, comes down into the inflammatory pathway. We need inflammation, but we don’t need a lot of it. But, uh, Arachidonic acid is the primary driver of inflammation. And when that becomes chronic, that’s the first stage of disease and, and impairment, physical impairment. So what is it about red meat? You know, like, okay, now pork is okay because it’s white. Um, veal, those little baby cows, you know, veal is okay because it’s white. So there, you know, there’s this incredible tradition which is always tied in with emotion. Red meat elicits an incredible emotional response in almost everybody, whether you eat red meat every day or, or not. Um, but there’s a, there’s a pretty good consensus, uh, if, if we had to sit down, uh, we scientists and we clinicians and say, okay, we’re gonna, we’re gonna make, you know, the top 10 recommendations for the world because we’re going down the tubes.
Phil: 00:36:08 We’re, we’re halfway down the tube. You know, when, when, when, uh, you know, most of the world is over fat and, and the condition of excess body fat is the first stage of all the chronic diseases and all your intermediary problems, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, um, you know, blood sugar impairments and so forth. Um, w we need to, we need to do something fast. And so here you, you know, you guys sit in a room and come up with, you know, the top 10 or 20 things that people as a guideline that people can do and still be able to say, okay, everyone has to personalize this. And so if you don’t want to eat, um, certain foods, that’s okay because you can get your nutrients from, from alternatives. Um, but the fact that there is a consensus there is ignored by most people there. They’re willing to latch, you know, that’s that system one an anphibian brain thing. They’re willing to latch onto tradition and emotion and, um, that’s not, that’s not how we want to do it. If, if we’re trying to personalize our life so that we’re the healthiest we can be in the fittest, we can be.
Brad: 00:37:41 So this personalizing and trying things out for yourself. Uh, I think one of the problems when it comes to considering a dietary transition, especially going against the advice of your physician, because generally speaking, the certified nutritionist and the family physicians are the physicians that touch the end user. A lot are still looking at a blood report saying your LDL is too high and they’re sending you home with the order to not consume eggs or red meat. And then, uh, when you, when you try things out for yourself, you can’t tell for 20 years that the oil that you’re pouring over everything is going to kill you. So we don’t have that, that immediate instant gratification to change behaviors such as when we slow down our workouts and then six weeks later we’re uh, setting PRs because we’ve moderated the stress response with our crazy training schedules that will stick and then they will keep coming back to you and asking you for more guidance. But with that diet part, what do we do with the, the idea that A, we’re still receiving, uh, tainted advice from people who shouldn’t be giving advice and then B, that we can’t tell right away. In some cases, I know we can start losing weight if we cut cut our carbohydrate intake. But on those other big picture items, what does the, what does the consumer to do?
Phil: 00:39:02 Um, this is where the system breaks down even more. It’s that when we go to the so called experts who are no longer experts and ask them for advice, which they shouldn’t give because they’re not experts because they’re over fat, they’re smoking, they’re unhealthy and they’re gonna. They’re going to tell the patient, here’s how you become healthy. Well, that doesn’t work. And more important is the fact that a lot of these professionals, a lot of these practitioners are influenced the same way. Consumers are influenced by articles in the newspaper, by advertisers. Advertisers are very smart. They spend a lot of money to convince you, um, about whatever, whatever they want to convince you about to sell their product. And, and, and doctors are not immune to that. You know, the, the word doctor means teacher. And I, I took that very serious and I needed to teach myself.
Phil: 00:40:14 I needed to learn how to be healthy. And then I, my job was really to teach people. And uh, there are not a lot of doctors who teach people today. There were not a lot of practitioners who teach people. Everything is cookbook. And so if, if you’re, uh, if you’re over fat, if your blood pressure is high, if you’re, um, uh, you know, your brain is starting to, to, to fade, you’re not remembering things. Um, you know doctors don’t, first of all, they don’t have any time to explain things to you. Even if they did understand what needed to be, uh, recommended or what needed to be tried. Everything is cookbook. Um, almost almost everything is cookbook in healthcare now. So you, you, you diagnose something and so you come up with a name and then you treat the name. But you know what, there’s a person there, there’s a person behind that name.
Phil: 00:41:23 You’re not treating diabetes, you’re treating Joe and Susie. Um, and, uh, every diabetic is different. They’re all individuals. And so you need to personalize their program and you really can’t physically and mentally do that for a patient. But what you can do is help them do it for themselves. And that whole process has completely fallen apart. Hardly anybody does it anymore. Even the alternative care, uh, folks, you know, I one time, uh, alternative medicine, which is really a terrible name. Uh, it was come up, it, it was developed the name by, you know, by medicine to imply that, you know, we’re, we’re gonna, we’re gonna do you know, these guys have an alternative to good health care, alternative lifestyles.
Brad: 00:42:27 Oh, you’ve chosen an alternative lifestyle. Excuse me.
Phil: 00:42:33 Yeah, I mean, and so, but, you know, alternative medicine has really, as an as a whole, as a group has sold out and we can, we can hit all the, the, the professions, uh, since, um, you know, people want to pick on me. Okay. So chiropractors and acupuncturists and, um, a nutritionist, the nutritionist in the alternative so-called alternative nutritionist, as opposed to the ones who are employed by hospitals, um, who, who also use cookbook remedies. But they’ve also gone the cookbook route because it’s, it’s easier and it’s quicker. And so when a patient comes in to see you, uh, and they have, you know, they have some, some body pain. Well, you offer a particular service and you treat them based on the service you render, not on what their needs are. And of course, there are exceptions. There are some great clinicians out there. Uh, unfortunately there are not too many. And, uh, most most practitioners know what they’re gonna do before they even see the patient. And that’s, and that’s just sad and you add that to the fact that, um, patients are not being educated properly. Um, and it’s a disaster. It’s only gonna get worse,
Brad: 00:44:07 Right. They time doctor, patient time is cutting down. And I guess we’re a, we’re too busy to really dig in and read and educate ourselves today. We’re too busy with instant gratification, social media, things like that. I feel like it’s, um, it’s affected my own personal life where, you know, I used to, I used to read voraciously. I have a stack of books on the shelf. I read them all and now I a stack of books by my bedside, but I don’t seem to be getting through them too quickly because there’s too much other stimulation in my life and then I’m exhausted and can’t pick up a book like I used to.
Phil: 00:44:43 Yeah, it, it’s, it’s, it’s, um, it’s overwhelming. And so, I mean, I’m, I don’t have a TV or radio. I don’t look at the news. I don’t, um, I don’t know what, I don’t know what day it is half the time, unless, you know, I have, I have notices that I have a podcast with [inaudible],
Brad: 00:45:07 Well, I don’t know a day it is either, because obviously we were supposed to record last week and then the morning time zone came and went and I was like, oh my gosh, I, I, it’s not that I forgot about this long, long awaited podcasts with, with Dr Phil Maffetone. I just didn’t know what day it was. That was my, that was where I was at that time. So I guess that’s, that’s not as bad as completely forgetting about our podcast. But I woke up, I thought it was Thursday morning, I think I went out and played my beloved morning speed golf round and then got back and I’m like, oh my God, it’s Friday. Uh, but on that note, uh, the, I, I, you’re doing this for a defined purpose, which is to, I guess, reduce the stress in your life and reduce this stimulation, which is, it has negative health consequences. You’re not just trying to be an off the grid dork who’s making a, making a point in sending, sending photos via Instagram of your, your solar panels. You’re disengaging from modern media for, for a specific purpose.
Phil: 00:46:10 Exactly. I’m, I’m doing it because I want to reduce stress. And that’s one of the things that, um, anyone who understands stress, which we define as, as being physical, biochemical and mental, emotional in nature, um, does. They recommend reducing stress. And there are a lot of stresses that people can, can eliminate or reduce. And then what happens when you do that? The body’s now healthier and more fit and now you’re able to cope. You’re able to adapt to all the other stresses, which we may not be able to change. Um, so yeah, I, I, I do it for selfish reasons. At the same time, I want to be able to explain how somebody can, can do those things. And, um, and it’s, it, it’s really, you know, the stress, the stress thing is really what it’s all about. Uh, if, if we, if we, you know, I’m, I’m into, I’m into the big picture, uh, sometimes we have to whittle down and say, well, here’s, you know, here’s the mechanism that’s going on in the knee joint when you get injured.
Phil: 00:47:26 But there’s a big picture. And that’s a, that’s a really nice place to start because when you see the big picture, you see, what are the things that I want to devote time and energy on to help myself to help become more healthy and become a, you know, a more fit person, improve my natural human performance, whatever that may be. Um, and stress, stress would be in a general, uh, in a general sense, trust would be the only thing we need to worry about by definition because, um, all the physical things that you and I have talked about over the years in terms of training, uh, how do we run a better marathon, et cetera, et cetera. All the things we’ve talked about regarding food and, uh, nutrition and all the bad oils and hydrogenated fat and well now they call them trans fats. Uh, uh, synthetic vitamins, all, you know, all this, we can all throw that into this thing called stress because there are physical stresses that we need to deal with.
Speaker 3: 00:48:40 There are biochemical stresses, which is where nutrition is in food and there are mental, emotional stresses, which is, um, our, our education or our miseducation. Uh, pain is there too. Pain is something that is an emotion. And so when we put all that together, we say, well, now I’m really confused. Now I’m overwhelmed because, um, if I make a list of all my stresses, which, which I recommend people do, um, it’s unlimited. I mean, I’ve got, you know, I’m up to 57 physical stresses. I’m under, I got, you know, 107, uh, biochemical stresses and I’ve got all these mental, emotional stresses, many of which I really can’t even define, but I know that. So what do I do? Um, it’s, it’s, and everybody’s waiting for the answer.
Phil: 00:49:36 I don’t know the answer because it’s individual. It’s very personal. Um, I can give you some ideas, uh, from a, from a physiological standpoint, when we look at things like, well, we, we, we, we brought this up before, you know, what are the causes of chronic illness? You know, we don’t, we don’t, we’re no longer dying of infectious diseases. We’re dying of chronic illness. Most people, um, today die of chronic disease and virtually all those diseases are preventable. Everybody knows that. Scientists know that. Clinicians know that. Um, you look, look up on the CDC website. You know, these are preventable conditions, which means they don’t have to happen. And so, um, w what do they have in common? What are all these chronic diseases? Cancer, you know, all the cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, stroke, et Cetera. Um, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, you know, those are the top, um, the top, uh, causes of death in the Western world.
Phil: 00:50:51 Um, what are the, is there some common denominator there? You know, everyone makes it seem like, well, you know, your, you, you’ve got cardiovascular disease here and then you got cancer over there. And so if you have a, both of these, you go to one doctor for one and the other doctor for another in an end stage situations that, that makes perfect sense. And having a specialist is really wonderful. However, why are we all waiting around to go to a specialist when we could be more proactive? Um, but what is the, you know, what is the common denominator? It has to do with being over fat and that that’s pretty clear from a scientific standpoint. Excess body fat is associated with increased chronic inflammation, which is that first stage of, or the, the, the over fat is that really the first stage of chronic disease, but chronic inflammation and then carbohydrate intolerance, uh, insulin resistance.
Phil: 00:52:02 That’s the triad, that that is the beginning of the process. And then that trickles down to elevated, uh, LDL cholesterol and, uh, elevated blood sugar and, um, creeping up, um, blood pressure and et Cetera, et cetera. And then in the end, that leads to a diagnosis of disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and, and so if you want to attack those problems, you know, don’t look for the, the vitamins that help diabetes. Don’t look for the, you know, the, the magic heart diet, because there isn’t one. They’re all, they’re all tied in with the, you know, the, the causation of all those conditions, which is, you know, the, the chronic disease, you know, is this wide spectrum of individual illnesses. And if you trace it back to the top where it all begins, it’s with excess body fat.
Brad: 00:53:12 So the triad is chronic inflammation, carbohydrate intolerance, insulin resistance. And then that’s leading us down the road to your term of “over fat.” If you can describe that a little.
Phil: 00:53:27 The over fat occurs first. Um, and, and, uh, I had an interesting discussion with one of the journalists where I submitted one of my overfed papers and, um, uh, and it, it was about, uh, this issue of does excess body fat contribute or core cause chronic inflammation and carbohydrate intolerance, which is also called insulin resistance. Um, and I think, I think today we could say it does. I think when, when you talk to scientists, they want to go at it as a way to be objective. And so, I used to call it a triad, but the over fat excess body fat does produce inflammatory chemicals. So there is a connection there that, you know, it’s the chicken and the egg thing. It doesn’t really matter because we’re going to do the same thing to treat it and to prevent it, which is avoid refined carbohydrate like sugar and, and all the junk food that is allowed to be promoted to, to everyone on the planet, including babies. And when you start seeing, uh, I did a paper, uh, with a colleague on the over fat pandemic in India. And when we think of India, we think of people that are starving. Well, 80.5% of Indian adults are over fat today.
Phil: 00:55:07 What, what’s going on? I’ll tell you what’s going on. Uh, the Western world sent them junk food for decades and that’s how they all of a sudden become over fat. And of course, when you’re in India, um, you see all the fast food chains, uh, on all the street corners just like you do in the US and um, so, you know, avoiding that food, avoiding the junk food. Primarily the, the oils are bad, the processed meats are bad, the chemicals they put in these things are bad. But the refined flour, which turns to sugar very quickly and the sugar itself, uh, has to be eliminated because that’s what makes people over fat. And if you want to reduce your body fat, you’re never going to do it successfully and permanently unless you get rid of the, the sugar.
Brad: 00:56:11 And when you say over fat to be distinguished between the visible obesity,
Phil: 00:56:22 The Indian study I did, um, we, we found that uh, uh, 40% of the normal weight, non obese people, adults were over fat so you could be normal weight and non obese. And in the West it’s, it’s only about 20%. That was one of the interesting things, um, discovered there. But um, you can be normal weight and non obese and still have excess body fat and there’s, you know, there’s, uh, and, and the best way to determine this is to measure your waist and, and um, your waist should be less than half your height. It’s really, it’s really quite simple. This is a very scientific way to evaluate. You can go out and get your dexa scans, but you’re going to have to get them on a regular basis. That doesn’t make any sense. Um, uh, the calipers are iffy. The water weight is, is a very accurate, but, uh, nobody, nobody does that. Almost no one does those anymore. I used to have somebody come to my office and, and literally put together a water bath where we’d weigh people. Um, and um, the, and I’ve been following the waist measuring, uh, techniques over the years. There’ve been, there’ve been a number of them, um, the waist to hip ratio and all that stuff and really the, the best one today, uh, the most scientific, most accurate assessment in all individuals. Um, because some of the, um, the different ethnicities, uh, affect, um, the determinations of, of body fat. So this eliminates that. And you can also use it for children. It’s basically that your waist should be less than half your height and, um, if it’s not you’re over fat
Brad: 00:58:38 And that’s because male or female, the unwanted storage in the midsection is different than the distribution across the body.?
Phil: 00:58:48 Well, it is different for sure. Um, the, the addition of body fat, um, over the years with people, uh, is more easily measured in the waist because there’s a prevalence for that mechanism to happen. Now what you bring up is, is another very important thing, which is that belly fat is the worst kind, almost the worst kind of body fat to have. Um, because it’s metabolically active, it, it produces more inflammatory chemicals. It has a negative impact on our, uh, physical, biochemical and mental emotional body. Um, the other bad area of body fat is related embryologically and that’s the fat around the heart. And you know, once in a while the discussion about fat around, around the heart is a little bit complicated. And so you don’t read about it very often, but I, I’ve talked about it a lot. And the fact is, if you want to know what you have around the heart in terms of, uh, do I have a lot of fat around my heart, should I be concerned? Just look at your belly because what goes on in the belly goes on around the heart in terms of fat deposition. So you, you can get a pretty good idea about fat around the heart by looking at your belly and measuring, uh, your waist and making sure your waist is less than half your height.
Brad: 01:00:30 Now, Phil, what about this concept that the accumulation of belly fat is a slippery slope being that if you, if you start to add a little, as you get advanced in the years or whatever, toning down your commitment to healthy eating and exercise, uh, a little will manifest into more because of the inflammatory aspects of that type of body fat?
Phil: 01:00:54 That’s that, that triad we talked about earlier, right? It’s a vicious cycle. Uh, whether, whether excess body fat is the first thing that happens is almost irrelevant because excess body fat begins to develop and there’s a vicious cycle between that and chronic inflammation and carbohydrate intolerance or insulin resistance. And that goes round and round and now that speeds up the depositing of body fat. Now you’re, now you’re in that excess body fat state. It becomes more evident in the, in the belly and then, you know, it’s around the heart as well, which adversely affects the heart. Um, so yeah, it’s uh, it, it becomes a spiral and there is a normal, a deposition of, of, of more fat in the central part of the body, around the belly. Um, however, that normality does not include the over fat state. It just means that, you know, we as we age, we have, um, we lose a little bit of muscle. We shouldn’t lose too much if we’re physically active. Um, and as we lose muscle, we have, um, slightly more body fat, but it should never be to the point of being overfat again. It, it, you know, if we monitor our, our waist, it should always be below half our height.
Brad: 01:02:35 And if we’re concerned and we want to make some quick a redirection, turn things around, uh, what would be the triad of things to do with our diet or, or our, our daily activity, physical exercise. How would you attack that? Uh, I know you want to do everything personally, but if we’re listening, if the audience is listening, what are, what are your big ticket items and they’ll give you the most return on investment?
Phil: 01:03:00 Well, again, we can, we can look at, you know, what are the physical things I can do with, with sa exercise and training and heart rate and blah, blah. What dietary things should I do? There’s so many of those, you know, pro, what about protein? What about fats and oils? What about carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables? Um, what about vitamin supplements and then all the mental, emotional things that, um, are floating around out there that come and go, um, which have have a lot of hype attached to them as well. And, and it’s overwhelming. It’s confusing. What, you know, what, what’s a consumer to do? What am I to do? Uh, where do I go? How do I start? It’s really pretty simple. You start at the top and you, you, you get rid of refined carbohydrate and sugar. And what I, what I learned long ago is that I didn’t want people to just believe what I say.
Phil: 01:04:08 Some of them, some of them were fine doing that, but I want them to experience what it’s like to be without sugar. And so I developed this thing called the two week test whereby you test yourself over a two week period where you eliminate all the, the refined carbohydrates. So no, no flour, um, or corn products, no sugar, no added sugars. And then after two weeks, you, you sort of assess and then reassess yourself. So, uh, make a list of, you know, pretend you’re, you’re sitting in front of a doctor who’s actually listening to what you’re saying. You know, what are your, tell me all the problems you’re having. Well, I’m hungry a lot. I’m over fat. I am fatigued, um, I don’t sleep well and, and, and whatever. You have all these things and now after two weeks in this two week test, you, you reassess.
Phil: 01:05:13 Okay, now I’m not so hungry. I, uh, I’m sleeping better. I’m, uh, my energy is really good. Um, or whatever. And then you say, okay, so now I know that eating junk food carbohydrates is bad, which everybody already knows, but now you’ve experienced it. Now you know what it feels like to be without it. Now you say, okay, I have, I damaged my metabolism of eating this junk for years, to the point where now I can’t eat unlimited amounts of natural carbohydrates. So let me experiment, uh, with some natural carbohydrates and let me see what my limit is. You know, can they really eat 10 pieces of fruit a day? Can I really have, um, you know, beans and brown rice, uh, as a, as a meal? And you, you may find that you cannot, you, you’ve got some limits on the natural carbohydrates as well.
Phil: 01:06:20 If you’re young enough, you may not find that that’s the case. So, um, that’s personalized. Personalizing a primary cause of many of these conditions. And when you go through that, you will become a healthier person and a more fit person. And if you happen to also be a runner, you’re gonna run a better 10 k, you’re going to run a better marathon. Your injuries are gonna tend to go away. Your um, you know, Gosh, you get rid of, you get rid of, uh, even a little bit of body fat and running economy can improve significantly. So, um, that’s, that’s where we start,
Brad: 01:07:04 Right. And Oh my gosh, the, the results that I’ve experienced from telling people to do the two week test for, for many, many years now, it’s so simple. People can agree to do it. It’s not a long time period. And people literally will come back and say, I lost 11 pounds. I lost seven pounds. And we know now that some of that weight loss is body fat and some of the excess body fat and some of it is just the reduction in inflammation from taking these toxic foods out of the diet, even for a brief period of time. And just to be clear, when you say, uh, talk about the natural carbohydrates and reintroducing them, what you’re trying to do here is, uh, determine when these unpleasant symptoms come back. At what level of a carbohydrate consumption. So if you hit, you know, 12 servings of fruit today after your two week tests, uh, you might find that you’re tired after the meals. You have gas, bloating, digestive problems, the things that we’re so accustomed to in a high carbohydrate diet. And then you kind of fine tune from there and like, did I captured that? Okay? Okay,
Phil: 01:08:10 Exactly. You, you, you just, you know, you’re determining your level of insulin and, um, that’s, that’s not difficult to do. And, and then learning your tolerance for natural carbohydrates, um, falls into place, uh, fairly easy. And especially if you have symptoms like hunger and fatigue and, um, intestinal bloating, gas and bloating, you know, the, these things happen quick. And when you eliminate the foods that cause them, those symptoms change pretty quick. And so, um, and you can use weight as well if you lose, uh, you know, a few pounds over the two week test period and then you start eating, um, natural carbohydrates, which are supposed to be really healthy. Well, they may not be for you because you’re too.
New Speaker: 01:09:09 insulin resistance. So when you start experimenting with those, all of a sudden you gain a couple of pounds and your fatigue and your hunger comes back and you say, Aha, that’s excessive for me.
Phil: 01:09:22 I’m gonna cut back to having only two fruits a day or a whatever. You know, that it just gets very individual. And you know, it, it, a lot of this has to do with instincts and intuition. Um, you know, for millions of years, humans knew what to eat. Of course we didn’t have the, the confusion we have today, but, uh, today we don’t know what to eat. The average person, uh, is completely confused and their education is, is from the, the newspapers and online ads. And, and so, you know, we’re, we get confused. And so personalizing it is figuring out how to do things. And really what you’re doing is developing instincts and intuition.
Brad: 01:10:22 Well, certainly if you clean up your diet, you start to correct some of those desensitization of your Palette and your addiction to sugar and what what you think tastes good and what you think is, is sweet enough for your Starbucks drink. Do you want seven pumps or six or five or four, three or two or one or zero. It’s time to realize that, you know, the lifelong habits have messed us up so that we’re a sugar fiend. Really.
Phil: 01:10:50 Yeah. And that’s a surprise surprise because when we do this, when we, when we eliminate the, these bad foods, our brains work better. And that’s where the, the instincts, intuition, intuition are, are located. Uh, we, we were able to use logic. We’re able to, um, sense that, um, a big plate of, uh, sweet potatoes, which have been genetically modified to be much sweeter, but now they have marshmallows in them. Um, you just sense that, hey, this, this doesn’t look as good as it used to.
Brad: 01:11:38 Oh, is the marshmallows like a common thanksgiving discs? Someone else said that to me and I’m like, what do you, what are you talking about? What am I, am I out of the loop?
Phil: 01:11:47 I’m, I’m continually reminded that it still does exist. I remember growing up as a kid eating it and I’m reminded that, um, people still do that and I, I, let’s not go there. Right.
Brad: 01:12:01 Wow. What a distraction. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Pick, pick through the, uh, the ice caps, the, the, the icebergs there and get your sweet potatoes.
Phil: 01:12:12 Yeah. And then what the media does is they say, you know, turkey has a lot of trip to fan and that makes you sleepy after you eat it. Oh, you mean it’s not the four pieces of pie and the marshmallows and all the other sweetened foods, the, the stuffing, uh, that’s made from junk food. It’s not all that. So it’s just, you know, it’s just
Brad: 01:12:36 Oh, the soundbites. Yeah. Oh Phil, that’s a lot to think about man. We’re, we’re studying straight all the ills of society in modern media and the hype. So thank you so much for covering all these topics. Now we had the ambition to talk about, uh, fitness training, peak athletic performance. So I’m going to have to get you on for a whole separate show if you’ll agree and we’ll, we’ll, we’ll go into those topics. But what fun to talk about these big picture items cause you’re a big picture guy.
Phil: 01:13:04 Thanks Brad. Yes, I’d be happy to talk more anytime.
Brad: 01:13:09 Okay, go check out Phil maffetone.com I especially love your naturally sourced supplements. I’m going to ask you a little bit more about that in the next show. A great newsletter that you can subscribe to. Thank you listeners for joining. Dr Phil Maffetone at his new home in Florida.
Brad: 01:13:30 Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your email@example.com and we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars and it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves cause they need to. Thanks for doing it.