There are a lot of myths about fat reduction and becoming fat adapted that we’ll be clearing up in this episode as I answer some more great questions from listeners.
We start off with a listener who shares a crazy tidbit from his personal history: “At age 35, the doctor said I could drop dead at any moment.” Yikes! Scary statements like these can often lead people to follow ill-advised approaches to weight loss that unfortunately, will usually result in them struggling, feeling like they’re failing, and then giving up on their prescribed diet regimen. And people who struggle to stick to diets and weight loss programs sadly tend to blame themselves, feeling like it’s their fault: they’re not disciplined enough, or just lazy. But weight loss and metabolism are complicated subjects that we’re still learning more about to this day. People aren’t failures or undisciplined, or just flat out lazy if they’re struggling to get (and keep) weight off – they’ve just probably not been given the correct tools, or the right advice from the most informed people. I’ve actually been listening to a great book by Dr. Jason Fung, The Obesity Code, that absolutely shatters the myth that “calories in, calories out” is the way to fat loss. This has been scientifically proven to be incorrect, yet the myth is still being perpetuated, and so many people continue to adhere to it, thinking it will lead to fat reduction. Wrong!
Fat reduction is ultimately all about lowering insulin. How do you lower insulin? Fasting is a great way to start – simply eating less frequently will help, and so will restricting (or eliminating) your consumption of refined carbohydrates, as these are all known to raise insulin. Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of the new book, The Fatburn Fix, recommends total elimination of refined industrial seed oils. This is a MUST: these oils cause dysfunctional fat metabolism….and if you can’t burn fat, then it’s going to be hard to cut carbs out of your diet – after all, what fuel can you burn if you already have dysfunctional fat metabolism?
Back to our first listener, who lost 45 pounds originally through a plant-based approach. He stopped eating processed foods and stuck to greens and high-starch vegetables and carbs. And he was ok…for a bit. A few years in, his weight started to go back up, which is not surprising considering how difficult it is to sustain a low fat, high carb diet. If you listened to my show with Dr. Saladino, you know that focusing on nutrient density (via animal foods) is what will give you long-term results, allowing you to lose weight and keep it off – for good.
I also talk about the importance of integrating the revised MAF formula into workouts, as it allows you to calculate the heart rate at which you burn the most fat. And keep in mind: you don’t actually have to do all your workouts at maximum aerobic heart rate – you can do the majority of your workouts at 20, 30, even 40 beats below your heart rate, because it’s simply not necessary to push it to the max each time you exercise. Remember that a comfortably paced workout can be both energizing and restorative, and that it’s very difficult for your body to kick back into fat-burning mode once you’ve tapped into glucose burning metabolism. Your body can’t easily switch back and forth between the two, so if you really want the maximum training effect, you have to stay aerobic for the entire duration of your workout.
When Dr. Ronesh Sinha was on the show, he shared how he has been able to demonstrate, through his work with his patients, that it is possible to reverse heart disease risk factors through diet. He’s even given presentations to other doctors and cardiologists about it, and explained how a low sugar, high-fat diet will allow triglyceride levels to drop to the “safe zone.” While 150 is considered to be a pretty standard level, Dr. Ron instead advises that people get their total triglyceride level under 100, as the 150 figure accounts for how sick and unhealthy most of the population is. And what about testosterone? A normal range for serum testosterone in males is 200 – 1,000, so if you find your numbers fall on the low side of the scale, check out my MOFO (Male Optimization Formula with Organs) supplement to get into the healthy range.
Next up is a question about plant-based eating: is it possible to become fat-adapted if you give up sugar, processed foods, and grains, forgo meat, and just eat plants? And are all grains bad, or is it really just processed grain products that do the most damage? Are whole grains still ok? Well, it depends on what your health objectives are….and your definition of ‘ok.’ The main issue with whole grains is that they raise insulin, in return for little nutritional benefits….Think about it this way: between a bowl of Skittles and a bowl of brown rice, there really is little to no difference, in the context of insulin production, in how they will impact your blood sugar. At the end of the day, it’s up to you….however, if you’re serious about reducing excessive insulin production in your diet, then why not make it a lot easier for yourself, and just stick to nutrient-dense, nose-to-tail animal foods? If you’re curious to read more about this topic in-depth, check out The Keto Reset Diet or The Primal Blueprint to get familiar with the foundation of the ancestral health movement and listen to my show with Dr. Paul Saladino. As he explains, what makes the carnivore diet so healing and energizing is its nutrient density, which is unparalleled in comparison to other foods, and is also frankly, a bit of a joke when compared to grains. The carnivore diet may seem ultra extreme to someone who’s been a plant-based eater for a while, but it always pays to keep an open mind so you can explore other options and really find what works for you. That’s all for today – have a good weekend, keep away from grains, and keep the questions coming!
The myth that calories in and calories out has not been proven to lead to fat reduction, but rather the lowering of insulin. [04:02]
The listener’s question is: In the newly revised MAF formula, does one add five beats, because of age, to aerobic heart rate every time? [07:41]
The rider doing the hundred-mile event is asking about training using the MAF approach. The event is 99.9% aerobic so you need the proper training. [13:03]
The measurement of cholesterol is not as important as the triglycerides. [15:39]
Can you become fat adapted by just eating plants and giving up sugar? Grains? [18:08]
Whole grains have a higher level of anti-nutrients that cause so much trouble for so many people. [20:26]
- Brad’s shopping page
- Dr. Phil Maffetone
- The Obesity Code
- Fatburn Fix
- Brad Kearns MOFO
- Dr. Ron Sinha
- Dr. Cate Shanahan
- The Primal Blueprint
- Podcast with Dr. Saladino
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
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 balance that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Hey, Hey, welcome to more Q and A It’s a get over yourself podcast people. Thanks for writing in. Get over yourself firstname.lastname@example.org is where the questions arrive and I love to get into it. So another show dedicated to all ya all. And we’re going to start out with a very interesting lengthy question about the aerobic approach to endurance training, the MAF approach as it’s widely known. Dr Phil Maffetone, my main man, one of the pioneers in the use of fat adapted and Durance training with diet and a low heart rate, comfortably paced aerobic exercise to build, build, build and become a fit competitive athlete. Be able to go really fast because you slow down. That’s kind of the essence of our whole message with the primal endurance book and online video course. You can find all tha at primalendurance.fit so the listener says, I just ran across your site and I’m super intrigued. I was a long time fat man from after college until about 15 years ago carrying 225 on a five foot eight inch frame at age 35 the doc said I could drop dead at any moment you like.
When doctors say that, I guess that’s their best way to motivate patients to do something. Unfortunately a lot of people try, they follow an ill advised approach and they struggle and fail and then they blame themselves for being lazy, undisciplined, and boy, some people are really starting to change the conversation. Now I’m listening to a great book by Dr Jason Fung called The Obesity Code, where he’s shattering this myth that calories in calories out is the way to a fat reduction. In other words, uh, burning more calories and eating fewer simply does not work. It’s been proven by science over and over again, but we’re still perpetuating this myth in the diet scene, the fitness scene, there’s some economic forces, there’s some manipulative marketing forces that are kind of putting the onus on us to use our discipline, our willpower, and turn away from the plate when we’re still hungry or go out there and push ourselves when we don’t feel like it, when we’re tired, when we’re not healthy.
So we’re trying to recalibrate this and realize that, uh, when it comes to fat reduction, I know this is kind of an aside from the question, I’ll get back to it, but, uh, it just on my mind right now, when it comes to fat reduction, it’s all about lowering insulin that comes through fasting, through eating less frequently, as well as restricting or eliminating the intake of refined carbohydrates that spike insulin. That would be grains and sugars. Pretty simple. And then Dr Cate Shanahan, author of the Fatburn Fix brand new book, fantastic stuff. Also throwing in the plug for total elimination of the refined industrial seed oils because these cause dysfunctional fat metabolism. And if you can’t burn fat, you’re going to have a really hard time cutting the carbs out of your diet, right? Because those are the only fuel that you can burn when you have dysfunctional fat metabolism driven strongly by the consumption of these highly offensive toxic vegetable oils or industrial seed oils.
More technically speaking. Okay, so this guy lost 45 pounds after the doc said he could drop dead at any moment. Uh, on a plant based approach. Got rid of processed foods, uh, the natural high starch carbohydrate foods were in as well as the greens. Guess what happened? Yes, it worked temporarily. A few years later he was back up to 210. So from 225 down 45 to 180, back up to 210. Not a great success story, but certainly way better than average. And you can tell that this person has, comes from the, uh, the highly disciplined athletic category. So that’s what little success they had was probably based on, you know, raw, raw willpower to do it. Even though it might not be the best way to go with that low fat, plant-based approach. Very difficult to adhere to for almost everyone anyway. Uh, this guy is succeeding and adhering to a plant based approach for a long, long time.
Now he’s down at one 170 to 175. This past September I attempted a 100 mile, 14,000 feet of climbing mountain bike race, a 61 years old, uh, at 10 hours and the 60 mile Mark, he missed a cutoff. So they pulled him out. Um, I was happy they pulled me cause I would have died trying to complete the thing. Isn’t that nice? They’re looking out for your best interest by pulling you. Here’s the thing, he’d never gone more than 30 miles on his bike in eight months training for the event. Uh, so he was definitely ill prepared for it. I tried using the MAF method early in training. I understand that I need to train with the math method for a couple of years before my aerobic base is really strong. Well, not necessarily. So you can get really, really strong and make tremendous fitness progress in a very short time by training correctly.
You can in six weeks kind of transform, uh, your aerobic system, your cardiovascular function to where you’re very competent, uh, with a proper approach where the workouts build upon each other rather than stress you out and break you down. Which is the story that most fitness enthusiasts, uh, follow or face when they show up at the gym, uh, well intentioned and ready to go. They get pushed too hard and they break down, they fall apart and they have backsliding instead of forward progress. So here’s my question. Uh, in the newly revised MAF formula, uh, my MAF heart rate is 130, because, uh, it says 55 years or older, you get to add five beats, 60 or older. You get to add five more. I don’t know who said this. I recall Dr Phil talking a little bit about older athletes getting a little bit of leeway here if they’re still strong and competent and they’re over 60, uh, they might not have to go strict 180 minus age, they might be 180 minus age 0.5, a plus five. Uh, but I don’t think you’re adding five and adding another five and then you’re starting to creep up into heart rates that are very likely past your maximum fat oxidation per minute that key statistic, which means you’re burning more fat calories per minute at this heart rate than any other heart rate. So if you speed up, you start to burn less fat and more sugar, you burn more calories per minute, the faster and faster you go, of course. But what we’re focusing on is to, uh, develop maximum fat burning capabilities. And that happens at the magical math heart rate of 180 minus your age. And guess what? People, you don’t have to exercise right at that heart rate every time either.
You can do a lot of workouts that are well under your maximum aerobic heart rate. When I was a professional triathlete, my math number was 155, right? I was a young guy, 180 minus age, and I did the vast majority of my workouts on the bike and running 10 ,20, 30, 40, 50 beats below my math heart rate because I was trying to restore and recover from a lot of jet travel and the high intensity racing. So I’d go out there and pedal my bicycle on the flats at a heart rate of a hundred when my math heart rate was 155, you know, going 14 miles an hour instead of 24 or 25 what I could hold when I was really functional aerobically. Uh, I could run six minute miles aerobically for five miles a 30 minute time trial was my best and still stay aerobic.
But I didn’t do that very frequently at all. Most of the time I ran seven minute mile, eight minute mile. So don’t forget that you don’t have to bump up against your maximum every time you exercise. And in fact, you can get a wonderful training effect from just slowing down and conducting a restorative, energizing, comfortably paced workout. So to answer your question, I would give you a little free hall pass to add five beats to the 180 minus age because you’re a very fit specimen and you’re over 60 years old, but that’s it. So 180 minus 61 20 add five is 125 not 130, not 135 not 140 per your question. Absolutely not. Err on the conservative side. Make sure you’re burning fat and you don’t stimulate that glucose burning and that stress hormone production that will send you into a tailspin of regression of fitness, possible breakdown, burnout, illness, and injury.
Uh, now the next question for this outrageous event, the a hundred mile ride. Is it possible to train using the MAF approach? Of course it is. And of course you’re going to get the maximum return on investment when you develop your aerobic system. When you’re training for such a long duration all day event, you’re not needing any anaerobic function whatsoever. The event is 99.9% aerobic. So if you go out there and ride fast for 40 minutes in the hills , you are going to get a fitness benefit, but it’s going to come with a significant recovery cost as well as it’s not going to, uh, uh, target the aerobic energy producing enzymes and muscle fibers that you’re going to need to succeed over a hundred miles and 14,000 foot of climbing. Uh, he’s complaining that he can’t keep his heart rate below 130 when he climbs Hills.
What do I do? Stay on the flats to train at 130. Uh, what about strength training? Do I need to put that in there too? So my argument, and this is highly supported by the greatest endurance athletes of all time in every single sport, all the top triathletes. I had a great show with Mark Allen. We talked about it a little bit. Uh, but he’s the greatest triathlete of all time, bred through the Maffetone approach, the aerobic training approach where he slowed down and got fitter and fitter and fitter without the interruption that causes when you train in the black hole. So what you’re going to have to do, uh, Mr Rider of the, it might be the Leadville where they have the a hundred mile, 14,000 foot of climbing or some other hardcore, uh, mountain bike event. You’re going to have to get a bigger gear on your bike.
So go into the bike shop and tell them to put more teeth on your easiest gear because yes, indeed you can climb up even a very steep hill and maintain aerobic heart rates just by pedaling very slowly. So it’s urgent that you do that because if you interrupt these aerobic workouts that are performed at 180 minus age, you’re trying to burn fat stay aerobic. If you interrupt that with a couple of minutes here, couple minutes there, have a higher heart rate performance where you do kick into glucose burning. It’s very difficult for your body to kick back into fat burning. Once you’ve tapped into the glucose burning metabolism, it’s hard to switch back and forth, back and forth, and then go back to fat for the next couple hours of the ride after the steep series of hills. So to get the maximum training effect, the desired training effect, you have to stay aerobic for the entire duration of the workout.
Yes, this matters, especially when you’re serious and you’re performing these super extreme events, no fooling around. Uh, then finally he says, I’m scared to go back to a meat eater’s diet because everything’s great. Now I have a low cholesterol, my triglycerides are below 150. I can’t believe people still reference total cholesterol as an important metric. Uh, we’re still programmed this way by many physicians and many health experts, uh, but it’s been rendered virtually meaningless in many ways, uh, by the leading experts and the emerging research. And just for quick recaps of things that we’ve covered in books and on podcasts with people like Dr Cate Shanahan, Dr Ron Sinha, the leaders in this space that are actual physicians working with people, uh, Sinha has done a great job in the Bay area, reversing heart disease risk factors through diet and given presentations to other doctors and other cardiologists, uh, stating his protocol.
And they can’t believe it at first, but slowly but surely he’s turning the tide saying these people started to eat less sugar and more fat and their triglycerides dropped into the safe zone. And speaking of that, a D50 is the common reference point for a safe or a normal healthy level of triglycerides in the blood. That’s the level of, uh, fat circulating in your blood. It’s a good marker for heart disease risk, a way more important than total cholesterol. You want to get those total triglycerides under a hundred, not 150, but under a hundred per Dr Sinha. Uh, it’s just that we’re using reference ranges for a very unhealthy fat, sick population. And that also includes things like total testosterone. I believe Dr Tommy Wood was talking about this on some of our shows where we have this range. The normal range for serum testosterone for males is 200 to a thousand.
Uh, and so if you’re anywhere in that normal, you come back from the doctor and you got a 282, which was one of, uh, one of my numbers when I was, uh, back as an athlete and turning in these low testosterone numbers, even though I was in my twenties, supposedly at my peak, but I chronically was down there in the 200 to 300 range. So if you’re in the normal range, but you’re low normal, you want to get that puppy up to high normal to be all that you can be. And that’s what the MOFO mission is all about. So take a sneak peek right now if we do a little commercial for Brad kearns.com/mofo M O F O good stuff.
Anyway, so this guy’s talking about being scared to go back to a meat eaters diet. Uh, can you become fat adapted by just eating plants and giving up the sugars? Grains? And other processed foods. And when you say grains, are you talking just breads? Are you talking about whole grains as well? So, um, I’m going to invite you to uh, enhance your education a little bit. Uh, reading books like The Primal Blueprint, keto reset diet where we covered these checkpoints, these uh, kind of foundations of the ancestral health movement. Uh, but the answer is when we’re talking about eliminating grains, we’re talking about the high insulin stimulating aspects of all grain foods. It returned for very minimal, uh, nutritional benefit, right? So if you have a whole grain bread or Brown rice or things of that nature, uh, you’re getting an insulin hit, you’re getting basically sugar. Remember the body converts all forms of ingested carbohydrate into glucose pretty quickly upon ingestion. So when we’re talking about the effects on insulin from a bag of Skittles versus a bowl of Brown rice, if you get 200 calories of each, you are talking about little or no difference in the context of the effects they have on insulin, which is maybe our number one goal is to reduce that chronically excessive insulin production.
I’m so sorry to break it to you. Devoted listener, Dr Stevie. That bagel is just about the same as all the chocolate that you’re cutting out and the other sugary sweets and treats. But congratulations on, uh, removing sugar from your diet for what, three months straight. Very impressive. And he way, uh, yeah. So the question about eliminating grains is to achieve that overarching goal of reducing wildly excessive insulin production in the diet, which is, uh, widely agreed to be the number one public health problem, uh, on the planet today in the developed world. Is this a metabolic syndrome driven strongly by excess insulin production? So, Hey, it’s working well for you, right? You have good blood numbers. Well, decent blood numbers. You said triglycerides are well below 150. We want to get those under a hundred. I don’t know about some of the other factors in your blood work, uh, but you’re able to perform these big feats.
So it’s likely that you’re being saved from adverse health consequences by peddling your bicycle for hours and hours a day. But I’m again going to argue in favor of a more nutrient dense diet. Listen to my great shows with Dr. Paul Saladino. If you want to go all the way over to the other end of the spectrum, just for fun. Of course, he’s the advocate of the carnivore diet. That’s a pretty niche, uh, exclusionary diet. But the points that he makes pointing out that the animal foods, the well source, nose to tail animal foods are virtually without dispute the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. They’re vastly superior to anything in the grain family, almost such that it’s a joke to even try to compare or to say that grain-based diet, uh, has any health sensibility. So yeah, total elimination of all grains is highly recommended to join the ancestral health movement.
And in whole grains in particular, have higher levels of the highly offensive anti-nutrients that cause so much trouble for so many people. Uh, so the glutens, the lectins, the phytates, the things that are contained in the whole grain that haven’t been stripped and turned into a refined grains. Refined grains spike insulin, a spike blood sugar more quickly than the whole grain. So the Skittles are gonna Jack you up more quickly than the Brown rice of course. But they also, the brown rice will have the uh, trace amounts or significant amounts of, uh, things like, uh, gluten like substances and other lectins that can disturb healthy gut function, disturb the gut lining. So yeah, we want to get rid of all that. And uh, boy experiment, expand your consciousness, listen to what other people are saying. Um, a lot of this information about the plant based diet is dated and flawed in many ways, uh, but a lot of people are strong advocates for it and it’s working for them.
So, you know, keep peddling your bicycle if you’re going to eat what by default becomes a low fat, high carbohydrate diet. How’s that for a peaceful way to conclude the rant here? That was supposed to be an answer.
Hey, Hey, there we go with another breather show. Send me comments, questions, feedback, get over yourself email@example.com and I also appreciate you communicating with the world, sharing the show. You know, this cool overcast app that I use to listen to my podcast. I like it because you can create playlists lists and sort things really quickly seems to be easier to work than the, uh, the Apple podcast, which is by far the most popular, but also an overcast is this little functionality on the upper right where you can push on the button and it says share clip. And then you can customize your own clip from the show.
So while you’re listening right now, if you like something I said and you want to share it with a friend, push the button and then you move the dials to make the exact custom clip that you want to think. There’s a maximum of like two minutes or two and a half. And it’s super fun to create a sound file on the go, text it over to your friend, listen to what this guy is saying and he’s ripping on the plant-based diet. Whatever you want to talk about or whatever. Um, go grab the, uh, the reference I made to Dr Sinha saying that he wants your triglycerides under a hundred, not 150, big time stuff, people, and then send it off to a friend. Spread the word. That’s what we’re all about. Have a great day. Thanks for listening. So much.
Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback at getoveryourselfpodcastatgmail.com and we would also love it 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.