I welcome powerhouse Melanie Avalon to the show for a memorable conversation about all things relating to eating, weight loss, fasting, macronutrient ratios, and much more.
One of the most interesting revelations from this episode is that a high fat/low carb diet and a high carb/low fat diet are actually both effective for fat loss, and Melanie explains what it is that makes these two opposing approaches work while being so seemingly different. We also talk about the danger of hyper-palatable foods, and you’ll learn what foods to specifically avoid when trying to lose weight. Melanie then offers illuminating commentary on the controversy surrounding excess protein intake: is it dangerous? Is it really going to restrict your lifespan and increase cancer risk? In this episode, you’ll find out all the answers to these questions, plus many more fast-moving insights related to losing excess body fat in a healthy manner and making smarter food choices, as well as some cool biohacking breakthroughs.
Be sure to check out Melanie’s podcasts: she hosts The Intermittent Fasting Podcast with New York Times bestseller Gin Stephens, as well as The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, where she interviews the world’s top experts on a myriad of health and wellness topics.
Melanie will set you straight about all matters of losing body fat in a healthy manner. [01:40]
Melanie discovered intermittent fasting after she tried many unsuccessful diets trying to lose weight. [05:25]
We have to navigate through a lot of bad information. [15:06]
Everything in moderation only works for a very few people. It depends a lot on your personality. [17:26]
Intuitive eating is great if you can do it. When you are in the store is when you can make or break your goals. [19:32]
Set up your environment to work with your willpower. [22:52]
Melanie does either low or high fat. There is a question about pairing the two. [24:27]
Whatever calories you eat, whether it’s carbs of fats is completely irrelevant. [28:37]
Intermittent fasting gets rid of many of these issues. [32:41]
There is some controversy about females being in a fasted state. [35:44]
Is there a body composition where you just can’t fast? [43:57]
Protein is the place to focus. [47:05]
Melanie’s Biohacking podcast covers the things you can do in your daily life to upgrade your body’s performance. [56:31]
- Brad’s Shopping Page
- Intermittent Fasting Podcast
- Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast
- The Paleo Solution
- Why We Get Fat
- Two Meals a Day
- Dr. Pontzer Podcast
- The Search for the Perfect Protein
- “Gluttony and sloth are not the causes of obesity. They are the symptoms.” (Taubes)
- “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” (Twain)
- “Only the disciplined ones in life are free, otherwise you become a slave to your whims and passions.” (Kipchoge)
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Brad (1m 40s): Hey listeners, get ready for the powerhouse. Melanie Avalon. She is the host of the intermittent fasting podcast, along with New York Times bestseller Jen Stevens and the host of the Melanie Avalon biohacking podcast. Oh my goodness. We get deep into matters of eating, fasting, macronutrient ratios, and you’re going to get some surprising and really memorable insights. One of them that comes to mind is how both low carb high fat and a high fat, low carb approach can both work as long as you choose one or the other and stay away from those addictive hyper palatable foods that typically combine processed sugar and fat. Brad (2m 28s): So Melanie will set us straight with some really deep insights about all matters of losing excess body fat in a healthy manner, picking your macronutrients and your food choices and your eating windows wisely. And of course, we get finished with a little bit of biohacking stuff where she’s talking about some interesting tidbits about making further breakthroughs and especially addressing the controversy about whether excess protein is dangerous and can restrict lifespan, increased risk of cancer. I think you’re going to be illuminated by her commentary that when you realize high fat, low carb or low fat high carb, the wars of the vegan versus the carnivore primal paleo ongoing forever and ever. Brad (3m 14s): But guess what the common theme is, and that’s the emphasis on protein. And you’ll see how that is really effective not only for fat loss, but for health and for satiety. A great show with fast moving insights from Melanie Avalon, go check her out at the intermittent fasting podcast and the Melanie Avalon biohacking podcast, Melanie Avalon. I’m so excited to talk to you. We had our enthusiastic email introduction from other parties. I’m like, heck yeah, bring this girl on how interesting, fascinating. You’re all over the place, but mostly known, I suppose, as the expert in intermittent fasting and biohacking. Brad (3m 56s): Listeners, this girl is a powerhouse. She’s got two podcasts, right? The Melanie Avalon Intermittent. No that the Intermittent Fasting podcast and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking podcast. So push pause for a second, go subscribe to both of those shows. And now we get her directly to hear what’s all about. Thank you so much for joining me. Melanie (4m 17s): Well, thank you so much for having me. And it’s very exciting to talk to you because I often I’ve heard you in my head for so long. I wanted to say that you are one of the best audio book narrators and my opinion. And I listened to a lot of audio books like you’re in credit. Brad (4m 30s): Gosh, thank you for that compliment. I’m gonna like excerpt your little, your little clip there and send it to the audio engineers who look at me through the glass going, dude, what the F are you doing? None of these words are on the script. What are you talking about? Cause I figure if you’re going to download an audio book, I know you can read the exact book. I’m not going to be a robot and read it. Anyone can do that. So I have a tendency in the studio to go, you get what I’m saying here? People, it’s kind of like when you’re driving to McDonald’s like, you know, I’m just making something up and then I go, okay, back to the script. Here we go. It’s hard to, it’s hard to stick to the script in life sometimes. Melanie (5m 5s): It cracks me up. And I literally, I want to read along with you to see like what you’re adding and what is actually in the text. Brad (5m 13s): Well, that’s the poor guy’s job he has to make these little marks every time there’s something that’s not in the text and okay. At least someone appreciates me. Thank you, Melanie. Melanie (5m 22s): I do. I do. You’re amazing. So grabbing me. Brad (5m 26s): Yeah, let’s do like a little intro cause it’s all, I don’t know how you got into those health specialties and you also have this Hollywood career going in parallel. So, and then how you escaped from, I forget where it was in the south and you, you jumped right into fast paced, academic and, and personal life. So let’s, let’s get a little background. Melanie (5m 50s): Sure. So long story short-ish yeah, I was raised in the south, moved to LA, but the whole dieting history. That’s how I fell into the whole intermittent fasting. world’s first out and it came out of my diet struggles. So I was always trying lots of different diets to lose weight. Like a lot of people are so calorie counting. I did like the cookie diet. I did HCG jobs that it diet pills. I did all of the things. And then I, when I first tried low carb, that was the first time that something actually was effective. And then on top of that, it, I wasn’t just losing weight. Melanie (6m 31s): I experienced all these other health benefits that I did not anticipate. And then I became very intrigued and I was like, what is happening here? So I got really obsessed with the science of diet. And I first tried intermittent fasting as also an experiment. I was going to try it for one week and this was about a decade ago and I just never stopped because it was like that incredible. I started right from the get go with the one meal a day approach. So I just was like, I’m not going to eat all day and then I’ll eat a huge dinner and that, and here we are now like 10 years later. And then I, the third part of my dietary triad, I guess, was I found the paleo diet after reading, Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution. Melanie (7m 15s): And that was kind of like the final piece of the puzzle with really finding the diet that works for me. My big thing is that there’s no one right diet for everybody. But I, I originally self-published a book just to provide a resource for people because I would get so many questions all the time. I mean, intermittent fasting is a lot more popular now, but when I was doing it, nobody really knew what it was. So when I brought it up, people were very skeptical. So I was like, I’ll just write a book and then I’ll just give them the book when they have questions. So that was that. And then I started the podcast. I started the intermittent fasting podcast, my cohost, and she also had a book about intermittent fasting. Melanie (7m 59s): So that was a great way to really like get out there and ultimately started the Melanie Avalon biohacking podcast because I started going on all the tangent health rabbit holes after having my own health challenges. And I just wanted a platform to, you know, all these books that I’m reading anyways, bring that to more people and interview the authors. And it’s just, it’s really wonderful. I’m really happy with everything. Brad (8m 28s): You made it hrough all that frustration, confusion, struggles, which I I’m, I’m sounding light-hearted, but for real, it’s, it’s a really bad deal. And I’m especially pleased to be talking to a female expert because it, it helps to bring that new perspective in. And it seems like it’s a real challenge with the, you know, the, the societal forces, the cultural forces, the measuring judging voices that we hear in the outside world that can, you can often succumb to, I believe you were heading to Hollywood to pursue the, the, the, the career in front of the camera. Is that right? Melanie (9m 8s): Yes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Brad (9m 10s): So basically you show up here. I mean, it’s cliche, everyone knows these stories from the country girl heading to the big city, but you’re very much measured and judged by your appearance. And so I’m wondering if you want to share, you know, how did that go hand in hand with what you described as dietary struggles? I’m, I’m thinking you’re, you’re not one of these reformed obese people that lost 150 pounds, but more so trying to optimize and trying to get to that highest level where you get the part and, and someone else doesn’t, you know? Melanie (9m 41s): Yeah. You, you really touched on so many things. Yeah. I, I never, I get that question a lot. Like, were you ever overweight or obese? And I was never, I was never overweight by a conventional standard. Like the standard, the BMI. I was never overweight BMI, but like you said, there is definitely a huge societal pressure and especially in LA a big pressure to be camera ready and to be a certain weight and my diet. Brad (10m 9s): I love that. That’s a great line. Melanie (10m 12s): Oh yeah. Brad (10m 12s): I’m trying to be camera ready these days. No dessert for me. I’m going for camera ready? Yeah. I mean, where am I typically used? Where have I heard that line before? Cam, oh, the camera we need camera ready art for the ad campaign right now. We’re talking now we’re applying it to people who, Melanie (10m 30s): oh, I’ve never heard it applied to art. Brad (10m 31s): This is, Melanie (10m 33s): yeah. Camera ready? So to be camera ready, I honestly, all of those diets really were in pursuit of the camera readiness and they were very restrictive and not fulfilling. And when I like starting low carb and then starting intermittent fasting was just so eye-opening because I finally could eat without restriction and not have all of that, all of that restrictive behavior, but still, I, I mean, made massive improvements and how I perceive my, my body. And I’m actually, I’m very much obsessed with the concept of body image. Melanie (11m 14s): And because I know right now there’s the whole health at it health at any size health at any size. And I’m really intrigued by it because I like, I wish is it health any size? I wish instead that it was like, love yourself at any size instead, because I think a lot of people can get locked. People might be unhealthy with their size and are actually unhealthy, like metabolically unhealthy and, you know, following a diet, that’s not working for them and probably feel really trapped in their bodies. I know, even though I was never crazy overweight, I always, I trapped in my body as far as like sugar cravings and hunger and influence inflammation and brain fog and all of that. Melanie (12m 1s): So I, I don’t like, I don’t know that it’s healthy for society to incur, to put health, attach it, to like this size concept. Like I I’m, I all just, I’m all for people like loving ourselves at any size, but being open to finding the size that both supports your health and your happiness. I know it’s like controversial, but I think some people get like they might be unhappy with the body that they’re at and they feel like they have to accept that because of culture today, when really they might be happier and healthier if they made changes. That’s a little controversial. Brad (12m 41s): Yes. You’ve navigated a very controversial issue. I, I appreciate that perspective a lot. It’s so sensitive that you almost can’t open your mouth without getting slapped from one direction or another, unless you’re Joe Rogan and you’re all powerful. And I’ve heard him say on his show on this very topic. Like if those people just get off their ass and quit being so lazy and all those kinds of things, and then we have to reflect on Gary Taubes, great book, Why We Get Fat and his takeaway quote that gluttony and sloth are not the causes of obesity. They are the symptoms. So people with metabolic dysfunction, however you got there, whether you have some genetic predispositions or adverse dietary practices, you are going to be someone who is too tired to exercise and too hungry to stick to the diet that eliminates the, you know, the, the foods that we don’t want to eat. Brad (13m 32s): And so I think we have to have more compassion for people who are suffering from metabolic dysfunction. And it’s not as simple as getting your ass off the couch and eating less food, even though it is, we’re going to have to back into that with healthy lifestyle practices. But boy, yeah, I think it’s kind of a reactionary position to say healthy at any size when, if you’re not healthy, you’re not healthy. And you better wake up and take a look at this rather than cruise into, you know, seat number 14 A because someone’s reserving it for you. Cause we don’t want to be politically incorrect or, you know, judgmental or whatever. Melanie (14m 14s): Yeah, exactly. Actually, I just had Gary on my show as well. He’s, he’s amazing. I loved his new book about the keto keto diet, but yeah, like a metaphor I just thought of, or similarly, I guess it depends how I open it, how I phrase it, don’t ask me. It’s like, so it’s a simile. It’s like, if, if, if like, if there was a prison of like, this prison was being unhealthy, it’s like, if you were stuck in that prison prison, because you’re in an unhealthy state, but you’re being told no you’re healthy at any size. Like there is no prison that would be very confusing and very frustrating because you might feel like there’s nothing to do. Melanie (14m 59s): Like I think it takes away some of the, like the action that you can take to make, you know, to make changes. Brad (15m 6s): Yeah. I mean, same with when people say everything in moderation, I like to fire back a wiseass comment, this is a quote from Mark Twain, everything in moderation, including moderation. And when it comes to our eating choices, because we’re bombarded with such garbage and such corporate propaganda and, you know, misleading advertising and all those things. We can’t have a moderate approach to healthy eating. Otherwise we’re going to succumb and we’re going to go into disease patterns that have touched and ruined so many people’s lives and touched all of our lives. And so it’s like, no, I have an extreme approach to my food choices because I have to navigate through all this poisonous toxic shit that a lot of people are saying it’s okay to eat or encouraging us to eat. Brad (15m 52s): So yeah, everything in moderation is going to get squashed. And I believe that, you know, there’s a way to approach this issue in a sensitive way where maybe people can benefit from getting off their ass a little more and listening to Joe Rogan with, you know, a little bit of grain of salt. But boy, you know, we, we made good points here that, you know, don’t, don’t give up if, if you’re, if you’re, if you’re thinking along those terms. Melanie (16m 21s): Yeah, you are. You’re speaking to my heart fam and I’m, cause I do think there are different personality types and I personally am an extremist, so I don’t do so well with moderation. Anyways. I know some people do better with moderation, but that aside like our processed food, that we are processed foods that we have today, seeing how seeing is how they are basically genetically engineered to trick our brain into wanting more. I think it’s really hard to, if people feel like they have to be able to engage with them in a, in a, a moderationist approach, if we’re gonna, if we’re gonna continue walking on tiptoes, like with the intuitive eating movement, I think I’m all for intuitive eating. Melanie (17m 3s): I think it’s really hard for a lot of people with today’s food. And I don’t know that I could intuitively eat like a lot of things. Like I just don’t, I don’t know if that means I’m like I’m bad at intuitive eating or if it just means that certain foods you can’t really be intuitive with because they’re not, they’re not working with your body intuitively. So Brad (17m 27s): Yeah. I’d like to hit on that a little more because I think the personality type is probably something that we should apply more rather than, you know, I’ve had one guest on saying one thing and another guests on saying another thing. And one of them said, you know, or actually talking to a dietician certified dietician where they don’t want to directly tell the person don’t eat all that ice cream. They say, eat a spoonful and therefore you won’t obsess about it. And you’ll be rewarded just going to keep it under control. And I’m like, well, I’m not sure that’s a blanket approach that’s going to fit everybody. Brad (18m 9s): One of my shows, Melanie’s called The Fatty Popcorn Boy’s Saga. And it’s a story about me where I started making bowls of popcorn at night for fun and celebration. I think visiting family and holiday times, and here’s another bowl and I drizzle lemon flavored olive oil on it. And it’s fantastic. And so it went from a celebratory treat to a regular fixture in my evening routine because I was starting to build a habit in the wrong direction. And all of a sudden I discovered a higher number on the scale. Then, you know, my reference point is my driver’s license. I’ve had the same weight for 30 years or whatever. And all of a sudden it’s like, wait, that’s not me. What’s going on here. And so you can go down this slippery slope, especially with the hyper palatable addictive foods, to the extent that maybe the suggestion to just enjoy one spoonful of ice cream a night that might work for 23.8% of the population, it might be a disaster for you and I and another 25% who, you know, need to have more discipline and structure to where it’s not even a decision. Brad (19m 11s): It’s like the peanuts on the airplane where you’re, you’re offering to the person with a peanut allergy and they say, no, thank you. They don’t go well, it’s a long flight. Maybe I’ll try a few. It’s not even a thought or a decision. And I kind of liked that approach when we have so many challenges that we’re facing with the, the, you know, the processed foods. Melanie (19m 32s): Yeah. I, I could not agree more. And like you said, like I said, and you said, I, I do think it comes down a lot to your personality and how you, how you react. But I, I just feel, I feel like there’s such a pressure, especially with intuitive eating. It’s like, oh, if you can’t have, like you said, you know that one bite of ice cream, like if you can’t end without wanting more and like feeling worse from that, then it’s like, you failed at being intuitive when maybe, maybe your intuition, which is not to have any. And that was like, and that might be healthier for you in the longterm. But again, if you’re doing intuitive eating listeners and it’s working for you, please do it. Melanie (20m 13s): I wish I could do it the way it is presented. I think that’d be great. But it just, for me, I know what works and it doesn’t work for me. I feel more free with like, with boundaries that I work within. Brad (20m 28s): Yeah. Eliud Kipchoge just won the Olympic gold in the marathon for the second Olympics in a row. The greatest marathon runner of all times. And he also is a super quotable athlete. He comes up with these beautiful one-liners. And one of the things that he said that’s repeated a lot in the running scene is :only the disciplined ones in life are free. Otherwise you become a slave to your whims and passions. And I think they’re asking him how can you train that hard every single day. Now the guy runs 20 miles every day of his life. And he feels, he feels free and free to enjoy his life because of all the discipline and structure. And I think creating the winning environment is a huge deal where you don’t have to cultivate intuition or not because there’s no ice cream in your freezer. Brad (21m 17s): So it’s a done deal it’s over. Whereas you think about it differently. Lindsay Taylor, who we work with at Primal she’s, she says, you know, there’s a, there’s a plate of cookies sitting out in your house. It’s going to be a little different than if there’s no cookies around. Same with there. If there’s a kettlebell sitting in plain view, we want it in plain view in our visual field all day long, we’re going to be very much more likely to lift that kettlebell and do a few swings rather than if it’s in a cupboard, you know, out of view. So when it comes to food, oh my gosh. When you’re shopping, that’s probably when you’re really under the gun and that’s where you’re now you’re going to do a make or break your goals. Melanie (21m 59s): Yeah. I could not agree more. That’s an epic quote about the discipline. It’s kind of like when you, I have noticed this so much ever since I learned it, I’ve really realized just how true it is. But basically, cause you know, they say when you’re starting a new diet to just, you know, clear out the clear out the fridge and clear out the freezer of whatever you don’t want to be having under new diet. If your brain knows that there is access to something that is tempting to it, that you don’t want to have, it will like, it will keep your it’ll keep trying to get it for quite a while. Brad (22m 37s): Yeah. We’re all driving down the street to get cigarettes. You know, everyone’s familiar with that notion where you know that the house is free, but you can get in your car and drive six minutes down to the convenience store. It’s rough. Melanie (22m 53s): Yeah. Yeah. But even just like having something in your, in your cupboard that you don’t have on your plan, as long as it’s there, your brain will most likely try to find a way to get it. And I, I’m just not for I’m for setting up your environment and your life to be, to work with your willpower and not drain it during the day. Brad (23m 18s): Hold on, rewind the tape people. That’s a great one. Right. You know, w w we’re going to drain our willpower or we’re going to kind of keep it at bay because there’s no willpower necessary. Melanie (23m 29s): Exactly. Which with intermittent fasting, I think that’s one of the most freeing things that people don’t really realize until they try it, which is the amount of decisions you don’t have to make anymore because you’re just around food. So you just decide your window, that you’re eating in. And then you’re just, it’s not even a question you’re not eating outside of that. So you’re not having to engage in those constant. Should I eat? Should I have a snack? Should I stop eating? Should I like just all day, you just eat in your window or maybe eat your two meals in your window, your book, and then, and then you’re good. Brad (24m 6s): So the, you said, what works for you is this one meal a day where you can be free and unrestrained when it’s time to eat. You’re not, I imagine you’re not counting calories when you sit down for your first meal and you’re, you’re saying that you’ve carried that through for a long time. That’s why that’s your favorite pattern? Melanie (24m 27s): Yeah. So I’ve been doing the quote one meal a day. It normally ends up being about four hours. What I’ve found that works for me personally, because again, I’m all about what works for the individual, is for me, I found the, the most beneficial thing for either losing weight or maintaining my body composition and also not exacerbating any metabolic issues is to do either low carb, potentially high fat, but low carb or high fat, low carb. So I will do one or the other. So there’s always, it’s always high protein. It’s always a lot of protein. Melanie (25m 7s): And then I either do fat or I do carbs, usually it’s carbs actually, which I normally do a ton and ton of ton of fruit, you know? Brad (25m 16s): Yeah. That’s interesting. I think there’s a lot of support for this idea now that the pairing of fat and carbs, which is unknown to nature or ancestral diet is what, what, what triggers us. And that’s, if you can name the top 50 comfort foods, indulgent foods, they’re usually pairing fat carbs and salt together, cheesecake ice cream, potato chips, whatever. And, you know, we kind of get stuck in this idea that you’re a low carb ancestral person, or you’re a vegan plant-based and it’s going to be a war forever. But you, what you just said, I think kind of hopefully will put a lot of people at ease who are wondering, you know, who’s right and who’s wrong and who’s smarter than the other person. Brad (25m 60s): But making, making one or one or the other choice you’re going to get that satiety that you are looking for from mostly from the protein. And then perhaps from enjoying a ton of fruit, it’s, you know, at a certain point, you’re not going to overeat on fruit, nor are you going to overeat on high-fat completely savory treats. But boy, putting them together with the blueberry cheesecake, that that could be a whole different story. Melanie (26m 29s): Yeah. And I’ve thought about this a lot, especially because on the intermittent fasting podcast, we get so many questions from listeners who a lot of, a lot of them are doing low carb or keto and fasting, and they’re terrified of carbs. Like they think the only way that they can lose weight or maintain their weight is being low carb. And I think one of the biggest kind of mindful moments too, or like mind blown paradigm shifts to think about is if you’re eating low fat, I say it so like nervously, but I just think like low fat in the paleo keto world is kind of frowned upon. But if you’re eating low fat, high protein with carbs, especially in a fasting window, like the, the, the potential for fat storage actually isn’t that huge. Melanie (27m 23s): So protein doesn’t easily become fat. It’s normal, you know, it’s mostly used for building our bodies and then it, if it’s turned into some fuel, maybe like gluconeogenesis, some glucose there it’s rarely turned into fat. Carbs, you know, our, our first gonna fill up our glycol, our glycogen stores. So that’s a big thing for them. And then after that, they can return to fat, but it’s a very small percent relative to like the potential for it, at least in the clinical trials on it. So like the carb to fat, like, because people will say carbs turn to fat, they do, but it’s not as much that as you just store the fat, they’re eating with the carbs. Melanie (28m 8s): So if you’re actually doing like a low fat, high protein, high carb diet, especially in a fasting window, I actually find it’s pretty hard. It would be hard to gain fat doing that. And if anything, you might lose weight. And I think a lot, so a lot of our listeners will be doing low carb for so long. And then we present this idea and then they try it and are very surprised. Brad (28m 31s): They’re very surprised at the results. I mean the good results. Melanie (28m 37s): Yeah. Brad (28m 37s): Yeah. This is pretty, pretty heavy stuff. Melanie you’re, you’re on the cutting edge here. And I’m wondering if there’s anyone out there who’s recoiling a little from this crazy idea that a high carb is high carbs are not going to be stored as fat. I think it’s a good time now to open up the umbrella that covers everything over here, really nicely described by Dr. Herman Pontzer in his new book Burn. And I had a couple interviews with him. The second interview being a full length devil’s advocate, hammering on this guy to make sure he knew what he was talking about. It’s look, this is my life’s work people. The science doesn’t lie. We know how many calories people burn, but the amazing takeaway insight from, from his life’s work, his research Duke University, evolutionary anthropologists is that human calorie burning is constrained. Brad (29m 26s): We burn around the same number of calories each day, whether we exercise or not, end quotes. And so if that’s the case, then whatever calories you eat, it, it really is whether you’re going to eat more or burn more, and eat too much. And whether it’s carbs or fat is completely irrelevant. And he mentioned this guy on the Twinkie diet. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that, but he was an actual science scientist guy who said, here’s how much I weigh and here’s how many Twinkies I’m going to eat. And he recorded everything and he lost a ton of weight because he only ate four Twinkies a day. And so he had this caloric deficit, not saying it’s healthy, not saying it’s recommended, but it does put into light or it kind of negate some of this crazy, you know, hip commentary that there’s a, there’s a way to hack this. Brad (30m 20s): That’s a way from actual metabolic science. And so what you’re saying is accurate period. And if you don’t like that, people, you know, maybe try eating in a narrow eating window and having a bunch of fruit and you’d be surprised at your results. Melanie (30m 37s): Well, actually, can I tell you what I think is also related to related to this? What I think is one of the other most mind-blowing things and misconceptions and the low carb world? So people often in the low carb world think we know that fat doesn’t elicit a huge insulin response. So the, the thought from that is okay, fat doesn’t release insulin. So I can have a lot of fat and I won’t gain weight from it. When really, I think the reason it doesn’t elicit a huge insulin response is because it is so easily stored without insulin. So the complete opposite takeaway that you could have extracted from this fact is that eating fat is actually very easily stored as fat, not, not the opposite. Melanie (31m 27s): And I just think that’s one of the biggest paradigm shifts for low carb lower carb world. Brad (31m 38s): Hmm, Dr. Cate Shanahan says that anything you eat will elicit some insulin response. We know that proteins stimulates insulin and also stimulates glucagon. So you don’t have the insulin spike as much as eating straight carbs, but even a snack that’s high in fat is going to shut off the burning of stored body fat, stimulate an insulin response. And then what are you going to do with those calories? Maybe you’ll you’ll burn them, but like you say, the fatty acids are in good molecular shape to go right into storage, converted into triglycerides. So now we’re kind of getting over, drifting over with the conversation, into this idea of intermittent fasting as being as important, maybe more important than nitpicking your macros and pricking your finger until you get scar tissue about how your ketone levels are just quit eating so fricking frequently and snacking all day long. Brad (32m 33s): So I’m going to tee you up in that direction to go to go deeper into this intermittent fasting concept. Melanie (32m 42s): Sure. So I, so intermittent fasting, I think it gets rid of all of the issues. Or so if you’re, if you were eating, if you’re eating all throughout the day, there’s this, you have to have this whole dialogue of insulin release and am I fat storing? Am I fat releasing it? You know, what is my meal doing? Intermittent fasting, just like, short-circuits just go, goes all straight, straight around that. Because once you do enter the fastest state, I mean, there is no other option. You have to pull fuel from somewhere. So, and that can seem like an extremist approach to things, but as you know, and probably a lot of listeners know, because you do enter a fat burning state and potentially a ketogenic state, you are filled with fuel from within. Melanie (33m 31s): So you’re not hungry or you shouldn’t be once you adjust to it. So yeah. And I’ve actually thought and tying it back into what we were saying about the different macronutrients. I’ve thought about this a lot. And I it’s, it’s an interesting dichotomy to picture or to, to paint. And I’m not sure if I can articulate it, but I think about this a lot. So if you are on a low carb, low carb diet, you know, you’re keeping insulin low. So it’s going to be very easy or it’s going to be easy to release your fat stores. So it’s pretty easy to burn fat. But then as mentioned with the, the fat storage potential of fat and fat being a really easy macronutrient to store, I think it’s actually at the same time, very, very easy to store fat from your meals because fat is easily stored, so easy to burn fat, but also easy to store fat. Melanie (34m 27s): On the flip side with like a high carb diet, a high carb, low fat diet coupled with fasting. So you, it’s going to be less light, easy to burn fat because you might because of the carbs, keeping your storage and storage. But then when you eat, as we mentioned with those macros, it’s actually unlikely to store fat from it. So you have a situation now where maybe it’s less likely to burn fat, but also less likely to store fat. I don’t know if this is a dichotomy worth contemplating, but I actually contemplate it a lot. And I think you can get the best of both worlds by either doing low carb, but not going super. Melanie (35m 9s): If you’re wanting to lose weight going low carb, but not going super crazy high fat. So now you’re in the fat burning mode, but you don’t have to worry as much about the fat storage from the fat or with the high carb, low fat approach. You’re not going to easily store fat from eating. So coupling it with fasting. Now you’re getting your fat burning potential from there. So that’s why I think that the, the fasting with, for a lot of people, the higher carb approach can actually work pretty well. Higher carb, lower fat dairy. I think about this a lot. Brad (35m 44s): Yeah, there are a couple of followups and one of them is that we weather a fair amount of opposition from, from the female voice that the fasting can be a little trouble or the intermittent, the window due to a female hormonal patterns, striving for reproductive fitness, our number one, biological drive, especially fit females. And so I’ve seen some direct commentary saying, don’t try this if you’re a fit female. I wonder if you’ve kind of been hit with some of those objections to the recommendation to spend a lot of time fasted. Melanie (36m 27s): Yes. A lot of questions. So I, again, I’m really, oh, and first of all, not a doctor, not a doctor I’m very much about. Brad (36m 38s): So that means, you know, a lot about nutrition, I guess, no offense doctors, but the training in nutrition not necessarily would be the correct answer. And some actresses don’t know shit about nutrition and some of them know a lot because they study it. So I think I like to put a little commercial in here for the idea that, you know, we’re looking at people’s credentials constantly are trying to grab onto something that make them seem like an authority. And when it comes to athletics or fitness, I like people who have been there and done that. So some guy on a YouTube video, or gal, who’s got a six pack. They probably know what they’re doing in some way, because they’re doing it in their own life. Brad (37m 18s): And same with nutrition. If you’ve been living and breathing and stuff, I think you have way more credibility than some doctor who probably speaks out of turn more frequently than they should, because they don’t necessarily know what they’re talking about. Melanie (37m 31s): Yeah. I’m, I’m all for empowering people to, you know, take things into their own hands. And like Google scholar is like my favorite thing in the world. I just love, like you can read all of the studies that the same, the same things that the doctors would be reading. You can read it and then you can, then you can implement things in your life and see how they actually manifest. So, so yes, we are, we are on the same page there. But as far as the female aspect goes so well to start, I think the majority of the backlash against fasting for women, it’s, there’s, there’s not a lot of clinical literature in human females showing the issues. Melanie (38m 24s): So the majority of the, of the studies showing and, you know, problems with females specifically and fasting are conducted in rodents and one of the largest, or one of the biggest problems and my opinion for why this is problematic is fasting in a rodent is like, so a 24 hour fast in a rodent is the equivalent of days and days and days and a human. So all of these studies looking at oh, 24 hour fast and a rodent that’s like fasting for days. And the rodent reproductive cycle is much more sensitive to restriction and dietary fluctuations than a human. Melanie (39m 7s): So I don’t know how much of the information from the rodent studies we can extrapolate to female women. The studies that do look at women and fasting often find a lot of really good effects for women, even things hormonal like TCOs and things like that. Granted, most of them are in women that are overweight. And I think where the issue comes in. Cause I do think an issue very easily comes in with women and fasting. So I was building all that up, not to say, oh, fastening is completely fine for women all the time. I actually don’t think that. I think, I don’t think fastening by itself is necessarily restrictive, but I think it can easily become restrictive if you make it so. Melanie (39m 49s): And if it’s coupled with re dietary restriction, which a lot of women do either on purpose or not on purpose and or intense exercise, I think it can easily become too restrictive. It can be just, it can compound. So I don’t think it’s necessarily the fasting, this, the issue. I think that it’s really important to look at your entire lifestyle. And what signal are you sending to your body with the fasting, the food, and the exercise? Brad (40m 22s): Ooh, I like that little throw in at the end. If you’re training like an idiot doing CrossFit five days a week, you’re going to go onto the internet and start criticizing fasting, but we got to go look at everything for sure. Yeah. And in fact, I guess I should pose this as a question to you during the ask Melanie section of the show, but I like this idea of personal experimentation and I do a lot of it myself. So I’m, you know, I can’t be pigeonholed into this is how I eat every single day. I’m on the 16 and eight pattern forever. So things change. And I kind of adding up these compounding, like you call it where I’m trying to do these super ambitious sprinting and jumping workouts that are really strenuous. Brad (41m 9s): So that’s one, if you’re counting number two, I’m in the older age groups now, which I kind of refuse to believe, but then I acknowledge when I, when I get home and feel fried after pushing myself too hard in the workout. So I’m in the older age group, I’m trying to do crazy workouts and I eat really cleanly. I don’t, you know, mess around with overeating and whatnot. So perhaps my carbohydrate intake is on the low side and you know, my caloric intake is on the optimal side. But at times if you’re talking about, you know, fasting window, eating the cleanest foods, the most calorically efficient foods and trying to do crazy stuff and being older age group, my, my insight at one point was like, what if I came home and, you know, stuffed the blender full of an incredible smoothie with all kinds of calories, carbs, protein, fat, whatever it is in the interest of recovering. Brad (42m 2s): And so maybe there’s not too many people in this category that have too many stress factors because we know that fasting is a stressor in itself and the body has to kick in stress hormones into the bloodstream to liberate energy into the bloodstream and all that great stuff. And that’s all fine and dandy. If you’re sitting at work, you’re going to be concentrating and feeling great. But what about when you’re, I don’t know, in a stressful 16 hour movie shoot where you’re maybe not going hand in hand with not eating any food. Melanie (42m 37s): Yeah. I mean, it’s such, it’s such a difference in the context because, you know, people, I love what you said, like people who are, you know, doing, which is amazing, but doing like really, really intense CrossFit, you know, every single day, I think for them, you know, fasting very likely a lot of the time might be too stressful. That doesn’t mean that it does not mean that fasting by itself is equates restriction like for like over restriction. So I think it’s when you move from restriction to over restriction. So yeah. And then I, I, I shouldn’t say, I do think, I do think women, so because men could be over restrictive as well, obviously like you were just talking about, I do think that said when you hit that over restrictive paradigm or way of being that women’s bodies are more sensitive to it hormonally. Brad (43m 32s): So, so messaged to the females, listening who are at their optimal body composition, are they in a different category decision-making category or something where we don’t want to get lower than necessary body fat and throw off reproductive function or other downstream thyroid, everyone talks about the thyroid slowing down. What do you think about that? Melanie (43m 58s): So like, oh, so is the question like if you’re optimal, is it safe to fast or does fasting like it? I think if you’re at your, you know, the body that you want to be at, you want to maintain its optimal optimal, you, you can win. Yes. You can 100% find a fasting window that works for you. Brad (44m 23s): Which might be a small one, I mean it might be 12 hours. Right? Melanie (44m 30s): Right. So it might, it might be, you might, you need a longer window. You might need to eat more in a shorter window. Like I’m not actively losing weight. I just maintain my weight. I still eat usually and have been eating like a four hour window, but I eat a lot in that window. So you really just have to look at yourself. I, if, if the question I like, if the question is, is there a body composition where you just can’t fast? I mean, I think if, you know, if you’re underweight to the point of being like where you meet, where you actively need to gain weight, that might be an exception. Brad (45m 13s): Sure. There are also seems like if you are carrying excess body fat, you’re frustrated with your past efforts to remove that excess body fat. Maybe you’re have a different set of decision-making parameters than someone who is an optimal body fat, where there’s not going to be this intuitive backdoor answer to be like, sure, don’t fast that long. Cause you you’re cranky in the morning. If you don’t eat a huge sugary breakfast. I mean that, that’s probably a safe, safe assumption to say, look, if you need to get rid of excess body fat, let’s throw these tools into place. Melanie (45m 48s): Yeah. And actually I’m speaking to that. Can I do a quick, a quick plug for your new book, Two Meals a Day. People I really liked the chapter. I don’t know if it was, I was listening. So it’s hard to know if it was like a section or a chapter, but I really liked the, the part you guys had a part about, you know, hacks to, you know, really oh yeah. Brad (46m 12s): Advanced strategies. Melanie (46m 13s): Yeah. Right. Yeah. Yeah. I thought that was quite excellent. And I thought I was great because it was it’s things that might be perceived to stay in the lake controversial waters, things that might be perceived as culturally, you know, too restrictive or too extreme. But I think these are very valid tools that we can use to depending on what your goals are and what you want. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with desiring a certain body composition and you know, utilizing smart tool. Like there, there are healthy ways. There are healthy, advanced strategy ways to get there compared to just completely unhealthy lifestyle purchase that just might wreck you. Melanie (47m 2s): So I appreciated that section. Brad (47m 6s): Thank you. I appreciate that. If you’re listening carefully, you notice, especially when you’re talking about the dichotomies and the different things, the common theme running through is that emphasis on protein. So I’d love to touch on that, especially with your results and experience tiptoeing on, on both sides of the tight rope, but always having protein as the fixture. Melanie (47m 29s): Yes. Protein is my obsession. I yesterday interviewed Dr. David Minkoff. He wrote a book called The Perfect Protein, I think. And it was my first I’ve had, and I’ve had Dr. Ted Naiman on the show and we went deep in protein there, but the show this week was like the deepest of deep dives into amino acids and protein. And it was really, really excellent, but I just think I am haunted, oh, going back to the dichotomy. I am haunted. I’m haunted because on the one hand, there are a lot of advocates for of low protein diets for health and longevity, particularly in the vegan world and even the fastening world like Dr. Melanie (48m 12s): Valter Longo. And then on the flip side, we have people who are very, very pro protein. It haunts me, but my thoughts on the matter are when it comes to different macronutrients, especially body composition, weight loss, health, so many things like protein is the magic macronutrient for that. It’s what builds your body. It’s, it’s the highest correlation to satiety, you know, has a good thermogenic effect. So you’re burning more calories, eating it. Then the other macronutrients. After so lower protein intakes are correlated longevity up until a certain age. Melanie (48m 53s): But then once you hit a certain age, that correlation disappears and you actually had higher protein intakes, which I think is very telling for the role that it’s doing in our, in our bodies. So, especially since our, when our bodies are aging, the fact that we now need more protein, I think is pretty telling. But I do think that diets aside, focusing on protein is in my opinion, probably the place to focus. I do think that for the longevity aspect, cause people will say you should do low protein because it doesn’t stimulate them as much. Melanie (49m 36s): And it’s anti-aging. But I think you can get those benefits if you combine it with fasting, for example. Because then you’re going into a, you know, a period of no indoor during the day. And also mitigating things like IGF one. So I I’m a fan of protein. Brad (49m 56s): Yeah. I love it. Your opinion here is supported by many of the world’s leading experts. I particularly appreciate how there’s been some backlash against this black and white thinking of saying, eat less protein. Down-regulate these growth factors. If you’re not familiar with IGF one or <inaudible>, these are the, the stated agents that if you overstimulate them by stuffing your face with too much food, your whole life, it’s going to increase your risk for cancer and unregulated cell growth. But now we’re coming to our senses a little bit more saying, look, we, we know that getting minimal protein is absolutely essential and dabbling in restricting protein is going to turn you into a mess. Brad (50m 38s): You’re going to be cranky, emaciated, experiencing intense cravings for high protein foods. This is from Dr. Chris Kresser spreading this message that we don’t want to go mess around with, with low protein diet. And then when we talk about getting as much as we need or more, and there’s a lot of benefits toward pushing that, that number like Dr. Ted says so well too. The protein to energy ratio and the diet for one thing, it’s difficult to over-consume protein, because I don’t know, raise your hand if you’ve ever eaten too many omelets and feel terrible at the breakfast bar or had two steaks. And then I wish I wouldn’t have that third. No, it’s so satiating that you’re going to eat just as much as you need. Brad (51m 19s): And if you’re getting plenty, what you just mentioned of turning on and off those growth factors, that’s the secret to longevity. You can listen, Dr. Peter Attia go deep on this matter, but M Tor and IGF one are not all the way around bad guys nor is insulin. And this is what helps us preserve muscle mass. I, I took a great quote from Robb Wolf interview where he said, Hey, if you want to live longer, it’s looking now that you want to lift more weights and eat more protein. Rather than walk around weak and emaciated. And people tease, you know, the long-term vegans of looking like they’re shriveled up and about to blow away in the wind. I don’t, I don’t need to be, you know, dramatic here, but this is a big one for many people who are maybe feeling a little confused about people, you know, blanket statement that you, you don’t want to eat too much protein or, or big dangers occur. Brad (52m 11s): Oh, and finally, since I’m rambling so long, Melanie’s having a lunch over there, a high protein thing, but the thermic effect of protein has been measured at 25%, which means 25% of the protein calories you consume go toward digesting that protein. So again, you’re not going to overeat protein and get yourself into a bind of gaining weight or anything like that, because it’s so essential to the body system says don’t even count it in your calorie count because it’s sort of irrelevant to your, your, your, your fat loss goals or your, if you are tracking macros. Melanie (52m 49s): Yeah. Actually, and I’m not promoting this and I am a little bit embarrassed to admit it, but probably the, the first time, like the biggest weight loss chunk I experienced was when I had the, during my dietary experimentation days, but being low carb. And after fasting, I realized that, you know, if you basically just ate protein, that it was very, very, very unlikely. You would gain weight and most likely would lose weight. So I basically just ate protein for, I don’t know, maybe like a year, and I don’t recommend that, but I think definitely speaks to the, the power of that macronutrient. Melanie (53m 33s): It’s also kind of like the, the alcohol macronutrient people often think that, you know, you gain weight from alcohol, but you’re not gaining weight from alcohol. Alcohol doesn’t become fat. Like it just doesn’t. So you’re getting away from whatever you ate. Brad (53m 52s): Yeah. Quick, quick lesson alcohol is burned immediately. It doesn’t convert to anything it’s immediately burned. Otherwise you’re going to die. Right. And so what happens is it puts the burning of all the other calories on hold, such that especially removing it from the blood stream. So you’re going to get a drop in blood sugar, and you’re going to crave the pizza and the other things that are going to cause you to gain weight from your alcohol habit or a mixed drink where you’re consuming the carbohydrates. Those can’t be burned because the margarita has to be burned first. And so where they’re going to go, they’re going to get stored as fat. Melanie (54m 28s): Yeah, exactly. Brad (54m 28s): So, oh, back to your, you know, your, your, your secret commentary that a high protein diet works for fat loss. I think it’s important to talk straight about these things because to me clearly, that’s the most effective strategy to drop excess body fat and do it quickly and efficiently. And I think that’s why a lot of the reason why the carnivore diet has exploded in popularity is it’s by default a very high protein, high nutrient density, high satiety diet, which you have no problem sticking to. And the fat is going to melt off like no other diet. Now there’s this concept called rabbit starvation. And these weird things that happen if you eat only protein. Brad (55m 8s): So just as Melanie qualified her statement, don’t eat just protein or you’re gonna, you know, get into weird potential stuff. But I think most people you can’t help, but you’re going to add a sufficient number of carbs or fat to get you to a place where you feel good, you’re dropping excess body fat, and you have no problem sticking to the diet as long as necessary. Melanie (55m 31s): Yeah. And actually to that point, I’m not for crash dieting, but I think if one were to crash diet, like if they had to lose a, Brad (55m 42s): if one landed a huge movie role and they said, we need you to get in shape. Yeah. Melanie (55m 46s): Yes. Or they have like a wedding and 10 day wedding they’re probably no longer about than today’s, you know, like a sort time period. .I do think the healthiest way to lose fat quickly is like, is the protein sparing, modified protein sparing, modified fast that people do where basically they’re, you know, eating calorie restricted, but it’s basically just protein because then you’re supporting your minimal body functions and your muscle, but it’s just, your body has to turn a fat for fat burning. Not meant to be long term, but I do think it just speaks to the science of how protein is used the body and how you can maybe use that to your advantage if you needed to. Melanie (56m 32s): But again, that’s not meant to be long-term. Brad (56m 35s): This show is I’m enjoying it cause I didn’t know there was that much to talk about. I feel like we’re. So we were talking before we hit record about the book writing process and how arduous it is to start with a blank page and finished with 347 pages of talking about eating strategies and ancestor living. And whenever I’m done Mark and I talk on the phone and we say, man, I don’t think there’s anything more we can say, but Melanie’s just loaded us with interesting insights. And there’s a lot more to say. So I encourage people to go flip over to your podcast on intermittent fasting. We’re definitely going to have to have to have your back to talk about the other side of the coin. Brad (57m 14s): So maybe just give us a little a teaser about what’s your favorite stuff in the biohacking world and what you talk about on that show. Melanie (57m 24s): Oh goodness. So that is, so the biohacking world is the rabbit holes of rabbit holes of rabbit holes, but it’s basically all of the technologies, supplements, lifestyle, things that you can do in your daily life to upgrade your body’s performance. I actually think it’s using modern technology to return to what we once were as, so it’s like, you know, it’s like using technology to tackle your light exposure. So we light blocking glasses, red light therapy, making our modern homeostatic environment actually more difficult. So doing cryotherapy or saunas, it can even go as crazy. Melanie (58m 5s): My recent obsessions I’m I, this whole time I’ve been drinking deteriorate, depleted water. That is a rabbit hole to go on. It’s either like the most important thing ever or not. But I think it might be the most important thing ever. Mitigate mitigating EMF using different modalities for like meditation. So rather than just normal meditation, it might be like, you know, Wim Hof breathing or meditation devices like muse, or I got this device called core that you hold in your hands and it vibrates it’s basically. Yeah. All of the crazy things that you can do in your daily life to hopefully enhance your experience of life, make you feel healthier. Melanie (58m 52s): And like I mentioned, really just combating our modern environment because our modern environment is just not, not ideal, not ideal. Brad (59m 1s): Well said. I like that. And I, I like going back to the basics lest anyone get confused or overwhelmed. And so before you go into your red light box or your sauna or your chest freezer, you know, let’s make sure that like these big picture items that are so easy to just transition away from, but still blasting our eyeballs, you know, with, with light late at night, maybe reading an interesting article about the benefits of red light therapy for mitochondria, but in my own personal life, I’m really trying to just, if I can just put some rules into place that give me a fighting chance to go pursuing rabbit hole optimization things. Brad (59m 43s): That’s, what’s fun. And I know you and I are both fans of people like Ben Greenfield and Peter Attia and people pushing out on the cutting edge. But when I interact with real people, like my buddies from high school, and we’re talking about this or that, and someone sticks a plate of nachos and my face, it’s Brad, is this healthy or not? Yes or no. You know, they want like a quick answer and just things to, to carry with them so they can at least have a fighting chance. And so I’m, I’m really thinking we don’t want to skip over any of those steps, but then, oh my gosh, isn’t it fun and exciting to, you know, address all these different ways. And I’ve never quite heard it put that way where, you know, we think about this concept of becoming super human and having a incredible energy, but it’s really like, all you want us to do is get back to general baseline human expectation rather than being a sorry, ass, modern human that’s getting bombarded with all this stuff that’s, that’s compromising our energy. Melanie (1h 0m 38s): Yeah. I just think we as human beings, like we have all of the potential and the energy and the joy and the love all inside of us. It’s just very much hampered and dampen by our chronic lifestyle today. So just starting there undoing what has been done. It can take you to a huge, incredible place. Brad (1h 1m 0s): Dave Rossi, my good friend, frequent podcast, guests, author of The Imperative Habit. Very spiritual guy teaches a meditation course online. And you know, what his secret is for, for happiness? Its to get rid of all the stuff that makes you unhappy. And what you have left is this inherent happiness. It’s a great concept. Melanie (1h 1m 22s): Oh, I love that. That’s beautiful. Yeah. It’s like, like, Dorothy, it was always in your own backyard all. Brad (1h 1m 28s): Oh yeah, yeah. Or the alchemists follow Paulo Coelho’s Best-selling book, right? Yeah. Melanie Avalon killing it. People go listen to intermittent fasting podcasts, listen to the Melanie Avalon biohacking podcast. I appreciate you spending time with us. We got way more than we bargained for. It was, it was hard hitting heavy hitting. We’re going to have to listen to this at 1.0 speed instead of the usual 1.5 or the 1.75. So because there are so many insights to pull out and it was always interesting. Melanie (1h 1m 55s): Well, thank you so much for having me, Brad, I’ve been such a fan of your work for so, so long. So this is just like the biggest honor ever. And you are just like, I’ve just barely met you, but you, you just have the most amazing spirit it comes across and, and your work, your podcasts, your books, everything, and you’re doing incredible things. So I’m honored. Brad (1h 2m 24s): Thank you, Melanie. Thanks for listening, everybody. Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support please. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback, suggestions and questions for the Q and shows. Subscribe to our email list of Brad kearns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bimonthly newsletter edition with informative articles and practical tips for all aspects of healthy living. You can also download several awesome free eBooks when you subscribe to the email list. 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