In this episode, I will share a bunch of comments from both experts and listeners as I continue to ponder the big picture question of whether healthy fit folks might want to rethink the “obligation” to fast, restrict carbs, restrict eating windows, and prioritize fat burning to the extreme—because these trigger survival mechanisms can be possibly too stressful when combined with a devoted athletic regimen as well as hectic, high-stress modern life in general.
However, we might best frame the discussion into the distinct categories of those who want to reduce excess body fat and those with healthy body composition with peak performance goals. In this show, I present the gateway to being prepared to succeed with fat reduction: you must eliminate processed foods and increase all forms of general everyday movement, and not discuss anything else until you have a good groove with these objectives. You’ll learn why Dr. Herman Pontzer claims any diet is essentially a “gimmick,” why it’s impossible to get fat on a clean diet, why most of the benefits of time-restricted feeding come from calorie restriction, and how these diets do work if the whole “eat less food, exercise more” idea for sure doesn’t work.
Fasting, restricting carbs, restricting eating windows all create stress mechanisms. [01:17]
People use different diet strategies toward their goal of reducing excess body fat. [03:34]
Eating less food and exercising more does not work for fat reduction because your body slows down and your metabolic dials turn down. [06:52]
First eliminate the industrial seed oils. The niche diets are effective largely because of what they eliminate, rather than the magical benefits of what’s comprised in the diet. [09:09]
Refined sugars and refined grains, as well as natural plant toxins produce endotoxins in the gut. [12:17]
Anything ending in “itis” like colitis, arthritis, gastritis, asthma, allergies, etc. can be associated with plant toxins in your system. [17:53]
The best way to get started on the elimination diet would be the 30-day carnivore experiment where you are eating strictly animal foods. [22:26]
Diet is one component of being healthy and getting yourself primed for fat reduction. The other stuff is lifestyle related. It is easy to get pushed into over-consumption and have poor sleep habits. [25:26]
Long periods of stillness promote chronic inflammation in the body. [29:00]
Get healthy first by eliminating the processed foods, the oils, and plant toxins, and your appetite will be regulated. [30:12]
- Brad Kearns.com
- Brad’s Shopping page
- Jay Feldman Podcast no. 1
- Jay Feldman Podcast no. 2
- Dr. Herman Pontzer Podcast (Metabolism)
- Dr. Herman Pontzer Podcast (Energy Expenditure)
- Brad’s Podcast with Dr. Lustig
- “It is virtually impossible to get fat, to become obese, to continue to add body fat over time if you eat wholesome, healthy, nutritious foods and eliminate processed foods.” (Lustig)
- “It’s not about the calories that you burn, it’s about the movement itself.” (Sisson)
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Reflections and reader feedback and expert feedback on these concepts of energy balance inspired by my interviews with Jay Feldman Energy Balance podcast. I’ve received some wonderful feedback on our two interviews, as well as my, uh, recordings reflecting on these matters. So I’m gonna share a bunch of summary comments, both from experts like Mark Sisson and other big names in the ancestral health scene, as well as ordinary listeners, trying to do their best, be healthy and fit. So we’ll get those summary comments together. And essentially what we’re talking about here, the big picture question is do healthy fit folks need to rethink the quote obligation to fast, restrict carbs, restrict eating windows, and prioritize fat burning to the extreme? And the argument here advanced by Jay Feldman and others is that these are all stress mechanisms. They trigger survival mechanisms that can be possibly too stressful when combined with a devoted athletic regimen, as well as hectic high stress, modern life in general.
So again, uh, a summary reviewing the big picture here when you fast, when you restrict carbs, uh, a lot of people report feeling great, more energized, more alert, and these are due to the stress response mechanisms of starving your cells of caloric energy. So when you go into ketosis, when you follow a ketogenic diet, when you engage in time, restricted feeding, you feel alert, energized, great, wonderful. You go on a prolonged fast, and you feel great and more alert and clean and light and energetic. And these are due to stress hormones, working their magic and allowing your body to function optimally, even in the absence of dietary calories. And these are wonderful things to fine tune your metabolic flexibility as we’ve written about in so many books and discussed, but it’s important to reflect and acknowledge that these are in essence stress mechanisms.
Now, when we zoom out and look at the big picture of all the other forms of stress in our life, could it be taken to the extreme where you are active athletic, performing some ambitious workouts and combining that, or overall, uh, mixing in, uh, periods of fasting car restriction, things like that? So I think it might be helpful to segment this discussion into first talking about the goal of reducing excess body fat. And then in another part, a different show, we’ll talk about the population of healthy fit folks who are at their desired body composition or very close, but, but if one has the prominent goal of dropping excess body fat, that’s going to predominate the thoughts and the strategies and the tactics that one uses. So let’s hit that out of the gate here in this first show. And then we’ll go into another level in an ensuing show.
Let’s assume that the main use of these niche, dietary strategies like primal, paleo, low carb, keto, vegan, carnivore are contemplated for fat reduction. Of course, there are many other important benefits like improved overall general health, energy, disease protection and so forth. But a lot of people are coming in with a goal, at least one of the goals of dropping excess body fat. And of course, they’re tremendous evidence that these diets are highly effective for fat reduction. Any of the ones I mentioned, but essentially, uh, what we’re talking about here is a departure from the unrestrained unregulated indulgent eating that we are capable of participating in today, right? We can hit a button and someone will come to our door and deliver whatever we want, and we can eat anytime day or night. We can also pair that with insufficient general every day activity.
And so what happens is when you take a departure from just this free form nonstop buffet every single day, uh, you’re gonna generate results with fat reduction due to the, uh, restrictiveness of your eating in comparison to previous, like Dr. Pontzer reminded us during his interviews. Any diet is essentially a gimmick and that’s not a criticism of the diet. When I joke partially about my C and C diet: carnivore ish and chocolate working very effectively to help me drop excess body fat, one of the reasons, the main reason that it worked was, uh, that it was restrictive, right? So you can only eat so much chocolate as my only indulgence. And then I’ve had enough and I’m not reaching for the popcorn, the ice cream. I limited my options in the indulgence category. And then with the meal emphasis on these nutrient dense animal-based meals, they provided high satiety, great nutrition, deep cellular replenishment and nourishment, so that my appetite hormones, everything was feeling great.
I was not struggling, suffering or deprived. And so those are features of a successful weight loss effort. When it comes to meal timing, Dr. Peter Attia reminded us recently that research is showing that most of the benefits of time restricted feeding come from calorie restriction, not any magical reason that your body works better when you only feed it between the hours of 12 noon and 6:00 PM, or what have you. Although there is research that you’re better off eating, uh, before it gets dark, away from bedtime, because we do want to give the digestive system a break. But putting that into proper perspective where the magic of time restricted feeding is not, essentially what’s been bantered about when you’re hit with these messages. Okay. So these, restrictive niche diets are effective for fat reduction because they limit your indulgent choices.
But then we have this potentially confusing notion that eating less food, exercising more does not work for fat reduction because your body engages in a variety of compensatory mechanisms. You slow down, you turn down your metabolic and hormonal and immune dials, to conserve when you’re not giving yourself enough calories. So how does it work that people are reporting great results with keto or whatever it is. And it’s very likely, it appears that the predominant reason for success is the elimination of nutrient deficient process foods that cause metabolic damage and promote fat storage. So more so than eating fewer calories, your switch to that vegan keto, carnivore, paleo, whatever style diet, the emphasis or the major benefits came from eliminating processed foods, as opposed to the magical functioning of cutting your carbs to 50 grams a day in the case of keto or eliminating animal products in the case of a vegan diet.
And that’s something to really appreciate and reflect upon that diets are effective largely because of what they eliminate rather than the magical benefits of what’s comprised in the diet. And the big ones that we’re talking about here are the refined poly unsaturated industrial seed oils, because these inhibit your body’s ability to burn energy internally especially fat. They also damage your cells at the DNA level. And so they become difficult. They become integrated into healthy fat cells, and they’re difficult to burn off when you consume these toxic calories. I’ve heard statements bantered about, about how long they stay in your body. And it’s kind of scary. I think 73 days was one of the contentions. So if you have a serving of French fries, you are going to mess up your cellular function for a long time <laugh>.
And so, we wanna strive for total elimination of these processed industrial seed oils, not that difficult, right? Throw away your bottles of corn, canola, soybean, safflower, sunflower oil that might be sitting in your cupboard. These are toxic agents, Dr. Cate Shanahan says it’s literally no different than eating radiation for the immediate damage that they inflict upon your cells. So please go do that. If there is anything still lingering in your house, that’s the easy one is to throw away the bottled industrial seed oils. But we also have to acknowledge when we start looking at labels that these things are snuck into all manner of packaged, frozen, processed foods. They are ubiquitous in restaurant meals, both the cheap, inexpensive meals, fast food joints, as well as fine dining. They will cook your meals in these industrial seed oils, unless you insist otherwise.
And so watch out for restaurant dining, that’s where you’re gonna get a major dose of these industrial seed oils on the plate there with your wild cot salmon or your steak, or your even your broccoli, whatever these are just being squirted around in the kitchen. And most of your food is being prepared. And of course, because the oils are so calorically dense. That’s where the research that Dr. Shanahan cites that up to 40% of your calories from a restaurant meal are coming from the refined industrial seed oils. Of course, that’s, uh, evident and obvious when we’re talking about fast foods, but even in the medium to find dining categories. And as far as, uh, scrutinizing labels, boy, you’d be surprised when you look at that salad dressing. When you look at that mayonnaise, when you look at that box of crackers, when you look at the container of cashew nuts, that you think you’re doing yourself a solid and getting a healthy snack, there’s so many things that are prepared with these oils and it’s to, uh, stabilize the product, increase shelf life increase profits at the direct expense of human health. So we wanna band together and just boycott all these products that are made with refined industrial seed oils.
Then the next category would be processed foods, containing refined sugars and refined grains. And there’s some good content that Jay Feldman mentioned at his show about this endotoxin, which is an internally manufactured, right? Endo means inside an internally manufactured toxin that is produced in the intestinal tract. When you consume these processed foods that are difficult to digest and pro inflammatory by nature. Your body is just not built to process, the 7/11 Slurpee with the food colorings and the preservatives, and all the other ways that we get doses of refined grains and sugars. These also the endotoxin, the secretion of endotoxin into the bloodstream will inhibit your ability to burn fat. It’ll inhibit your ability to process energy with the mitochondria.
So basically it inhibits your ability to burn glucose as well as fat. And what happens then when you suck at burning energy, oh boy, an important takeaway for the final exam. When you consume foods that inhibit your body’s ability to process energy, you will become reliant upon external sources of calories for that quick hit for that quick energy spike. That happens when you consume another 7/11 Slurpee, rather than kick into a nice, graceful, body’s ability to burn a variety of energy sources throughout the day, even if you’re not, uh, consuming regular meals or snacks. And then finally in another category, and this is, you know, what the carnivore movement is all about, uh, are the natural plant toxins that are contained in all plant foods as their defense mechanisms to ward off predators and to survive. And these will also prompt the production of endotoxin in the gut.
They will mess up mitochondrial energy production they’ll have inflammatory properties, and of course they will have autoimmune stimulating properties and all this stuff is no good when you’re trying to be an efficient energy burning machine. And as the great work from Dr. Paul Saladino, I think it’s carnivore MD 2.0 on Instagram and his quick videos where he’s yelling at the camera with great enthusiasm and telling you which are the most offensive categories of plant foods. And those are roots, seeds, stems, and leaves. Those are the plants that have the most potential to cause disturbances in sensitive people. We’re all familiar with gluten and how it’s got such a bad wrap. And that is because it is the most prominent plant toxin, uh, coming from the bread and the wheat products. And many people have difficulty, uh, processing gluten to some extent, even some people argue that we’re all sensitive to gluten.
And, a lot of us just have minor sensitivities that we don’t even realize they’re subclinical they’re under the radar. Whereas the person with celiac disease has that immediate reaction, which is so prominent. And we’re all familiar with the stories of food allergies left and right. There’s so many people that have peanut allergies. Uh, many people have bizarre allergies to certain niche foods. And so this, uh, notion of plant toxins is not out in left field. It’s a fundamental part of plant biology botany. And so now it’s being acknowledged that when you are, uh, in this sensitive category and you consume these things, uh, they can really mess you up. And that’s why these wonderful healing stories have occurred from people going on to an animal based diet and restricting, especially the most offensive plant foods. And so when they’re in their raw form, they have, they of course much more toxic than when they’re cooked, soaked sprouted, fermented.
You’re hopefully also familiar with how so many plants that we consume are inedible until they are carefully treated and prepared, cooked soaked, sprouted or fermented, right? You’re not gonna have a spoonful of raw kidney beans or bite into a raw potato. But because these things are in some cases poisonous, right? Cashew nuts is another example. And so, uh, we’re eating these end products that are more tolerable, but still potentially, bringing a lot of sensitivities. Um, I can reference my, uh, brief experimental period. Oh, probably lasted several months where I was making this super nutrition green smoothie every morning. And so I’d freeze raw plant matter in the form of spinach leaves, kale, celery beats. Uh, what else did I put in there? I I’d put ’em in bags and put ’em in the freezer. And as directed by the viral video from, uh, Dr. Rhonda Patrick ,
popular health expert. She kept stuffing more green stuff in the blender blended up. Then you can have room to stuff more and more. So I would get this huge dose of greens every morning thinking I was doing myself as solid for my health and getting all these antioxidants and phytonutrients, and then guess what happened reliably every single day after I prepared and drank the smoothie, my stomach would pop out and it would expand. It would bloat out comfortably. So for several hours, and then it would finally go down and settle. And I finally started to realize this pattern and discuss it with another friend who was on the green smoothie kick as well. And he made that epic comment that stopped me in my tracks. And he said, yeah, that happens to my stomach too. But the smoothie is so healthy that it’s worth it.
And that’s when I was sort of slapped in the face and forced to reflect and contemplate that if something is touted as so healthy for you, I don’t think it should be popping your stomach out and causing, uh, transient abdominal pain. I’d get these sharp shooting pains that would last for two seconds and then go away. I had irregularities with elimination and all kinds of complaints, leaky pipes, and association with workouts. I also had my giant solid game and my stir fry game on high level at this time. So I was ingesting a lot of plant material. These are been widely tattered to be the centerpiece of healthy human eating. And thankfully, back in may of 2019, I had a, a tremendous turning point with the exposure to Dr. Paul Saladino’s message and later the other carnivore leaders where he proposed with great scientific reference that maybe we don’t need to make these plant foods, the centerpiece, these giant piles, the centerpiece of our diet and that they could quite possibly be causing trouble.
Now, I believe that I have a healthy intestinal tract and not someone who had the extreme sensitivities that you hear about from, uh, other promoters that have had life changing turnarounds. And so I don’t have that tremendous need to be extremely restrictive with my plant intake, but definitely, no more of the obligation to go looking for produce, uh, as the center focus of my diet. And instead I’ve, uh, made that transition to emphasize the least offensive plant foods, which are in the fruit category, because that’s the final offering of the plant. They have the least amount of plant toxins, the starchy tubers like sweet potatoes, uh, honey. And those are the, uh, majority of my plant intake. Of course, I also enjoy, uh, the Brad’s Macadamia Masterpiece nut butter, and I’m not sensitive to it so I can promote it.
I love it. And if it doesn’t work for you and you’re finding yourself in that category where you have nut sensitivities, which is pretty common, uh, then you can find something else to eat, right? So, uh, we don’t have to traffic in these extremes where we’re proclaiming that this is the way to go for everybody. But I think we are all obligated to, uh, maintain an open mind, think critically and test and refine and revise your own approach as I’m communicating here, especially with that great transition away from a produce emphasis diet, to a animal based diet with the strategic integration of nutritious carbohydrate foods that are in the least offensive category.
Okay. Those are the three categories where you really want to with great devotion, eliminate or minimize intake of these potential problem areas in the diet that is the refined high polyunsaturated industrial seed oils, the processed sugars and grains, and all the foods that processed foods that are made with them that can promote endotoxin coming from your gut.
It could promote inflammation, inhibit fat burning, and of course also, promoting chronically excessive insulin production that we’ve heard so much about. And then the third category being the natural plant toxins that you potentially have sensitivity to with particular focus on roots stems, seeds, and leaves, and all the foods that fall into those categories. And that would be of course, grains and legumes, green produce the superstar <laugh> nutritional superstars would also have the highest levels of plant toxins, especially when they’re consumed in raw forms. So, do an experiment. If you have any type of chronic digestive discomfort that would be gas, bloating, transient abdominal pain, uh, in association with meals, or you have any kind of lingering nagging, autoimmune or inflammatory conditions in the body that you’re dealing with, or taking prescription medication for anything ending in itis , I colitis, arthritis, gastritis, asthma, allergies, all these things can be very likely associated with your consumption of natural plant toxins. Toxins that you have no idea are causing trouble until you strictly eliminate them.
So the gold standard of an elimination diet would be a 30 day carnivore experiment where you’re eating, uh, strictly animal foods or as close as possible to no plant consumption. If you must, if you insist,, you can throw in things like fruit and honey and survive. If you’re contending that you can’t do it but taking a month and allowing your, uh, digestive system to have a break from processing these, uh, natural plant toxins can be a real eye opener. And then what people recommend is to strategically reintroduce certain foods that you like that you wish, uh, you could continue to consume and, uh, note any potential reaction. And so you can see what you can tolerate and what you can’t. Okay. So, um, just to summarize this important concept that the main benefits of restrictive eating are what you eliminate.
Dr. Robert Lustig with his epic quote in our interview talking about his book Metabolical. He said that it is virtually impossible to get fat, to become obese, to continue to add body fat over time if you eat wholesome, healthy, nutritious foods and eliminate processed foods. So that’s a pretty incredible insight. I might even be hard to believe, maybe on a bet, you could add some body fat if you, it stuffed your face all day long, eating wholesome, healthy foods. Uh, but we have these powerful appetite and satiety mechanisms when we are consuming nutrient dense, nutritious foods that tell us that, uh, we’ve had enough. And so I think we can all reference how it’s very difficult to overeat <laugh> on omelets and steaks and cuts of salmon much more difficult than it is to allow those processed foods to sneak into the picture.
And there you go, eating the whole pint of ice cream or the whole bag of potato chips, or the indulgences that you can go and drive across town and get the best donuts in your town or the fresh ice creams or the other things. Okay. So clean eating impossible, to get fat and continue to get fat. So that is in fact, the gateway to dropping excess body fat is to get healthy first. And when your, uh, body is good at producing energy, when the mitochondria are working well, uh, when the gut is working well, it’s not producing endotoxin. It’s in fact, processing nutrients and assimilating them effectively. That’s when you have a fighting chance to drop excess body fat as a goal.
Now, the diet is one component of being healthy and getting yourself primed for fat reduction. And the other stuff is lifestyle related because there are a lot of things that point us in the direction of over consuming, especially processed foods. One of them of course, is chronic exercise patterns. So if you’re engaging in overly stressful exercise patterns and depleting your cellular energy to frequently producing too many stress hormones, you are going to be pushed in the direction of over consuming, especially the quick energy nutrient deficient processed foods, same with getting insufficient sleep. And there’s so many, uh, great research referenced all the time by experts that just a little bit of disturbance and sleep is going to throw off your appetite and say, tidy hormones and prompt you to overeat. Same with, uh, difficulty with stress management or dysfunctional lifestyle patterns that are overly stressful, chronically stressful. These are going to mess with your diet, your metabolism, your choices, and so forth. But I am appreciating Jay Feldman’s contention that everything kind of emanate from an energy balance problem. So if you’re not good at burning energy, because of the presence of overly stressful lifestyle factors and poor food choices, that’s the vicious circle occurring where you’re going to, uh, continue to make poor food choices because you have no other way to get energy successfully.
And so if you can focus on cleaning up the diet as the first, uh, the first step before you’re worrying about your macros or strapping on a glucose monitor and carefully noting, which foods spike your blood sugar more? Is it the banana, or is it the papaya? Um, I’m definitely supporting of the idea that first we gotta clean things up before we have any reasonable conversation about anything else, especially, um, your exercise patterns, because these topics are all irrelevant if you are throwing junk into the system. And when I say junk, I might be talking about a kale smoothie for many of us who are unknowingly sensitive to these natural plant toxins. I know that’s not fair to, uh, put the 7/11 Slurpee in the same bucket as the kale smoothie, but that’s why I’m, uh, offering the possibility here, uh, that your salad, that your stir fry and that your plant smoothie could be not doing you a favor.
And of course, if you are thriving and slamming that green smoothie every morning, like Dr. Rhonda Patrick and the other 834,000 people that watch that video, okay, thumbs up all around. But I contend that most of us, most people I know would nod their head if you ask them, Hey, do you have episodes of frequent episodes of gas, bloating, transient, digestive pain, elimination, irregularities, and the like autoimmune inflammatory conditions that, that nag and get you, maybe it’s the allergies get you every season or whatever it is. The stomach pops out after you drink a green smoothie. If that’s something you can, uh, relate to that’s when we gotta go into, uh, experimentation and dietary restriction and get that diet clean and get the body burning energy nicely. And the one I’m appreciating more and more is this obligation to increase all forms of general, everyday movement as a critically important factor in your ability to burn energy successfully, and to be healthy in general,
Dr. Pontzer, uh, reference research that prolonged periods of stillness promote chronic inflammation in the body, which is the root cause of virtually all disease. You hear this banter about all the time that inflammation, this inflammation, that, and amazingly, just sitting in a chair all day can promote an inflammatory state, which will really mess up again, your body’s ability to burn energy for the brain to function well. So getting up and moving around more throughout the day could be a key missing factor to your success with dropping excess body fat. And as Mark Sisson has been saying for what 15 years now, it’s not about the calories that you burn, it’s about the movement itself. So when you’re able to get up and walk around and do a morning exercise routine that I promote so aggressively and do an evening walk about instead of just sitting on the couch the whole time, getting up and engaging in foam rolling counts as a form of movement, everything counts, uh, when you can take those frequent breaks from prolonged periods of stillness and become an active human that’s when your body becomes more efficient at burning energy.
And that is the key to everything says, Jay Feldman, you can agree or disagree with that, but it makes a lot of sense that if you’re good at burning energy and your energetic and alert, your appetite is gonna be regulated. And when push comes to shove, it’s always, it’s, it’s impossible to transcend the governing factor of your appetite and your energy levels when it comes to your, uh, food choices and your body composition, right? So appetite’s gonna win out no matter what, and when your appetite is balanced, when your energy is balanced, that’s when you’re feeling good and living a good life and making good decisions, rather than you know, we could, we could blame it on being weak or undisciplined or unmotivated, and therefore your diet failed because you reach for the potato chips too many times.
But if we just back up and try to attack the cause rather than you know, beat yourself up for succumbing to these, uh, weaknesses and temptations, that when we can really make progress for the long term, rather than bouncing from one extreme, restrictive pattern, and then to the next one, and then to the next one. Does that make sense? So that’s the end all is becoming a healthy human by ditching the processed foods out of the diet, those three categories that I mentioned and increasing all forms of general everyday movement. And I didn’t even mention your exercise, your training program, because the first two are so much more important. And again, if you don’t have good energy production, uh, energy balance status, you’re gonna have a very difficult time sustaining a reasonable sensible exercise program, cuz you’re gonna get tired.
You’re gonna have difficulty recovering. You’re gonna crave quick energy foods. Everything’s gonna fall apart because you can’t handle the stress. So let’s just, uh, kind of close it there for the whole show. And, give us the marching orders of cleaning up your diet from those three offensive food categories, the oils, the processed grains and sugars and the natural plant toxins, and then set the objective to just get up and move more throughout the day. And then we can talk about all the other tips and tricks that’ll help you shed excess body fat, but not until you’ve crossed through the threshold through the door to say, uh, raise your hand. Hi, I’m healthy and I’m ready to, uh, aspire to further peak performance. How’s that? Okay. Thank you. Let me know what you think firstname.lastname@example.org and get ready for the continued thread of this discussion, where we are going to turn our attention to people who are healthy, energetic, have decent body composition, or are close to their goal and how should they strategize the blending of their fitness and active lifestyle endeavors with the, uh, dietary, the popular dietary strategies of the day, fasting, carb restriction, keto, vegan, carnivore, all that stuff. And so that’s gonna be fun cuz that’s where we’re gonna hear from a bunch of different experts. Uh, but for now those are your initial marching orders. Thank you so much. Let’s do it
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