Let’s get ready to rumble with Jay Feldman—one of my favorite guests and someone who has prompted me to rethink many of my closely and previously held notions about ancestral living and the role of fasting and carb restriction for peak performance and longevity!
Hopefully you have already heard my two previous episodes with Jay, as well as my four-part, follow-up series to reflect on the Energy Balance concepts. These topics have been circulating in my mind so I’ve been talking to experts about this new and progressive idea about the stress impact of things like restrictive diets and how they may be reflected upon differently if we step back and disengage from some of our obsession with ancestral living, as well as blanket assumptions about fasting, low-carb/keto, and time-restricted feeding. It has been a wonderful journey—I am now five months into an experiment to eat more fruit and more carbs in general, and it’s been going really well.
I had a whole outline going into this interview with Jay and we basically didn’t touch it, so you can be sure Jay will be back for a fourth episode, but for now, enjoy this show—we had a really interesting conversation about a variety of different topics, and this episode combines big picture insights with moments of going super deep into scientific insights. It’s always great to have Jay back on because he is such a thoughtful communicator and also a deeply curious, knowledgeable person—with any subject he talks about, it is guaranteed that he has spent an immense amount of time researching everything about it, so you’ll get some great scientific insights as well as some great takeaways about everything relating to the energy balance approach to diet and healthy living in this show.
You will get a deep understanding of the relevance of stress and the difference between the mechanism and the damage caused by stress. [01:09]
The digital lifestyle has exploded. [08:26]
Some of the pillars of ancestral health are questioned. [11:08]
What has been learned from the rat studies about calorie restriction? [17:18]
It was said that you can’t eat fruit in the winter. What’s that about? [26:59]
We have to adjust to what we have in today’s world. [32:15]
We say everyone is different, but in the long run, are we humans all the same? [36:34]
It is hard work to become metabolically flexible. [41:36]
Are stress hormones a big deal? What are the benefits? [45:58]
Autophagy is the consumption of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process occurring in starvation and certain diseases. [55:68]
The main signal that is triggering stress comes down to reactive oxygen and low energy. [58:16]
How does someone who is less active and wants to be rid of some excess body weight get more metabolically healthy? [01:01:48]
Jay describes what he thinks is the optimal human diet. [01:08:37]
Carbs are not the only macronutrient that can cause digestive issues. [01:12:29]
Brad’s dietary experiment has taught him a lot about seeking a balance between exercise and nourishment. [01:17:22]
- Brad Kearns.com
- Brad’s Shopping page
- Feldman Podcast no. 1
- Feldman Podcast no. 2
- Reflections Part 1
- Reflections Part 2
- Reflections Part 3
- Reflections part 4
- Why I stopped Fasting, Mutzel
- Energy Balance Course
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Let’s get ready to rumble with Jay Feldman, one of my favorite guests, and someone who has prompted me to rethink many of my closely and preciously held notions about ancestral living and the role of fasting and carb restriction for peak performance longevity. Hopefully you have listened to my two previous lengthy interviews with Jay, as well as my four-part follow up series that were titled Reflections on the Energy Balance Concepts Part 1, 2, 3, and four. So this stuff has been really circulating in my mind. I’ve been talking to many other experts about this new and progressive idea of the stress impact of things like restrictive diets and how they might be reflected upon differently if we step back and disengage from some of our obsession with ancestral living and blanket assumptions about fasting, keto carb restriction, time restricted feeding.
And so it’s been a wonderful journey. I’m five months into my experiment of eating more fruit, eating more food, eating more carbs in general, and it’s going very well. And I had a whole outline to cover with Jay. We shared it before the show to make sure we were dialed in, and we basically didn’t touch it. So you can be sure that he’ll be back for episode number four. But this was a really interesting, uh, conversational style podcast, and I think you’ll really appreciate how we touched on a variety of different topics and especially, uh, trying to, uh, pull out some big picture insights and, and reflections, but at the same time, uh, with Jay’s support getting deep into some scientific insights. So I think what you’ll get as a takeaway, some of this stuff might be a little bit overhead and intense, but he’s a very thoughtful and measured speaker, uh, with a ton of research behind, uh, the things that he talks about.
And so you’ll get that sprinkling of science in here, but you’ll also get some great takeaway insights on all manner of this energy balance approach to diet and healthy living. Uh, but the show starts with a nice, easy breezy commentary of Jay’s foray into Mexico and South America where he might settle down. And so we kind of warm you up gently, and then we go for some knockout punches here where he goes hard and tries to, uh, I asked him to try to make sense of a lot of this longevity commentary from very highly regarded and prominent experts in the field. And you are gonna dig some straight talk here people, especially when he says, Hey, everyone makes mistakes sometimes with important research that’s distributed around the globe. And so that is some fun stuff. But it’s important to keep this big picture perspective about some of these assertions that we have come to, uh, integrate as gospel, especially in the ancestral health scene.
particularly this concept of hormetic stressors. Those are brief stressors that are supposed to deliver a net positive adaptive benefit. So when you stress your body by fasting, you kick into cellular repair, anti-inflammatory immune boosting properties. But we must not forget that these are stress mechanisms. So I pressed him on these points on this show, that’s my right at show number three here. And we really took it deep so you could get a full understanding of the relevance of stress and the difference between the mechanism and the stress or the damage that the mechanism causes. So, hey, lifting up a weight over your head, building your muscles, that has a lot of health benefits, but it’s despite the stress to the body and the breakdown of the muscles. And so same with, uh, diet and especially restrictive diets. Um, we talk about how many of the benefits of the popular restrictive diets come in a peripheral manner.
So if you’re skipping breakfast and claim to feel better because you’re extended your fasting period, it might be because you are skipping a shitty breakfast that’s interfering with your gut function and your metabolic health. I also ask Jay to describe pretty much narrow down what is the ultimate human diet. And so he walks us through the various food categories. You’re gonna love it. It lines up really nicely with what a lot of the other experts are coming to that I appreciate. Like Dr. Paul Saladino, the animal based diet was sufficient, easy to digest nutritious carbohydrates to give you maximum cellular energy status at all times, and minimize the stress of your life so you can live a long, healthy, happy, active life. Jay Feldman, show number three, kick and butt. Here we go.
Jay Feldman, show number three, the greatly anticipated show. Number three, thank you so much for joining us from your, uh, your, your secret Mexican hideaway. And I think first we should find out what this odyssey’s been all about, uh, when you went, went south of the border and have stayed there for a while.
Yeah, thanks, Brad. I’m happy to be back. Yeah, I’ve been traveling throughout Latin America for the last year and a half, a little bit more at this point, uh, right around a year and a half. We started, we, so we left Tampa, was living in Tampa, Florida for a few years, and then went south to Costa Rica, spent six months there in a couple different spots, and then we went to Ecuador, spent six months there, and then we’ve been in Mexico for a little bit over six months, maybe more like eight or so. And, yeah, we’ve been exploring, you know, wanting to experience the culture, eat some good food, practice our Spanish, but also see what else, you know, world has to offer. Obviously there’s some things that are really great about the states and some things that are not so great, and so wanted to kind of look around for that and maybe find a place to settle down and, and have some land and some space and small farm and things like that.
Wow. It, and it seems like this is a bit of a trend in, you know, the well, I’m calling you the younger age group now, but, um, you know, we see these cultural trends where maybe my generation was, um, fixated on rising up the corporate ladder and the workplace was so much more structured, you know, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, whenever I was just starting. And now it’s like most people I deal with, maybe it’s just the nature of my own operation, but they’re all over the place. You know, my, one of my guys is in Portugal and the other one’s in New Zealand, and it’s so routine in customary, and now, especially with quarantine, it’s finally like the Wizard of Oz curtain has been, you know, pulled away. And it’s like, no, we don’t need to drive in slow traffic to these tall buildings and get on the elevator and look busy when the boss is passing by. We can, we can live a different life. Does it seem to you, like, are there a lot of people kind of like-minded where they’re just going for it and even, uh, departing from the, the country of origin?
Yeah, definitely. The kind of digital nomad lifestyle is really, you know, exploded from Covid as you said. I mean, even, you know, it’s happening within the states, right? A lot of people moving from New York down to Florida for, for the warmth if they’re not tied to their office anymore. And, yeah, people looking for different cultures, different ways of life, different costs of living as well, of course, and, and all the other things that come with that. And yeah, it’s, it’s certainly something I see a lot throughout these places. You know, everything from, of course, a lot of retirees, but also a lot of younger digital nomads who have freedom as far as location goes so they can explore.
It’s also interesting to me, um, regarding, uh, parenting, child rearing, um, choosing out of the, the beaten path of the industrialized schooling. I did a show with Ben Greenfield, his kids are unschooled. I just did a show with Michael Kummer,, and he’s just decided to do the same where he’s, you know, realized that this traditional school system, there’s a lot of, uh, positive aspects about it, of course, but it’s also very regimented and confining. And he said the real thing that pulled the, the lever for him was forcing his kids to wake up at a certain time of day, especially in the winter when, you know, the sun wasn’t even out yet and how destructive that was for circadian rhythm. And he is like, forget this, man. I’m, we’re just gonna do our own thing at home. And that’s that’s kind of cool. I mean, my kids are out of their school years, their college or graduate. And so, um, you know, we didn’t think enough about the other possibilities whereby, hey, this could be a better fit. And the schooling system is developing kids for the industrial revolution. That’s how it started. That’s how it’s developed. And, um, we don’t need factory workers anymore in that sense, where we might have kids emerging into the, the digital nomad lifestyle.
Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, and especially is something that’s boomed in the alternative health world, because when the veil gets pulled down as far as the idea that everything we were told is healthy, you know, isn’t sort of thing, and all of these things from the medical establishment that aren’t as they appear to be, you, I think, see through a lot of those illusions and begin to question a lot more. And so then that seeps into every area of your life, right? I mean, whether it’s the education system or, or just larger political systems and things like that. And yeah, it’s really exciting to see the routes that that takes and the possible opportunities. I mean, you mentioned the different routes as far as education goes, which yeah, I’m starting to dig into a little bit as well myself, you know, at some point I’d like to have a family. And so, those things are definitely you of interest to me too.
Jay, listeners, I’m not doing this on purpose, but I feel like we’re kinda having a soft little start to the show because guess what’s coming? It’s gonna be some big punches and taken down some of these long standing notions, these pillars of ancestral health and ancestral progressive, health movement. So, um, stay tuned people, but we’re, we’re having a nice smooth start talking about Mexico. Jane likes the food, he likes the music. He’s working on a Spanish. You know, another thing you you said to me right before we recorded is you said, Hey, thanks for you know, giving me credit when I, when I’m talking about this stuff, I wanna mention Jay Feldman energy balance podcast as a huge inspiration. You’re doing incredible work. People who don’t give credit are, you know, are dumb asses. So it’s like, Hey, thanks for the compliment.
But of course, I, I do wanna highlight, back at you that you’ve been a tremendous inspiration, and the work you do is really crisp and methodical and well researched, and it’s not just, uh, a fun in games and Jay’s super duper fitness regimen that’s really gonna work for you. It seems like a really methodical path where you’re really, uh, being careful. You’re, you’re thoughtful with everything you say, especially the assertions. And it feels like you’re one of the leaders of this, uh, I would call it, um, a progression here where we’re on an evolution where we’re breaking free from some of the major, super popular approaches that deserve to be second guess at this time. How does that feel? I mean, do you feel like you’re, you’re a lonely guy carrying the torch, or do you feel like, um, there’s some groundswell here, there where people are starting to bring up some of these ideas about rethinking fasting for fit people and so forth?
Yeah, I, so I, I really appreciate all of those things that you said, and yeah, I appreciate that the, the content I’ve put out has, has helped, you know, or been so informative. And of course, it’s building on other people’s information as well. You know, I don’t know if we talked about Ray Peat in the last episodes, but obviously his work has been a, a big inspiration of mine and a lot of other researchers in the sphere. And as you’re saying, I think his work and the work of a lot of other people in, in that community are in this community has really been permeating. And I think a lot of it shifted within the carnivore space as a lot of the people who were full on carnivore started to incorporate some more fruit and carbohydrates and dairy and start to shift away from the, the all meat approach and other things that come with that.
And yeah, as you said, it’s starting to kind of really permeate and you hear various mosquito people and fasting, you know, all of that is starting to be put into question, or the kind of massive excitement about it is, you know, maybe kind of calming down a little bit and starting to, to regress back. You know, I think we really, you know, there was such a push toward low fat for a long time, for decades, and there was such a resistance to that. And I think we maybe swung on the other side of the pendulum toward everything that comes with of sugar and carbohydrates is, is the exact opposite of what we want. And maybe we’ll settle somewhere in the middle, not to, not to make it sound as though the middle road or just, you know, everything in moderation. I’m not saying that at all. I think that’s a dangerous, um, presumption to make. But I think we maybe swung out a balance a little bit or too far in one direction by throwing out some of the assertions that needed to be thrown out.
For sure. And I think anyone who’s motivated, goal-oriented, driven, concerned about their health we often get into this mentality that more is better. We’re measuring our keytones and then going on to the, uh, uh, the, the podcast or social media and putting up numbers like 3.7 and 2.6, and, um, you know, more has gotta be better. My fasting window is now extended from 14 hours to 18 hours. Oh, congratulations. All those kind of things. Um, but I think, you know, I’m looking around, I’m realizing that Dr. Tommy Wood, the former president of the Ancestral Physician Society, one of the great leaders in this space, he told me several years ago, he said, yeah, I like my athletic clients to eat as much nutritious food as possible until they gain a pound of fat. And then you dial it back a little bit and that’s when you realize you’re optimal.
Um, Peter Attia is saying, and you know, he’s been a big fasting keto guy, and he’s saying, you know, this time restricted feeding, it appears that the only benefit is a default reduction in calories rather than a magical benefit of tightening up your eating window. Robb Wolf gave me that one liner on the podcast if you wanna live longer and lift more weights and eat more protein. So sort of this idea of, you know, getting healthier, more active, more energetic by consuming the nutritious calories that you need, rather than tweaking around and playing around with these tips and tricks, which I, I think one of the most important points you made from the past show was like this stuff acknowledge that it works, the science is there, however, it’s from the things that we’re eliminating rather than the magic of limiting your carbs into the ketogenic range. Or, you know, fasting has all these health benefits, but a lot of them might be because you’re skipping out on that shitty breakfast.
Yeah, yeah. And that especially, I think, is the case with calorie restrictions. So you mentioned that Peter Tia, you know, has started or has said that, you know, he, that as far as the benefits of fasting, he really attributes them now to just calorie restriction. And, and I would take that a step further and maybe say, I don’t, I don’t think calorie restriction itself has benefits per se, unless we’re, well, it depends on what we’re restricting. It depends on the types of foods, it depends on other factors that I would say are not just eating less as the solution. And I’m sure we’ll be digging into that. And the problems with calorie restriction for longevity. And, you know, it’s, I think it’s pretty related to some of the topics we’ll be digging into today.
Yeah. Maybe we should just hit that right now where, um, we, we hear about this amazing research almost entirely with, um, animals rodents the sea elegance, the, what is that, the algae light creature that if you restrict their calories, they have a tremendous increase in lifespan. But tell us your kind of, uh, big picture insight on some of that rat studies, especially the rat junk food diet.
Yeah. Well, so it’s super relevant when it comes to talking about a lot of features within the ancestral model, the hormetic model, the idea that fasting and ketogenic diets and, uh, calorie restriction are means to longevity and slowing aging and improving health. And a lot of it, a lot of those ideas are built on associations that are built on associations. We have a lot of correlation isn’t supposed to equal causation, but we’re attributing it to causation and extrapolating. And a lot of that comes down to this research on calorie restriction. And so what’s happened is, and we can dig into some of the actual problems with the research, but what’s happened is, is that we’ve taken this research, let’s say it’s on sea elegance, which is a little one millimeter long nematode. And we’ve said, Hey, when we cause certain conditions, when we restrict glucose or we give it certain poisons, which we can talk about, it will live longer.
And we look at the pathways that got activated, and it includes the certi ins and it includes AMPK and NRF two, and, and on from there. And so then we say, oh, well, those pathways seem to be responsible for the longevity. And so then we say, well, what else increases those things? What else activates those pathways? And then we, you know, obviously these should be the same pathways in humans. It should extend longevity in humans. Then we start to take these things that activate the pathways, whether it’s resveratrol or fasting, and we make this, this leap that those things will lead to longevity in humans. But not only is it a problem of attributing research from different animals to humans, but also the lifespan extension in these other animals, most of the time isn’t caused by these stress pathways. And in the case that it is, it’s because of some conf huge confounding variables.
So when we take the sea elegance nematode, for example, it has, it goes through certain stages of, of, uh, like growth. And if it’s introduced to ma major amounts of stress, what it does is it shifts into a hibernation state. It’s called the doer state. And so it will, if you cause it to shift into this hibernation state by causing a lot of stress, it will live for huge amounts longer of time. You know, we’re talking double, triple, quadruple the total length of time that it’s supposed to live. But it’s not because you extended its healthy lifespan, it’s because it hibernated during that time. It wasn’t actually a viable living creature. It wasn’t conscious or, you know, anything like that. All of its organ systems are turned way down. And so then we said, oh, this thing increased its lifespan, but it didn’t actually increase its lifespan in a way that’s translatable to other animals like humans.
And so these are some of these regions, some of these areas that we’ve gotten really tripped up when it comes to all of these things that are activating the stress pathways. And, uh, yeah, that was just kind of an example related to the nematode, but there’s, there’s others that are related to, you know, you were alluding to some of the studies on rats and also in monkeys and monkeys being animals that are much more similar to us, especially if you’re looking at like chimps, you know, much, much, uh, you know, about as close as you can get. And even looking at calorie restriction in those animals, the research on that is, is very telling. So there are a couple of studies where in one, the, I don’t remember if it was chimps or monkeys, I wanna say it was chimps were given normal standard processed diet, and then they were given, they were put on calorie restriction and it extended their lifespan.
And then there’s a different study where the chimps were eating a whole food natural diet, you know, lots of fruit, uh, which is normally a huge part of their diet, and some vegetation outside of that as well. And the calorie restriction in that group didn’t extend lifespan at all. And that goes to what we were saying earlier where there are all these confounding variables, and one of them is the kind of typical garbage type, non natural, if you wanna think it, that think of it that way, foods that are in our diet or in the diet of these animals. And restricting that, of course, is gonna be beneficial, but it’s not because there’s something unique about the calorie restriction. We just took out some of the bad foods, and that doesn’t seem to happen when we’re eating the quote good foods.
Okay. So since you’re on for the third time, we can, we can really shoot straight here. And I just want to ask you, like, when I’m out there listening to the massive amount of content that I take in, and we have these respected leaders that are, have a high profile, highly educated, um, guys like Dr. Walter Longo, uh, David Sinclair, you know, they’re making the rounds. They have huge prominence, huge popularity, and they’re saying things that I have trouble reconciling with, um, such as the, you know, the becoming efficient on fewer calories will lead to a longer lifespan. Um, I wonder about you, like, do, do, do you shudder and shake your head or do you try to like find the common ground? Or are we like, talk taking certain things out of context? And maybe I’ll before I’ll let you answer. Um, I do feel like that’s often the case where, um, we’re, we’re starting with this bubble, this assumption of stressful modern life full of processed foods. Therefore, much of the great work of, um, some of these leaders that are advocating for whatever, devoted fasting and so forth, is gonna pay off tremendously because we’re keeping people away from crap rather than looking toward optimal. Which is a whole different, uh, paradigm.
Yeah. It’s, it’s a
Complicated see side people, he’s
Trouble just like I am, like, wait a second, man. Yeah.
Well, so if we take the example of David Sinclair, and this is not to pick on him, but I think as a good example. So a lot of his, his research was built around resveritol. A compound that is supposed to, that basically will increase the activity of the sirtuin, which is a pathway that, you know, the sirtuin pathway is associated with longevity in these sorts of situations like sea elegance life, life span extension or caloric restriction, right? So caloric restriction is going to, or low carb diet will, all of these will increase the activity of sirtuins. And this will happen in rats, people all over the, the board. And we’ve seen that, you know, of course, calorie restriction extends lifespan and it activates this pathway. So we assume, okay, this pathway must lead to lifespan extension. It’s actually really interesting. So, so just the first part here, the way that we activate the sirtuins is directly via stress pathways.
And I think this is really important to recognize that when we’re talking about any of these HOR mechanisms, it requires stress. That is the entire basis of hormesis is that it has to go through stress. And so the activity of the sirtuins depends on the availability of what’s called N A D plus in the cell in the mitochondria. And that N A D plus allows for energy to be produced. It allows for well-functioning creb cycle and electron transport chain keeps everything moving well, when we restrict carbohydrates and rely on fat oxidation, or when we fast, or when we introduce various compounds that are mitochondrial toxic, it decreases, it depletes the N A D plus. This leads to an activation of backup systems. We’ve got a ton of really great backup systems around this happens. It activates an enzyme called N A M P T, which leads to this whole recycling pathway that ends up increasing N A D plus again.
So we get our NAD plus back, it’s called an NA salvage pathway. And in the process of doing that, it activates the sirtuins. And so we’ve kind of isolated this pathway, something that happens during stress and stress via things like calorie restriction extends lifespan. So if we just activate this pathway through, that means we should extend our lifespan. So resveratol is a great example of this, and that was where David Sinclair’s research was focused. And so he patented, and I don’t remember the details of the patents, but he patented various versions of resveratol compounds that could be used as I believe pharmaceuticals sold those patents to a pharmaceutical company for a good amount of money. And that pharmaceutical company then started doing trials using those compounds, trying to show benefits in humans. And again, I wish I went through the details again before we talked, cause it’s been a while, but I believe in summation failed, those, those trials failed heavily and they didn’t end up producing any products from it.
And the whole thing was a failure. And I think that is the kind of the <laugh> illustration of the problem with these sorts of situations. And I know David Sinclair later started to say things like, you know what? Resveritol maybe isn’t that special. It looks like olive oil has a lot of similar effects to resu vio. We could just have a ment of olive oil instead of the super expensive compound that’s founded super tiny amounts in grapes. So yeah, I think that it’s, when it, coming back to your question of what do we, what about the experts that are saying some of these things? It’s tough to say, I don’t, I don’t know what, I don’t know what leads someone down that path. And I think, think, you know, I’m definitely not about to make the assertion that someone is intentionally misguiding people or anything like that. But I think we all make mistakes. Maybe that’s part of it. I don’t know where <laugh>, I mean, it’s research is tricky and yeah, I
Dunno, well, also that, that context can easily be misinterpreted or misappropriated. I have this one example of a sticky note that I had on my door with a bunch of other sticky notes. One of them talks about how calm I am when I’m standing over and put on the golf course. And then I had another one because I thought it was a great insight from Dr. David Perlmutter, one of the leading, respected and best selling authors. And he talked on a certain podcast about how we shouldn’t consume any fruit during the winter time, because our ancestral experience is that there were no fruit ripened in the winter, and therefore our body was sort of genetically in hibernation mode during these long, dark, cold, harsh winters where caloric, uh, was supply was scarce. And so we had to click into fat storage mode and all these things.
And it made a lot of sense. And we know that in the winter time, we’re buying fruit that’s flown in from far away and that’s not really a good footprint. And so I tried to adhere to that for many years, a few years. And then, I don’t know, whatever, hit me over the head one day and I realized like, what fricking winter are you talking about? Because last winter, Southwest Airlines had a flash sale, $80 fights from the west coast of the US to Hawaii. So we went to Hawaii four times, and I did hot sweaty hikes in the winter and then went to the farmer’s market and chowed down on tropical fruit. And also in the winter, I’m going into well lit gyms and lifting heavy weights and, and doing my workouts. So there is no long, dark, cold, harsh ancestral winter anymore. My thermostat was set nicely all winter when I went into the warm home. And so there, the insight just, uh, is completely inappropriate for modern life because I’m trying to have an optimal winter experience of energy and sufficient carbohydrate energy for the things that I’m doing. Uh, but there’s nothing wrong with the initial assertion and it’s strongly validated by evolutionary anthropology or whatever, but we forgot that, you know, Southwest is flying to the islands all winter, therefore it’s negating the, the association.
Yeah. And two things come to mind there. So one,
Two more things, more things besides all Brad’s things like the cheap flights. Yeah. Very
On. Well, no, it’s the point that you’re making is that our modern environment needs to be taken into account, right? We have thermostats, we can create artificial light. We have, you know, no one is, is actually out in the winter. And there are other factors to consider as well. As far as our evolution goes, I don’t, again, I don’t know what, at what point we’re talking about winter either. I mean, for nine plus million years, if we’re tracing our evolution back, we were in tropical climates that didn’t have such a winter. I mean, we weren’t, you know, modern humans came around, you know, estimates of 300,000 or so years ago, and we only left tropical climates 30,000 years ago. You know, it, what, what genetic evolutionary lineage are we talking about that included all of this harsh winter? And at what point, and was that a time also of expansion or contraction?
If we’re talking about a period of an ice age, does that just because it happened, does that mean that it’s ideal? Does that mean that that leads to the best health? Does that mean that that leads to our best possible, uh, expression of what we can be? And so I think that’s, there’s a couple points that we want to consider is, A how much were we really in an environment that wasn’t warm and didn’t have, you know, fruit available? Also, we have the, you know, Denise Manager has a great article about why the fruit that was available wasn’t actually bitter and low in sugar, which I think is another point that’s mentioned a lot. But actually just the fruits that were available were dense and carbohydrate. And then again, just so yeah, when, when were we in a point without the fruit, the fruit did was dense and carbohydrates, and then whether or not we were at those in periods without a lot of carbohydrates, does that mean that that was ideal?
Are we stuck based on that? Or, or do we have a two-way street with our environment based on epigenetics and, and also just two-way interaction with our genes where if we’re in a really supportive environment, does that allow us to grow on a much larger level? And, and what sort of assertions are we making there? And I think, yeah, there’s a lot of question marks there. I think, you know, the, there are also question marks as well as to how much that fruit would really be responsible for fattening us up or things like that, which I know is an assertion that’s, that’s been made as well
Mm-hmm. <affirmative> besides that sounds great. But this is a helpful, uh, thing that I have to repeat to myself over and over, and reminding the difference between what’s possible and what’s optimal, because what’s possible, all kinds of things. Humans are really resilient. Um, you know, member of my extended family live to be, in their late nineties and they, they like to smoke a cigar and have their bowl of ice cream and a shot of alcohol every night. And all these things that we, that we see, we were able to colonize the entire globe, including moving way away from warm weather and somehow surviving above the 60th parallel where you can’t make vitamin D from sun exposure. So we caught a lot of oily cold water fish, and we did it, we prevailed. But here we have the, the luxury and the evolution of society where we can pursue optimal.
Um, I’m thinking of, uh, Tommy Woods’s quote where he cites research that today’s high performing elite athlete burns six times more caloric energy than the busiest hunter gatherer of all time in history. And so there’s, you know, the survival, uh, conditions that we tend to romanticize these days and try to align with somehow by dabbling in the ketogenic diet or, or, or sticking in it for a long time because our ancestors did. That’s the part where I think we need to blow the lid off and say, look, how can we be the best we can be today knowing we have, uh, un you know, unregulated access to all kinds of food and we have 24 hour gyms that are open and all these things that you know, we, we can, we can do whatever we want essentially.
Yeah. And, and I think maybe a place where there’s some common ground is that, especially in the ancestral community, I think it’s acknowledged that, you know, if you look at the last 10,000 years, agriculture revolution, lots of grains, and that’s been problematic, right? We see potential decrease in skull size and brain size and things like that, stature and whatnot. And so, and those are great points. So if we take that bubble and we say, okay, this is what happens when we’re, when we have a lot of grains for, for a while, why are we assuming that in this other bubble where some group of people just had meat, you know, once every once or twice a week another in that they were fasted? Why are we assuming that that is the situation that leads us to the best outcome as opposed to one where we can be, and you know, or they’re, let’s say, as you were saying as well, they’re above the, you know, they’re way up north and or I guess south, you know, and very cold.
That’s a separate bubble too. Why are we assuming that either of those are ideal? You know, I think we want to be questioning what is the actual driver of, of biological complexity and function. And I think that comes back to energy ATP production. And I think when we come, we come back to that. I think carbohydrates are huge, uh, massively important piece and, and one that’s, I would argue necessary for a progression forward in, in that realm. And I think just like we saw, let’s say, regression from agriculture, from grains, I would say that if we omitted carbohydrates for x hundreds or thousands of years, even tens, I mean, whatever it is, I think that is something that would also lead to regression. Uh, so
<laugh> de-evolution, like, the, the today’s, devoted vegan, uh, dietary enthusiast is literally devolving from what made us human, which was access to the nutrient dense foods. That’s how we split away from the gorillas. If I’m making a basic insight that, um, might hold water here. Um, so that, that’s pretty humorous to think that we’re capable of doing so.
Yeah, no, it’s a great point. I think that’s another point of common ground, right? That omitting animal products is I think something else that would probably lead to some regression or a lot <laugh> potentially. And these are, this is of course a a intricate complex topic that, um, you know, I think we would want to dig into various lines of thinking. But, you know, just a, a couple other points along the same lines that I think are relevant. I mean, if we look at, we look at apes, compare those to humans, for one, there’s some great hypotheses regarding what’s called the expensive tissue hypothesis, which is the idea that basically the more energy that we spend on our gut, if we have really expansive guts that require a lot of fermentation, like a gorilla that uses, you know, a lot of vegetation, very fibrous foods that are producing short chain fatty acids in the gut, that requires a ton of energy and that takes energy away from having a really highly functioning brain.
And so then you look at chimps that have a much less fermentation, much smaller colon, much larger small intestine, and they’re eating 60 to a hundred percent of their diet year round from fruit. And they tend to have the increased brain size that goes with that. And you see that throughout apes, this, this correlation between, uh, fruit intake or digest, like really easily digestible food sources versus something that needs to be fermented and very highly processed in internally. You see a correlation between fruit consumption like that and, and brain size. And I think that that’s, you know, just another piece of evidence here. Another thing that we might, you know, want to consider just looking at the comparative anatomy and physiology there,
Besides that, it’s a great idea to go for the plant-based heavy intake of leafy greens and all the, all the stuff that our ape cousins eat. Uh, now <laugh>, one thing we kind of hear, it feels like it’s becoming a go-to back pedal is this concept of individuality. So anytime we bump up against controversy, we’ll say, Hey, look, everyone’s different. And I’m wondering, Jay, if you, if you, um, can embrace that or we, we gonna challenge that too, cuz sometimes it makes sense to me. And then other times it’s like, well, you know, I I think we, we can’t continue to use this as a fallback every time we come into, a point of contention. But of course we do have examples like Luis Villasenor who’s been in strict ketogenic diet for 20 years and doing great athletic performance.
Robert Sykes, the keto guy who’s making the rounds and doing his body building and of, uh, clearly, uh, high performing player. I think Sean Baker is still a vowed as a strict carnivore. So he’s fueling his world record efforts in his fifties with little or no carbs. And so something’s working well for them. Um, could they be 10% better if they tried something else? I don’t know. But clearly, um, I would, I would assume other people might crash and burn, uh, trying to adhere to something that’s working for someone else. So where does individuality land on this whole spectrum?
Yeah, it’s a great question and not one that I have a concrete answer to. I think the, my, my thoughts are that it’s a part of the picture. I think that, but at the same time, I think there are certain principles that will be universal and those I don’t think are often in competition with each other. So I think certain people will absolutely be able to get away with things. You know, if we talk, let’s say poly unsaturated fat intake, obviously there’s a lot of people who are dousing, you know, their food with vegetable oils and they’re okay, you know, they’re fine. They’re, that doesn’t mean that that’s the healthiest thing for them. Maybe it’s something they get away, they get away with in the same way that I think we both know a lot of process, you know, people who eat a ton of processed foods and they’re still lean and maybe it’s something catches up with them, maybe it’s not, maybe it catches up with their, you know, the generations after them.
I mean, it’s, it’s, these, these are hard things to really parse out and require a lot of estimation. And so I certainly think there is an aspect here that involves individuality where somebody might be more prone to having issues with car oxidation or having lactose intolerance. That doesn’t mean these things are permanent issues, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think they can be improved upon. I don’t think that that, and I, I would think there, there are certain principles that are, that I, I would say aren’t going to vary on an individual basis. So while one person might do better with more pofa intake than somebody else, I still don’t think that, that having more client saturated fats in our diet and in every single cell is going to be beneficial for anybody. Like, I think that that is a principle that holds true based on, you know, a ton of other evidence.
I’m not, not saying anybody just take that, you know, just because I said it, but I, I would argue that that’s a principle. And I think having, well, like having good glucose oxidation, like efficient glucose oxidation and carbs available is also something that is, I would say as a principle going to be better than not having those things. Does that mean that for one person they might, again, so there might be an individual piece here where if someone is not oxidizing glucose well and they avoid the carbs, they’re way better off than they would’ve been otherwise. Mm. And that’s an important piece. Again, that doesn’t mean that that issue can’t be resolved. Maybe there are certain genetic variations too, or epigenetic variations that are going to affect someone’s ability to oxidize glucose, or they’re gonna have, you know, reductions in certain enzymes or things like that.
And yeah, maybe that person will only be able to have 150 grams of carbs a day instead of 250, you know, and functional function optimally the, yeah, I think those are tough things to say, but I would lean, I try to lean more toward the principles and then, you know, there’s, cuz it’s so hard to determine what the driver of individuality is. Is it a nutrient deficiency? Is it some random thing in their environment from the second they were born and they weren’t breastfed and now they’re microbiomes dysfunctional or, or out of balance, then there’s antibiotics introduced or, you know, heavy metals. I mean, there’s so many factors that affect our health now that I think, of course all of those play into individuality. And I, you know, normally when someone’s asking, they’re saying, are there individual differences based on our makeup, based on our genetics, not based on our environment? And it’s so hard to separate those things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it’s hard to separate our environment now from our parents’ environment and back. How do we know that what we’re expressing now is not just a result of previous environments? So I know this is a kind of a vague wishy-washy answer. I don’t know if it’s helpful at all, but that’s, I guess kind of where I stand.
Well, II guess, one thing comes to mind is speaking of environment and programming and, you know, doing the hard work to become metabolically flexible. Mark Sisson talks about this a lot. We’ve talked about it a lot in our books. And his contention is that he is so good at fasting, burning fat, skipping meals, eating in a tight window that he claims to be optimal, because he’s done the hard work to where the stress factors that you talked about so much in the previous shows are not very stressful to him. So, so, you know, if someone’s not consuming sufficient carbs, but they’re doing hard standup paddling sessions and extremely hard soft beach biking sessions that I do with cis and, and blow myself out. I mean, he is a high performing individual at an advanced stage, so something’s working right for him. And so, it’s seemingly easier to chow down the fruit and not engage those more complex metabolic stress mechanisms to make the, the glucose that you need. Um, but is there, is there possibility that someone can become adapted to a certain approach that’s gonna be pretty close to optimal because they’ve, because they become so functional?
Yeah. And so that, I think that’s a great way to build off the last question. And, and so I don’t think there is such individuality that one person going from a carbohydrate, including diet to ketosis, let’s say, or to fasting, is not going to have stress. I don’t see a way that that happens without glucagon adrenaline, cortisol release, or at the very least glucagon, because that is the response that happens as soon as the blood sugar drops. And that is what, what keeps it maintained And, you know, and that’s not something that’s generally I think, uh, something people would disagree with, right? Going from going into ketosis tends to involve several days at least of elevated stress hormones. And then after that, still typically elevated glucagon. And so I don’t think that those aspects of our physiology can be avoided or can, you know.
Yeah, I don’t think that there’s individuality that would exempt somebody from that. I also don’t think we would want to exemption from that. I think those are super important signals that tell our bodies what’s going on in the environment and how they should adapt. And I think that’s maybe a helpful lens as well, is that our body is trying to interpret the stress, interpret the energy availability so that it can adjust and adapt and best survive and best function in an environment. And if that environment is, is wrought with lots of periods of mini starvation or, or a lot of, you know, periods without any carbohydrates, we’re, we’re teaching it to expect those things mm-hmm. <affirmative> and we’ve got all these hormone signals, these hormonal signals that dictate that, that act as the messengers and those are going to have effects on what’s going on at our thyroid, what’s going on in terms of reproductive hormones, what’s going on in terms of digestion.
So I don’t think we want exemption from those things. And in terms of, so in terms of the situation with Mark, I, I think he might have much less stress. So like he might have less cortisol response than the next person when going, you know, going into fasting. That might be true. His body’s become accustomed to it. Maybe there was a cost to that, maybe, you know, but stress cost. But either way he might have less stress, but I, and he might not perceive it as stress. That’s a separate point, right? We’re not talking about is this hard to do? Is it psychologically stressful? But what’s actually going on physiologically? And I don’t see a way that he could be exempt from that physiological stress. And some, you know, one person, someone might argue that glucagon is not a stress hormone and that’s, you know, maybe a matter of nomenclature, but the, I would argue that it is, it’s released anytime that, that we’re under stress, whether it’s, you know, intense stress or exercise or anything like that, you know, cardiac arrest, I mean the whole gamut, you’ll have glucagon release. It increases the backup energy producing system. So I think there’s absolutely a good argument that glucagon is a stress hormone mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so I think between that adrenaline and cortisol, I don’t see how those would be avoided in that shift in, you know, from fed to fasted or, or anything like that.
Yeah. I’m thinking of Melanie Avalon’s comment. You could tell I share this information where we’re just bouncing around the ping pong ball. Um, Jay Feldman, this Jay Feldman that, but Melanie says, um, okay, so there’s stress hormones. What’s the big deal? Does that make them bad? Um, we know that, um, a body that has, uh, insufficient stress or stimulus is going to wither and not, uh, reach potential or, or reach optimal. An d so we wanna stress ourselves with regular strength training, regular public speaking gigs so that we, don’t succumb to fear and anxiety when we interact with others. And all these great examples of having, eusttress as Hans Selye calls it, right? The, the optimal amount of stress. So could that argument be applied to one’s diet where, hey, a little bit of fasting here and there, or tightening up your eating window to uh, prompt a little bit of these stress mechanisms every morning, um, could somehow be, um, contributory to optimal rather than, um, straight up a bad idea. Let’s see what Jay says about that.
Yeah. Well, and here’s where I think we really have to get into the details surrounding the idea of hormesis. And this is why I’ve spent a lot of time between writing articles and doing a handful of podcast episodes on it. Because, so for one, I guess I would start off by saying, of course stress is unavoidable. And of course it’s great to have stress hormones. We didn’t have those hormones be produced, produced when we experience stress, we’d be in big trouble. <laugh>, we wouldn’t be here. Is, I guess another way of saying it. We, when we exercise, we want to have those stress hormones produced. When we fast, we wanna have those produced, but the question is, is that stress beneficial or not? And so that is my biggest issue with the idea of hormesis. You know, coming back to those pathways we were looking at with calorie restriction, is it that the stress from these interventions activates these pathways and that’s what accounts for the benefits?
Or is it that there are other things outside of the stress that account for the benefits? And if there are other things then that stress. And so I would say there it’s other things that account for the benefits. And not only is the stress not the beneficial part, it is harmful. So if we have calorie restriction and it leads to lifespan extension, I would say that is happening despite the stress it’s happening because we took out, let’s say methionine, we just reduced methionine or we reduced poly saturated fats, or we reduced super processed foods, or we put, you know, I’ll keep the hibernation out of it for sea elegance. Um, or in the case of rats, it’s, it’s that they didn’t gain a ton of weight. So we have these, it’s not a matter of the intervention being beneficial because of the stress it’s causing, rather it’s because of certain other effects which Hans Selyecalled specific effects.
And so what I would say is, again, if we go back to the rats, that there’s the calorie restriction and rats, one thing that they found that’s a huge confounding variable is that calorie restriction isn’t actually the benefit. What happens is that the rats that aren’t calorie restricted gain a ton of weight cuz they’re given as much food as they want. They’re ad lium, so they gain a ton of weight and that’s why the calorie restriction looks good, because the ones that are so overweight have lost lifespan, not because they’ve gained lifespan in or slowed aging in the calorie restriction. So
It’s a big, huge difference right there. I mean, yeah, yeah. They know more, you know,
Right. And, and Hans Selye was aware of this. So he used the terms eustress and distress, which I, I have such resistance to using because I think they’re really up for, they can easily be misinterpreted. So someone will say, eustress is stress. That is good. It was the right amount of stress. It wasn’t too much, it wasn’t too little, it was stress. And in reality, what he described as tress was that the stress was harmful, but the other benefits of whatever it was were outweighing that harm. They were. So when we have exercise, we get flow and, and circulate, you know, increase circulation and stimulus on the muscle with muscular tension. And it causes all these adaptive effects that we know because, you know, we see when someone’s sedentary and then they go, just walk a little bit. There’s all these great benefits, there’s all these factors that allow for benefits as opposed to it just that we, being that we burned a ton of calories and we got our, our, our boost of stress from our adrenaline, those things I would say are not actually the part that’s beneficial. So when we take this back to the fasting that you mentioned from Melanie, Melanie Avalon, I would say fasting is great if you want to reduce gut irritation or you want to, I’d say that’s the biggest,
Emotional problems associated with food. All kinds of things like taking control of your life. I think, um, mark Bells made that point several times that, um, you know, he calls himself a fat guy who had to work from that to Jack and Tan, but he’s, he’s still got that programming and these cultural influences where, if you, you know, if you’re taking control of your life, that’s gotta be a good thing. Despite the stress, despite the stress of having elevated glucagon, adrenaline and cortisol. I mean, I think we can all smile with that conclusion and, um, walk, you know, walk with our heads held high that, um, this makes a lot of sense. And you know, what really closes the deal for me, Jay, is that I have the great passion for performing and recovering in athletics. And so I wanna devote every possible bit of my stress capability to the workout and recovery from the workout.
And if I want to even consider stacking or throwing more stress into that, into that equation through anything in the diet realm such as eating junk food, eating processed food, producing endotoxins, that’s a ridiculous notion. And now I’m gonna have to also throw in fasting while I’m an old guy trying to perform magnificent athletic feats, it just doesn’t make sense any longer. And I hear by on the public form here, I’m gonna stand here ashamed and embarrassed that I didn’t see the big pictures sufficiently and that you slapped me in the face through the screen when you were talking to Ben Greenfield and you said, Hey, let’s face it fasting and keto turn on stress hormones. And of I’m like, of course they do. Why didn’t I think of that when I realized that my 400 meter repeats turn on stress hormones?
Yeah, and I think another thing you’re getting at is that all of that stress is cumulative. We’ve got, you know, we can think of it as, as a bucket, right? And all that. We’ve got the stress coming in and how quickly can we drain it? And when we first recognize that the stress isn’t beneficial, so we’re just limited in how much we can handle without it coming at, at such a major cost. We want to be choosing the things. A, if we’re going to incur stress, we wanna make sure it’s worth it, that there’s a lot of other benefits from it. And b, outside of that, if, if we aren’t, if we aren’t getting great benefits from something through other means, or we can get those benefits a different way without stress, I would say that’s a better route to go. And so when it comes to fasting, yes, we can improve mental toughness.
We can also lead to huge benefits in our gut from relieving, as you said, endotoxin exposure. And they’ve shown this with fecal microbiota transplants and things like that, that that’s where huge benefits come from, whether it’s low carb diet or fasting. But we can get those benefits without the stress, without the fasting, without the keto. I mean, we can just change the types of foods. We can adjust our microbiome, improve our digestive capacity or stomach acid or bio or whatever our issues are. And I weigh, I mean, especially well for anybody since stress is, is a universal problem, a universal negative for our health? I would say let’s, let’s try to do other, let’s try to fix our gut and relieve the stress from our gut through other means that aren’t stressful. Let’s try to build mental toughness through other means. Although that’s sometimes the stress is necessary for that, but maybe we don’t even want that much mental toughness. That’s a different story, but maybe in the right context.
I know that could, I’m getting in you, you could start some other ideas there about that mental toughness and how that could, uh, very likely be overrated. Um, I, I should mention this blip before I get to my question, cuz, um, Phil Maffetone said this beautifully, um, and he said, look, let’s face it, um, the brain does not need to be trained to suffer. If I come over to your house listener right now and put a gun to your head and say, we’re gonna run a marathon, guess what? You will be mentally tough enough to complete a marathon. We might take you right to the hospital after you cross the finish line, but the point is made that the brain can go to the well when necessary. Um, and so that kind of re uh, recontextualizes all sort of trending decisions when you realize that, um, and that stress is cumulative is a big one. I’m thinking about that more and more now at this age. That’s a, it’s a heavy realization. And I think maybe a lot of associated health and digestive problems that kick in at whatever age in people’s life is that you got away with all this stuff that wasn’t optimal when you were a youth and now you’re paying the price.
Yeah. And to, to that point, to that end, you know, one workout that’s too hard or one period of fasting, or weeks or months of keto. I mean, those aren’t things that are necessarily going to make or break in terms of fa in terms of stress, but I mean, they can <laugh>, they certainly can, but,
But we have people email me that they blew up, uh, doing keto and doing their athletic regimen absolutely. Every, every day here and there. And then all, all kinds of great benefits too are people that have had health improvements. But again, as you, as you force us to zoom out on that big picture, it’s cuz they got rid of the shit in their diet that was eating up their gut.
Right? So it’s another way of thinking of if we’re thinking of it as a stress bucket, and we think keto, we know ads to that stress bucket, but if it removed a lot of things that we’re also adding, you might be lowering the amount in the bucket. You might have drained more than you added. So you’ve got the net benefit, that’s great. Now what if we could do that without even adding anything to the bucket? That would be even better. That’s kind of the way I’m thinking about it.
Love it. That’s great. Um, and another observation from my, you know, my own personal, uh, view that I want to devote the, the energy toward performance and recovery. Um, Mike Mutzel said this on his video, so to put another name up there of guys that are rethinking things, I think the video is titled Why I Stop Fasting and Why I’m doing This Instead, or Something. And he cite research that these wonderful autophagy benefits and the organ renewal, uh, occur. They kick in really profoundly after 48 hour fast. And that’s great. And he also cites research that a very similar benefit in terms of autophagy and all the related anti-inflammatory boosts can happen after a one hour intense workout. And then he poses the question, which do you prefer fasting for 48 hours or doing a hard exercise in the gym for an hour?
Yeah. Which I think is a really great point. And then I would also pose the question, who says autophagy is necessarily the thing we want to reach for, for health or is are ways of increasing autophagy good? Doesn’t matter how we, how we induce it. You know, I think that’s another one where looking at the stress pathways, we’ve said, look in calorie restriction, you have increased auto in these states of degeneration, you have less auto. So we just need to increase it. But I think we’re oversimplifying a little bit, and this idea that we need to cause more stress for the autophagy is something I would, I would question and say there’s absolutely a place for it. It’s a normal necessary process that we need to happen, and it will be kickstarted by stress. But I also think those normal cleanup processes, which are stimulated in other contexts as well, are some, are generally things that we shouldn’t have to worry about.
I would say that just because there’s dysfunction in those pathways in the degenerative state doesn’t mean we need to force those pathways to prevent that state. You know, those are already states where the signals for autophagy are through the roof. The problem is not a lack of stress to signal autophagy if you’re, you know, type two diabetes or if you’ve got all sorts of degenerative situations, the signals asking for autophagy are there. It’s that the body, the adapt of the ability to adapt is depleted. We’ve, that stress bucket is, has been way overblown. We, we already went past autophagy, we tried that. It’s not working anymore. You know, so I’m not sure if know, I’m kind of jumping around a bit, but
Yeah, tell me what signal is there? What does that mean?
So the signal that, that a lot of these pathways converge on the main signal that is triggering stress comes down to one of two things. It’s reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, and also a lack of atp, low energy. And so the, the thing that will lead to the stimulation of autophagy will be a lot of reactive oxygen species. It tends to be, you know, it really comes to those ROS, and in a state of let’s say diabetes where there are, there are very high amounts of ros, there’s more than enough ROS. You have deficiencies in auto, you have dysfunction in the auto pathways. And so what I’m saying is it’s not a lack of the signal. We don’t need to try to induce stress. We don’t need to try to increase more ROS by fasting or doing super intense exercise. Not that, again, not that those things are overall negative.
I’m just saying it’s, we don’t need to increase the signal from our autophagy. We need to increase or restore our normal function, which would involve being able to, to enact autophagy again. And so, so what what instead happens is, is we’ve, we’ve made this conflation that in this state there’s, there’s issues with autophagy. So we need to make sure that we’re stimulating autophagy to prevent that state. And I, I think that we are, we are making a, again, one of those mistakes of correlation doesn’t equal causation. And so the, in a healthy state, we should have an more than adequate amounts of autophagy. Part of that will be induced by the stress that we choose anyway, right? The stress is unavoidable. We’ll have some stress, we’ll have those ROS produced. And so that’s gonna lead to autophagy. But there’s also actually mechanisms where when we’re in a very high energy state, state, I would argue a state of abundance, we actually have signals that will also activate autophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis.
So we have this dichotomy here. If we’re in an extreme stress state, our body says, let’s make more mitochondria. Let’s clean up some of the damage so that we’re ready for the next stress. There’s also a situation where we’re in a high energy state and our body says, we’ve got extra energy. Let’s, let’s improve our function, let’s create more mitochondria so we can just take advantage of this really great state that we’re in. And both are signaled by reactive oxygen species. But one is in the context of high levels of ATP and high levels of CO2 that actually cause ROS to be produced. It’s, it’s a situation where you have a backlog of, of the energy, and so you don’t need more. And it leads to reactive oxygen species being produced. I can explain the physiology in more depth if you’d like. Or in the other state, we have a situation where there’s a block of energy or an excess stress that causes ROS to be produced. And we don’t have a lot of energy, and so we don’t wanna conflate those two. And so we can actually activate autophagy or mitochondrial biogenesis without the stress. If we’re in, in a high energetic state
Without needing to do any specific protocol. We just walk around after our bowl of fruit in the morning and our, uh, delicious meal?
Potentially. So it would in a, in a someone who’s got a well functioning, you know, good functioning metabolism and is metabolically healthy, I would say yes. That doesn’t mean we never want to exercise right? Exercises a ton of other benefits or cause stress. We still wanna, uh, do these things that we know are beneficial like movement or like as you said, like getting up in, you know, public speaking or something that’s, that’s stimulating. So I’m not saying we want to avoid those, but if we’re metabolically healthy, we don’t need to intentionally create stress to cause autophagy or mitochondrial biogenesis.
So, a lot of the commentary I’ve put out and talked to you about and, and made shows reflecting on energy balanced ideals, um, is coming from my perspective of being healthy fit,-clean eating. But if someone’s, let’s say, um, not sufficiently active, they’re not burning a lot of calories, they’re not emptying the glycogen tank, um, they’re carrying a little bit of extra excess body fat that they’d like to get off, um, where would they stand on this spectrum? And could fasting, keto, whatever, bring in some stress mechanisms that they possibly could be deficient on because they are so cush in their lifestyle circumstances?
Yeah, great question. So in somebody who’s in that state, I think instead of saying that carbs are the problem, let’s, I would say let’s, let’s take a layer deeper and say, what is dysfunctional in this person’s physiology? So is there, uh, a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine? So every time they’re eating, whether it’s grains or fibrous fruits or vegetables, whatever it is, is feeding these harmful bacteria in the small intestine. They’re producing these various toxins. And that’s literally poisoning the mitochondria of every cell. There’s, you know, we’ve mentioned endotoxin, another name for it is lipo polysaccharide or LPs. And it’s LPs is, is quite literally a killer. It’s what’s responsible for death from sepsis, from from severe infection, you know, that someone might succumb to, which is, you know, one of the top causes of death on a much lower level. If someone has like a chronic infection, they might be dealing with low levels of endotoxemia and that’s seen in obesity and diabetes and fatty liver and things like that.
So if that’s something that someone’s dealing with, I would say, let’s, let’s work on cleaning that up. Let’s use something to clear out the sibo, and while we’re doing that, let’s avoid things that are going to feed it. So does that mean we should avoid all carbohydrates? I would say at least the fibrous ones, we, that’s someone who maybe they don’t want really fibrous fruits. Maybe those are going to feed the bacteria as will fibrous vegetables and things like that. So they might need to lean away from some carbs, but they might be totally fine with honey or maple syrup, depending on, again, how much they’re having. They might be fine with some juices, and so it might not actually be a problem where they need to avoid carbs. It might just be that they need to stop feeding this, this bacterial overgrowth and treat the overgrowth, and then they might be totally fine bringing fruits back in after that.
It also might take some time to recover from the damage over years metabolically that came from that. So it might be a, a small slow process. But that would be kind of the mindset I would have is, let’s not jump to keto, let’s not jump to fasting. Let’s jump to what is the actual problem here. And so, Hmm. Gut one, gut problems are huge. It’s not the only thing though, right? I mean when you and I have people coming to me all the time from different functional medicine practitioners, I mean, the variety of things that can affect us, whether it’s mold or heavy metals or nutrient deficiencies, I mean, it’s Lyme disease. I think for one hand, I think some of those things are overdiagnosed, but the point of getting at is we wanna look at all these factors in our environment and what we’re eating and, and where we are deficient and restore function. And I don’t think we need to go to keto or fasting to do that. And because they have a cost, I prefer not to go that route. Uh, although sometimes it is quicker and easier, but again, I think it comes at a cost,
It sounds like an appealing alternative to just start with cleaning up your diet, and I don’t think you really even need to continue any discussion or get into any nuance if these processed foods are still present.
Yeah, polyunsaturated fats are a big one, uh, huge one and a lot of the other processed foods, you know, will, the other ingredients in there will contribute to these issues. You know, a lot of anti-nutrients ingrains. Sometimes it’s even the unprocessed ones that are worse, right? If we’re doing a lot of whole grains and nuts and seeds and we don’t sprout or, or soak any of them, we don’t ferment them. We’re introducing a lot of anti nutrient compounds, raw veggies too. And not only will it, you know, they’ll lead to bloating and, and potentially constipation or all sorts of other study irritation. And that’s a, uh, an effect of what’s going on with the bacteria or fungus. What’s going on with the state of the lining of the intestine, are we doing with permeability or leaky gut? These are all things that’ll be influenced by the food that we’re taking in.
So of course, it depends where someone’s at, right? As you’re saying, if somebody is eating a diet that’s built around, whether it’s kind of whole foods that are not great or processed foods that are not great, taking those out can lead to huge, huge benefits, massive benefits. And that’s always, I think, the place to start. And then if someone’s still dealing with issues, and a lot of people are, have been on these journeys for years and looked down all the different routes, and so then sometimes it does require I think a more nuanced determination of is there an issue with histamine production? And if so, is that due to a zinc or B6 deficiency, or is it due to histamine producing bacteria in the gut? I mean, what are, what are the symptoms telling us? What, what could be drivers here? Uh, I I certainly think it’s not as black and white though, as this is caused by carbs or this is caused by eating a few times a day. And so, so fasting or keto or the solution.
Yeah, well said. And I think you made some comments there that, uh, bring up this other trend that I see toward the most optimal human diet, and you make great pains to not position yourself in any camp. Obviously listeners can understand why by this point in the discussion and, and the previous interviews. Uh, but it, it does seem like if we could you know, encapsulate a good strategy that maybe you would embrace as well, we’re talking about a nutrient dense animal based diet with that nose to tail emphasis and then consuming the most easy to digest nutritious forms of carbohydrate because an animal based diet, as we know, is a little or no carbohydrates. And that was a great bump forward in the conversation when, um, the, the carnivore for movement started. But then as Paul Saladino is famously changed course to welcome in a sufficient number of the most nutritious and easy to digest carbs, and therefore we’re eliminating not only processed foods, but the problematic plant foods that will raise the ire of people who are devoted to that path. But we have to acknowledge that those can be difficult to digest and, and cause the problems that you just mentioned. So, now let me tee you up and have you describe what might be an optimal human diet on all points.
Yeah. So I would say maximizing digestibility and nutrient availability is, you know, those are really key points. And also having enough, not only of the micronutrients, but the macronutrients, which I think are, is also absolutely essential when it comes to having good functioning thyroid reproductive system, digestive system. And so what that would look like as far as foods go, I would say, as you mentioned, I think animal based protein sources are great. I would say we wanna stick to low PUFA there. So I would lean toward low fish or very lean fish, which there’s a ton of options. I would also go with, you know, meat from ruminant animals, whether it’s be for bison or goat, uh, things like that. Maybe some lean chicken and pork. Those, if they’re not really well raised, will be very high in PUFA super high in PUFA.
But there’s a couple places that you can get them from that are much lower. Uh, so it’s lower in PUFAthen doesn’t have to be quite as lean. Dairy being another great animal based protein source, tons of nutrients, good saturated fats. Uh, and so I would say on the protein side, that’s really where I would center things. And seafood as well, you know, like shrimp and oysters and foods along those lines. And then I would say we’d wanna get a, a lot of nutritious carbohydrates as well. And the carbohydrate, that itself being a part of that nutritious category, being a super important nutrient for keeping stress down, for keeping our blood sugar managed. You know, I would say this is something that was so mind blowing for me, so that’s why I’ll interject it here when I was first coming across and digging into this information, is I think I would say, you know, when we’re told that we’re under stress, like what should we do?
You know, we’re told take magnesium or do some breathing exercises mm-hmm. <affirmative>, something like that. But the driver of physiological stress we know is cortisol. The fastest way to decrease cortisol is taking some carbohydrates because as soon as you maintain your blood sugar, uh, with some carbs, the cortisol’s job is done and it doesn’t need to supply that backup fuel anymore. And so that’s, I would say the quickest way to drop your cortisol is taking some carbs. Um, and this is why, you know, if you, uh, like why having like even glucose in your mouth, you know, when you’re as an athlete, you know, they have those studies showing that that makes such a big difference, uh, for performance, things like that. But, uh, so yes, carbohydrates being a super important nutrient. And I would say, well, digested fruits are a great source, and so that can be lots of fresh, ripe fruits.
You can also do some baked fruits if you wanted to do like apples, peaches, things like that, that might be a little bit more fibrous. And so some people should be fine with those raw and some would prefer them cooked. I would say fruits being the centerpiece there. And some cooked squashes, cooked root vegetables, fruit and tubers like potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips on from there. And I think that those would be the centerpieces of, of a really well rounded diet. And, and then I would, uh, you know, maybe throw in some cooked vegetables if somebody would like those both for maybe taste and flavor is a bit of a supplement as opposed to being the centerpiece of the diet, uh, and making sure that they’re cooked so that the antinutrients are, are degraded in most cases. Yeah, the, it also provides some fiber and some nutrients.
You know, micronutrients being important, the minerals and vitamins and then the fiber and polyphenols being helpful for shaping our microbiome. And so I think that’s kind of where I would round out a diet. And if somebody wanted to venture off sometimes and have certain, you know, well processed grains, maybe that’s mixed symbolized corn or s sprouted oats or some sourdough bread that’s traditionally fermented for, you know, 24 plus hours, I think those things can be fine too. Uh, you know, really depending on, on, you know, that’s a point where I’d say, depending on the individual, but it’s more depending on where’s their gut health at, where is their nutrient status at as opposed to are they just genetically able to eat sourdough whereas somebody might not be.
Yeah. And speaking of that, this common refrain that people do better when they lower their carbs is likely due to all these peripheral, uh, conditions that are suboptimal rather than what they think it is, which is just this blanket tapping down on the total carb intake that they have.
Yeah, if, you know, a lot of carbs can be hard to digest, you know, they have fiber in them. And so another situation where we don’t want to blame the firemen for the fire, we say it was cholesterol and heart disease. I would say it was sugar and diabetes as well, you know, blood sugar and diabetes. I would also say it in this case too, when it comes to fiber where I don’t think fiber is the problem, but if you have a gut issue, then it’s going to aggravate it, it’s going to make that worse. Um, and protein can too, I mean, people have issues with protein digestion if they have low stomach acid or fat digestion if they don’t have good bio flow. So carbohydrates by no means are the only macronutrient that can cause digestive issues, but it’s a, it’s a common one.
And so I think that’s a huge reason why people get benefits from avoiding it. Also, as you’re saying, <laugh>, we keep coming back to processed foods. And I think sometimes also what we think is carbohydrates as a noise, carbohydrates, you know, we look at, uh, a cupcake or a, you know, a pizza or a donut, you know, the pizza and donut are gonna be way higher as far as calories go from fat from PUFA as opposed to, well, the donut would, the pizza probably won’t have much poa, but you know, donut’s gonna be much higher in, in calories from PUFA than it is in carbohydrates. And I would say those, those oils, the seed oils, the pine and saturated fats being a major problem there. And I think general, you know, typical wheat that is that we’re eating, and especially in the states, the hybridization that’s happening, the glyphosate that’s, you know, is sprayed on it, all of that, I think, plus just the wheat itself is suboptimal. I think there’s a handful of antinutrients in there that can cause quite a few issues. So is it the carbohydrate, the macronutrient that’s, that’s the problem, or is it the wheat? And, and so I dunno if this is kind of answering question, but I guess I would get at it’s specifics in the foods that are the problem as opposed to the carbs themselves.
Right? And as you said at the previous show, when you shut down that constant flood of cortisol, you might have a little crash associated with getting off the train, uh, through that bite of a banana. And so that’s kind of a funny one that I can totally relate to cuz um, you know, especially when I was in a devoted phase of carb restriction, um, when I did have a serving of carbs, I would kind of have a, um, a down period after. But that was probably the unmasked reliance upon stress hormones.
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s a common one. That’s a common one for sure. And I, I mean now you’re, I think you’re, what, five months into your carb containing experiment, would you? Yeah. That’s
Funny you mentioned that too. Cause I, I’m looking at my outline that I prepared for the show and shared with you so we could get focused and hit these things. And I haven’t even gotten to it because we’ve had so many, uh, important things to cover. So we’ll have to have you back for an episode number four, maybe in person when you come to Sacramento and get on with Mark Bell Power Project and all that great stuff. But yeah, maybe I’ll, um, try to close out here with this personal anecdote and, and your commentary because it has been, uh, a wonderful journey here, this almost five months, since early May when I decided to try this out. And the big shift that I made listeners was instead of routinely fasting until around midday before I’d go down and prepare an elaborate meal, or typically I would, you know, nibble on dark chocolate.
So it wasn’t straight up fast. I’m not that disciplined. But anyway, inspired by Jay and his, his early interviews that when I first saw you with Ben Greenfield, I said, okay, I’m gonna try this. So I’ve prepared a huge bowl of fruit, followed by a huge high protein smoothie with, uh, good sources of fat, like chunks of liver, a ton of frozen fruit. So it’s a high, high calorie, high macronutrient across the board smoothie. So very well fed every single morning. And that’s the main feature of, um, my dietary experiment here, uh, followed by another devoted effort in the evening to consume a little bit of extra calories, especially another bowl of fruit. Might even be some popcorn sometimes, but just kind of opening up the purse strings and saying, Hey, let’s see what happened. And what happened is I weigh the same maybe a little bit lighter with a little bit better body composition after five months of essentially stuffing my face and eating more calories, significantly more calories every single day.
Another thing I’ll mention before I turned over to you is that, um, this long, uh, highly regarded attribute, uh, in the low carb keto fasting space, that you’re never hungry and you’re so productive and you’re not bothered by hunger anymore. Isn’t that fantastic? Now you’re becoming metabolically flexible, and I’m gonna report back here after five months that I’m hungry a lot more than I was before. And possibly, uh, at times I can’t last as long. I can remember one day in particular, I had no access to food until 2:00 PM I think we were traveling, catching a flight, whatever, and I was like, man, I gotta eat. And previously I could do that routinely and often did that, you know, several times a month. And I’m reflecting on that even going, you know what, maybe that’s a good thing that my hunger signals are turned on, and that might imply that my metabolic dials and my my biological dials are all turned up to maximum where I need to fuel and perform and recover and refuel. So, that’s how my experiments going so far.
Sounds great. Yeah, no, it sounds good. I’m, I’m curious also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed much outside of body composition and hunger, but, uh, yeah, I, I think,
Yeah, I, I should say also Jay, um, you know, these minor injuries that I complain about and solicit, sympathy from my listeners that they’re, they’re so annoying. And when I, when we talk about energy balance, we also have to work hard on that other side of the scale to not overdo it with exercise. So that’s my other commitment that I think I’m doing a little bit better, but the combination of toning down my workout intensity a little bit and then fueling better, I believe I’m balancing back better. And, you know, managing these little breakdowns, which is a sign of, you know, better repair and recovery too,
Right? Yeah. Yeah. That energy’s gotta be going somewhere, right?
I mean that genuinely too, you know, things I would be looking for, things I certainly see in people who are coming from much lower carb are coming from fasting is, is for one, a shift and a desire to actually expend energy. So, and I know this was one I experienced a lot where during my athletic endeavors, I had a resistance to actually expending energy. I wouldn’t wanna be explosive, I would wanna try to just do whatever I could to kind of complete the rep or, or whatever it was I was doing. And after shifting these things dietarily, it really dramatically changed where I actually had, I would go through these, I mean, I would have very consistent situations where I wanted to expand energy. I would, I, I do kickboxing and Muay Thai, and so it, you know, it became a situation where I wanted to ex, you know, be very explosive, which was very much not the case before.
It really changed the way that I moved. And, um, and also just my desire for movement. But yeah, other things I would be looking for, you know, maybe shifts in energy or focus or libido, and those are all things that I know I noticed things that I noticed, things that I know clients might have noticed, and, uh, you know, other things along those lines. So, mood especially. But, but yes, there is a hunger component. And so if we are looking at it as what is the best diet for me to work huge, you know, crazy hours and not be bothered by food, I would say, yeah, this is maybe not the best approach, right? I mean, if if someone’s, if that’s really their, you know, if that’s their top priority is, you know, morning to night pounding away and not being bothered to eat, then yeah,
Go get, um, soy land, right?
<laugh>, right? Yeah.
You’ve heard of that. Listeners, some computer programmer invented this crappy, it’s sort of like a liquid food like they give you in the hospital just full of junk, but it enabled them to not have to take a break from their precious, uh, computer time.
Yeah. And I think it’s, part of it is a shift in mindset. I mean, we, for some reason taking an hour out of our day or more for movement or exercise or taking eight hours or more out of our day for sleep, we don’t look at those as things that we want to give up. We look at those as things that are health promoting, right? We, it is worth taking the time out of our day to do those things because they make us feel good and help us live a long time and have good blood markers and whatever else. And, uh, you know, it’s, it’s a huge masay in our life, and I would say I, I would put eating in that category and try to shift our mindset to when we’re eating, we’re not doing A, we’re not doing something bad. B we’re not doing something we have to do.
But this is actually an opportunity to nourish and support ourselves in the same way that we would with sleep, or the same idea that we would when we’re getting good movement or good sunlight throughout the day. And all of the, these things when done in a good balance and done the right way, I think act as signals to of a state of abundance where we can maximize that energy output, maximize our, our function, as you said, repair regeneration. But also I think the, I think that these are the kind of keys toward maximizing our, our potential.
Very well said. I appreciate that. You have a mini course and a full course. Uh, I’m so enamored with the full course that I’m promoting it on my website as well. I think we have a special discount for B.rad podcast listeners to jump in and make that investment in yourself, because the content is, uh, tremendous and you are gonna be led step by step through this journey to optimize your energy and, and transform your health. So, um, tell us how we can engage with the free mini course as well as the enrollment in the long term energy balance course.
Yeah, so the, I have a free mini course. Uh, it’s a seven day mini course that listeners can sign up for, and it digs into some of the specifics of things that we didn’t touch as much on today. You know, we talked about food choices and the minicourse. I talk about stress, I talk about macronutrients, I talk about, you know, our balance with exercise, things like that. And, uh, that can be signed up for at jayfeldmanwellness.com/energy. And as you mentioned, I have, a there’s that full eight week course called the Energy Balance Course as opposed to the energy balance mini course, and that includes a full eight weeks of, of learning and implementable steps and tips and, you know, strategies to do everything from balance, blood sugar to restore gut health and body composition and focus. And whether it’s looking for optimization or correcting,
You know, an issue that someone’s dealing with, that’s what the course is built for. And there’s a ton of really great things included in there. That’s something I’m very excited about. I love, love to have all the students going through there. And, uh, that can all be found if you head to my website and go to services. So my website’s, j feldman wellness.com, and you head to the services tab, there’s a link to check out the Energy balance course, and as you said, Brad, there’s a $50 discount for,
We’re waiting for you right there. Yeah,
I love it. With, uh, hoop coupon code Bratd B R A D
How can you forget that, Jay, thanks so much for spending the time and, um, I look forward to checking back in again. Listeners, thank you very much for the emails that have come since your first appearance on the show because we had tremendous feedback and a lot of people, uh, embracing this idea that you don’t have to suffer or engage in these various restrictions to, to be healthy, to drop excess body fat and to perform. So we’re opening up the dialogue people. We’re marching forward thanks to people like Jay Feldman. Thanks for joining us.
Yeah, thanks for having me. And thanks to people like you, of course, as well
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