We’re digging into the mailbag this week and answering some listener questions today—thanks to all of you who keep sending in such thoughtful comments and inquiries.
We start with a great question from longtime listener Jay, who wants to know if I’ve noticed any changes in my blood work since adding more carbs back into my diet (I have!), and then I answer other concerns from listeners such as: what happens when you stop counting macros, my thoughts on the effects of fasting on fit people and the physical symptoms I’ve started to notice on days where I don’t eat enough calories in the morning, what people really mean when they say they’re sensitive to carbs, my views on total testosterone versus free testosterone, and more!
Jay Dominic asks about adding carbs back to the breakfast. Are there any changes in blood work? [01:58]
When you emphasize natural, nutritious, easy-to-digest foods, you are going to self-regulate and optimize your appetite. [08:29]
If you push the boundaries of fasting too far, it can result in cold hands and feet. [09:43]
How does total testosterone vs. free testosterone compare? What about improving free testosterone through phlebotomy? [13:57]
Brad is asked about the macros in his daily diet. [20:38]
Industrial seed oils are blamed as the number one culprit for insulin resistance and metabolic disease. [26:18]
Jay asks Brad if he were named Surgeon General of the United States of America, what would his recommendations be for the general public in terms of diet, exercise, sleep, sun exposure, breath work, etc.? [26:45]
From Bryce’s question: we want you to get around one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Eat the big dose of protein first thing in the morning. [33:18]
If you are someone struggling with excess body fat, you need to implement these tools like time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting but not for the rest of your life. [37:44]
How can parents prioritize protein for their kids when eating at home or out? [41:12]
A YouTube comment from Joseph says that successful athletes have been prompted by their parents to start at an early age. Brad says that is not necessarily the case. [44:04]
Larry comments that Brad’s videos are confusing about adding carbs to the diet after prompting Keto for so long. Brad’s main point has always been clean up your diet, avoid processed carbs and seed oils. [49:50]
Gary Green asks about the heavy metals in dark chocolate. [55:06]
A question from Blue Dog asks about supplements enhancing your performance. Brad says the main goal of supplements is to SUPPLEMENT your already healthy natural foods diet. [58:05]
- Brad Kearns.com
- Brad’s Shopping page
- Keto Reset Diet
- The Primal Blueprint
- Keto Reset Diet
- Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation
- Minnesota Starvation Experiment
- The Sports Gene
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- Shawn Askinosie Podcast (chocolate)
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Who am I to tell you how to do sprint workouts when I seem to have some trouble doing them properly myself?
Welcome to the B.rad podcast, where we explore ways to pursue peak performance with passion throughout life without taking ourselves too seriously. I’m Brad Kearns, New York Times bestselling author, former number three, world ranked professional triathlete and Guinness World Record Masters athlete. I connect with experts in diet, fitness, and personal growth, and deliver short breather shows where you get simple actionable tips to improve your life right away. Let’s explore beyond the hype hacks, shortcuts, and sciency talk to laugh. Have fun and appreciate the journey. It’s time to B.rad.
Welcome listeners to another Q and A episode. Thank you so much for writing in so many thoughtful questions and lengthy commentaries. A lot of them are success stories, compliments, or feedback for the show.
So we are going to dig into the mailbag, and I can’t wait to engage and race through the many pages <laugh> backed up of people writing in at firstname.lastname@example.org. We read everything, we evaluate everything. We’re so happy to be on this journey with you. And I wanna give a special thanks out to all the devoted listeners that have helped us bump into the top 50 rankings of the Apple Podcast fitness category, an extremely crowded category of great shows, and it’s a great honor to be up there and it helps with the visibility so much to be highly ranked because then new podcast listeners can navigate on Apple Podcasts and find the show prominently displayed as one of the choices. It also helps tremendously if you can go and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or if you listen through another podcast player like Spotify
it’s a great, great service to the show and it helps increase our attention and prominence. And if you take the trouble to do so, I I appreciate it greatly and we’ll also do something back for you. So, leave a review. Send a screenshot or just say, Hey, Brad, I left a review. I’m too lazy to take a screenshot. We trust you and we will get you a free B.rad nutrition product of your choice. Just email email@example.com for details. Thank you so much for listening to this top 50 ranked show. And then we go to the questions.
The first one is from longtime listener, Jay Dominic. He says, Brad, I’ve been following your dietary journey and evolution. I especially like the podcast with Jay Feldman, where he is talking about energy balance philosophy. And Jay says, as you add carbs back in to your breakfast, have you noticed any changes to your blood work such as fasting insulin, HBA1C ratio of triglycerides to HDL and so forth?
Great question because a lot of the programming and the dogma that we’ve been hit with, especially in the ancestral health scene, is that carbs are somehow considered evil. And this is an insight that I think is extracted from the disease paradigm where we have massive numbers of modern population consuming too many calories in general, too many process nutrient deficient calories, and not doing sufficient exercise, and therefore, heading down those well trodden disastrous paths to metabolic disease, cancer, heart disease, and all the major killers and causes of accelerated aging these days. So if you have good metabolic health and you’re leading an active energetic lifestyle, nutritious, easy to digest carbs are very important aspect of how to maximum energy, performance and recovery. So one of the main changes in my blood work, Jay, that I’ve noticed since doing this little experiment to dramatically increase carbohydrate intake and total caloric intake that has now lasted for a year and a half or so, I started in May of 2022, inspired by Jay Feldman and many others who are singing the same tune about rejecting some of these notions that we have to, uh, devotedly restrict carbohydrates in order to perform or to get these metabolic and blood benefits.
I’ve noticed that my blood work is still exceptional category. There’s no risk factors to worry about. My fasting insulin is like 2.7, which is extremely low. The same with HBA1C , triglycerides to HDL. My HDL is higher than my triglycerides, so I’m better than the ideal one-to-one ratio. If you are in the category of carrying excess body fat, wishing you could remove it, having some concerns on your blood work, then you have a different set of decision-making parameters than someone who is active, energetic, and healthy with good blood work, obviously. But at the same time, I’m going to contend that any type of restrictive diet is going to deliver excellent results. When you are in that metabolic disease risk category, it simply means get up and get moving more and quit eating so much food, especially processed foods. So you can try a phase of time-restricted eating.
You can go on a ketogenic journey as we describe in our bestselling book, Mark Sisson and I, the Keto Reset Diet. We have a six week protocol where you can do a reset for your metabolism, fine tune your fat burning, cut those carbs out for a devoted period of time and kick over into fat burning and away from carbohydrate dependency. But mainly before we get into the nitty gritty details of dietary transformation, the simple first step to take is to just eliminate nutrient deficient processed foods from your diet. And by doing so and emphasizing natural nutritious foods, you are going to have tremendous health breakthroughs, perhaps without the risks associated with those restrictive diets that can easily become too stressful. And we have now talked about for quite some time, the highly devoted type a goal oriented peak performers who have engaged in restrictive dietary strategies such as keto, such as time restricted feeding, and tried to continue crushing their workouts at 6:00 AM in the CrossFit gym or out on the roads and trails.
And when you stack up all these stress factors on one side of the balance scale, you are easily trending into an overly stressful lifestyle pattern, which can cause compensatory responses. They call it the compensation theory of exercise, where if you don’t eat enough and you exercise in an overly stressful pattern, you are going to turn down an assortment of very important metabolic hormonal and, and overall systemic functions, especially things like your thyroid get disturbed. People talk about adrenal fatigue, uh, brain fog in the afternoon. All these are symptoms of overly stressful patterns that can include not just those workouts being too challenging, but also not fueling yourself sufficiently with nutritious carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Okay, so just to get back to answering this question, the main change I noticed in my blood work was a good bump in serum testosterone levels up over 800, over the past four or five years.
As I’ve tested incessantly, my serum testosterone has range from five 60 to 1,008, and that’s a pretty big range, but it’s all in the pretty healthy category where I’m generally in the 650, 750, 800 range. But I did notice a distinct bump when I started to go deliberately to that huge bowl of fruit in the morning, that huge protein smoothie following that up instead of my historical pattern of fasting or consuming minimal calories until midday and then sitting down for a big meal. So, my takeaway here is clean up your fricking act and get rid of those processed foods by any means necessary, especially if you aspire to lead a healthy, active, energetic lifestyle. And then if you wanna dabble, uh, in some form of restrictive eating because you simply can’t stay away from indulgent foods, go ahead and knock yourself out.
But I also contend when you emphasize natural, nutritious, easy to digest foods, you are going to self-regulate, you’re going to optimize your appetite and satiety hormones such that you consume an appropriate amount of calories every day to fuel your active, energetic lifestyle. You don’t have to look at apps or charts or, uh, starve yourself or struggle or suffer because it’s not two o’clock yet, but you’re dying to eat, but you’re trying to do a time restricted pattern this week, or you’re gonna can’t wait till your cheat day on the weekend where you can overindulge all that stuff I consider to be nonsense when we’re not focused on the central point of emphasizing natural nutritious foods. And a quick example of that is if you’re going and eating big bowls of fruit or having an omelet for breakfast or a wonderful steak dinner with the accoutrements that you love on the side, you’re going to naturally feel satisfied, especially when you emphasize dietary protein, which is our number one most important objective to achieve in the diet.
Protein is highly satiating to the point that you’re not going to get yourself into trouble or pick up some extra pounds of unwanted body fat by consuming too many omelets or too much ground beef, or too many steaks, in contrast to having these indulgent foods around and, uh, getting into the pint of ice cream to the extreme extent because you’re trying to recover from that exhaustive 6:00 AM workout at the gym <laugh> later that day. So that’s my answer to Jay. And, he continues on with some more comments. I myself have pushed the boundaries of fasting too far, and it can result in cold hands and feet and also increased cortisol says Jay And that’s super interesting comment because I have also noticed on those days when I don’t consume sufficient morning calories per my new pattern that I talk about so much, I get these experiences of feeling cold in the afternoon into normal conditions, and then I go and get myself a big meal and things correct.
And I possibly am now, after a year and a half of turbocharging my metabolism with increased caloric intake, I am possibly more sensitive to the times where I don’t get sufficient calories. In other words, my adaptability to go long periods of time without eating has diminished and I get hungry more easily, especially in the morning. I get intense sensations of hunger if I don’t go to my typical protocol of the big bowl of fruit and the big protein smoothie or if I’m making eggs or a proper meal, which also happens frequently in the morning. Interesting, isn’t it? Because we’ve talked for so long, especially with the ketogenic boilerplate and the, the low carb, the fasting communities saying, boy, I can work all morning and feel super productive and alert and energized, and I’m not even hungry anymore. And isn’t that a fantastic bonus from doing all the hard work to become fat adapted?
Now, indeed, it is. If you are referencing the disease paradigm where previously you couldn’t do so much as skip a single meal without feeling famished and reaching for the nearest vending machine or getting brain fog and so forth, those are signs of poor metabolic flexibility. So I’m not gonna discount or unwind any of the stuff we’ve talked about, but I also echo Jay Feldman’s wonderful position that he described on our podcast interviews where perhaps experiencing sensations of hunger is a good thing because you have turbocharged your metabolism and you are a more active, energetic being that is maybe not best served to wait around until 12 noon in the name of health like I did, versus going and getting some nutritious food to fuel a busy day. And that side effect of turning down thermo regulatory with cold hands and cold feet is definitely a proof or a validation that your body will turn down the flames when you don’t fuel it sufficiently.
So now Jay says, my own breakfast, uh, has evolved from fasting or just eating fat and protein to where now I’m eating a three egg omelet, a piece of fruit, black coffee. I do like adding carbs back in, but I don’t want those wild spikes and crashes and blood sugar that I used to have with the standard American diet. Very well said, because when we talk about carbs and people say, I’m sensitive to carbs, what we’re really talking about, for the most part is that sensitivity to nasty nutrient deficient processed carbs, which we, in standard American diet eat, uh, way too much of. And somehow they’ve been grouped together with natural, nutritious sources of carbohydrates, particularly fruit. So if anyone wants to write into the show or stop beyond the street and say, Hey, Brad, actually, eating fruit, can be unhealthy and you can overdo it and, uh, uh, damage your liver with too much uric acid, I will shoot back in your face and say, look, you are talking about insights pulled from the disease paradigm of people who have poor metabolic health.
And I challenge anyone to tell me that my beautiful bowl of fresh fruit every morning is unhealthy. Okay, um, this is still Jay talking on different subject. He says, I re heard a recent podcast from Saladino where he reviews his blood work, and Paul mentions that he too has improved some of his markers, especially free testosterone, by phlebotomy to lower his iron levels. Do you have any thoughts about this? What are your views on total testosterone versus free testosterone? Do you know athletes that pay attention to their ferritin level? That’s about what, six questions in one paragraph. <laugh>, nice man. That’s why I like the sharp listeners. We’re not, don’t, we don’t got no fluffy questions on this show. So, improving free testosterone through phlebotomy, I have never heard of that. I will certainly, um, accept Saladino’s explanation as he’s a well-trained physician and knows a lot about this.
We are very familiar with the risks of higher iron levels associated with all kinds of disease risk and poor metabolic health. And I have been in that category myself a couple times in my past where the recommendation was to go give some blood and get that iron back into healthy range. But I did not know there was any association with a testosterone level from having elevated iron. Now, views on total testosterone, often called serum testosterone versus free testosterone. Most people, pay the sound offer the soundbite up that free testosterone is more important. ’cause free is the circulating amount in your bloodstream, but it’s really highly nuanced. And I’ve done a lot of research here. I’m working on a book about testosterone. I’ve listened to Tommy Wood, one of the most respected physicians in the ancestral health scene, and he contends that serum testosterone is a very good indication of your overall hormonal health, as is free testosterone.
But again, just obsessing with free testosterone at the expense of serum testosterone or, or diminishing that, uh, can be a mistake. One, point that Tommy makes is that free testosterone is measured in pictograms, which is, is it a trillionth or a millionth of a gram or something? So we’re talking about intestinal amounts in the bloodstream. There’s some potential for variation in test results just because it’s so small or especially, day by day where it might be better to look at the total amount circulating, that would be the serum testosterone and associate the free testosterone together with the healthy serum level. So most of the charts that you see are, the ranges, the average values that you see on a blood test, or you can Google on the internet, they’re talking about serum testosterone levels. Now, in certain conditions of poor metabolic or overall health, or elevated stress, chronic stress levels, you can have a healthy serum testosterone level, but an unhealthy free testosterone level.
And I, too have been in that category before where my free T was outside of the healthy range, even though my serum T was decent. So for overall, uh, hormonal health, we wanna see a high serum testosterone level, not normal, but high, because remember, we’re talking about a population that is in epidemic decline of average testosterone levels by about 1% a year since the eighties. So indeed, grandson has <laugh> lower testosterone than dad who has lower testosterone than grandpa. And this is a disaster. It’s blamed on many things, including the environmental pollution, the estrogenic influences in the environment, the chemicals from our skincare, home care cleaning products, detergents, drinking and consuming food outta plastic containers, all kinds of things. Uh, the EMFs are being blamed for this too, as well as the global obesity epidemic and the epidemic of poor metabolic health and the increased incidents of visceral fat accumulation around the abdomen, which is a known testosterone killer.
So we have all these things working against us today to the extent that if you deliver a blood test and your doctor says, Hey, well, your testosterone is normal, you do not want to settle for normal. You want to be exceptional by today’s standards. And I’m reflecting on the time when I, I’ve done some postings about my blood tests and my testosterone levels over time on Instagram and talked about ’em on the podcast too. And one time I was patting myself on the back for being in the 95th percentile for males in my age group. And then I’m like, wait a second. 95th percentile should be considered. Okay, or average versus exceptional because we’re competing or comparing against a bunch of, sorryass floppy spare tire people as the metabolic norm in today’s world. So go for the shoot for the skies here, man.
Testosterone is the essential male hormone for energy focus, peak performance recovery, and it’s a very, very good proxy for your overall state of general health and fitness. That’s why I test it obsessively. It’s very sensitive to changes in things like your overall stress levels. So if you have high cortisol, that is known to antagonize your testosterone levels and, and that’s will get you away from chronic stress lifestyle patterns. In my case, as I mentioned, my range from a 560 to 1,008, I think most of that variation came from my training patterns, particularly when I was pushing things a little too hard. And I would go in and deliver a lower number, number than the previous time. So get your testosterone optimized, both serum and free. Certainly don’t obsess on free testosterone at the exclusion of serum testosterone. We want both of those numbers up high.
And I thank my consultation with Merical for suggesting some targeted supplementation that seemed to give me a significant bump in my free testosterone levels. And that was, uh, taking things like boron and vitamin B six. And you can check out a personal Blood consultation service where an expert can give you some recommendations. Rather than me making a blanket recommendation, try this supplement and you’ll raise your free testosterone. Not that simple. Okay, so I think that covers, the question from Jay.
And now we go to, oh, excuse me, more stuff from Jay. Hey, that’s what you get when you get a great contributor. Brad, can you do an episode on your daily diet, but get more into macros? How much protein, fat, and carbs do you consume in grams at each meal? My answer right now, I can save you the trouble.
I have no freaking clue. The last time I measured my macros was many years ago in the course of writing actually several books where we put in, uh, some, uh, dietary, uh, measurements and sample meals. Like what is an omelet? It’s 43 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrate, and 27 grams of fat. So we have all that stuff archived for eternity in the Library of Congress and elsewhere that you can look up and, uh, get some great stuff in there. I believe, uh, the Primal Blueprint, the Primal Blueprint, 21 day total body transformation, as well as the Keto Reset Diet, had a lot of macro analysis in there. Personally, I think it’s a waste of energy and time, and I don’t wanna over obsess on things like that to the extent that it crowds out better things to do with my day and ways that I can be more productive or enjoy my life more.
So, I can’t imagine measuring my caloric intake. And we also have to recognize that when we’re playing around on the internet or getting our fancy new app that’s talking about calories, we are making a quite poor estimate of the true caloric contribution of the food you eat. And also a pretty poor estimate of the amount of calories that you’re burning during a workout. So when you go to the gym and you squeeze the handles, or you’re wearing a smartwatch, and it said that you burn 437 calories during your hike or your workout, it’s just really a wild guess. Um, based on some things that can range a lot, and also with the food, we have to remember, uh, factors like, um, if you’re consuming processed nutrient deficient food, um, it might have a caloric value, but if your body has a hard time burning it, such as the common criticism of refined industrial seed oils, it really doesn’t do any good to count those calories as anything except for health destructive ingestion of toxic agents.
It’s also interesting to recognize that there’s a, a so-called thermic effect of food. And depending on the macronutrient, a portion of the energy goes to digesting the food itself, protein being by far the highest. So, it’s believed that the thermic effect of ingesting protein is around 20%. So if you have five eggs, one of those 20% is, the energy, the caloric energy is devoted to digesting the protein. Also, protein is very, almost impossible to actually use to burn for caloric energy for output. So it goes to the building blocks of life and important, essential, biological functions in the body. So there’s really no justification whatsoever to count protein calories in your daily caloric intake in the name of trying to reduce excess body fat by counting the calories that you burn and counting the calories that you eat.
So from here fore, if you have one takeaway from this commentary is forget about protein calories, except for to emphasize them as your number one dietary goal to ensure that you get your daily biological functions met. Especially for those in the older age groups, it is known that the elderly have a much more difficult time with protein synthesis than younger folks. So, you know, my son who’s a a 25 consumes a, a crap ton of protein, keeps calling for more bags of B.rad Super Fuel. I can’t believe you finished five already in a number of months, but he is lifting weight. He’s maintaining AAAA frame with 215 pounds of solid muscle and ching on the protein. Uh, but my mother, who’s 86 and active and energetic and doing great also has increased protein requirements. So, um, they should be fighting in the cupboard over that bag of B.rad Super Fuel to make sure that they go over and above and get, um, you know, very good dialing in of, uh, necessary protein intake.
It’s also believed that many seniors, do not consume sufficient protein because they’re not out there cranking up the blender and pouring these big smoothies, like the kids that coming home from the gym are. So, uh, there’s a lot of categories of people that need extra protein, and it’s believed that a lot of people are falling short. And when you fall short on protein, you will get tired. You will not recover as well from stress and from workouts, and you will turn down essential metabolic functions to where you have those afternoon blues and brain fog and increased risk of injury and soreness and stiffness after workouts. So, get your protein needs dialed, and don’t worry about counting calories. Also as Jay Feldman talked about, when you consume junk, like, uh, refined industrial seed oils, processed sugar, chemical-laden foods, they promote the release of endotoxins that’s internally manufactured toxin, namely lipopolysaccharide is called, they promote the release of these chemical agents into your bloodstream, such that you have a difficult time burning these nasty processed food calories for energy, and you slow down your metabolism and also interferes and causes difficulty with burning stored body fat.
That’s why these seed oils are blamed as the number one culprit for insulin resistance and metabolic disease these days. They interfere with your ability to burn body fat. So if you can’t burn stored body fat, you become reliant on ingested calories. And if you’re ingested crap, ingesting crappy calories, you are going to go down that path to obesity, metabolic syndrome, type two diabetes. So again, clean up your diet. Oh, here’s a fun question.
The final one from Jay, Brad, if you were named Surgeon General of the United States of America, what would your recommendations be for the general public in terms of diet, exercise, sleep, sun exposure, breath work, et cetera? Thank you for that question. Here’s what I would do. First things first, I would make every government worker, because I would have some influence and control over millions of employees working for federal, right?
I would make every government worker complete a mile before sitting down to work every single day. This is a new law and a mandate for all government workers. I was praying that Governor Arnold would do that in the state of California when he became governor. I talked and actually pursued this objective, with my good friend, the former state superintendent of schools in California, Tom Torlakson, who’s a lifelong runner, and a good coach for decades of high school, distance runners. And I said, can we possibly do this? Can we have it be a school law? Just like when you get up and have to salute the flag and say the pledge of allegiance that was baked into law right when we were growing up? I think it still is. I’m not sure. Can we just make every kid run a mile in the morning?
I didn’t succeed on the, uh, institutional level, but with my charity that I used to run, it was a kid’s fitness charity called Running School, get It, Running School, running is cool. We went into, uh, targeted elementary schools and put on these a great fitness event several times a year to encourage the kids to, uh, enjoy, uh, cardiovascular exercise and get out there and get active and even compete and try to improve their times in the, uh, a widely tested fitness gram it’s called, where they used to be called the Presidential Fitness Test, where, uh, every kid in fifth grade in the state of California is tested at their time in the one mile run. And they had a disastrous failing rate back when the latest research was published. So, like 40% of the school children in California could not complete a mile in the basic standard time to be considered fit.
And this is a great predictor for lifelong disease patterns associated with being inactive and unfit. So we tried to do something about it with Running School. And at my kids’ elementary school, I succeeded in starting the day with what we call the morning mile. And we had parent volunteers out there on this course that circled the entire school. And when that first bell rang the principal and the teachers all bought in to give the kids an extra chunk of time. When the bell rang, rather than reporting to class, everyone dropped their backpack and went to the trail and completed a lap around school, and then went into class. So we had a small little, blip of light covering this big picture of an inactive population. And if I were Surgeon General, I would step up and call that press conference and say, if you work for the United States Government, you need to get your butt in shape.
And the first thing you’re gonna do every day is complete a mile <laugh>. What would I do, uh, with, with, uh, on the diet side? Well, I’d try to get rid of the government influence and the frauded public policy and the lobbying and the subsidies for things like corn and soybean oil, and that would be kind of fun. I would put processed food advertising in the same category as cigarettes and tax the shit out of all that stuff. And that’s the only way that we’re gonna get, um, you know, uh, uh, widespread, uh, cultural change is to properly identify these things as poisons and disease causing-agents that should never be ingested. Uh, have the surgeon general warning on a bag of potato chips rather than just on a pack of cigarettes. Oh my gosh, that would be super fun, huh?
Item number five, still JI enjoyed your recent episodes talking about Liver King’s PED scandal. I just wanna say, I think I speak for the audience when I say you are real liver king. You’re in the top 1% of fitness for your age group, <laugh> visible abs, and you’re honest with us about what you take. Thank you for creating all this great content and allowing you, uh, to join us on this journey. Thanks a lot, Jay. I appreciate it. And yeah, on that subject, as I talked about back when the scandals broke and the big picture insights about what we owe the public when we’re a public figure and, and communicating, in broad forum, um, everything I’ve ever said on this show is completely honest and not embellished. So, um, I’m gonna go back through the 400 episodes and validate that, that I’m not here saying that I do something that I don’t do to make me look better.
’cause I think that’s real trouble, and that’s the least that, um, uh, I owe the audience. So when I talk about my running injuries, um, I’m ashamed and embarrassed to admit that I make these mistakes possibly due to misplaced competitive intensity and perhaps even flawed training protocols. So who am I to tell you how to do sprint workouts when I seem to have some trouble doing them properly myself, because there goes my strained glute muscle again, and I’m have to back off for a couple weeks. But I’m certainly honest about the, uh, the, the shortcomings and the failures and the rethinking and recalibrating of my fixed and rigid beliefs so that they’re never fixed and rigid. And I’m always open-minded. So I’m going to pound my drum like I just did, saying what I would do when I was Surgeon General.
But it’s really, really important to have an open mind, think critically, and test and refine and evaluate things for yourself rather than just doggedly adhere to a dogma because it’s familiar to you and things that are unfamiliar or counter to your belief systems cause you to, to recoil. So, um, I will have responsible, interesting conversations with someone who’s in, in the vegan camp, which I am, uh, not, not at all supportive of. And I’ll talk about how that’s a high risk diet. I will validate their arguments, especially on the morality side, where, um, they want to be good to the planet, therefore they’ve chosen not to eat animals. I will point out that mainstream agriculture is also highly destructive to the planet and the greenhouse gas emissions and all those counterpoints. And we will talk through things, but I’m certainly not gonna, uh, dismiss someone who believes differently than the me, especially when there’s a lot to learn from people that are the other side of, let’s say a debate issue.
Okay. And now we go to Bryce. Next question. He’s an active 35 year old who likes to keep in shape intermittent fasting for individuals who are already metabolically healthy and have good body composition, is really not needed, my opinion. It’s ideally for people who are still carb burning and have a lot of body fat to lose and have not trained their body to be fat burners. I used to religiously track and fast all the time, but I realized I was actually losing muscle mass, not able to get enough calories in on such a restricted eating window, and generally felt like I didn’t need to. Since I’m fit and have achieved good body composition, also too much time restricted eating spikes, cortisol and become, can become very rigid and restrictive. I still go periods of time without eating. Of course, I no longer go purposely out of my way to time restricted fast.
I used it at one point as a tool in the tool kit, but too many people are getting overly consumed by fasting and eating windows. I also generally try to eat my main protein meal earlier in the day to allow more time to digest like a big steak and try to do all my eating during daytime hours. And also, way too many people are fasting all the way through the day and eating a big meal late at night. I have started to eat more during the day, and we’ll stop eating from dinner till lunch. Okay, very well said. Thank you very much, Bryce. Especially a active 35 year old who’s metabolically healthy. I agree with all your message, and especially important point you made was that when you are trying to be fit, you’re eating into a time restricted window, you are going to bump up against a real challenge when it comes to eating and assimilating sufficient protein calories.
So it’s known from science, great shows on, uh, Peter Attia Drive podcast from Dr. Don Lehman, one of the world’s leading protein experts, uh, where he says, you know, we can’t assimilate massive doses of protein at a single meal. Ben Greenfield talks about this a lot. I think the number bantered about, was 40 grams, or perhaps 60 grams is the most that we can truly assimilate at a single sitting, and we wanna strive to get somewhere around one gram per pound of body weight that’s on the high side of the recommendations, which I am now sticking to and promoting. And it’s also easy to remember. So we want you to get around one gram, one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. And so now if you’re getting up there into, for example, I weigh one sixty five, a hundred sixty five grams, if I were to try and eat in a time restricted window, knowing that I can only get around 40 to 50 grams of good assimilation, per meal, I’m gonna be hosed there because I only have this many hours to eat.
That’s gonna be like eating four meals inside this 12 to eight eating window or whatever I’m doing. Dr. Lehman made a great point that, uh, he recommends getting protein first thing in the morning is super important because otherwise, since you have been fasted during your overnight sleeping period, you are going to go into catabolic to, you know, get the, um, get your caloric needs med in the morning. So first thing in the morning protein to maintain metabolic or anabolic state and avoid catabolic state, I think is a really good point. And he also said you wanna take some protein at the end of your eating day. I like how Bryce says he doesn’t, doesn’t eat after dark. I’m not quite there. Sometimes you’re gonna see some popcorn or some chocolate leaking in after dark. But, um, good overall strategy to finish your eating
insufficient time to allow your digestive system to rest and set you up for a good night’s sleep. But as your last act a scoop of super fuel would be a fantastic idea to set you up for a nice evening of repair and restoration and rebuilding. ’cause that’s when the main rebuilding occurs is during your overnight sleeping window. So you definitely want to have the amino acids circulating in your bloodstream not overburdening your digestive system, with a huge smoothie right before bed, although my son does that a lot, and that’s how he’s able to keep on a lot of extra muscle mass, which is his goal. But if you can just take that final scoop of protein, making sure that you’re topping off your daily requirements and not getting into that deficiency, which can be defined as catabolic state as opposed to anabolic or metabolic, that is a great tips overall.
And again, if you’re, uh, someone who’s struggling with excess body fat, you don’t have that, uh, you’re not giving yourself that full license to go and eat, uh, whatever you want all day long, you need to implement tools like time restricted eating, intermittent fasting, uh, carb restriction for a ketogenic period. All those things can be highly effective. But we would like to view those as tools rather than, the necessity of adhering to a time-restricted eating window, for the rest of your life in the name of health. And I do appreciate how, uh, many of the leaders are now backing up unwinding some of this commentary about how calorie restriction, uh, is equated with longevity. And it’s simply been unproven ever in studies with humans, because we can’t very well starve humans in the name of science and say, Hey, these people live 10 years longer than these guys who, who ate a lot of food.
And these guys were starved. We do have some great data from something called the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, which occurred with conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. So rather than serve in the military or go to jail, they were offered some alternative options. And one of ’em was to go to a ward, uh, at the University of Minnesota. So this would be I believe in the late sixties. And they spent, uh, several weeks in there with very precise calorie restriction slash starvation in the name of science. And, uh, there’s some great podcasts about this. Malcolm Malcolm Gladwell has one where these guys talk about the lifelong implications and repercussions from performing such a brutal experiment. The results were not pretty. These guys pretty much, uh, wasted away. They became obsessed with food. They had all kinds of health and metabolic problems that occurred and were difficult to unwind.
There’s one family members are interviewed talking about how their dad always had food with them wherever he went for the rest of his life, because his brain was so traumatized by the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. But simple takeaway was that, you know, everything tanked, especially things like testosterone and other important blood values from consuming in, uh, insufficient calories. So starving the human has not been proven to do anything but lead to disaster, uh, on the extreme side. Now can you extend your lifespan and escape disease patterns? If you, uh, tone down your overconsumption of calories and your under exercising? Of course, that would be the essential goal to turn your health around. Dr. Lane Norton, uh, simplifies it with the term energy toxicity being the main problem with global metabolic health today. And energy toxicity is simply that you are storing more calories than you are burning.
And the way you address that is to get out there and get moving, and then, minimize your intake, especially of nutrient deficient processed calories, as I talked about before. Um, so that, that goes for everybody. And, um, you can go into, uh, you know, a, a quick program to drop several pounds of excess body fat by any means necessary and by any gimmick that you want. But looking at big picture, we simply want to emphasize natural nutritious foods, and we are going to be looking really good over time. Okay, another question.
How can parents prioritize protein for their kids when eating at home? What about when eating out what kind of fast food choices? And the same question for adults. How can we make smarter decisions when eating in restaurants? Well, I mean, when you prioritize protein, you can do pretty well in a restaurant by asking for you know, I always get my hamburgers with a lettuce wrap ’cause I don’t want to eat their, uh, nasty bread.
I’m much bigger fan of going to the farmer’s market on the weekend and buying a fresh loaf of bread, which lasts, I think two or three days, and then starts to be beyond prime time. But when you have that fresh baked, and I talk to the bakers and how they’re using only the freshest natural ingredients, I’m now back on the bread train after avoiding bread entirely for over a decade in the name of getting away from the grain-based diet. Now, when you make good sensible choices and fresh baked products, I tremendously enjoy adding sourdough bread to things like a hamburger or eggs or things that I can control at home. But when you’re out dining, uh, stay away from the processed crap and try to do the best you can with what they’re offering on the menu. And I will have intricate conversations with the server to see if they can do things my way.
Like, please, can you cook my omelet in butter rather than vegetable oil? And they’ll say, uh, let me check. I’ll be back. I’ll ask the kitchen. Okay, thank you. Please do check. If you’re talking about PF Chang’s, sorry guys, uh, the guy came back and he said, no, I’m sorry. I cannot cook your brussel sprouts in butter. Um, we only, we only do it in oil. And I go, well, that’s not a very, um, satisfactory answer. I can’t believe you’re saying no to me. Are you sure? And, uh, boy, I took the matter up to corporate. I sent some lengthy, thoughtful emails, did not get a reply from PF Chang’s corporate. So I pound pounded on that hammer. That’s one thing you, uh, don’t wanna do to me if I write a long, thoughtful email, and you don’t even reply when I go outta my way to help you as a corporate entity serve the, uh, the population better and have a healthier menu.
Oh, no, I am not gonna give that one up. So, I finally got some response there, and I believe the resolution was that they offered me a $25 gift certificate, but pretty much said that, um, they weren’t gonna tackle that challenge of transitioning from vegetable oil over to a healthy, cooking fat like butter. And, I think my answer was like, so you want me to spend this $25 on some more nasty food that you refuse to modify? And anyway, that’s our mid-roll commercial for PF Chang’s. Don’t go there because they don’t care about your health. And I’ve been going there for a long time. Love a lot of their entrees. It’s delicious food, but kind of a bad experience there. So I’m gonna, uh, share that with you, just like I promised to share everything. Oh, here we go.
This is a, um, a YouTube comment about a comment written on YouTube. Um, that’s not my favorite way to engage ’cause I can’t really reply like I can, and email our team can’t reply very well. But we certainly do appreciate you commenting on the YouTube videos that we publish. And so this is gonna be my in reply, to Joseph. So it’s about the show that I did inspired by the training methods of the great Jakob Ingebrigsten, whom I just saw in person up in Eugene, Oregon at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic where he doubled back to back days with sensational some of the greatest distance performances of all time. He ran the second fastest mile in history in three minutes, 43, and the next day came back and beat fresh athletes with the fourth or fifth fastest 3000 meters in history. So this guy is at the very top of his game, one of the highest performing athletes in the world, and the greatest middle distance runner in the world.
Joseph says, what, what people don’t take into account is that the threshold training stuff, this is the stuff that, Jakob promotes sort of a novel training method called Double Threshold Workouts. Joseph says it’s a gimmick. The real reason for Jakob’s success is that his, his dad started him running at a young age. He had a 10 year headstart to begin building mileage when most kids are playing soccer or football. If you haven’t noticed, the best chess players, football players had parents who got them started at a much younger age than their peers. I’m gonna interrupt there and say, that’s a good point. An early start is helpful. Tiger Woods got started at two years old and was hitting great golf shots when he was three and four and five, but it’s not the end all man. So there’s also examples of athletes who have come to sport later and excelled.
And this is some great commentary in my former podcast guest, David Epstein’s book, The Sports Gene. My favorite chapter, it’s called The Tale of Two High Jumpers. And he compares and contrast to the great jumpers in the world, a former Olympic gold medalist, Stefan Holm from Sweden, and the Bahamian Donald Thomas, who is still competing on the world circuit after 15 years. One of the longest careers on elite high jumping ever. And the quick story was that Stefan Holm was bred to be a high jumper since age five, and he practiced every day for years and years, eventually won the Olympic Gold medal. And this guy, Donald Thomas, was pulled off the basketball court at a junior college in Illinois. Some high jumpers dared him to try it because he was bragging <laugh> at the brewery off campus that he could probably jump seven feet, no problem.
They said, oh, you don’t understand, that’s like near Olympic caliber. And they took him out to the track and, and his very first attempt, uh, at high jump, the first time he learned the event or, or saw the event of what it was all about, he jumped somewhere around seven feet and they dragged him straight to the track coach’s office and said, we just pulled this guy off the basketball court, and he just cleared seven feet in the high jump. And the coach is like, no way, not true. And less than one year later, after first being exposed to the high jump, this junior college basketball player from Illinois, representing his nation of The Bahamas, won the world Championship in the high jump clearing a height of seven foot eight, two meters 30 or thereabouts. And so it was the compare contrast to say that those who are genetically gifted and of course have whatever athletic background he had as a baller was able to translate that immediately and quickly a direct in your face dismissal of the widely touted 10,000 hour rule.
It’s just not true. It’s not that simple, but hey, getting kids started in anything that they have a passion for and that can challenge them to be especially more active and athletic is great. So that will help me get back into Joseph’s letter. <laugh> parents got them started, much younger age also. Jakob was born into a family with, uh, Olympic medalist brothers to train with every day. They were doing, uh, great consistency since a young age. Now, if a high schooler who just started this and bought into Jakob’s training protocol, they would never become good enough to get recruited by colleges. At least in the US we have a long period of time. The high schoolers have four years to put up race times, and then in college you can develop and develop. Um, then you, uh, if you don’t make the team, you’re going to, um, probably drop outta the sport.
So we need long periods of development, I think is his comment. And, um, I appreciate your writing in, and it’s probably, uh, a fair reflection to say that whatever specific protocol that Jakob is following, um, I wouldn’t call it a gimmick that’s a little harsh, but it’s just one element of his overall success formula. And one huge element indeed has been that he has been focused on these goals since age 11. And I will plug the fantastic YouTube series. It’s a reality TV series filmed Norway, called Team Ingebrigsten. And the documentarians spent a decade with the family. Again, Jakob has two older brothers that were both European gold medal champions and world champion, or Olympic medalists in middle distance. So this running family was fascinating to follow for such a long period of time. And they have interviews with Jakob at age 11 saying, oh, yes, my goal is to be faster than both of my brothers and to be the greatest runner in the world.
And so here’s this kid talking at 11, and now he’s actualizing all those goals and it makes the reality show, uh, that much more special. How’s that everybody? What do you think? Yeah, Jakob is something else. Look him up on YouTube and you can see some of his racing.
So Larry says, I’ve been subscribed for some time after benefiting from the keto lifestyle. I find your video’s very confusing as of late. I understand we’re all different. Uh, but obviously you’ve never had a weight problem and you’re an elite athlete. So thank you so much, Larry. W for the direct feedback. And I can understand how it might be confusing when I am a proponent of ancestral diet. The devoted elimination of nutrient deficient processed foods, especially all manner of refined grains and sugars. And that means that you are by definition transitioning from standard American diet to what could be fairly called a quote, low carb diet.
And now I’m here extolling the benefits of slamming a whole bunch of fruit every morning and making an devoted effort to go and find increased carb intake every single day. So again, I want to back up and distinguish between nutrient deficient processed carbs, which will destroy your health, whoever you are or are unnecessary, whoever you are, even if you’re a high calorie burning athlete with a six pack who can slam down whatever you want, you know, more, more bowls of cereal at night and be no worse for the wearer the next morning. It’s still an athlete has high performance needs and high nutritional needs. So I still don’t see the justification for consuming nutrient deficient processed carbohydrates. And it can be fairly called one of the biggest problems, uh, with the, uh, the standard Western diet, along with refined industrial seed oils and all the processed foods that are made with ingredients like processed carbohydrates and seed oils.
So I don’t think there’s any confusion there. I don’t think anyone can accuse me of, uh, dispensing confusing information on that point. But to Larry’s other important point I’ve never had a weight problem and I’m an elite athlete. So, perhaps that puts me in different parameters. And indeed, I’ve, I’ve said that myself, I’ve said it several times even on this show. So if you’re carrying excess body fat, I will help you, with a lot of programming and content to first clean up your diet and go point toward nutritious foods. Get them, get the junk out of your cupboard, get it outta your refrigerator, go to the farmer’s market, buy some eggs, buy some fruit, buy your favorite vegetables, buy some grass-fed beef, buy some pasture raised eggs, go and get the oily cold water, fish and stock your environment with nutritious foods.
And then we will check in a year from now and see if you’ve turned the corner from the accumulation of spare tire or getting rid of some of that excess body fat. I guarantee you’re gonna succeed simply by turning over to nutrient-dense, easy to digest foods. That’s why I published my Carnivore Scores Food Rankings Chart that you can download for firstname.lastname@example.org. And it’s a tiered ranking system of the most nutritious foods on earth, both in the animal categories and the plant foods category. And I really am convinced after so long spending, obsessing and immersing into this world for 15 years and writing so many books about the topic and studying so many other, uh, great leaders and great researchers, that it really is the main gateway is to just clean up your diet and then you’re gonna have tremendous success.
And then if you wanna write a year from now and say, Hey, Brad, I only consume the most nutritious and well chosen foods, and I’m still carrying 10 pounds of excess body fat. I guess I eat too much fruit, consume too many eggs, have too many servings of ground beef or drink too many quarts of raw milk from the dairy that I drive out to and, and buy things fresh every week. What can I do <laugh>? And then we can have some further discussion about refining and optimizing. But I still have yet to meet someone who is eating so cleanly and still struggling, uh, with, uh, you know, excess body fat and adverse blood values, except for people who are still in recovery from long, traumatic metabolic experiences such as decades of working too hard, sleeping too little, eating shit food, and thinking they’re gonna turn around with a six month, a spa protocol of cleaning everything up.
Sometimes you have to be more patient. Sometimes the approach to exercise is overly stressful. So you kind of go in a circle and come back to a square run where you’re burning so many calories and exercise and so exhausted and depleted that these nutrient deficient process quick energy foods, find their way back into your diet because you’re over exercising. So everything has to be dialed and optimized. And I guess I’m referencing all the content that I try to put out there on this show. ’cause we have sleep experts, we have fitness experts, we have everyday movement experts, and we have diet experts. And all the messaging needs to be rolled together to, to get things to happen and to get away from these, disease patterns that are so common today.
Gary Green made a quick comment on YouTube and he said, how about a discussion about heavy metals contained in dark chocolate?
There’s some controversy here because a lot of people are talking about the bad test results on even some quality. Dark chocolate bars have been implicated to be containing, um, elevated levels of dangerous heavy metals, things that we shouldn’t be ingesting, uh, like lead. And I asked my former podcast guest and artisan chocolate maker Shawn Askinosie about this, and he said that these contentions have been exaggerated. And if you have a test result that says the levels of lead found were, um, you know, 12 times higher than the allowable, he pointed me to an internet article where we’re talking about such low amounts that it’s kind of a misinterpretation of the results. There’s no health risks, uh, involved. And when you source good bean to bared chocolate, which is the essence of all the commentary I have about dark chocolate, I even have an ebook, uh, called a Connoisseur’s Guide to Dark Chocolate that you can download for free when you go to brad kerns.com that talks about this a bit.
But the heavy metal risks have been exaggerated for headline alluring. And it’s generally nothing to worry about when you source good quality chocolate from bean to bar providers. And that distinguishes from the commodity chocolate that you see the major brands putting out where the actual raw material comes from unknown origin poor quality control standards, and especially from countries in Africa that are poorly regulated, that are very likely using child slave labor to bring you that inexpensive Hershey Bar, Nestle’s Crunch, Snickers, Milky Way, all the main stuff. So that’s why I’m a big fan of the, the Bean to Bar Chocolate Movement and the fair trade stamp that you see on many bars. Or when you contact the manufacturer, they assure you that they are a bean to bar provider, which means they know where they got their beans they source them from farmers working, uh, with sustainable methods, not using child slave labor.
And you’re basically just like many, many other products, you’re scrutinizing the source. Just like when you go and get grass-fed beef from the local farmer, uh, 30 miles away. And he’s selling his wares in the farmer’s market, as opposed to getting the mainstream, uh, animal foods that are, uh, produced by concentrated animal feeding operations and all the health objections and environmental objections those have.
Last question for this show from Blue Dog on YouTube. Hey, Brad, I totally busted out laughing when you said we officially invite you to F off. I’m going to give that supplement a go. I’m not one of those people who sits around taking supplements and expecting wondrous things to happen. I think that was some of my commentary. I am trying to keep some perspective on some of the claims that you see made about supplements and how amazing they are and how now your workouts are, you know, 15% better than they were last week.
Having been immersed in that world as a professional athlete on the triathlon circuit for many years, and being approached by so many people with their products, claiming that they can improve my performance by 5%. And I’m like, wait a second. So you’re telling me if I take this stuff in this bottle, I’m going to beat all these other competitors who are racing very hard and are the top guys in the world, I’m gonna now beat them by a minute. You’re full of crap. Don’t even talk to me about that. Let’s get reasonable and realize that the main goal of supplements overall is to supplement a healthy natural foods diet. So there’s no performance breakthroughs that are gonna be found with supplementation. It’s owing. It’s only really going to be, uh, limiting, uh, the damage and destruction that’s caused by strenuous and stressful workouts.
So even when I talk about the whey protein in the creatine in the Super Fuel, we’re talking about a convenient way to get your protein needs met. And same with the creatine. A convenient way to get the doses of creatine that your muscles need to optimize and it can make you perform better, recover faster, be stronger, but only when you do the work necessary to maximize the benefit of the supplement and realize that it’s very difficult to, it, with eating natural whole foods alone, it’s difficult to get enough creatine every day. It’s difficult to get enough protein every day. But if you are able to, like my boy Andrew at Power Project who eats 10 eggs every morning, he is probably not a great candidate to go and supplement with more protein or more the great, B vitamins or choline that are in the egg yolks because he’s consuming so many eggs every single day. So I wanna put that term supplement in the forefront of your mind and realize the literal meaning of it, rather than looking for shortcuts and buying into all the marketing hype and the glitz and the messaging that is used to, uh, sell products, thinking that you’re gonna get some amazing breakthroughs. So thanks for that comment, Blue Dog.
And thank you listening, watching. If you wanna join the conversation, send an email to email@example.com, and I will see you next time for more Q and A. There’s more, more, more, always more.
Thank you so much for listening to the B.rad Podcast. We appreciate all feedback and suggestions. Email, firstname.lastname@example.org and visit bradkearns.com to download five free eBooks and learn some great long cuts to a longer life. How to optimize testosterone naturally, become a dark chocolate connoisseur and transition to a barefoot and minimalist shoe lifestyle.