My thoughts on the $2 million dollar anti-aging man?

You’ll hear them all in this episode—I’m talking about Bryan Johnson and his highly debated lifestyle. You may have already heard of Bryan, a tech centi-millionaire based in Los Angeles, since he has become a pretty controversial figure and has faced a lot of ridicule for ridiculously regimented and heavily tested life (think biohacking, but on an extreme level). 

Based in Los Angeles, Bryan has dedicated his life to reversing the aging process and promoting his movement which he calls, “Don’t Die.” I will admit I used to view Bryan’s whole lifestyle as super weird, especially the $2 million dollars a year part, which seemed not just totally unrelatable, but also potentially uninteresting and inapplicable. However, I decided to learn more about Bryan and listened to interviews he gave with people like Gabby Reece, and I started to see something different—someone who was generous, interesting, and kind-hearted, who was genuinely just trying to do something grand to help humanity. As you will hear, I am not planning on implementing many of his methods, but I wanted to educate myself about him so I could share my thoughts about his lifestyle from an informed perspective. 

In this episode, I talk about the many elements of Bryan’s lifestyle and beliefs and share my personal opinions on his choices, such as my thoughts on Bryan’s assertion that AI is going to be the best way to care for our health (and make our lifestyle decisions) in the future, why sleep is his #1 priority, if I will consider emulating his early bed-time, his choice to adhere to a calorie deficient diet, and more.


Bryan asserts that artificial intelligence is very quickly going to be the best way to care for our health. [04:48]

Have we really lost our own free will and do we outsource our decision making? [07:42]

We are all addicts to things like processed foods and processed sugar and illegal and legal substances. [11:36]

Good sleep is still the number one habit of importance for health. [14:35]

Are you open to outsourcing your athletic training and diet decisions to AI? [19:37]

Brad discusses Bryan Johnson’s “perfected” diet. [25:43]

The caloric restriction studies, as a key to longevity, are entirely based on animals rather than humans. [29:52]

The problem of modern society is we, in general, eat too much, store too many calories and burn too few calories. [34:25]

Brad describes his dietary practices and training regimen. He disagrees with Johnson. [37:24]

Johnson contends that running cold also extends longevity.  Brad disagrees. [42:20]

The plant-based diet is okay for the right reasons, however, much of the beliefs about it are faulty. [47:07]

Brad questions Johnson’s ideas about regimented exercise. It’s all about enjoying your fitness pursuits. [50:08]



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Brad (00:00):
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 sciencey talk to laugh, have fun and appreciate the journey. It’s time to B.rad.

Brad (00:38):
if you don’t have a $2 million budget to test everything under the sun every day with a team of 30 people working behind the scenes.

Brad (00:44):
My thoughts about the $2 million anti-aging man, maybe you’ve heard of this guy. He’s been getting a ton of publicity lately. His name’s Bryan Johnson, and he’s based in Los Angeles. He’s a centi millionaire from a tech, uh, uh, acquisition of a company that he founded, and he has decided in recent years to dedicate his life to reversing the aging process and promoting a movement that he calls Don’t die. Uh, this guy has come out of the gate with some extremely crazy, and he’s been, uh, quite controversial, uh, ridiculed for the extremes that he’s taken with his highly regimented and quantified and measured and tested life. Uh, he claims to spend $2 million a year on a large team of, uh, uh, trainers, coaches, uh, guides and practitioners, and also on all the testing and all the technology that he utilizes. But he’s interesting to me because he is out on the cutting edge of the progressive health movement that we talk about and dabble in, uh, to various degrees.

Brad (01:54):
So if there’s anything that you’re wondering about, this guy has definitely tried it, tested it, and publishes all his results on the internet. So, my first impression, of course, like many people was super weird, especially the relatability of someone spending two millions and $2 million a year on their healthcare and their cutting edge testing. But you know, the more that I learn about him, I become more interested in pulling some insights and some observations around what he does. I’m not saying I’m going to implement very much of it at all, and some of it, as I discuss in this show, I’m gonna have some moral and philosophical reflections, and I’m sure you will too. But I think it’s a really important topic that there’s someone out there who’s testing and trying everything on the cutting edge and trying to predict where we’re headed in the future with healthcare.

Brad (02:48):
Certainly, more interesting to pay attention to this than the advancements in mainstream medical, where we’re mainly still trying to manage epidemic rates of lifestyle-driven disease. So, the medical world and the scientific community is largely burdened with figuring out how to cure cancer and so forth while we go and exhibit the lifestyle behaviors that drive us into chronic disease patterns. So I have much less interest in that than in someone who is trying not to die and age very gracefully and attribute and measure various biomarkers so he can actually claim that he has the heart of a 30-year-old and the lungs of an 18-year-old and all that great stuff. He’s in his mid forties and I started to learn more about him with some great shows that he did on the Gabby Reese podcast.

Brad (03:46):
So I direct you to that fantastic podcast. I think she’s the best interviewer out there and also had a great show with Rich Roll. So, you can also look for his website, Bryan Johnson Blueprint. You know, there’s also some funny business that’s been printed some scandalous stuff about his personal life, and I’m not going to care too much about that, because really these public figures, I don’t need to become best friends with them or scrutinize every single detail of what they’re doing. One of my favorite athletes is Tiger Woods, ’cause he is an incredible golfer and incredible peak performer, and the rest of the stuff is just fun and games and certainly none of my business. So, um, if you, uh, Google him and read the Vanity Fair expose about how he got into some controversy and scandal with his ex-fiance, and there’s all kinds of claims, right, we’re gonna pass on that and just get into the, uh, logistics of his anti-aging, uh, protocol.

Brad (04:48):
Hopefully that doesn’t offend anybody. But, you know, we’re not here to, um, uh, to take size and judge, this is a show about health peak performance and longevity. So the thing that really grabbed me was his very, very, provocative assertion and really the centerpiece of his grand experiment. And that is that he predicts that artificial intelligence is very quickly going to be the best way to care for our health and help us make the most optimal lifestyle decisions. He contends that we’ll be outsourcing our healthcare decisions, our diet and exercise decisions, even our medical decisions such as prescription drugs and elective surgeries to artificial intelligence. And if you take this thought process further down, he’s arguing that instead of relying upon our own free will, we are going to submit succumb or submit to a computer to tell us what to do.

Brad (05:55):
Pretty freaky man. And this is a guy who eats the exact number of calories every day, does the exact workout protocol designed to optimize his fitness and, uh, help him perform and recover perfectly. He goes to sleep at 8:30 PM every night and gets a hundred percent score on his sleep app, which I’m told by experts is very rare and very, very impressive. And so he’s doing everything he possibly can to eliminate all those typical lifestyle variables, some of which we like to contend are improving and enhancing our life. You know, I want my personal freedoms, man. I don’t want anyone telling me I can’t drink a beer or light up this recreational drug. All that kind of stuff is the, the backlash from the peanut gallery. But welcome to the freaky future because, um, AI is coming and one of the areas that’s, uh, really centered upon is medical care.

Brad (06:49):
So, if you’re gonna push back and argue that you don’t want anyone telling you exactly what time to go to bed, you don’t want anyone telling you exactly what food to eat to optimize your intake of all the macro and micronutrients. Bryan made a very compelling counter argument that we’ve already lost much of our free will and outsourced much of our thinking to, for example, the algorithms that decide what we are gonna see on social media and pretty much try to control how we think <laugh>, who we vote for in the political realm, all those kind of things. Well, our brains are already getting hijacked. I love the detailed take on this topic in Dr. Robert Lustig’s book, the Hacking of the American Mind. I’ve already done some breather shows about that and had a great interview with him about his other book, Metabolical.

Brad (07:42):
But, if you think that you’re walking around with your free will intact and you, that you do at your, you do as you please without any influence from, for example, corporate advertising or the algorithm that’s filter what information you’re exposed to on the internet, who think again, okay? So, in the case that we’ve already, uh, outsourced much of our thinking and, diminished a lot of our free will due to the technological age, maybe we can listen up a bit. And, you know, one of my thoughts is I thought directly to my athletic training program and my peak performance goals, if I could outsource all these decisions to AI and they would be vastly superior to my own personal decision making process, and the ebbs and flows of my emotions and personality frailties that cause me, for example, to overtrain, due to impatience rather than let the injury run its course and heal appropriately.

Brad (08:45):
If someone could tell me with, you know, a green light, yellow light, red light, exactly what to do every day in terms of my athletic endeavors, boy, I would really, I’d be interested in learning more. So here’s a guy that’s testing this out for us. He has every, as he says, every calorie fights for a position in his daily intake. And he makes these strange concoctions like nutty pudding because it contains all the superfoods in there. His sleep regimen is incredibly dialed, perhaps like no one ever before in the history of humanity. He’s been tested more than any other human in the history of humanity. These are, these audacious claims that he’s making are, uh, pretty well backed up when you, uh, dig into really what he’s doing every single day. He’s getting his face, you know, micro needled and lasered on a regular basis such that his skin looks like he’s 18 years old.

Brad (09:43):
And I do give him tremendous credit for his skin. Man, I would love to get that kind of skin for a 43. I believe he’s 43. So he is doing a lot of good things. He’s, uh, ripped. He’s got a six pack. He looks like he’s in great shape. And so, uh, he’s not just a mad scientist in a laboratory and, you know, spouting whatever. He’s actually, uh, walking his talk. And so he has a lot of credibility on that note. And, my very, very healthy friend and former podcast guest, Dave Kobrine, who monitors his sleep for many years and tries his best to optimize sleep, is blown away by the fact that this guy has had like a nine-month streak of getting 100 scores every night on his whoop WOOP sleep application. He claims that one of the big benefits, Bryan Johnson claims that he eats his last meal at like 12 noon <laugh>.

Brad (10:35):
So he has eight hours to digest the food, to not just disrupt sleep. As we know, there’s a research suggesting that eating after dark is especially damaging to your digestive circadian rhythm, which is highly aligned with your actual circadian rhythm. And so sleep can definitely interfere. I mean, eating late can definitely interfere with sleep. And of course, al alcohol can torch your ability to get a good night’s sleep and get that a hundred percent score. So, um, we’re talking about a freaky idea of outsourcing our health to AI. But I think we should also reflect about how today we are essentially destroying the planet and destroying the human race with our shitty decisions, especially in regard to health. Dr. Lustig’s book, lots of details there, and clearly we are doing a very poor job being responsible for our best interests and making best decisions for the betterment of humanity.

Brad (11:36):
There’s a line in Dr. Doug McGuff’s book. The book is called Primal Prescription, where he cites research and actual data that if the rate of type two diabetes continues to climb at the shockingly accelerated rate, now there’s, something like, uh, 88 million pre-diabetic and another 40 or 50 million already diabetic. So like half the country is in the category of pre-diabetic or diabetic. If these rates continue at current pace, the cost of caring for type two diabetes alone, forget about all the other medical conditions diseases. The cost of caring for type two diabetes will bankrupt the United States Treasury by the year 2060. Rich Roll, recovering addict who oftentimes cites the the 12 steps. Step number one is, uh, submitting to a higher power and acknowledging that you are powerless against your own worst enemy. And he expertly brought that up during his interview with Bryan Johnson from the realm of an addict.

Brad (12:42):
So, I guess you could take, you could say that’s an extreme example, but in many ways, as Dr. Lustig asserts very strongly in The Hacking of the American Mind, we are all addicts to things like processed foods and processed sugar and illegal and legal substances that we put into our body in order to try and cope, or in many cases, just get a brief burst of pleasure at the great expense and disastrous consequence to our long-term health. So since we all right now have a chance to sit back and get lazy and, and shove shitty food down our throat in the name of pleasure and enjoyment, um, um, you know, there we have at the clear other end of the spectrum. Uh, somebody like Bryan Johnson who can get dismissed as a super freak, could go to bed at 8:30 every night.

Brad (13:34):
But I’m gonna contend that I’m much closer on the spectrum to the $2 million man than I am to the average person who gives, very little regard for their health. And the closer I get <laugh> on that spectrum to highly optimized, I contend that the happier I am overall, of course, I’m not going to sign up for that lifestyle. Um, especially I believe that social connection is super important, and that’s not going to align tightly into measurables and wearables and sleep scores. Yes, indeed, I’ve stayed up all night partying, uh, on, on certain occasions in my life and felt like crap the next day. But, you know, maybe wouldn’t take it back because everyone deserves to, uh, bust loose and pursue the outer edges of sensibility at times. But of course, these occasions where we bust loose are best enjoyed on a foundation of healthy lifestyle practices.

Brad (14:35):
And I think anyone can raise their hand like Rich Roll did, and say, you know, when you get outta hand with your vices and addiction, it leads to pain and suffering, not to indulgence and pleasure. So think about that when you write Ben and Jerry’s pint on the grocery list, and keep restocking that every single week habitually because you get a few seconds of gustatory pleasure, as Mark Sisson says when it goes down your throat. But at the long-term expense of, for example, your goals, your self-esteem, the alignment of your values and beliefs with your behaviors. And so I’m standing here as an imperfect specimen, but boy, the closer I get to making good decisions and being in alignment with my highest values and beliefs, for example, going to bed on time. ’cause I value it highly, rather than allowing things to leak into the picture too frequently, right?

Brad (15:25):
Once in a while, everything’s fine. The body can handle, um, some hits to optimal, such as traveling on an airplane and, and getting jet lag. Of course, that’s a, a health disturbance, but the body can handle it just fine. Um, another, complimentary, uh, thing I have about Johnson’s routine is that he makes great emphasis that sleep is number one, and that is a really strong and compelling argument. When he says something like that, this is backed up by scientific data with his blood results and his body composition and everything else. So if this guy values sleep as number one, I think we can all take a page and do the same ourself. And everything he does, everything he tests is measured on a variety of parameters. So he was making, um, a, a comment to Rich Roll about taking a preparation that included, uh, keratin the supplement, and he said it, it brought a good score in destroying senescent cells, but it also brought a negative score in some other area and some other rate of aging.

Brad (16:34):
So he decided to, uh, stop the protocol, and he continually experiments. I know he was on hormone replacement therapy, which is a little eyebrow raising if you’re doing everything right. And apparently he has since stopped that and gone back to natural with no outside interference on his hormones. I also know that he systematically, uh, restricts calories, and we’re going to talk about that with some of my contentions about what he does. But I, I, I understand that he’s increased his caloric intake a bit, a bit because he’s seen an increase in, uh, adaptive hormones like testosterone when eating more food. But before I go on to the details of, of his routine and my opinions, uh, pro and con, um, we also have to pause a moment here to realize that not everything can be measurable.

Brad (17:27):
And that quantification is not the end all. So when you report a sleep score of a hundred for nine consecutive months and have many, many users out there doing the same thing, and striving to get a good sleep score by minimizing alcohol consumption and getting the room darker and doing meditation and breathing exercises to calm the brain and all those things, that’s pretty impressive. But if I go back to my wonderful podcast with the one and only Bruce Lipton, author of Biology of Belief, he talked about how our beliefs manifest our reality. So if I am enjoying a spontaneous, intuitive, non quantified approach to health and fitness and sleep quality, and for example, I become convinced that this protocol works best for me, I therefore make it a reality because my beliefs are aligned with that. For example, if I wake up in the morning and feel great and write down on a sticky note that I just gave a, that I’m giving myself a 100 sleep score, this becomes literally true at a quantum cellular level.

Brad (18:40):
And if you don’t follow me, go back to that Bruce Lipton podcast. He is a firestorm of energy and breakthrough, cutting edge quantum physics information. Also, the wonderful book by Deepak Chopra, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind conveys these concepts really beautifully to remind us that we are not separate independent structures like we think were just a swirling mass of atoms floating around and engaging with the other energy fields of the planet. So, for example, I talked about the importance of social connections. These things improve your health at a quantum cellular level because you’re out there having a good time, even if you might be sipping alcohol, which might give you a lower score on, uh, whatever metric that can be measured. Okay? So, having a cheerful disposition, a practice of gratitude, all those things. And indeed, I know that, uh, Bryan Johnson is, uh, mentioning these things as part of his protocol too.

Brad (19:37):
So he is not entirely robotic, and he is actually made some efforts to build his community. And there was a feature article in the LA Times about how they organized a meetup for other Don’t Die enthusiasts, and they did a hike in Temescal Canyon in LA and did some meditation. And, you know, just connecting with other people who are super interested in the freaky cutting edge aspects of longevity. So, I talked about how I’d be in incredibly open to outsourcing my athletic training decisions to AI. For example, what if we fed in the great books and articles from all the world’s greatest athletic coaches into the computer, and now we realize that in one minute or 12 seconds or five minutes or whatever, you can spit out the most powerful and authoritative knowledgeable coach of all time.

Brad (20:33):
That’s pretty heavy stuff. And then plug in my personal parameters and needs. You’ve probably heard my commercial about wild health. Well, they have all my genetic data, my blood work, and we can really, really try to dial in what works best for us utilizing modern technology, but also making sure that we are enjoying the process. And, um, Bryan Johnson, the, the $2 million Man loves this every single day. So he is in alignment. He’s not like sacrificing his life, he’s dedicating his life to this experiment. And therefore, it’s, you know, worthwhile and, uh, likely effective and, and valuable for all of us in many ways. Alright, so I talked about outsourcing my workouts.

Brad (21:23):
What about my diet? Would you outsource your diet to AI and get a, get a printout every day of exactly what you should eat to feel that your absolute best and dial in all your macronutrient and micronutrient needs, and have the exact ideal body composition because you’re following everything? Could you do it <laugh>? It would be a challenge, wouldn’t it? Man, no more Ben and Jerry’s on the shopping list and could very likely, most certainly cut into your social engagements and your position as a quote unquote normal human being. But again, uh, reflecting on where I sit on that spectrum over the years with my deep devotion and study and, and passion and enthusiasm for healthy eating, I am pretty fricking streamlined and pretty focused on getting the optimal dietary nutrient density, optimal caloric intake, of course, as I’ve talked about a lot.

Brad (22:16):
Uh, and while I enjoy indulgences and decadent pleasures, I make extremely informed choices so that I’m not eating a crappy piece of junk twine when it’s time for me to have a treat that might entail getting in the car and driving across town and having an exciting outing where we sit by the outdoor fireplace and eat some handmade gourmet ice cream. So I am very, very, very far down the spectrum toward an AI style dietary optimization, I think, I hope. And if a machine could help me further optimize my diet, and that’s what we’re getting at with Wild Health too. As I continue further with their precision medicine consultations and making these experiments and testing and measuring my testosterone and other adaptive hormones very frequently, I am pretty much, you know, chasing as fast as I can, the, the entire optimization that we’re capable of in, um, today’s, you know, high tech, modern world.

Brad (23:21):
So, I, you know, sign me the heck up. And if it says, hey, um, no more, you know, potato chips and, you know, Hershey’s kisses on the front counter at the office, okay, you say, no more. You know, if something’s not good for me, um, that’s going to, uh, quickly diminish my, uh, desire and appeal for it. And as I’ve said before on the show, um, this happened to me dramatically after engaging with Paul Saldino in 2019 and hearing him on a couple podcasts and having him twice on my podcast. And he convinced me that the most nutrient dense foods on earth are largely the animal-based foods, and that many of the so-called superfoods from the plant kingdom have potentially adverse consequences. And those were some adverse consequences that I was experiencing right at that time with my super duper, green energy smoothie every morning consisting of a large load of frozen raw kale, raw spinach, raw celery, raw beets, raw carrots, and I would have digestive distress reliably for several hours after pounding this incredibly awesome micronutrient green smoothie.

Brad (24:43):
So I became convinced from saladino that there was not a desperate and huge need or benefit to consuming my centerpiece meal like a salad nor my green smoothie. And that in fact, the maximum dietary nutrient benefits would come from emphasizing the true superfoods of the earth that are largely in the animal kingdom. That’s why I went to great lengths and consulted many of the great minds to create The Carnivore Scores Food Rankings Chart that you can download for free on my website, bradkearns.com. And it’s a tiered ranking system of the most nutrient dense foods on earth with the true superstars at the top, and then going down a category, going down a category. And I think it’s a great representation of how to emphasize the most nutritious foods, and of course, de-emphasizing and eliminating, uh, the nutrient deficient processed foods that completely screw up your metabolic function and your ability to be healthy.

Brad (25:43):
So, hopefully I’m pretty close to an AI generated optimized Brad Kern’s diet, but yes, indeed, I will sign up for that anytime. Now, let’s get into the details of Bryan Johnson’s highly regimented and supposedly perfected diet, because I’m gonna have to take some big exceptions here and there. And the main one is eating in caloric deficit. So he’s relying on, apparently a research team and his own research education values and beliefs. I believe some of that is, uh, related to the concerns about morality, sustainability with, uh, consuming animal products, the classic vegan argument, such that he is on a plant-based diet. So, there’s a lot of strong voices and really astute scholars and, uh, thought leaders arguing that this is an extremely high risk approach for most people, because you are systematically eliminating the foods that have fueled human evolution for 2 million years and are objectively more nutrient dense than even the highest regarded plant foods.

Brad (26:59):
So you can Google something like liver versus kale and see a match, macronutrient, micronutrient comparison between those two foods, and be very difficult to dispute that liver has the most nutrient density of virtually any food on the planet. So if you’re following a plant-based diet I’m gonna call that high risk. I’m trying not to get in too much into the controversial waters, but it’s pretty, pretty fair to say. Now someone like Bryan Johnson who goes to bed at eight 30 and has a team of consultants, coaches and advisors, and is spending $2 million a year and takes he reports 100 different supplement pills every day. He is going to be able to thrive on a plant-based diet because he’s picking incredibly nutritious plants and having all the preparations made, everything tested, and taking a ton of supplements if he were to have a deficit.

Brad (27:54):
But for the average person out there that’s not in this highly regimented, highly optimized dietary strategy, eliminating the animal products, there’s absolutely no rationale or justification. And it seems like a really terrible idea because of the high risk nature. That’s not to say that certain people can’t thrive on a plant-based diet, and some of them are out there promoting heavily and have a tremendous platform and a tremendous following because it’s worked for them. But I’m gonna stand and say any departure from a mainstream Western diet with processed nutrient deficient foods is going to lead to a tremendous health awakening. So congratulations to anyone who has transitioned away from fast food culture into a life of lentil soup and kale smoothies. And if it’s working for you and you feel great, that’s great. You might feel great. And you might be at level six when you really could be at level eight if you added some liver and some pasture-raised eggs and some ground beef to your diet.

Brad (28:59):
But that’s a whole other story. But for the most part, we can’t continue to look at these things in a vacuum when we have some really important pillars to stand on. And one of ’em, in the case of my immersion into the ancestral health movement, is to look at the example of human evolution and the foods that fueled human evolution. And those are the nutrient dense animal foods. In fact, this is also undisputed. So whatever you think about your plant-based beliefs today, um, the human was able to, uh, diverge from its ape cousins and develop a much, uh, more complex and larger brain due to the ability to access nutrient dense animal foods. A lot of this was marine life and the high Omega-3 fish, and things that we were able to catch.

Brad (29:52):
And then eventually it was also the ability to take down the big game because we got smart and we were able to hunt. So today, we’re at the top of the food chain, while the gorilla spends 11 hours a day chewing leaves and roots and shoots in order to get the nutrition necessary to fuel his or her comparatively very tiny brain. So that’s my little take on someone following a plant-based diet. And he’s referencing, or re, uh, Johnson is referencing or relying upon the caloric deficit equals longevity corner of scientific community for his decision to systematically restrict his calories. And he reports that he’s eating 2,250 calories a day and believes that he’s burning 2,500. This scientific rationale has become popular but it’s very, very heavily criticized and very heavily disputed. One of my favorite people giving the the counter take is Jay Feldman, especially on our final our fourth of the four interviews.

Brad (30:55):
He points out that these caloric restriction studies that people are touting as the key to longevity, um, are entirely based on animals, never on humans, almost never on humans. We do have a very systematic, uh, and extensive calorie restriction study on humans called the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. And this was an experiment performed on conscientious objectors to World War II back in the forties at the University of Minnesota. So these poor dudes refused to go to war, so they subjected their bodies to science in order to stay outta jail, and they were starved for a matter a number of months. And the results were astonishing and had a great impact on nutritional science because these poor guys went to heck. They degenerated into, you know, a weak, exhausted, confused, diminished cognitive function. They developed intense visions and hallucinations about food.

Brad (32:02):
They basically became non-functional when they were starved heavily. And of course, they turned into skeletal, <laugh>, skeletal creatures. And the whole thing was, um, you know, quite a quite a torture for the participants. And there’s been some interesting follow up studies and articles about these poor guys, uh, to describe how basically they were adversely affected for life with sort of a P-T-S-D type of reaction to this starvation experiment where the children of the subjects will report how, um, they, they, they saw that, um, their father was never without food, like in the drawer, in the car glove box in their pocket, and they became obsessed with food or became morbidly obese and just couldn’t stop eating for the rest of their lives. This is also happening with Biggest Loser contestants, and there was a popular, uh, study checking back as many as six years later, the Biggest Loser contestants who lost all that weight on TV and got the big check sometimes losing, you know, a hundred pounds, 150 pounds, 200 pounds, or whatever they lost during the show.

Brad (33:11):
For the most part, almost all the participants gained all the weight back and then some, and still showed disturbed metabolisms from that starvation ordeal because the body’s really good at a reactive response to starvation, turning on those, um, those appetite centers and running them wild so that you’ll engage in overeating for years and decades ahead. So the Minnesota Starvation Experiment revealed that systematically restricting calories in the human. It comes out very poorly, and you can indeed extend a rat’s life significantly by, um, restricting calories. But as Jay pointed out, what we’re talking about is a rat eating laboratory rat processed junk food, or eating less laboratory rat processed junk food, and the one who eats less rat junk food lives longer. Go figure. So, highly questionable research that eating less food promotes longevity. However, the way we can get confused here is when we are in this paradigm of massive overconsumption of calories and burning too few calories, which Dr. Layne Norton describes as an energy toxicity problem.

Brad (34:25):
However, the way we can get confused here is when we are in this paradigm of massive overconsumption of calories and burning too few calories, which Dr. Layne Norton describes as an energy toxicity problem. He describes that as the highest and most profound problem with modern society. We eat too much. We store too many calories, and we burn too few. Any departure from that is going to lead to, as I said before, a massive health awakening. So, um, you know, calorie restriction equals longevity if, and only if ,you eat too much shitty processed food and don’t exercise enough. Then on the other side of the coin, we have the insight that the human is a living, breathing, dynamic organism that ideally will be able to maintain aerobic capacity and functional muscle strength throughout life. And that these factors, no less an authority than Dr. Peter Atia and his number one bestselling book, Outlive. Attia contends that exercise is the single best intervention for longevity ever discovered, and nothing else even comes close end quote.

Brad (35:28):
So if you want to be an active athletic human, that is going to be your golden ticket to longevity disease prevention and avoiding the suffering and decline and demise that we see from the energy toxicity population in modern life. So, I want you to color any calorie restriction comment, uh, within those parameters. And if you are someone who is carrying extra visceral abdominal fat especially, or extra, uh, body fat overall, of course, you’re going to want to intervene from an energy toxicity problem. Number one would be to eliminate processed foods, and number two would be to engage in more frequent, general, everyday and low level movement. And then number three would be to, uh, embark on a sensible fitness program. But, that’s different than someone like Bryan Johnson who’s got a six pack and is active and energetic and delivering good blood markers and good fitness parameters.

Brad (36:26):
Restricting calories, I think is a terrible idea, and he’s getting away with it because he does not have many other stress buckets being filled up in his life. His life is so highly optimized, of course, he’s got the millions of dollars. He doesn’t have any traditional pressures that most people do, where they have other responsibilities, and he can spend his day and spend his life and dedicate his life to health optimization. Therefore, that deficit that he’s eating at every day, rather than really tanking his thyroid, his adrenals, and making him tired and cranky, and all those things that happen when you under calorie, he probably just, um, you know, activates a little stress hormone production for neogenesis, converting amino acids into glucose that he needs, making ketones all those stress mechanisms that are so wonderful that the human can still thrive in a state of under, under calorie consumption.

Brad (37:24):
And he’s probably gonna be, much better survive. Much better than the average person witness the burnt out, uh, female CrossFit enthusiast who already has low body fat and tries to go keto and perform these crazy workouts and suffers, uh, you know, exhaustion, burnout, breakdown, illness, and all those things. So anyone promoting, uh, systematic caloric deficit for no reason other than longevity, I’m gonna take strong exception to, and my hope is that because Johnson is so open to, uh, metrics and quantification that he is going to tweak that in the future and perhaps take the advice of the great Dr. Tommy Wood, one of my favorite podcast guests when he said that he counsels his active athletic clients to eat as much nutritious food as they can until they gain a pound of fat and then dial it back one notch.

Brad (38:26):
And that’s when you know you’re optimal. And if you’ve been listening to my show in recent years, you’ll know I’ve been on now about a two-year experiment to systematically consume extra calories, especially extra carbs, by way of slamming a big bowl of fruit and a big protein smoothie every morning, rather than engage in my traditional fasting period where I didn’t eat much, maybe had some dark chocolate squares or something in the morning hours, and then sat down to my a big proper meal at midday. So I switched ponies there, and I also made a deliberate effort to like loosen the purse strings overall, where I didn’t really, um, worry about my evening popcorn habit becoming a habit, still hit the dark chocolate to the extreme of probably averaging, uh, one bar a day, started rotating in dried fruit, which was a great snack that I’d ingest like before a workout, or right after a workout, or in a car where I didn’t have access to good meal.

Brad (39:28):
And I felt great. My numbers on the testosterone frequent testing were increased. And so I declared a successful experiment. And then, uh, now I hear in, uh, early 2024, I noticed that I was getting a little soft and adding a pound or two or three of extra body fat that I didn’t have before. And so what I speculate happened, uh, my body adjusted nicely to the increased calic intake over two years. And the, uh, the training regimen that I was on, where I was upping my commitment to sprinting and doing some increasingly difficult sprint workouts, what I think happened was my body finally adapted to the sprint workouts to where I could perform a really ambitious workout and then not feel totally exhausted and desperate to have a nap that afternoon and wake up the next day and feel stiff and sore.

Brad (40:21):
My body finally got in good enough shape to where the workouts weren’t that high of a degree of difficulty. And I had a reduction in what’s called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, EPOC. And if you google this and read articles about it you’ll see that people attribute this as one of the ways to reduce excess body fat. So you do a high intensity interval training or a high intensity sprint workout, and your body burns more calories for hours after. And isn’t that great? And it definitely worked for me, but then when I became more fit, the effects were minimized, such that my aggressive calorie consumption led to me getting, uh, to the point where I need to turn that, dial down a tiny bit and get the a pound or two or three of excess body fat off. Uh, and I’m talking specifically about my peak performance goals where I’m racing around a tracker and trying to jump over a bar.

Brad (41:22):
So, I’m not obsessed with the my body weight for any reason of participating in a physique contest, but when I have competitive goals, I wanna optimize everything. So, um, just to give you an update here, as an aside, um, I’ve toned down a little bit because I don’t need as many calories because I am a fitter and better able to adapt, from these difficult workouts. Okay? So, uh, I think it’s a huge issue where we have disparate opinions here, and there are other longevity experts like David Sinclair, Volter Longo, um, Bryan Johnson joining them now with his practice of promoting this calorie restriction ideal. I don’t like it, and I think I’m gonna call BS on it.

Brad (42:20):
Also, Johnson contends that his running a cold-ish or colder body temperature is also promoting of longevity. I’m gonna call BS on that too, because that is one of the adaptive features. When you are under nourishing yourself, you have colder temperature, more tendency for you, especially your fingers and toes to be cold and just to run cold in general, and need a jacket when other people don’t kind of thing. Um, this is the body trying hard to compensate, uh, from not getting enough energy. You’re also going to experience a reduction in libido when you’re not properly nourished. And the most extreme example, or the most graphic example of this are the elite female athletes who get very low body fat and experience a loss of menstruation, amenorrhea, because they are, uh, not having enough fat to, uh, maintain their reproductive ability. And reproduction is the single most prominent biological drive of the human, or it’s right up there anyway with sleep, food, and the reproductive drive to reproduce.

Brad (43:17):
And so that’s a sign of an extreme health disturbance when your libido is diminished, and when your body temperature is diminished. I’m also going to have an extreme concern about one’s healthy lifestyle practices. If there’s some data and some research that he’s leaning on to say, Hey, if you run a little cold, you’re gonna live longer. Let’s look at the context for a moment. Do you want to live longer shuffling down the hall in, uh, your big warm jacket because you’re so fragile and cold and lacking energy? Because that is what it’s indicative of. It’s indicative of diminished energy. Um, that’s why the, the elderly and the, uh, you know, the people at the, at the very end of the rope are needing blankets all the time and needing, much more garments than someone who’s younger and, uh, burning calories more efficiently.

Brad (44:14):
And the, some of the longevity research is on this creature called the C elgan, AKA, the nematode. And, um, the nematode, um, when it’s, uh, when it’s under fed, will go into hibernation, sort of a hibernation state and increase its lifespan by an amazing amount. So they’ve studied this creature a lot in longevity research to contend that, hey, if you don’t feed it, it’s gonna live way longer, but who wants to live way longer in a quasi hibernation state? So, that’s, that’s my that’s my counter here. I’d rather have a hot, active, energetic, <laugh>, high performance life with more energy, more libido, and more everything than trying to get my body to run a little bit cold so I can pass some tests that’s hopefully speculating that I’m gonna get more years.

Brad (45:11):
This is a disaster, really. And I might be, uh, speaking, irresponsibly when it comes directly to what Johnson’s doing. So let’s step outside of that, and I’m just gonna say in general, um, if you’re running cold and you have low libido and, uh, symptoms of, you know, these dials turning down, remember Dr. Herman Pontzer’s quote, reproduction, repair, growth, and locomotion are a zero sum game. If you don’t feed yourself optimally, you will turn down all four of those dials or some combination of them. And I also talk about the example of if you over locomote, remember, one of them is locomotion. That means all exercise movement, calorie burning. If you overdo that, you’re going to turn down repair, growth and reproduction libido. So, regardless of the longevity consequences of eating enough food, or even eating a little extra food like Dr.

Brad (46:12):
Tommy Wood recommends, and then dial it back a little bit, I want to dance on that line rather than on the line of, gee, now I’m really cold, I better get another 200 calories a day. Okay? And just again, to reiterate, when you look at these positive, study outcomes for people restricting calories, we have to understand that these come in the paradigm of the global Over Fat pandemic. As Dr. Phil Maffetone says, on the title of his book, and the Over Fat Pandemic, the energy toxicity problem is killing people and, and dramatically accelerating aging. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about optimizing caloric intake when you have signs and symptoms of a good health. So that’s optimal body composition, um, and good blood work. Okay, let’s get down to the plant-based diet.

Brad (47:07):
A few more comments about that. The problem I have here, I don’t have problem with people forming their own, uh, well researched beliefs that they believe in sustainability, they believe in avoiding animal cruelty, whatever. That’s fine. And you make a, a, a measured informed decision to not consume animal products. But I encounter a lot of people who are making these flawed assumptions to bring them to the conclusion that they shouldn’t eat animal products. Especially when the time of the documentary Game Changers came out, or people watch a documentary, which was savagely criticized and taken apart systematically, minute by minute by authorities like Chris Kresser on his epic appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast, where he had a 78 page slide. So just destroying all the nonsense that they spouted that was not scientifically validated and highly irresponsible, but it captured a lot of people’s fancy, just like the Stanford identical twin experiment is now capturing headlines and getting promoted where the plant-based diet beat the omnivorous diet in terms of weight loss.

Brad (48:21):
And, and there, there’s so much behind that that’s now people are, you know, attacking aggressively. But when you, um, when you go to a plant-based diet on personal belief system, that’s fine, okay? Um, but if you’re, uh, stating that you are outsourcing everything to AI and being the most quantified and objective person ever in history when it comes to pursuing longevity, um, that’s where I get confused because I don’t see how you can come to the conclusion that a plant-based diet is going to get you there. I don’t see, um, you know, from, uh, a blood test, from a macronutrient, micronutrient analysis of, uh, the meal, however you came up with the nutty pudding as the ultimate superfood snack. What about the grass fed ground beef? Or if you really are locked into concerns about sustainability, what about Maui Nui venison where they are handling the extreme overpopulation of deer on the island of Maui by harvesting this deer in a sustainable and humane manner?

Brad (49:28):
And so, if you have concerns about, you know, the typical concerns of the plant-based eater, at least you can include the venison in there, because we need people to eat this venison anyway. The plant-based diet, no big deal for Mr. $2 million, man, because of his hundred pills, and especially because of his total lack of processed food. Love that quote. Every calorie fights for a spot in my diet. Average person, if you eat in caloric deficit or try out a plant-based diet in the name of health, good luck because, uh, there’s so many potholes along your way when you don’t have your $2 million team behind you.

Brad (50:08):
So let’s get down to some exercise comments. When you look at his photos and he’s ripped and fit, something pretty fantastic is working, so congratulations. He’s got trainers, he’s got people designing his workout programs. I am sure that he gets injured less often than I do. I’m sure he gets cooked out less often than I do, and he’s found a beautiful sweet spot to hit some impressive fitness numbers. Dave Kobrine tells me that his VO two max is, uh, up there and, man, yeah. So, uh, you know, you dedicate your life to health and you got the fitness thing dialed. Uh, very impressive. Gabby Reese hit him with an interesting, reflective question back, and it was something to the effect of like, uh, what about when you’re trying to make gains or achieve performance goals? And he mentioned something about kicking his kid’s butt on a, a hike, uh, going up a steep hill, uh, even though he was fasted. And that’s great. That’s another example of the fight or flight response, kicking in for a fasted hiker to keep up with a younger hiker.

Brad (51:22):
But I’m not, uh, terribly, um, enamored with that answer because I do wanna put in a plug here for the incredible richness that you can bring to your life when you enter the competitive realm with yourself or with others, and have that perhaps, winding challenging journey of trying to get better and making mistakes because you pushed yourself too hard, uh, and, you know, needing to recover or, uh, a nurse in injury or whatever. Um, you know, Gabby said that Laird Hamilton out there surfing the big waves and falling off and breaking his bones, and in one of Laird’s books, there’s a center spread that shows all the broken bones and surgeries he’s had, and it’s pretty gnarly. I mean, the guy’s held together by tape and replacement hips and so forth. But I think that, you know, the people out there in the athletic realm who are pushing the envelope and, you know, not having this highly optimized, regimented path, um, you know, get a lot of personal satisfaction and the personal growth of learning from your mistakes and learning how to reign in your competitive intensity and all that stuff.

Brad (52:38):
And I’m hitting this point, or staying on this point, um, beyond whatever Bryan Johnson’s doing. But I’m also seeing, with all the scientific advancements in the realm of fitness, I’m seeing an increasing increasingly, uh, high tech regimented robotic approach to fitness where people are consuming all the podcasts and the videos and the great work of the leaders, and then writing down all their objectives every week. And so they need to accumulate this many hours of zone two cardio, and they need to put their muscles under resistance load and work the major muscle groups of the body. And they also need to do some VO two max training, and they also need to work on balance. And so they have their personal trainer session, and then they do this six-mile run on the weekend, and then they do this, uh, on, on Tuesday morning.

Brad (53:29):
And it seems like maybe, um, some of the fun might be taken out of it when you just, um, you know, diminish the free-spirited approach to fitness where, um, you know, some of my favorite fitness endeavors over the years were to, uh, coach little kids at soccer practice and participate in the scrimmage and run around like a crazy man and yell and scream and kick goals and beat up on these poor 10-year-old kids and then have them beat up on me by the time they were 15. It was great stuff. It was free flowing, it was un regimented. And yeah, one of those times I came home, uh, with a really sore hamstring and it interfered with my next day’s workout and all that stuff. But, you know, that was a good, uh, a good reflection by Gabby to say, you know, what about like competitive goals and challenging yourself?

Brad (54:19):
But if you’re not into it and you’re more zoned in and locked in on this longevity protocol, good for him. It’s all about enjoying what you do with your fitness pursuits. Okay, so, final takeaways. If you don’t have a $2 million budget to test everything under the sun every day with a team of 30 people working behind the scenes, you can take advantage of modern technology. And this is a good time to plug the wild health offering, uh, because again, mainstream medical care is focused on disease care and perhaps a little bit on disease prevention. But I wanna go for health optimization. So I’m testing and pondering entirely different issues than when I go see the doctor and get my annual checkup. There’s not much there except for to eliminate the chances of, uh, problems, but they’re not, uh, adding, they’re not doing anything that’s, uh, helping me, achieve peak performance, right?

Brad (55:21):
It’s pretty, pretty, pretty simple there. Again, we need to rely on mainstream medical care when we need it, uh, for health disturbances, and that’s wonderful to have all the advancements. But then our responsibility is to do whatever we can to not be a customer of the hospital or the prescription drug makers. Okay. So, another great final memory here is that sleep is number one. Everything flows down, steam from sleep, from sleep. Um, do you wanna sign up for the 8:30 PM bedtime? I don’t think I’m willing to commit to that yet, ’cause of the social implications and so forth, but boy, the better I do at adhering to my chosen bedtime of 10:15 to 10:30 PM um, it feels great. It’s totally worth it. And especially looking back, uh, reflecting on the message one year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now, what do you think?

Brad (56:24):
Can you choose a consistent bedtime and wake up time and getting all the sleep you need? And is that going to pay off, uh, five years from now? Or do you wanna just be indiscriminate about it and succumb to the temptation, the Hacking of the American Mind done by, Netflix when they have the little thing in the corner that plays the next episode in 10 seconds? Unless you jump up and turn off the TV it’s a tough battle to fight. So, um, thanks for listening. Hopefully this brought up a lot of reflections on, on your side too as you listen. And the repercussions of what’s ahead with artificial intelligence immersing into the health scene. Look forward to reading your comments if you email podcast@bradventures.com.

Brad (57:13):
Thank you so much for listening to the B.rad Podcast. We appreciate all feedback and suggestions. Email, podcast@bradventures.com and visit brad kearns.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.



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