If you are in the habit of fasting until noon or are having a 16-8 eating pattern, that puts you at risk..

This show is about second guessing fasting—something I’ve been talking about extensively for the last few years on this podcast, sharing the revised strategy I have been following: putting fasting aside in favor of striving for maximum nutrient density in my diet and maximum cellular energy status at all times with my new mantra for the future, for longevity, and for peak performance: perform, recover, perform, and recover. Because I want all of my stress capacity and energy going into athletic performance, my fitness regimen, and recovery as best as I possibly can, that means going for nutrition rather than tapping into the many strategies and techniques that can be categorized as restrictive dieting (keto, low-fat, carnivore, vegan, etc).

Yes, fasting has been touted for many amazing health benefits and the body works most efficiently in a fasted state, but in this show, I explain why I decided to rethink fasting and revise my approach to my daily diet, and the results I have experienced from this change.


The body works most effectively in a fasted state, however if you’re are restricting calories, you’re restricting macronutrients to the extent that it overwhelms your stress capacity.  [00:46]

When you develop leaking gut syndrome from eating processed foods, it is causing inflammatory conditions in the body. [05:22]

The unfettered access of indulgent foods is difficult to navigate through and be resilient against. [07:30]

If you start cutting back your total caloric intake, you are at risk of turning down important metabolic dials, reproduction, repair, growth and locomotion.  [08:29]

The most important start to improving your diet is cutting back on the refined industrial seed oils, refined grains, refined sugars and foods that are packaged. [14:25]

Before you consider fasting strategy in the name of losing excess body fat, optimize your protein intake. [18:33]

The government recommending a certain RDA, it is for survival, not optimization. You need a gram per pound protein every day on average to thrive. [20:19]

During sleep both anabolic and catabolic processes are operating concurrently. [25:26]

What are the incidental benefits of this focus on protein? [28:06]

One rationale for fasting is gaining a sense of control and discipline but fasting is a stressful practice. [31:22]

We want to make sure that we don’t overload the stress side of the equation in modern life. [36:00]

It is important to have some calories before going out for peak performance work. [43:59]

It is quite possible that our ancestors were not fasting as has been imagined. [45:43]

Bulletproof coffee may be a good way to start the day, but you are not getting nutrition with it. [49:57]



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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 are in the habit of fasting until noon, or having a 16 eight eating pattern that puts you at risk of

Brad (00:48):
Welcome, this show is about second guessing fasting. And if you’ve been listening to the B.rad podcasts in the last couple of years, you’ll know that I’ve been talking up this extensively and sharing the, uh, revised strategy that I’ve been following. To put fasting aside in my personal example, in favor of striving for maximum nutrient density in my diet and maximum cellular energy status at all times with my new mantra for the future, for longevity and peak performance, perform and recover. So I want all of my stress capacity, all of my energy going into athletic performance, my fitness regimen, and recovering as best that I possibly can so that I can perform and recover, perform, and recover. And that means going for nutrition rather than tapping into the many strategies, tips, tricks, and techniques that can be categorized as restrictive dieting, fasting, time-restricted feeding, specific calorie restriction diets or macronutrient restriction diets like keto or low fat, or vegan or plant-based or carnivore.

Brad (02:05):
So, we’re gonna talk to all aspects of the question here and see if some of this can resonate with you. As you know, fasting has been touted for having a variety of amazing health benefits, and the body literally works most efficiently in a fasted state. So you have a heightened immune response heightened anti-inflammatory response, heightened cellular repair processes that’s known as autophagy. So all these good things happen when you are in a fasted state because your body is getting the message to conserve and repair and recycle energy, rather than the opposite would be unregulated cell division, such as the youth trying to add 30 pounds in one summer to play high school football, and they’re e exercising and eating and drinking smoothies all day long. So, somewhere along that continuum. We wanna perform, we wanna recover. We want to be strong and energetic and active and be as active as possible in life, especially with increasing all forms of general everyday movement.

Brad (03:16):
And we need the nutrition to fuel that type of active lifestyle. So, obviously it’s possible to get to an extreme where you’re fasting, you’re restricting calories, you’re restricting macronutrients to the extent that it overwhelms your stress capacity. And I think a lot of active energetic folks are in that category. And then there are a lot of other folks who are insufficiently active and consume too many nutrient deficient calories, whereby fasting and the other restrictive dietary strategies can be a wonderful tool to get things back on track. But I think it’s important point to recognize that most, if not all of the benefits of fasting are incidental. That means indirect to actual fasting. And I’m gonna list a few of ’em and talk through some of these incidental benefits. But I think it’s important to understand that fasting itself is not magical.

Brad (04:13):
But what happens is it triggers these incidental benefits, like I mentioned, an autoimmune, an, excuse me, an immune superior immune response, anti-inflammatory response and cellular repair response as a function of starving the cells of calories. So,there’s another incidental benefit of fasting that it might keep you away from the classic crappy morning breakfast. That is the All American breakfast that you see at the hotel buffets where it’s heavily emphasizing nutrient deficient processed carbohydrates, your muffins, pancakes, waffles, scones, processed wheat based products, as well as the overwhelming of processed simple carbohydrates when you’re putting together your juice and your, uh, jelly on the toast and your cereal and your sweetened yogurt. And all those things are basically a sugar bomb and can very easily set you up on a rollercoaster path of energy level swings, increased appetite, dysregulated metabolic function.

Brad (05:22):
So if it keeps you away from a crappy breakfast, hey, fasting is probably gonna feel great and be beneficial in every way. It also can give your digestive system a break. And if you’re suffering from dysregulated dietary metabolic processes and digestive processes such as leaky gut syndrome, which is emerging in medicine as a very popular topic that is likely affecting many people and causing a lot of downstream autoimmune and inflammatory conditions in the body, prompted by the dysfunctional gut lining where it becomes inflamed with the routine consumption of processed foods that are difficult to digest. And that inflammation leads to a compromised immune barrier in your small intestine. It’s called the microvilli that line, the small intestine or the brush borders of your small intestine. And when those become inflamed and imperfect, you allow unwanted undigested particles into the bloodstream that are not supposed to be there.

Brad (06:25):
And that’s what triggers the autoimmune and or inflammatory response in the body when you develop leaky gut. So literally, is shit getting into your bloodstream that’s not supposed to be there and causing a lot of downstream conditions, digestive conditions themselves like gas, bloating, digestive discomfort, feeling, sleepy or brain fog after meals, but also conditions like arthritis and other conditions ending in itis, gastritis, colitis are all now strongly being attributed to a compromised, uh, brush board or compromised intestinal tract, uh, known as leaky gut syndrome. So if you’re inflamed and suffering and you spend more time giving your digestive system a break from food that could help improve the condition, but of course, that’s obviously, uh, an incidental benefit to fasting rather than a direct one. Fasting can also help you, get you a sense of, uh, psychological control over your dietary habits.

Brad (07:30):
And I think this is super important to recognize in the age of continued unfettered access to indulgent foods. So when we are surrounded by temptation and unfortunate options, like I mentioned in the hotel buffet, if that’s all there is to eat, okay, I guess I better have some Captain Crunch today. And, butter, my jelly, my toast up, and, uh, have some waffles and pancakes while I’m at it. So the unfettered access to indulgent foods is difficult to navigate through and be resilient against. So if you set a policy or a protocol of fasting in 12 noon until 12 noon, you have this regimentation in place that can keep you away from the temptation and the willpower necessary to resist something. It’s like, Nope, I fast every single day. And it’s great. And indeed, it is great if you are vulnerable to succumbing to, um, less desirable dietary options.

Brad (08:29):
You’ve also heard, and it’s been talked about tremendously, how fasting prompts the natural cellular internal detoxification process known as autophagy. And this is believed to have a variety of health and anti-aging benefits. It literally causes a renewal effect to the organs throughout your body. And so autophagy is a good thing, uh, and it’s prompted by fasting. Uh, and so that’s also one of the widely touted benefits of fasting. Now, that said, for those of us who are healthy, active, energetic, near or at our ideal body composition, it’s important to consider a bigger picture perspective about what is the optimal path to longevity and health span. And I could talk about this for at length, but I love the pithy quote from my former podcast guest, Robb Wolf, paleo lifestyle leader, leading author, founder of LT Electrolytes.

Brad (09:35):
And he said, on my podcast, and I, I never forgot, it’s one of the best quotes ever. He said, if you want to live longer, lift more weights and eat more protein, and this is supporting this, uh, emerging trend of what you might call eat more, move more lifestyle approach, where we’re starting to second guess some of the science and the talking points that have been, uh, spit out there for a long time. That if you can get calorically efficient and minimize your intake of all kinds of foods, especially nasty, evil, sugar and fructose, and all the books and podcast content on that, this is the path to longevity. A lot of this research that’s saying that caloric efficiency is the path to long on longevity has been done in animal studies, not humans. In fact, virtually all of it.

Brad (10:25):
There are some interesting and profound examples to reflect upon. Jay Felden mentioned this in several of our podcast interviews, the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. And this was conscientious objectors to World War ii, who agreed <laugh>, if you can use that word, instead of going to war. They agreed to participate in an experiment that lasted for a few months, I believe conducted at the University of Minnesota where these guys were starved and measured the biological response to prolonged extreme calorie restriction. And, the short version is they did not do well. They were not feeling more alert and energetic because they were in ketosis. when they were prolonged starvation. They became emaciated, they had all kinds of psychological problems that lasted for decades after, as their family members reported, where they became obsessed with food or couldn’t be without food or overate and became morbidly obese.

Brad (11:23):
All this kind of stuff from a brief, relatively brief starvation experiment. So the human does not thrive when it is routinely restricted from optimal caloric intake, but what it does do is adjust. So in a less extreme example, if you start cutting back your total caloric intake by, let’s say, adhering to a regimented fasting protocol, you are at risk of turning down important metabolic dials, reproduction, repair, growth, and locomotion, namely. And that can be had really adverse consequences, especially, for example, the common example that we mention of let’s say the, the female CrossFit enthusiast with a six pack who’s super fit already extremely low body fat and now wants to try out, the keto diet or intermittent fasting or a 16 eight eating window protocol where the all eating is done within an eight hour time window, and then there’s a 16 hour fast every day.

Brad (12:22):
So these well-intentioned strategies can backfire, especially in comparison to a strategy of getting the maximum amount of nutritious calories that you can consume every day and maintain your body composition. That was a great quote from my former podcast guest, Tommy Wood. He said he counsels his active energetic clients to consume as much nutritious food as they can every day until they add a pound of body fat. And that’s when you know you’ve reached optimal and you dial it back a little bit, and that’s where you are. And he made some great quips, like, Hey, I’m looking at these athlete food diaries, and it says breakfast two eggs and half an avocado. And he will retort back, why don’t you have a real breakfast and make it six eggs and a full avocado again, because the athlete striving to perform and recover is going to use that nutrition, put that nutrition to good use, recover more quickly, perform better, ending up adding more muscle mass, or getting stronger and burning more calories anyway as a consequence.

Brad (13:27):
So there’s a lot of controversy about calories in, calories out, calories in, calories out is everything. It’s all as simple as that. But there’s so much nuance that it’s really important to stay away from thatm pithy statement and look at the big picture whereby if you restrict calories, your body will turn down those dials and start burning fewer calories, being more tired throughout the day having colder hands and feet because of turned down thyroid adrenal function, all these downstream consequences of trying to do the right thing and not eat too much. So a new idea that I’m strongly embracing, uh, personally and also communicating is this perform and recover idea where if you can get more active, and as a consequence if you have to eat more nutritious food, that’s great. So I want you to consider personally the reasons that you might want to be fasting or are currently engaged in a fasting protocol.

Brad (14:25):
And perhaps the most important one, the most relevant one, is to regulate that unfettered access to indulgent foods. ’cause that is a real deal thing. No matter how disciplined we think we are, uh, we might need to put some, uh, guardrails, uh, in, in place, uh, to, to optimize diet. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna acknowledge that one, uh, even though it, it seems like you could easily overcome that, um, with some good habit forming next, maybe the biggest reason people fast is the desire to reduce excess body fat. And that is also a really, really good reason. However, before we jump to fasting, before we jump to any kind of restrictive diet, the most important thing is to get healthy first. That’s another Dr. Tommy Wood message that don’t even try to lose excess body fat until you become metabolically healthy and deal with whatever issues might be in play.

Brad (15:26):
One of them might be a sluggish thyroid because of a history of years and decades of yo-yo dieting. So, uh, instead of doing one other string pull on the yo-yo, we want to get things right, and that might entail increasing your intake of nutritious foods. But truly the first step for anyone that wishes to reduce excess body fat is to ditch processed foods and do that with extreme, uh, devotion and strictness and discipline and commitment. So if there are nutrient deficient, processed foods leaking into your diet, we need not discuss anything more, especially not fasting or restrictive diets, until we clean up our act. And a lot of times you’ve heard, and Mark Sisson and I write about this in many books that we simplify this into the big three categories of the most offensive nutrient deficient processed foods. And these are refined industrial seed oils, refined grains, refined sugars, and all the foods that are in a package, a wrapper, frozen or fast food that are made with a, usually a combination of these agents that are heavily processed and interfere with your normal healthy metabolic function and ability to process energy internally.

Brad (16:43):
So when you consume these vegetable oils or high polyunsaturated industrial seed oils. Dr. Cate Shanahan talked about this extensively in our recent interview. And, uh, the launch of a new book, dark Calories. When you consume these foods, they cause an instant disturbance to healthy, uh, cardiovascular function, and they inhibit your body’s natural ability to burn fat because the, uh, the, uh, the, the toxic molecules are integrated into healthy fat cells, making them difficult, rendering them difficult to burn, and more likely to stay on your body. So, uh, getting away, especially from, uh, the vegetable or the seed oils, which are so easy to restrict because they don’t have any taste, they don’t add value. I know that sugar might be considered in a different category where you have a sweet tooth, it feels good, you love to eat this, you love to eat that as part of life.

Brad (17:34):
It’s part of celebration, but you can easily switch out your diet from the destructive seed oils to more nutritious and less offensive fats, such as the monounsaturated fat category that would be like avocados, macadamia nuts, extra virgin olive oil. And also the healthy saturated fats which come from natural animal products, and especially cooking with saturated fat or a temperature stable fat like butter, like ghee. anything but the, the vegetable oils, which are highly temperature sensitive and become oxidized even before they’re put in the pan where they become further oxidized, they’re oxidized and rendered into free radicals, during the processing methods because it requires a lot of heat and high temperature processing to achieve the end product of a canola, corn, soy, sunflower, safflower oil in the bottle. And of course, laden in all the fast food and the processed foods that we eat.

Brad (18:33):
So, clean up your act before you consider a fasting strategy in the name of losing excess body fat. Here’s another consideration. It’s widely agreed, it’s undisputed that protein is the single most important dietary requirement for the human above fat and carbohydrates. In fact, the, you’ve probably heard the line that there’s no biological requirement for carbohydrates and the human diet. The human can survive without carbohydrates, by making our own carbohydrates and ketones. But obviously probably not recommended for almost anyone. But protein we have to get from the diet, especially the essential amino acids. The term essential means that they must come from diet. And then there’s a variety of non-essential amino acids. I believe there’s nine essential and 22 total amino acids that your body can manufacture internally if you’re a healthy person.

Brad (19:29):
But those essential amino acids must come from diet. It’s important to realize that there are different, there’s different quality and different rate of assimilation to the various sources of protein. So if you’re in the plant-based category, you’re gonna have a much more difficult time digesting, absorbing, assimilating a plant-based amino acid, versus the fully formed and easy to digest amino acids that comes from animal products like meat and eggs and fish and so forth. So you’re gonna have to eat a lot of kale or a lot of legumes, or a lot of lentil soup to match the protein that you get from an egg or some grass-fed ground beef or what have you. So we have this urgent requirement to optimize dietary protein.

Brad (20:19):
There’s a lot of talk now about what’s the ideal level you might’ve heard of RDA, and little known fact that RDA is for survival. It’s not for optimization. So when the government says your RDA for vitamin C or your RDA for protein is 0.3 grams per pound, that’s extremely low, but it’s the survival necessity. So we wanna talk about optimization and feeling great and performing and recovering our whole life. Many experts are now offering the easy to remember anecdote that you want to try to consume around a gram per pound of lean body mass, or a gram per pound of total body mass in some other recommendations that’s a little higher, right? But a gram per pound of protein every day on average to thrive. Most people think of this in terms of the young, uh, bro at the gym trying to get jacked and drinking the protein smoothies. But some of the populations that have the most, uh, uh, urgent and highest need for protein and are most likely to be deficient are females active, older folks, because our ability for protein synthesis declines as we age.

Brad (21:28):
And also the vegan vegetarian plant-based crowd who are systematically restricting the vast majority of the high protein foods and the highest quality protein foods in the diet. I don’t care if you have a, a bottle of pea protein on your shelf. If you’re not eating eggs, fish, and all kinds of meat in the diet, you’re gonna have to take 23 scoops of that crap instead of two or three if you’re eating a high quality animal-based protein with whey protein isolate being the, uh, the gold standard there. So we have an urgent requirement for protein. We have these populations that are systematically falling short. There’s a lot of conjecture about why females fall short, um, possibly ’cause maybe they trend more to the salads, the wraps, and the plant-based ideals as opposed to many males. And I forgot to add another category, and that would be active younger folks trying to get big in the gym and, uh, recover from their grueling soccer practices in high school, college, whatever.

Brad (22:31):
So I almost didn’t leave anybody out, right? The protein is important for younger athletes, older athletes, females and vegan, vegetarian plant-based peoplerfyh strive to get around a gram per pound and see how you do. If you are in the habit of fasting until noon, or having a 16 eight eating pattern that puts you at risk of protein deficiency. I’m not talking about severe protein deficiency, but I’m talking about suboptimal routine pattern of protein intake that leaves you just a little bit off with your performance, a little bit delay on recovery, a little bit suboptimal immune function, and overall, just not at your best. And you don’t even know it because you’re getting a 7 out of 10 on, on your grade for protein consumption instead of going for 10 outta 10. So think about that. Carefully prioritize protein. Again, I’m gonna say that this is an undisputed recommendation where no one would challenge that and say, nah, protein’s not that important.

Brad (23:34):
I think sugar is the most important thing to get from the diet. You’re not gonna hear that. So it’s protein is number one. Go for those nutrient dense, uh, animal-based proteins that are the best to digest and assimilate. And if you are already at risk, because as I mentioned, you’re female, you’re an active in the older age groups, you’re a young person trying to really perform, or you’re in the plant-based crowd, and you also routinely fast or do 16 eight eating pattern, you are now really setting yourself up for a potential suboptimal protein intake. Dr. Don Lehman, one of the world’s leading protein experts, you’ve heard him on Peter Attia’s Drive podcast and several other prominent shows. He contends that the two most important times to consume protein are first thing in the morning, because you’ve been fasted overnight. And so you are about to go into catabolic metabolism because you’ve been burning calories even though you’re sleeping, not a lot of calories.

Brad (24:33):
But if you don’t top off protein first thing in the morning or around first thing in the morning, you might be going to our second source of calories. And, and that’s gluconeogenesis. So that’s breaking down amino acids, lean muscle tissue, and converting it into glucose for your, uh, glucose needs if you’re fasting in the morning. And also just going into the catabolic state rather than the anabolic or the basic state of metabolic. You don’t want to, uh, dip into catabolic if you don’t have to. Of course, you’re going to always be gracefully cycling through anabolic catabolic metabolic states. So we don’t want to confuse this issue with these, these quips that people make, like, uh, I wanna be anabolic all the time ’cause I’m a bodybuilder. It’s not how the body works. And interestingly enough, there are certain processes in the body.

Brad (25:26):
One of them is sleep, where both anabolic and catabolic processes are operating concurrently anyway. First thing in the morning is a great time to get some protein. If you’re not in the habit of sitting down to a breakfast and making some delicious eggs, you can take a scoop in a glass of water. I have my B.rad Super Fuel whey protein. It is now, uh, sliding up to the, uh, the top of the charts in Amazon. We have the most wonderful response from people who are super happy to have a, a protein supplement that’s not disgustingly sweet or overly sweetened or overly flavored, and being entirely natural without any of the artificial chemical based flavorings or sweeteners that are in almost every other protein on the market. So that’s really cool. And I think even if you’re not a big consumer of powdered protein products, this product might help you with a simple scoop in the morning.

Brad (26:21):
You also get creatine in there, which is important for all populations to supplement with, especially the afore mentioned females, active older folks, active younger folks, and vegan vegetarian plant paste. You can easily get deficient on creatine. So, uh, there’s a little plug in the middle of the show for B.rad Whey Protein Super Fuel. You can find it on Amazon, and you can, uh, direct message me. I think we can get you a discount code for your first, uh, your first order. So try that DM on Instagram or email podcast@bradventures.com. But anyway, find a convenient way to get protein in first thing every morning. That’s why I talked at the outset, how I’ve shifted from a fasted morning or a typical pattern of not eating much until midday, to now preparing a nice robust B.rad whey protein super fuel smoothie where I put in, uh, uh, frozen, um, uh, fruit like, uh, bananas and berries, and several scoops.

Brad (27:19):
I’m taking probably three scoops of protein, which is a lot. You can figure out what works best for you. I make it for anyone around including my 87-year-old super active mother or my wife, who is, you know, um, in that, in that category of really active, energetic and possibly not consuming enough protein just due to, um, you know, busy, busy day and, and dietary patterns. So, e everyone deserves protein. And this is an easy and convenient way to overcome that objection of saying, oh, my, my mornings are so hectic. I have to get the kids off to school. I’m too busy and I don’t eat until a lunch meal. That’s, that’s fine, but get a scoop in first thing in the morning. And then the other time that Dr. Layman says is super important is as far into the as close to bed as possible.

Brad (28:06):
Of course, we don’t wanna consume food after dark, we hear that all the time, but that extra scoop in the evening could make all the difference to help your overnight protein synthesis get a little bit better, so that you have plenty to start with and wake up in the morning, uh, fully refreshed and recovered. So that’s a huge reason to consider, um, stepping away from fasting and instead, uh, trying out some protein first thing in the morning.

Brad (28:34):
So let’s go back and talk a little bit about those incidental benefits, and if you really need those. The first one I mentioned was avoiding a crappy breakfast. So I’m gonna say, a wise guy response here. Like, come on, really? So you’re telling me, because you stayed in the Embassy Suites for two nights that you couldn’t resist, and there was no other option except to bust open a box of those miniature cereals and pour that conventional milk and that sweetened yogurt and whatever else you inhaled before you went the seminar all day and sat there.

Brad (29:10):
I’m not gonna use that as a I’m not gonna validate that as a big reason that I fast so I can avoid breakfast. Come on. Just avoid shitty breakfast in general. And how about having a good breakfast or perhaps, um, a scoop of protein if you’re not a breakfast person? Uh, the second incidental benefit I talked about was, uh, you know, giving your body a break from inflammation, leaky gut inflammatory autoimmune response. So that’s, I’m gonna say sort of a separate issue. Yes, you’re giving your body a break, but how about get the issue handled? And that points us right back with the arrow to eliminating, strictly eliminating nutrient deficient processed foods that are strongly predicted and suspected of prompting leaky gut. And guess what also is suspected of prompting leaky gut? You can go over into the carnivore community and realize how some of the superstar foods that we’ve, uh, been celebrating for a long time is super healthy and nutritious, might cause problems in sensitive people.

Brad (30:09):
And those are in the categories of roots, seeds, stems, and leaves. We’re talking about leafy greens like superfood kale and spinach, and almonds, and all grains and legumes go in that category, if you can translate that. So if you are sensitive, perhaps consider a period of restriction where you put aside your kale salad and your, your snack of almonds and your green smoothie, and all those things that you’re eating and consuming in the name of health, but could be causing sensitivities in people who are, uh, uh, uh, reactive to the antinutrients that are contained in high amounts in some of those super foods you call kale the wondrous food or broccoli. And, they’re highly ranking for, uh, the antioxidant and phytonutrient benefits, but this also means that they are high in antinutrients, things like oxalates and isothiocyanates and all the things they, you can learn about in detail, uh, from Dr. Paul Saladino and other carnivore leaders.

Brad (31:12):
Okay, back to the list of rationale for fasting. Another one is gaining a sense of control and discipline over your dietary habits, uh, avoiding unfettered access to indulgent foods. And again, I validate that, but I also want to propose that perhaps if you were to front load your consumption of natural nutrient dense foods with a fantastic breakfast or what have you, an eating pattern that was really satisfying and nourishing you, you weren’t worrying about portion control and such things, when you’re presented with natural nutrient-dense foods, which your body, uh, naturally will regulate its intake, you’re not gonna be very likely to get fat eating too many eggs in the morning, or too many steaks in the evening, right? We, we have those mechanisms in the brain where we truly feel satisfied and we shut off our appetite.

Brad (32:08):
That doesn’t really happen with processed foods. And there’s great books, um, like The Hungry Brain that will go into detail where we’re flooding the dopamine pleasure sensor in the brain, and that causes us to overconsume things like, uh, sugary processed foods. So gaining that sense of control and discipline, that’s important, but maybe you could gain the same sense of control and discipline, uh, that you get from fasting, uh, by, uh, devotedly consuming, uh, a nice protein smoothie in the morning and nourishing yourself properly. Uh, here’s another reason that comes up a lot for, uh, benefits or reasons and rationale for fasting. Uh, I feel more focused and productive in the morning because I can jump right into work. Yeah, you don’t have to waste all that time, uh, preparing a smoothie, which takes a minute and 18 seconds from start to finish.

Brad (32:56):
So I’m also gonna call this benefit, uh, quite flimsy. And second, guess that strongly. Also important to remember that fasting turns on stress hormones. That was a prominent, uh, argument made very nicely by Jay Feldman on our four podcast interviews. And then a wonderful counter argument, uh, best, uh, presented with my, uh, most recent interview with Mark Sisson, where he said, look, if you build that metabolic flexibility, your body can handle fasting just fine. And Mark is, uh, the king of intermittent fasting. He’s been doing it for years, pretty much decades now. And he does, does not seem to be troubled by waiting until 1:00 PM to have his first proper meal. So, when you are in great shape and you’re super metabolically healthy, yes, indeed, fasting is not going to be stressful. But there are many people in the category where they have not built fabulous metabolic flexibility.

Brad (33:54):
That’s the ability to burn a variety of fuel sources based on demand at any time. So if you’re working toward getting healthier, trying to get that excess body fat off, and you want to get into fasting, realize that this is a stressful practice. It turns on stress hormones and stress mechanisms in the body, as does ketone production in the liver. This is a survival response when the body determines that dietary carbohydrate is extremely insufficient for the ravenous appetite of the brain. So the brain is, you know, top priority to fuel the brain more so than your right bicep or your left calf after the workout. And the brain is so ravenous that it consumes around 20% of all our daily calories. Even though it only weighs two, 2% of your body weight, it consumes 20% of your daily calories.

Brad (34:50):
Oh, my brain weighs two and a half percent of body weight. Just kidding, <laugh>. Anyway, the brain needs glucose. Usually a primarily glucose, unless those, unique examples of devoted ketogenic diet follower where the brain can adapt to burning half ketones, or even more than half two thirds ketones and one third glucose. If you’re really in this strict ketosis practice, it also burns a little bit of lactate, interestingly, as an aside. But let’s just assume for a moment that the brain is a ravenous consumer of glucose. So it will do whatever it takes to get the glucose. It needs a nice, steady drip of glucose throughout the day, and that includes turning on stress mechanisms if you skip breakfast and engaging in the preeminent stress response mechanism of glucose neogenesis, that’s the conversion of amino acids into glucose. And that might mean lean muscle tissue, uh, which is an objectionable starvation and survival mechanism that you don’t want to necessarily call upon frequently if you wanna be fit, healthy, active, and energetic.

Brad (36:00):
So, understanding that fasting turns on stress hormones, as does ketone burning, as does fat burning, literally is a stress response, but burning off stored bounty fat. I mean we want to make sure that we don’t overload the stress side of the equation in modern life and stress ourselves too much when we’re counting everything. Imagine envision the scales of justice where you put your, uh, your stress mechanisms on one side and your recovery and restoration and rejuvenation on the other side. So we have our evening sleep, we have that 20 minute nap. If you’re good at disengaging and doing that we have going out with the binoculars and watching the birds in the marsh. So a very, very light exercise would be rejuvenator. And then on the other side, the scale, we have our mobile devices. We have our mean boss, we have our jerky boyfriend again this week, and all those other mechanisms that prompt the fight or flight, uh, response in the body.

Brad (37:01):
So when a diet comes back in there, instead of being the nourishing, supporting contributor to rest recovery balance and, uh, peak performance, of course, that’s when we might wanna second guess how stressful we make our diet with things like extreme carb restriction to promote ketone production or, uh, time restricted feeding or extended fasting or a, a routine, uh, daily fasting in a 16 eight pattern. Oh, and what about that wonderful benefit of autophagy? Yes, indeed. The great research by the leaders in fasting will share how, uh, profound the benefits are, and you get a renewal effect in the organs in your body. If you go on extended fast the research shows that your organs actually shrink in size because they are discarding damaged and inflamed cellular material. That is a good thing. That is the essence of anti-aging is renewing the organs, right?

Brad (38:02):
And so autophagy can be put at the forefront of desirable practices that, that promote autophagy. Right? Uh, now Mike Mutzel, High Intensity Health, one of the great resources and his content is, uh, fabulous on his YouTube channel, especially. You can also get it on podcast, podcast channels, former podcast guest. You can search my archives. It was a few years ago that I visited Mike up in his home in the Seattle area. He has some great research revealing that after a 48 hour fast, yeah, man, that’s big time. After 48 hours, you get these huge, uh, autophagy benefits. And then he cites research that a similar effect has been observed after a one hour high intensity workout in the gym. And then Mike delivers the punchline beautifully. I don’t know about you, but which one would you choose to prompt the awesome autophagy benefits?

Brad (39:02):
Starving yourself for 48 hours for autophagy to kick in big time, or just slamming in the gym? ‘Cause what happens after an hour vigorous workout in the gym or whatever you’re doing, uh, you’re, you’re doing an hour running race or bicycle race or something that really depletes your cellular energy. That’s when autophagy kicks in. It kicks in on a mild level after an overnight fast, or fasting until 12 noon. So when you starve the cells of energy, you prompt this renewal response. But the whole point here is you don’t want to overdo it. And that’s why my reflections have been so strong and my altering, my, my typical path to forego fasting in favor of stacking up some good high performance workouts that give me the identical benefit of, uh, upregulated autophagy in response to my high intensity workouts, especially. So, um, they call this redundant pathways.

Brad (40:01):
That was a term used by Dr. Casey Means, our podcast interview Redundant Pathways, meaning you get similar benefits doing something different. So fasting or high intensity exercise, which one would you choose? Um, Dr. Paul Saladino also talks about this, uh, topic when, uh, he mentions that, uh, going into, uh, a cold plunge for a brief cold immersion, uh, practice might give you a similar antioxidant boost to having your kale salad. But of course, without all the potential side effects, and in many cases, real and unknown side effects, uh, that you get from the kale salad, the adverse effects, uh, that prompt leaky gut. So, cold therapy has been, become so popular now, some people are second guessing. It is too stressful, and I appreciate that contention. And so what I wanna say about that as a longtime practitioner, is you want to be reasonable with your practice, and you don’t want it to be something that you dread, or it makes you feel tired or, or stressed or anxious.

Brad (41:07):
And so I’ve taken my duration in my plunge tub down to a couple, a couple minutes at the most, one and a half to two and a half minutes, rather than, what I used to do is try to see how long I could stay in there, and I’d go five or six minutes. It was nice to experience the adaptations of being able to stay in there longer, making me, uh, tougher, more focused and more resilient in all forms of daily life, because I was able to take that challenge. But at a certain point, it’s like, okay, now let’s just use this as a therapeutic health benefit to get that antioxidant boost. And of course, that boost of dopamine and norepinephrine that lasts for an hour after a brief cold immersion. The great research, uh, a widely touted research from Finland is that a 40, uh, a 22nd immersion into 40 degree Fahrenheit water, just 20 second, uh, submersion immersion into 40 degree Fahrenheit water will prompt a 200 to 300% boost in dopamine, uh, lasting for up to an hour afterward.

Brad (42:13):
So you feel alert, energized, refreshed. We can all relate to, you know, jumping in the ocean, uh, on a cold day or, or a lake or whatever, and coming out and, uh, screaming and screeching with delight and feeling, uh, alive all of a sudden. So if you’re interested in getting more, uh, into this, uh, widely popular practice, please check out brad kerns.com and navigate over to the shop button. And then you’ll see my offering of online courses. I have a nice handful of really content-rich multimedia courses. One of ’em is on taking the cold plunge. I also have an ebook available on Amazon. And it has everything, uh, that you need to learn to do cold thermogenesis in a variety of, uh, venues, including starting with the shower, and then the popular tubs that you can get. I have great discount with the coldplunge.com.

Brad (43:07):
So I have a discount code that’ll save you, uh, I think a couple hundred bucks on a, a new, uh, cold tub. Um, and you can also, uh, learn how to do it safely and strategically in open water venue, which is also super fun. Lake Tahoe, oh my gosh, going a year round, jumping in that lake when there’s snow around on the ground in the middle of winter. And then, of course, rewarming in a sensible manner. Uh, so in the winter, I might go straight into, uh, the jacuzzi after the lake or take a hot shower, and you can rewarm naturally if your outside temperature is more reasonable. But I have everything you need to know on that course called Take the Cold Plunge. So that was a little aside from the topic of the show here about fasting, but I really wanted to emphasize that point about redundant pathways, because it’s very important when you consider the rationale for fasting in your lifestyle.

Brad (43:59):
Oh, here’s one more. If you’re going out for a peak performance workout where you want to keep the digestive system quiet, that’s another great reason for fasting. So guess, when I do practice fasting, that’s right before my sprint workouts, I might chew on a couple pieces of dried fruit and have some a beverage that might have some calories in it, like kombucha and bubbly water mixed together, or a little shake of my new B.rad Superfruits, fruit drink and get, you know, some hydration going, but not a lot of calories. And then head out to the track and definitely need a rested and empty digestive system. And so I will have my calories when I return home from that morning workout, and that might be a little late if I wake up late, do some preparatory exercises today.

Brad (44:51):
I don’t think I had any calories until 10 30 or something, ’cause I was out at the track sprinting. But generally speaking, I’m strongly in favor of getting up, doing what you need to do and getting some protein in at least first thing in the morning. So let’s just close this with some comments about whatever it takes for you to trend in the direction of a more nutritious and perhaps more disciplined diet against the nonsense that leaks in there sometime. That’s great. And that might mean a fasting protocol where you don’t even think about food until 12 noon ’cause you’re so easily sidetracked. But I gave you my comments about that before. But also remember that the benefits of fasting are incidental rather than directly magic. And, oh, Brad, what about the ancestral health example?

Brad (45:43):
Our ancestors routinely fasted and starved for long periods of time over the course of a day or the month, or the, uh, rough, gnarly winter. I also want to point out as we keep a big picture perspective here, that, um, our ancestors did not have the level of chronic stress that we did. And in fact, when you look at how, uh, humans, uh, uh, navigated the globe and populated the globe, uh, they hugged the shorelines for, uh, many thousands of years. And it’s possible just throwing this out there for fun, that many of our ancestors did not starve and prompt, ketosis to survive the cold brutal winter, but maybe they were laying on rocks in the sun and figured out how to make some nets to catch a bunch of fish. So all they did was eat and screw and populate the, uh, the planet with more humans and didn’t have to suffer and struggle like we romanticize them in the name of promoting a calorie restrictive diet or a time restricted diet.

Brad (46:47):
So that’s a little side note there very possible that some of them just excelled and had a really easy life. Um, so we, we talked about the dangers of stacking too many stressors in your life, especially when you’re talking about, restricting important macronutrients like carbohydrates or like fat. And especially in the active energetic population, there was a great article about United States Olympic team member Elise Cranny, one of the best distance runners in the USA. We just saw her kick some butt at the Olympic trials, and she’s heading to Paris. She ran the 1500 and the 5,000, um, looking great out there. But there was an article about how she struggled a few years back because she was, um, as elite athletes are known to do, trying to get a little bit of an edge. And I believe the article describes how she was trying to shed a couple extra pounds of excess body fat.

Brad (47:42):
When I say extra, I’m talking about the difference between running a 3 57, 1500 and a four flat. Like she did not have a lot of extra body fat by anyone’s measure except for her own and her desire to just shave off a little bit of time. Um, what happens? She messed up her female reproductive hormones. The common condition of amenorrhea, the loss of menstruation in the females that get, uh, body fat too low and stress levels too high. And that not only was bad for her health, but it also compromised her performance. So she got her diet right and became more fueled and started performing better, recovering faster, and getting even leaner and fitter than ever before because she optimized her diet. So a good example and a role model to check out. I should also add another, um, tidbit of let’s take a, a look at your overall dietary habits, because sometimes it might be possible that you’re fasting devotedly every morning when your willpower and your energy is naturally high.

Brad (48:45):
And then an extreme devotion of fasting might at times be paired with somewhat of a devotion to Ben and Jerry’s in the evening. ’cause your brain is really good at getting you back straight. If you under fuel, it will have, it will prompt strong cravings for calories, uh, possibly, uh, starting with quick energy nutrient deficient calories like sugar, right when you get down and cranky and, and hangry as they call it. So if you front load this equation and front load your nutrition, maybe your evening habits will be better. And, uh, that’s, um, something that probably we can all, uh, uh, relate to at times when we’ve, uh, exerted tremendous discipline and then, um, caved in and gone overboard because that discipline was actually too tremendous. Um, and also speaking of, uh, preparing a gourmet breakfast that I’ve succeeded on, uh, with my, uh, huge protein smoothie and, uh, generous bowls of fresh fruit, especially, uh, when they’re in season, like going to the farmer’s market, I rated the fruit areas and I’ll have huge loads of fresh fruit in the morning with my protein smoothie.

Brad (49:57):
Delicious. Love it. I also will be preparing an nice gourmet breakfast. Not every day, but a lot of days I’ll, uh, take the time, you know, after the workout, let’s say, to have numerous eggs, maybe some fresh baked sourdough from the farmer’s market and have a big old breakfast. Maybe the protein smoothie that day is just protein, uh, stirred in a glass of water instead of the, the big smoothie with the other additives. But I’ll have a nice gourmet breakfast to fuel me the rest of the day. And if you compare that to the really popular practice of recent years that is known by Bulletproof coffee or high fat coffee, let’s compare contrast. ‘Cause, you can succeed in fasting for longer period. If you dose yourself with several hundred calories of fat with a butter or MCT oil or whatever you’re putting in this coffee.

Brad (50:50):
And you’ll also get that central nervous system stimulation from the caffeine, the coffee. So you’re on the bulletproof plan, you feel good, you’re alert and energized, and you’re also fasting every day until 12 noon, but let’s, uh, acknowledge that you’re not getting, uh, virtually any, uh, nutrition in that bulletproof coffee. You know, you’re, you’re getting, uh, something that’s not objectionable if you’re, if you’re putting butter in there, you’re getting some saturated fat that’s not a nutrient dense food, right? And even the MCT oil, um, you have those, uh, highly regarded health benefits, but that’s not a nutritional centerpiece of your diet like you might see with a a a a, an omelet or something that’s, you know, really given you, uh, all aspects of, uh, what you might need. So, um, I’m not sure about the rationale there when you’re just, uh, slamming in calories in the name of fasting or making fasting easier when we compare contrast to a nutritious breakfast. Hey, I’d love to know your thoughts. Maybe you think that your high-fat coffee is the most awesome thing and it’s working really well for you to fast till 12 noon. And here’s why you do it. And I’ll share some of those comments on future Q and A shows. But I hope this stuff can, uh, help. Do some help you do some further reflection on your diet, uh, email podcast@bradventures.com to be part of the conversation. And thank you for listening, watching.

Brad (52:14):
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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