336: How Low Can Your Body Fat Go, The New “Red Meat Causes Cancer” Study, Five Ways To Know If Your Heart Is Healthy

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Oct 28, 2015 Podcast: How Low Can Your Body Fat Go, The New “Red Meat Causes Cancer” Study, Five Ways To Know If Your Heart Is Healthy

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News Flashes:

Finally, Kevin Carr (who we discussed in episode 334) wrote in to say:

Hi Ben – Kevin Carr here, I've been a listener of your podcast for the last 6 months – following the completion of my world run, and enjoy the show a lot. Thank you for mentioning my unusual fluid-recycling techniques for extreme long running! I enjoy the show as although I run extreme distances I train very efficiently – for instance throughout the last 5 weeks of the world run I averaged 75km a day, however in training before the run I was running only 4-5 hours a week. I spend more time strength training – both ‘maximal strength' and prehab style movement patterns than running – and the proof is in the pudding I ran 16,300 miles in 621 days with zero ‘overuse' injuries. I also work at a standing desk – sit as little as possible and wear weights the whole time – essentially live under ‘hyper gravity' these techniques amongst others are an incredibly efficient way for runners to train whilst dramatically reducing injury risk – both through over training and through being stronger in the events. I was heavily inspired by William Sichel – a Scottish Ultra Marathon runner who turned his back on ‘high mileage' training to develop more efficient/intense ways of training – William is also a ketogenic athlete. Myself I've been training fasted for almost a decade now and recently moved to a cyclical-ketogenic diet. Best of luck in your upcoming 24 hour tough mudder, Kevin.”

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Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.

How Low Can Your Body Fat Go?

Ana says: She wants to lift heavy to get bulky. What's the lowest body fat she can go without risking hormonal problems? What diet and exercise do you recommend and can you add in the age issue, she's 43.

In my response, I recommend:
This Body Fat Calculator
-These body fat percentage photos

Five Ways To Know If Your Heart Is Healthy

David says: He has a heart murmur. But every check up he has his heart is healthy. What kinds of things can he do to increase the healthiness of this heart and what kind of things should he avoid.

What To Do About High Heart Rate During Exercise

Anonymous says: When training on his bike recently, his heart rate got up to 233, and that's the highest it been. He's noticed over the last 6 weeks, every 3 or 4 training sessions it's been getting up over the 200 mark. He's not feeling pain, but should he be worried?

Is Reverse Osmosis Water Healthy?

Cathy says: She's curious about drinking reverse osmosis water or distilled water. A lot of people say its fine and a lot say it's dangerous because it doesn't have the minerals in it and can strip the minerals from your body. She knows you can put mineral drops back into the water but she's also heard that's bad because trace mineral drops have mercury and lead, etc. What are your thoughts?

In my response, I recommend:
Reverse Osmosis with remineralization added
Trace liquid minerals
High mineral sea salt
-Structured water filter GreenfieldNaturals.com code BG15 for 15% discount


Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!


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21 thoughts on “336: How Low Can Your Body Fat Go, The New “Red Meat Causes Cancer” Study, Five Ways To Know If Your Heart Is Healthy

  1. damdamdam says:

    I'm surprised you keep mentioning quackery stuff like structured water. This is ruining your overall credibility!
    And revise your basics in physics and chemistry :)

    1. stevecooper37 says:

      Sweet! When does your podcast start? I'll be sure to tune in.

      1. damdamdam says:

        If you're into debunking alternative medicine scams and other common misconceptions, here's a great podcast: The Skeptic's guide to the universe http://www.theskepticsguide.org

  2. BalabanMB says:

    Another great episode. How about avocados? Do they increase HDL or tri's? I eat about 2-3 a day

    1. In one study of an avocado-enriched diet, subjects with high cholesterol increased their HDL 11% after only 1 week. In same study, in those with elevated cholesterol levels, the avocado diet resulted in a 17 percent decrease of serum total cholesterol, and a 22 percent decrease of both LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. But avocados have 235 calories per cup (146 g), so portion control is key.

      1. engzzur says:

        Ben, a quick look into the article you provide a reference to in the show notes, I found this:

        "[80]. A triglyceride: HDL cholesterol ratio >3.5 appears to
        be associated with increased cardiovascular risk"

        Also quick search on the internet about a good ratio, results in a few hits that less than 2 could be fine.

        Is the <1 ratio mentioned in the podcast a mistake? Otherwise what is the basis of this recommandation.

        Many thanks.

  3. Mary says:

    Hey, Ben. You about V-tach in this episode. I’m an RN and have worked in cardiac medicine, so just wanted to clear a couple things up. You’re correct that V-tach can be fatal. In fact, in most cases of V-tach (if sustained), the person is pulseless, and would have to be given CPR to resuscitate them. I’ve never heard of an athlete who actually has this condition (that doesn’t mean it’s not out there), but I have heard of many, many athletes who go into SVT (supraventricular tachycardia), which sounds to be more likely in this listener’s case, especially at a HR of 233. V-tach rates tend to be lower (even though it is classified as a “tachyarrhythmia”), because the QRS complex is wide, whereas SVT complexes are narrow, often hiding the p-wave on an EKG. In any case, if it was V-tach, the person will very quickly go into cardiac arrest, where in SVT, they might pass out, but not actually die right away (to put it bluntly). Actually, in response to a comment you made on the question about heart health as well, those athletes who drop dead after a marathon or some other type of endurance race probably didn’t actually have a heart attack. They may have gone into cardiac arrest because of an arrhythmia like SVT or V-tach, but it’s highly unlikely that it was a heart attack. People often mistake cardiac arrest with heart attack. I actually take a beta blocker for an arrhythmia, so I am much more confident when I do endurance activities that I won’t go into some sort of arrhythmia and drop dead, because the beta blocker helps keep things ticking properly. Anyway… both SVT and V-tach are dangerous, and in this listener’s case, he definitely needs an EP study to find the source of the rapid heart beat.

  4. Hemming says:

    How can your wife be at 8% body fat while you say that women have 10-12% essential fat? I appreciate there is some individual variability but that seems too far off.

    Besides body fat percentage. Wouldn’t calorie restriction with heavy training etc. cause the same symptoms as too low body fat?

    1. Genetics. She's a bit rare in that way. And yes, calorie restriction/heavy training even when body fat is high can eventually cause similar symptoms.

      1. Cal says:

        I completely agree with Mary that the caller most likely experienced an atrial (not ventricular) arrhythmia. I think Ben got confused. Endurance athletes are prone to atrial arrhythmias and cardiac ablation is a common treatment for the most common of these, atrial fibrillation.

  5. damdamdam says:

    Ben, you really should stop mentioning "Himalayan sea salt". Please check on a map where the Himalayas are, and where the seas are. Himalayan salt is actually rock salt. It's probably as good as sea salt, but it's not the same thing.

    1. LOL…old habits die hard.

  6. tchazzard says:

    One thing to consider before checking your Calcium Score is the amount of radiation you will be exposed to during this particular test. CT scans with numerous passes over the chest are typically used. You might want to understand your lifetime exposure to radiation before signing up for a CT scan for any reason.

  7. Chuck Hazzard says:

    One thing to consider if you wish to have your calcium score tested is the amount of radiation associated with this test. Most of the time CT scans are used and the calcium score requires numerous passes over your body. Keep your lifetime radiation exposure in mind before proceeding.

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