April 11, 2012
Introduction: In today’s Episode, do belly fat supplements really work? Also, does being on your feet all day count as a warm-up, anti-inflammatory foods instead or prednisone, fueling recommendations for a multi-day hike, do hormones and exercise create acne, the benefits of fasted exercise sessions, are carbs really killing you, adapting a low carb diet, is popcorn a superfood, and do vitamins raise your chances of death?
Brock: Hello and welcome to episode 190. I think this is a milestone episode here. We’re only ten away from 200. It’s very exciting. But yes, Episode 190 of the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast. Ben, what do you think? Do we need to celebrate in ten episodes?
Ben: We do. I don’t know where I’m going to be or what I’ll be doing ten episodes from now. But if my calendar is clear, then I’m sure that we can do something like drink heavily before the episode in celebration.
Brock: How’s that different from normal?
Ben: It’s something other than coffee. Actually, I’ve been up awhile this morning. I’m amped up on a combination of coffee and Chinese adaptogenic herbs. Those two things are either fighting each other or working synergistically in my body right now. I can’t figure out which. But I’m feeling good. And I’m probably going to crash by about noon.
Brock: So, you’re going to talk really fast and over the episode it’ll start to slow down drastically.
Ben: Exactly. But there are a lot of stuff to go over in this episode. So, let’s jump into some news flashes.
Brock: Okay. There are a couple of places you can follow Ben and all of his revelations and in depths studies and stuff like that. You can go to Twitter.com/BenGreenfield or you can go to Google+. And of course I guess you can go to Facebook too. But we’re going to concentrate on which one today, Twitter or Google+?
Ben: Tweets that I put out. There are some good articles that came out on Google+. And you can get to the BenGreenfieldFitness Google+ page by going to bengreenfieldfitness.com and scrolling down on that right side bar. It’s basically just a bunch of little mini-blogs that happen over there. I wrote out Day in My Life recent one.
Brock: Oh, yeah. I saw that one.
Ben: There are a lot of comments on that. But the first thing that I wanted to mention was about Circadian rhythms and flying places. I know that a lot of people who listen in travel. And I saw an interesting study that came out last month that was entitled Scheduled Exercise Phase Shifts the Circadian Clock in Skeletal Muscle. And what this study looked into was circadian behavior. And this molecular clock work that we have built into our bodies that’s regulated mostly by our hypothalamus and in our brain. And light and dark cycles are a huge queue for this in terms of when its light you get the cortisol release. It affects your circadian rhythm. It leaves you awake with elevated moods. And as it gets dark, you begin to get sleepy based off of that drop in cortisol and change in your circadian behavior. But what this study showed was that scheduled physical activity meaning regularly scheduled exercise sessions can alter circadian rhythms. And they can do that independently of things like the light-dark cycle. They work in a different manner. And so, the reason that I thought that this was important on a practical level was that I always have had this habit when I arrive at a destination after flying a long distance of trying to do some form of physical exercise. Even if it’s something as simple as a brisk walk to explore the area that I’m staying in or another thing that I’d like to do is to hop into a pool and go for a swim. I find that that massively beats jet lag for me. And I think a big reason for that is because exercise can really affect your circadian rhythm in ways that almost overrides some of the messages that your hypothalamus is sending your bodies. So, this study verified to me that I’m on the right track when it comes to trying to exercise after a bout of travel.
Brock: So, it’s not suggesting that you maintain some sort of a schedule of exercising or even exercise before you start to travel. But really, once you arrive in a different time zone.
Ben: Well, you could certainly also take away the fact that if you want to regulate your circadian rhythm and for example ensure that you feel more awake everyday, start everyday with exercise. That would be one example of a way to regulate your circadian rhythm send this message to your body that now is wake time. And doing that regularly can affect your circadian rhythm and possibly your gene expression that affects your circadian rhythm more than if you didn’t exercise. So, that’s one of the reasons that even doing something as simple as a series of light stretches and a little bit of aerobic exercise when you wake up can do a fantastic job setting up for productivity and focus the rest of the day. So, you don’t have to go and beat yourself up doing heavy squats and bench presses as soon as you roll out of bed. Even just a little bit can help.
Brock: Cool, alright.
Ben: The next thing was a study that came out on Burdock Root extract. They gave this stuff to mice. And then they studied sexual behavior in those mice and testosterone. And they found that compared to Viagra or sildenafil which is its scientific name. Burdock root extract actually cause not only a very comparable increase in sexual behavior and mice horniness. But it also caused a really big increase in testosterone. And the reason that I thought that this was interesting was because we’re always trying to hit occasionally on andropause and natural drop in hormones in males affecting everything from performance to drive. And this certainly caught my attention when I saw this come across. Now, one of the things that you got to realize when you see a study like this is how much of the stuff did they use. How much burdock root extract did they use in these mice? And it ranged from about 300 milligrams per kilogram to 1200 milligrams per kilogram per day. So, for a guy like me who’s around 80 kilograms for me to take a small dose used in the study would mean I’d use about 24000 milligrams of burdock extract to get a good result. And if you g0 to Amazon and look at something like burdock root extract, most of the servings are around maximum 2000 milligrams. So, you’d be looking at a good 12 servings of a supplemental form of it per day. However, I thought the study was interesting. And even though nothing has been done in humans, I know that a lot of self-experimenters listen in to the show. I’ll certainly put a link to the highest dose of burdock extract that I was able to find on Amazon.com. It’s on my bucket list. It’s only a list of things to order and try out. I can’t find any evidence that there are any health effects or any deleterious health effects from a high dose of burdock root. And this certainly isn’t medical advice or even sexual advice. But if anyone wants to try out some burdock root and report on the results over here at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, I’ll certainly be interested on whether or not it has the same effect on humans as it does in mice.
Brock: So, this isn’t the actually treat erectile dysfunction by the sounds of things. It wouldn’t be a direct correlation with Viagra. Is it more of a drive kind of thing?
Ben: Actually based on what I’ve seen in the study, it may actually treat impotence at the doses used in the study at least. I’m just guessing at lower doses. It might just make you a little bit more sexual active and certainly amp up the testosterone a little bit. So, it’s something to think about. And then the last thing that I wanted to mention was for kids and building kid’s brains. And this isn’t really a study as much as something I’ve found. Somebody sent me a sample of this stuff and my kids absolutely loved it. It’s basically fish oil. It doesn’t taste like fish oil. It tastes like lemon pudding. It’s a mix of essential fatty acids, your EPA and DPA that you get in this case from a wild fatty fish. And it’s mixed with a little bit of emulsified vitamin D and some other compounds that are just fantastic especially for kids developing brains. So, I’ve been giving this stuff to my kids. And they love it. It’s called Nano EPA. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. But for anybody who’s got kids that you want to help out their brains a little bit and you don’t want to shove fish oil down their throats, this is certainly a very tasty alternative. And of course anytime something tastes this good, I always go to the label and check to see how much cane in sugar or high fructose corn syrup that they put in it. They didn’t put any of that stuff in it. The sweetener that they use is a little bit of zylotol. There are some turmeric in there for color. But it’s good high quality stuff. So, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes for anybody who has kids who wants to help out your kid’s brains.
Brock: Now, is there any reason why adults couldn’t take this stuff?
Ben: Adults could take it. But I personally just take a few fish oil capsules. I use some Carlson’s fish oil capsules or some Pharmax fish oil capsules.
Brock: Just know that there are some picky adults out there as well that don’t like burping up fish oil all afternoon.
Ben: Yeah. Adults who want their lemony pudding fish oil could use this as well.
Brock: Okay. So, it looks like your off to Dubai and then your off to Hawaii and then your off to Japan. Do I have it in the wrong order?
Ben: I don’t know. I’ll just hop on the airplanes and where the ticket tells me too. Anybody over there in Dubai or near Dubai, May 11th and May 12th I’ll be over there teaching a two day intensive seminar on how to make your body super human. I’ll be going over performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, sleep, mental function, and sexual function/hormones. And that will be a two day intensive. We’ve got a link in the show notes for anybody around there. I do know that we have a lot of listeners in Dubai who want to attend that. So, check that out. And of course anybody who happens to be in Kona in the first week of June, I’m doing a triathlon camp down there followed by the Hawaii 70.3 race. And then I’m heading over the Nagoya, Japan. For any of you Japanese listeners, drop me a line to [email protected] if you’d like to hook up over there in Japan. And stay tuned to the Twitter feed of course where over at Twitter.com/BenGreenfield, I’ll let you know anything else that’s going on as I’m in any of those areas. So, the other thing that I wanted to mention was a few different articles that came out this week at bengreenfieldfitness.com. Of course the audio last Friday with Stacy Sims generated a ton of comments. I’d recommend that if you listen to that audio about how to eat during endurance activities that you go read the comments. We’ve got a few dozen comments on the article Why does a guy like Lance Armstrong have gastrointestinal issues during a triathlon? Read through the comments. There are tons of helpful comments from Stacy. There are follow-up conversations that have happened about what kind of gels contain sucrose and glucose vs. what’s got maltodextrin or fructose and just some really good information on that one. And I do recommend that if you plan on doing a triathlon or a marathon this year, you listen in to that interview as well.
Brock: I know there are a bunch of listeners out there that are like me who listen to this interview when you’re on the train or out for a run or something. But this is one that I’ve actually had to listen to a second time actually sitting down with a piece of paper and a pencil because there’s just so much information in it that you really want to capture. It’s not just sort of for interest sake. It’s like this is real practical information.
Ben: Yup. And pair that with this Friday’s upcoming podcast which is more about how to train on a low carbohydrate diet. How to keep your body burning fats because for me personally it comes down to a one-two combo. I keep myself in a fat burning high fat diet and low carbohydrate state most of the year. But then during an actual event like a hardcore Ironman race where I’m just amped up the whole time. Or even during the week of that event where I’m eating little bit higher carbohydrates to top off my liver and muscle carbohydrate stores. I’ll eat a higher carbohydrate intake. And that’s where I would use Stacy’s advice in those times and then the advice from Peter who we’re going to be talking with on Friday for the other time. So, remember that you don’t fuel every workout the same way. You got to change it up throughout the year because if you fuel every workout the same way that you’re going to fuel during an event or during a race or something like that, that’s too much carbohydrate. And so, just a little asterisk there when we’re talking about this type of thing we’re talking about just trying to use this stuff for a race. And then the other thing was an article about how safe is your house from being a chemical waste land. I highly recommend you go read it. It goes into a lot of detail about a new study that came out about hormone disruptors and chemicals and consumer products. The list is pretty shocking in terms of what type of things including green products that you’d think might be safe actually do contain dangerous chemicals. I put the link to the full list. They’re in the article as well as the list of the safer items. And by the way for anybody listening in, my wife and I are going to teach a seminar this Sunday, the Sunday this podcast comes out. We’re going to teach in the afternoon. I’ve got a link to the seminar in the show notes. It is for people who are members of our 17 dollar a month inner circle. But we’ll be doing some video demonstrations of how we make our cleaners, how we make a lot of our personal care products and how we just basically do all this stuff from home to avoid a lot of these chemicals. So, check out the podcast show notes for episode 190 if you want to get in on that. And then really quick, the last thing I wanted to mention was that for anybody who owns the Ultimate Weight Training Guide for Triathletes book, I just finished an eight month training peaks plan for that.
Ben: You can just plug it into your triathlon calendar. And it lays out three to four different weight training sessions per week from injury prevention to full body training. And it goes throughout the year in a periodized manner. Meaning I start you off with muscular enhancement and a foundation phase. And then move into more progressive strength. And then a power phase and a race week phase. And it’s all laid out there in the plan. I will put a link to the plan on the show notes for this episode. So, anybody who has that book and wants the plan can download it. Even if you don’t have the book, the plan will still make a lot of sense. There are exercise videos and everything. And then also for any of you who don’t own my Ultimate Weight Training Guide for Triathletes, I’ll put a link to that Amazon book for you. So, check that out if you’re a weight training junkie.
Listener Q and A:
Brock: Alright. We’ve got a lot of good questions today. A lot of them are slightly similar. But they all sort of fall on the same vein. So, I think we’ve got a good collection. So, let’s start right in with an audio question from Craig.
Craig says: Hey guys, this is Craig from the thriving Metropolis of Kyle, Texas. I’ve got a question for the podcast. It’s actually a couple of questions. First one should be pretty easy. I work in an office setting managing about 50 people in a convex center. And I’m on my feet all day long walking around helping them out. And my question is when I go out for a lunch run, how much do I really need to warm up if I’m out walking all day before hand? The second question is I’ve got a doubt of erythema nodosum on my lower leg. And before I started a round of prednisone, I was wondering if there was something better that I could do that’s not going to be steroids. Thanks guys. Bye!
Ben: Well, I stand on my feet all day long.
Brock: Me too.
Ben: I have a standing work station. And because I’m an afternoon/early evening exercise guy, it certainly is an issue when you’re standing on your feet all day. You can’t just head out the door for a run. And one of the reasons for that is that even when you’re standing, you tend to choose the easiest position for your body to be in. And that a lot of times mean that you lock your ankles. And you tend to sometimes lock your knees as well to create stability. And that can create a lot of immobility in those joints as well as immobility in your hip joint. And it also can cause a lot of reduction of blood flow and a collection or pooling of blood in those areas and as well as a little bit of swelling in the feet. And if you go straight from a day of standing up in your workstation into doing a run or going to the gym or something like that, locked up hips, knees, ankles, swollen feet, and a bunch of blood collected in your legs is not going to do you any favors. So, I have a couple of recommendations. The first is for while you’re in that standing position throughout the day. Be aware of your body and how you’ve got your body weight distributed. Don’t lock your joints. Keep your knees slightly bent so that your body can move around a little bit. And make sure that you’re picking your feet up one by one and try to move them. Keep the ankles flexible. You can do some foot circles every now and again. And try to keep your body weight mostly on the front part of your foot which is going to also going to keep you from shifting your weight to your heels locking your ankles and locking your knees. So, that’s really important. Also, shifting your body weight constantly is important. Never really finding yourself locked in one place for a long period of time but just moving and shifting and I think you even mentioned Brock last week or a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about this. How when you’re standing, you’ll just take breaks. And you’ll go walk around or do some jumping jacks or something like that.
Brock: Yeah. I actually set an alarm because I know that I’ll forget otherwise and just stand there for hours and hours. And I’ll try to go to the washroom or something. And I feel like Frankenstein’s monster because my legs have completely locked up from standing there for so long.
Ben: Exactly. So, do that. And then once you’re done, once you’re wrapped up for the day and you’re going to go for a run of whatever. I recommend that first of all, if you can get into an inverted position for about one minute for every hour you’ve been standing. So, you’ve got an eight hour work day and you’re on your feet most of the time. What I mean by inverted position is you literally lie down on your floor with your legs propped up against the wall. And this helps to drain blood from your legs. And it basically, if you’re feet are swollen, it’s going to almost instantly get rid of that. When you do it and then you stand up, it’s not relaxing and invigorating. But you’ll notice almost instantly that you’ve got this new range of motion in your feet and in your legs. So, just do that. Just get into an inverted position for one minute for every hour that you’re standing. And interestingly, there’s another way that you can use this inverted position. If you go for a run and you can get into that inverted position for one minute for every mile that you’ve run, that’s also a really good way to drain blood and drain inflammatory metabolites from your legs after a run. And so, if you go out and you’ve got some epic, let’s say you do a 15-mile run. At some point when you get back, if you can arrange to get yourself for 15-minutes into that inverted position with your feel up against the wall, it helps a lot.
Brock: I was doing a marathon a couple of years ago. And I was rooming with this older fellow who was a yoga practitioner. And when we got back from the marathon, I went out and was picking out some stuff. And when I came back he was actually doing a head stand. And he was doing exactly that. For the amount of time, I don’t know if he actually did a one to one ratio but he was standing on his head. He said his recovery from the marathon is sped up so much by doing that.
Ben: Oh yeah. And brownie points if you can do a hand stand pushups as you’re in that position.
Brock: Or it’s more than we’ve asked.
Ben: I’m thinking of an inversion table.
Brock: Yeah, exactly.
Ben: I’ve actually got an inversion table in my garage. But for me, I’m just too lazy to go out there. I literally just lie on the floor and put my feet up. The other thing is in terms of range of motion, do a dynamic stretching routine. Just do a five to ten minute dynamic stretching routine that’s going to free up your hips, your knees, and your ankles. And in the interest of time, what I’m going to do actually Craig is recommend that you go read the dynamic stretching routine that I posted in article over at my Getfitguy site. So, I’m just going to link to that in the show notes for episode number 190 here. And you can go read that dynamic stretching routing. I’ve got a link to all the videos. And just do that at the end of the day. And that’s a lot better than doing a yoga style static stretching routing. It just involves a lot of swings, a lot of quick moves. And it’ll make you feet magic after you’ve had day of standing on your feet.
Ben: So, magic. And then erythema nodosum, this follow up question from Craig about whether he should do prednisone for something like that. That’s an inflammatory condition. It’s inflammation of the fat cells under the skin basically. There are a lot of the different reasons that that can be caused. But it is highly correlated with an auto immune reaction. So, you’re body is actually mounting an inflammatory reaction against some type of component, some type of environmental component. And a lot of times this comes from inflammatory bowel disease, from crones, from colitis, from some type of a gut issue actually causing an auto immune reaction that affects the skin. Now, there are certainly other things that can cause this. Hepatitis is one really common cause of erythema and this skin condition. Tuberculosis is another thing that can cause its streptococcus infections like strep throat that can cause it. But in a lot of folks, this is diet related. And that’s why you would get something like a prednisone shot because that’s a corticoid steroid medication. And what that is, is that is a potent anti-inflammatory. Corticose steroid suppress your immune system. So, if your immune system is mistakenly attacking its own tissues which happen in this case with erythema, it can shut down that. And it can also inhibit a lot of the inflammation. The problem is that corticoid steroids have a lot of side effects. It can increase your blood pressure. It can cause mood swings. It can cause weight gain. They affect your blood sugar simply because a corticoid steroid is essentially mimicking cortisol which can affect resistance to insulin, high blood sugar, and things of that nature. It can suppress your natural release of things from your adrenal glands like specifically hormones. And it’s really one of those things where, if I’ve got something and I did this a few years ago when I wanted to race in Ironman Hawaii. I hurt my knee. I’d already bought my plane ticket. I got my condo. I put a ton of prep into that race. And so, I went and got a cortisol injection. And it was one of those balance the risk and reward. And I just went and did it. But in many cases, if you’re trying to shut down inflammation and you’re trying to lower the propensity of your immune system to be hyper reactive, you can achieve that through using methods other than something like prednisone. There are diets out there that are either anti-inflammatory diets or diets that would be considered a lower immune reaction type of diet or both. One example would be for example, the Gap’s diet which I’ve talked about before in the show. But that’s a very popular gut healing diet that puts you in a state where you don’t have a lot of high immune reaction containing foods that you’re consuming. Another one that I really recommend you look into. And by the way, I’ll put a link to the Gap’s diet in the show notes to this podcast. But another type of diet that can really help with auto-immune issues and inflammation is a diet called The Specific Carbohydrate Diet. And that not only has you eating a lot of really probiotic rich foods like yogurt. But it’s also got a lot of fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, things of that nature that are going to introduce a lot of really important good gut flora into your system. And at the same time on that specific carbohydrate diet, you’re eliminating certain forms of carbohydrates that are going to cause a lot of bacterial growth and potential for inflammation and an immune reaction in your diet. And that’s paired with supplements that can really help when it comes to correcting inflammation or decreasing inflammation. Things like vitamin c to prepare your gut. High amounts of omega three fatty acids from fish oil to help reduce inflammation. Some zinc to boost your immune system and to help with healing in the gut. Glutamine is another really good one. I’ve talked about that one before when I talked about things that you can take to help out when you’re on antibiotic regimen. Glutamine is an amino acid that helps to promote healing of your intestines and repairs the mucosa layer in your gut. And so, this specific carbohydrate diet which I’ll also link to for you in the show notes would be another thing that I would consider. Now, I don’t want you to consider this as medical advice. I don’t know if the reason that you have this erythema. It’s hard to pronounce.
Brock: Not in the urethra, hopefully.
Ben: It’s caused by some type of chronic disease issue. But if it isn’t, then this is related to all sort of colitis, Crone’s disease. Any type of auto-immune reaction like that, coming at this from a gut standpoint, I think would be really important. And it’s certainly something that you may want to consider as an alternative to something like the prednisone. So, just basically getting inflammatory compounds out of your diet and making sure that your gut is really healthy. That’s what I would do.
Brock: I was assuming that it was a prednisone cream that he was actually given to put on because isn’t that sort of a rash or something.
Ben: Yeah. It is basically like an inflammation of the skin. It looks like a rash, a great deal of redness. You’ve got those inflamed fat pockets underneath the skin. And you could get put on an oral corticoid steroid. It could also be a topical corticoid steroid. But both are going to wind up putting corticoid steroids into your blood stream.
Brock: Yeah. So, it doesn’t really matter which way it’s going. Is there anything that he could actually apply to the skin that you’d be able to suggest?
Ben: In terms of a topical anti-inflammatory?
Ben: I’m not really familiar with something that could work on that condition specifically. I mean when you’re looking at muscle, you’re looking at things like Arnica and topical magnesium and those types of things to help to limit inflammation from a muscular standpoint. But as far as something like this goes where it’s an auto-immune reaction, I can’t really think of anything that comes to mind that you could use on the skin for something like this. I mean there are some herbal compounds that maybe you could use topically for skin inflammation. Aloe Vera has some anti-inflammatory effects. You could try something like an Aloe Vera. And if you look at naturopathic medicine or herbal medicine, there are some other things that are topically used for skin inflammation. I’m not sure if they work for something like this. Like slippery elm extract and sage extract and there are some others out there. But what you could do is you could do something like Google herbal anti-inflammatory, herbal topical anti-inflammatories and look into some of that stuff. But I personally don’t have much experience with something like a topical for an auto-immune issue. Most of my knowledge in terms of topical stuff that you can use is more for muscle inflammation.
Brock: Yeah, fair enough. Attacking it from the inside is probably a nice way to go about it anyway.
Ben: Yeah. That’s the way that I would come at this. You’re looking at anything more topical being more of a band aid.
Brock: Yeah. Alright. Let’s move on to the next question. It’s another audio question and it comes from Tony.
Tony says: Hi Ben and Brock and the podcast. I’m just calling in to ask a question this summer. And by the way, my name is Tony. And I’m from Vermont. And this summer I’m planning on going after an unsupported speed record in a long trail which is a hiking trail that traverses the length of Vermont. Its 272-miles and unsupported means that I have to carry all my food and everything I need and get water off the trail and stuff. So, I’m calling into to inquire about good light foods that are packed with nutrients that I can bring on the trail. I’m also wondering if Ben you know of a ball park figure of calories that I might need on a day to day basis. I’m going to have to hike about 40-miles a day to break the record of 6 days and 17 hours. And I’m 5’6’’ and 135 pounds. That might matter to the amount of calories I need, I’m not sure. Alright, thanks a lot. And again, I’m a big fan of the show. Take care. Bye!
Brock: Wow, 272 miles!
Ben: Yeah. And I was thinking about this. I walked a marathon once. And I felt like I was walking pretty fast and doing right around like 15-minute miles. And I know that for a speed walker that’s laughably slow.
Ben: But I figured when you’re hiking you’re probably going to be if you’re pushing yourself right around 15-minute miles.
Brock: Yeah if you’re lucky.
Ben: Yeah. And that puts you at hiking a good ten hours per day. I would say Tony’s going to be out there ten hours per day minimum. The calories per hour burned hiking, based off of studies that they’ve done on folks, is right around in the range of 400 to 600 calories. So, I would say for a guy like Tony, slightly on the smaller end of the scale. But I don’t know Tony’s unique metabolism. I could say that based on ten hours a day and 400 to 600 calories per hour, you’d be looking at around 6000 calories a day.
Ben: Remember that any time you see values of how many calories you’re burning per hour doing something that does take into account your metabolic rate. So, I might burn 80 calories per hour or 100 calories or however you want to put it for my metabolic rate. And that’s taken into account when you see charts that shows you how much calories you’re burning in a specific activity. It is taking into account how many calories you’re burning with your metabolic rate. So, you don’t have to add your metabolic rate on top of something like 6000 calories a day. But still, it’s a butt load of calories. It’s about twice as many as I eat on a daily basis. And so, you’re looking, like Tony mentioned, on eating light foods that’s high in calories. So, I’m just going to tell you exactly what I do if I were in your shoes Tony. And first of all, I would not be going after the carbolicious calories for something like this. Hiking is relatively an aerobic activity. You got to be able to burn high amount of fatty acids and basically use a lot of triglyceride based fat fuels for something like this. I would be pairing that with some amino acid rich foods that are going to give you enough protein for muscle repair and recovery and then basically not a ton of carbohydrates. So, some of the things that I would carry I would opt out of doing a lot of seeds and nuts and trail mixes because even though they’re higher calorie, they do take up a lot of space. And if you’re just going for squeezing as many calories from that stuff as you can in a small space as possible, I’d use a nut butter. So, I’d get a bunch of Justin’s nut butter or almond butter that you grind at the grocery store, buy in a can. You put it in a ziplock bag and squeeze it out the ziplock bag. But I would definitely be doing nut butter. I would also include dark chocolate. That would be the most carbohydrate rich thing that I’d take along with me. It’s good. It’s antioxidant rich. It gives you a little bit of a pick me up ton of calories. And if you ever looked at the label of a bar of dark chocolate, most of them are 600 calories a pop. So, it’s easy to find. It’s easy to get your hands on. I would definitely be getting some dark chocolate as well. And you can use that along with the nut butter. If I was on a day hike, I would be dipping dark chocolate in nut butter all day long. That’s a great source of high calorie intake medium chain triglyceride oil or coconut oil, either one. Both of those are going inject a form of fat into your body that tends to be used quite nicely by your muscles as fuel. So, you can pack that again in a ziplock bag, a small plastic container, and foil, whatever. But MCT oil or coconut oil, that’s another way to go. And depending on the temperature, you’ll either be drinking it or spooning it in on the same vein, coconut manna. This stuff is super calorie dense. It tastes great. It’s a mix of coconut flesh and coconut fat. There’s a company called Nativa that makes it. It squeezed a lot of calories into a very small space. If I were going on a hike like this and go for a record like this, I’d have some coconut manna with me as well. And then I mentioned the proteins. And I would just go with something like a foil pack tuna or salmon. You can get those at the grocery store. They’re light. It’s a good dose. I think it’s around 200 to 300 calories of protein in a dose of that. And that’s something you can also do on a daily basis to get some of those amino acids in.
Brock: Could you do a salmon jerky like a salmon or tuna jerky so it’s even easier to carry?
Ben: Yes. You could use a jerky as well. I’m not a fan of jerky personally. I just don’t like it. I’m not a fan of fish jerky and beef jerky. That’s why I recommend the foil pack just because I like the stuff that’s a little bit less chewy. But you could also do a jerky absolutely. The things that we’re missing here when we’re looking at this a little bit more deeply would be what I’ve just described. You’re a little bit low on fiber. You’re a bit low on the nutrient dense vitamin rich foods. Dark chocolate, of all those things that I’ve mentioned, is probably the richest in terms of antioxidants. So, I would also carry three other things. And these would be along the lines of the supplement protocol. The first would be living fuel. I would grab their super green stuff. It’s super calorie dense. I, at over Enduranceplanet.com, I had Christian Isakson come on the show a few times. And he was doing the five Ironman races in five days and in the five different islands of Hawaii. And I had him doing a ton of living fuel super greens with coconut milk. Now, I wouldn’t do coconut milk if I were going on a hike just because it’s a little bit heavier. But I would certainly have some ziplock bags with this living fuel super greens because you’re looking at some of the most nutrient dense foods in the planet like spirulina and sea vegetables. Things like that are all compressed into this supplement that’s got amino acids, herbs, probiotics, digestive enzymes, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants. This is the stuff that I’m always found with when I’m traveling. And it’s just green powder. You mix it with some water. It’s super dense. It sticks to your ribs. So as far as supplements go, I’d have that. I would also have something to control the amount of cortisol and stress that your body is going to experience during a speed hike like this. So, I would do something like Chinese adaptogenic herbs. Sherpas who are climbing Mount Everest have been using these things for thousands of years. The one that I recommend is tea and chi. It’s literally several dozen pounds of Chinese herbs extracted and compressed into a tiny little packet. So, I’ll put a link to that as well as the living fuel super greens in the show notes for you. And then the last thing that I’d recommend that you have is a cleansing type of capsule. Now, any time that I’m personally traveling and don’t have access to a lot of the fresh raw foods that I typically have access to. Good amounts of fruits and vegetables, etc which you’re probably not going to have because you’re not going to carry a lot of these stuff in bulk. I use a cleansing capsule. And the one that I use is Capra cleanse. And it’s a mix of a bunch of activated fibers like flak seed meal and apple fiber and rice brand mixed with a colon cleansing blend. And that’s like slippery elm bark and phenol and fenugreek and marshmallow root. There are some minerals in there. There is some green juice. But it’s like a dehydrated green juice that’s in capsule form. And then basically, a botanical blend that’s got a little bit of digestive anti-inflammatory action in it like turmeric, ginger, and yaka. And I do, if I run on a day hike, would be doing three of those in the morning and three of those in the evening. And that means when you’re out there on the trail and you got to drop your drawers and get something out fast. I found that if I do three in the morning and three in the evening of this stuff, it doesn’t leave me running for the toilet with liquid poop. It just keeps things moving through pretty nicely. And it’s a good little gut anti-inflammatory too. I’d go something like the Capra cleanse. So, I do that and the tea and chi. And the super greens are like your one-two-three combo when it comes to supplements that you take out there along with the other stuff that I mentioned.
Brock: Wow. So, the only I was going to ask was dark chocolate. Should he be looking for a certain percentage of cocoa?
Ben: You know what, I always go for 80 percent plus. It’s just that much more antioxidant rich. And another reason that I do that is I just tend to eat it more slowly because it’s a little bit more bitter. And that keeps me from downing a whole bar all at once. I use more of the melt in your mouth type of approach.
Brock: Cool. Alright, there you go Tony. Enjoy that hike and let us know how it goes. Alright, we’ve got another audio question and it comes from Francis.
Frances says: Hi Ben, my name is Frances. I have a question about hormones, acne and exercise. So, I’m just really curious if there’s any connection. I’m training for a marathon. And I’m wondering if there are any studies that have shown that there’s a connection between acne and a lot of exercise. Anyway, thank you so much. And I hope to hear back from you. Okay. Bye!
Ben: Yes. This is an interesting one. The link between acne and hormones and exercise and you got to step back and look at where acne comes from first to understand how these things could be connected. So, when you look at normal human skin, you got three layers. You’ve got your dermis, your epidermis, and what’s called your stratum corneum. And the outermost layer of your skin is that stratum corneum. And that’s your primary barrier to the external environment. And it prevents you from losing a lot of water through your skin. It prevents microorganisms from invading your skin. And what happens is sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands. And these sebaceous glands produce the sebum. And that gets secreted to this outer most layer of the skin, this stratum corneum. And that helps to maintain basically this slight barrier. It’s called the hydrophobic barrier that keeps a lot of stuff from coming in through the skin. And normal sebum levels help to maintain a healthy skin. And when you look at somebody who’s got acne, in most cases that is a result of over production of sebum. And sebum is just a mix of a bunch of fats and oils and waxes and cholesterols that your body produces. And so, you get too much of it produced. And what happens is it can block up pores. It can cause some inflammation. It can cause this redness that appears that’s the acne. And it can also function as a little bit of a nutritional source for acne causing bacteria that live in your follicles. So, when you’ve got too much sebum, you get plugged follicles. You get a bunch of bacteria and a high bacterial population living in that follicle. And you tend to generate this pox in your face. There are a lot of stuff that regulates sebaceous gland activity and the production of sebum. So, some of the things would be androgens. So, a 13 year-old boy starts to get a bunch of acne and that’s basically because he is starting to produce male sex hormones like testosterone. And androgen hormones can cause increase sebum production and not only that, but sebaceous gland proliferation. So, it’s a higher amount of these sebaceous glands. And that’s what can cause acne. That’s why people who are also on anabolic steroids, they can also get acne just because they get that same increase in the production of sebaceous glands. On the flip side on females, estrogens can cause that. Men don’t usually produce enough estrogen hormones to cause acne. If they’re getting a lot of estrogens from the environment like exposure to chemicals, toxins, eating a lot of food from plastic containers, that type of thing. They may get some type of estrogen in their body that can also cause this type of acne. In a woman, estrogen dominance would be an issue. We’ve talked about estrogen dominance on the show quite a bit. But a similar issue, it’s usually related to environmental toxins, exposure to a lot of chemicals. Stuff that I blogged about this week in terms of household cleaning chemicals, stuff like that. That can have enough of an estrogen disrupting effect to where you could get over production of the sebaceous glands or over production of the sebum. Another biggie is insulin-like growth factor. And that’s a protein hormone that you make in your liver. It’s a very similar in structure to insulin. And researches have shown that it’s directly correlated with elevated sebum production. And you tend to get really high levels of insulin-like growth factor during adolescence. You also tend to get really high levels of it if you’re eating a high glycemic index diet like a high amount of sugar or carbohydrates. Or if you have type two diabetes, that’s another way that you can get it. And actually, milk and dairy can really cause a big increase in insulin-like growth factor one. It’s a good thing in that. It’s really good for recovery and production of growth hormones. But it can be a direct contributor to acne. So, that can be another issue. And then the last chemical to consider is would be retinoids. And retinoids are basically signaling molecules that your body makes from vitamin A. And one of the things that they’re used for is to regulate the production of sebum and the proliferation of these sebaceous glands. So, if you’ve got a vitamin a deficiency for example and you don’t have enough retinoids in your diet, then you could certainly also produce a lot of acne. So, stress from exercise, there’s also a direct correlation from stress and increase acne. It’s most likely because of the production of cortisol. And what happens is, cortisol counteracts insulin. And it inhibits the utilization of glucose. And it basically promotes insulin resistance. So, you’ve got higher levels of insulin circulating through your blood stream. And it can cause a lot of these same issues in terms of over production of sebum that the increase insulin-like growth factor does. So, there are a lot of different issues here. And when you step back and look at this from an exercise standpoint, somebody starts exercising more. What they are probably going to do if their doing the traditional approach to exercise, they’re probably going to start eating more carbohydrates. They may start eating more dairy and more milk for extra calories. They’re going to be under greater amounts of stress. So, there’s a greater amount of cortisol production. And they’re also going to be requiring the body to produce a greater amount of hormone and to utilize cholesterols more rapidly resulting in the potential for a vitamin A deficiency. So, a lot of the things that go hand in hand with significant increase in exercise could technically also cause acne. And so, what would I do if I were in Frances’ shoes, I would make sure I’m on a lower carbohydrate intake, a lot of low glycemic index carbohydrates. If acne is an issue, I’d totally cut dairy. I’d cut milk. I’d make sure you’re on a good fatty acid supplement like vitamin A. For example cod liver oil is perfect for something like that. A couple of tablespoons of cod liver oil on a daily basis clean up your environment so you’re not going to expose to a lot of excess estrogens, plastics, and things of that nature. And make sure you’re recovering really well. Don’t over train. Give your body days where you’re completely off. Where you’re just doing some light activity. A little bit of foam rolling. Maybe a massage to control the cortisol levels so that you’re not getting the direct correlation between cortisol to insulin to acne. And those are the things that I would do.
Brock: And stay out of the tanning booths.
Ben: That’s right. That can also be an issue.
Brock: I’m making an assumption when I say that. But I know there are a lot of body builders that actually spend quite a bit time in the tanning salons. And they’re slathering themselves with all those oils that bring out the natural colors or the unnatural colors of the skin.
Ben: That’s right. And the gold flakes. You got to make sure that you slather yourself with the oils and the gold flakes so you get that nice shimmery effect. When I started to do spray-on tan at one point when I was body building, that was interesting. Did you know that when you sweat, if you go and workouts too soon after you get a spray-on tan, you sweat? And it makes you look like a zebra. You’ve got areas with tan and areas with it. Or you sweat it off. So, it’s just a quick tip for those of you spray-on tanners out there.
Brock: If you want to look like a zebra, that’s the way to do it.
Ben: That’s right. So, in the recommendations that I just gave even if you’re acne isn’t related to exercise, my wife used to have some acne issues. And she switched to low glycemic index, cut grains, did some of these things that I recommended. And it cleared right up. Interestingly, even something as simple as cutting grains can really clear up acne. So, these are stuff to think about for acne and best of luck Frances.
Brock: Alright. The next question comes from Amy.
Amy asks: Can you comment on this study regarding fasted exercise and weight loss and the study is called, exercising fasting or fed to enhance fat loss, influence of food intake and respiratory ratio and excess post exercise oxygen consumption after a bout of endurance training.
Ben: Deep breath and take a drink.
Brock: Okay. I’m okay.
Ben: This looked at whether fasting does work and at least it attempted to. Only eight people were in the study. But what they compared was when you exercise fasted vs. when your exercise fed, what happens to your metabolic rate? And people who ate before they exercise, they had a higher VO2 max. They were able to exercise a little bit harder. And they also had a lower respiratory exchange ratio. And a low respiratory exchange ratio basically indicates that you’re utilizing higher amounts of fat. If you go out and you do an all-out sprint, your respiratory exchange ratio is one or sometimes a little bit higher than one. And that indicates complete carbohydrate utilization. When you’re at rest, everbody’s respiratory exchange ratio is lower. But it turns out in these folks twelve hours after they had trained, for the folks who ate before that training session, they were actually burning more fat later on. There’s greater lipid utilization. And what the authors concluded was that when you’re doing moderate amounts of endurance exercise, in this case a thirty six minute cardio session to lose body fat when you fast before you exercise, that doesn’t actually enhance fat utilization. Now, this is one study among many studies that have been done on what happens when you exercise in a fasted state vs. what happens when you exercise in a fed state. And honestly, the research goes and back and forth. In some cases, metabolic rate is actually increased in short term fasting. And you can find studies out there that basically show an increase of any where from five to ten percent after just a few days of short term fasting and investigating what happens to metabolic rate when you’re doing that. Other studies have shown that fasting lowers metabolic rate especially after prolonged periods of fasting and exercise like doing that for weeks and a row. And so, when it comes to metabolic rate and fat utilization, research goes back and forth. And I can’t say for sure from one end or the other whether or not you’re going to burn more fat a few hours after you’ve done a fasted workout vs. if you had a little bit to eat after that workout. Although, I know for me personally and for all the people that I coach who use fasted workouts, it melts fat away pretty quickly. But the reasons that you would do a fasted workout go way above and beyond this whole fat loss component or what your respiratory exchange ratio is. And what you need to look at is a concept called autophagy. And what that is, is it’s basically a process of how your body actually breaks down cells and repairs those cells and regenerates the cells. And your body is constantly turning over cells and just tearing apart and reusing cellular parts. And it’s riding the cells of clutter. And it’s decreasing unnecessary cellular process. And all of this is a process called autophagy. And what happens is that when you fast or when you engage in chloric restriction, that turns up or upregulates autophagy. And what that can actually do is block a pathway called the mTOR pathway and even though I’m not going to get into the biochemistry because I’ve done it before on a podcast. It indirectly, can cause you to have a longer lifespan. And it can vastly reduce the amount of acute stress that you’re under. And it basically makes your body stronger and could potentially make you live longer. And so, when you engage in something like intermittent fasting or periods of time during the day when you’re skipping meals or even exercising in a state where you haven’t been fed. What happens is that you get a really nice response in terms of your ability to actually improve your life. And you decrease a lot of factors that are risk factors for chronic disease. So, the big reason for that is that it seems that with chloric restriction, there is a process that’s triggered in your cells that causes your cells to clean themselves up. They activate a component called lysosomes which breaks down old and faulty proteins in your cells and rebuilds you. So, the reason that I’m a fan of something like not eating for a little bit before bed, sleeping all night, getting up in the morning, waiting for a long time before eating breakfast, or even doing an exercise session before you eat breakfast because it’s a very simple way to introduce 12 to 15 hour fast into every 24-hour period. And you’re going to find that after a few weeks of doing that, you turn into a fat burning machine. You’re able to go very long periods of time without eating. Carbohydrate cravings begin to go away. And you just start to feel a lot better. So, whether or not you may have a short term enhancement in lipid utilization if you eat prior to a workout, it’s really not important to me because I’m looking at this from a lifestyle and a longevity standpoint more than I am from an acute standpoint.
Brock: Cool. So, it’s not just all about losing body fat. It has a much broader scope to it.
Ben: It’s basically dietary restriction. If you’re going to restrict calories, a really easy way to do it is to do it while you sleep. So, like I said, you don’t eat two hours before bed time or at least a little bit before bed time. You sleep all night. You get up in the morning. And for me, a lot of times breakfast is at 10:30 or 11 am. And I’ve done an exercise session at some point in the morning. You can find studies that go into dietary restriction. And you get prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. You get improved memory because you get increase production of brain derived neurotrophic factor which helps to increase your neurons and your memory. You get better insulin sensitivity. So your pancreas has to turn out less insulin. There are cardio-protective effects. Basically, your heart and your brain cells become better able to withstand injury. You get less inflammation. You get resistance of neurons in your brain against excitotoxins which you are getting from your environment or from foods. Your mitochondria tend to produce fewer free radicals. So, you get less free radical damage on your cell membranes. Your blood vessels are more prone to be resistive to damage from those same types of free radicals and oxidative stress. And so, you’re lowering your risk for diabetes, for cancer, for heart disease, for brain degeneration. What it comes down to is that the advantages of periodic periods of dietary restrictions or intermittent fasting, in my opinion, far over and above any advantages of eating before you workout. So, you get that small increase in lipid utilization post workout.
Brock: I guess the only drawback is that you have a bit of growly stomach sometimes which is really a small price to pay.
Ben: For the first little bit and then that goes away.
Ben: Yeah. Even for me for example, it’s 9:40 in the morning right now. Last time I ate yesterday was at about eight pm. By the time I have breakfast today, it’ll probably be 10:30. But I’m not eating because I’m ravenous. I’m eating because I know my workout at about three or four pm today will go a lot better if I do have something to eat at some point. But the hunger pains are really much of an issue.
Brock: That’s awesome. I hope that clears things up for your Amy. And I guess I didn’t realize when I looked at this study that it was only eight people. And that’s often a good measure of whether a study is very thorough or not, isn’t that?
Ben: It is. I don’t want to be a hypocrite because I’ve certainly brought up studies before in the show where there were small numbers of individuals. And I’ve used those to prove a point. So, I don’t think that’s as important as the fact that there are a lot of other things to consider that go over and above how much fat you’re burning right after the workout.
Brock: Okay. Well, let’s move on to the next question. It comes from Keely.
Keely says: Ben recently posted a link entitled “Carbs are Killing You”. This was pretty interesting and I am curious if you know where any information on this handout is coming from. The archive information only gets information about the website design. Is there any scientific evidence behind this, especially steps one to eight? Here is a copy of that link to make things easier.
Ben: Yeah. And we’ll put a link to that graphic in the show notes for sure. I thought this was a great infographic. Carbs are killing you, why eating fat doesn’t make you fat, was the name of the actual article. And steps one to eight that Keely mentioned are step one is, if you think about a meal that contains carbohydrates, step two is you start producing insulin, and step three is that insulin tells your body to store fatty acids. And it keeps you from burning the fatty acids as energy. Step four is you get hungry. Step five is you start eating. Step six is you secrete more insulin. Step seven is digested carbohydrate and that meal that you ate enters your blood stream as glucose. And step eight is your blood sugar levels start to rise. Well, yes absolutely. Any physiology book that you read or biochemistry book is going to walk you through those steps in greater detail but absolutely. You’re body has a limited capacity to store carbohydrates and especially to store excess carbohydrates. That’s why when you consume a meal that’s rich in carbohydrates you can get elevated blood sugar. And one of the ways that your body is going to get rid of that elevated because elevated blood sugar is horrible for your arteries and blood vessels. It degrades them extremely quickly. So, your body converts all these excess carbohydrates floating around in the blood stream to excess body fat. And the way it works is that any carbohydrates that aren’t immediately used by your body in terms of energy, they’re stored in the form of storage glycogen. So, your body takes all this sugar molecules or glucose molecules. It links them together. And it stores them as glycogen in two different places, your liver and your muscles. So, once your liver is full of glycogen and once your muscles are full of glycogen, there’s no more storage depot for those excess carbohydrates to go into. So, then they get converted into fat. Your body can’t make more liver or more muscles as easily as it can simply create a new fat cell to store the excess carbohydrates into. Or expand an existing fat cell to put the excess carbohydrates into. So, the carbohydrates get converted into fat and stored in your adipose tissue and your fatty tissue. And that’s why fat free licorice and fat free popcorn and fat free anything isn’t really fat free because your body is a fat storage machine. And that insulin is the signal to do that. Insulin is essentially a storage hormone. It is there to put excess carbohydrate calories aside in the form of fat after it’s done its job driving them into muscles or driving them into the liver. Now, increase insulin levels also suppress your abilities to use your own body fat stores for energy because insulin is your storage hormone. It suppresses glucagon and it suppresses growth hormone. So, glucagon is what helps you to burn fat and sugar. It’s the opposite of insulin. And growth hormone is what you use for muscle development or for building new muscle mass. So, insulin shuts down those. And then also, as mentioned in that infographic, once you get that surge of insulin, what happens is you can have a steep drop in blood sugar. And that can cause you to feel hungry and perpetuate this vicious cycle. And I’ll tell you what you should do if you just want to look into this more or learn more about. Read Gary Taubes’ book “Why We Get Fat” or read his book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. Either of those would help you a ton when it comes to understanding more in a scientific level and getting all of the different studies cited and everything. But yes, the infographic is based off of what actually occurs on a scientific level. And that’s the brief description of it. Like those books I recommended by Gary Taubes would be a great way to learn more about this stuff if you want to delve into it a little bit more.
Brock: Awesome. That’s really interesting stuff. I like how it starts with you think of a high carbohydrate meal.
Brock: It really is, is that it starts with that one thought.
Ben: Yes. Gastric hormones, you get the insulin release. And it goes from there.
Brock: Awesome. Well, let’s move on to Maria’s question next.
Maria says: I recently purchased your Low Carbohydrate Diet for Triathletes book and I have a question about transitioning my diet. I’m a Crossfitter with a history of blood sugar crashes and bonking. So, I’m quite apprehensive about doing a WOD during the first couple of weeks of the diet. Do you recommend cutting my carbs gradually, going low intensity on my workouts for a couple of weeks while my body adapts, or just going all out and seeing what happens?
Ben: WOD is Workout of the Day for people who are listening in. First of all, just listen to this Friday’s podcast with Peter Attia because we’re going to get into this stuff hardcore. But basically, what I would recommend that you do is go low carb on everything except for before or after your Crossfit workouts while your body adapts. Just give yourself a little bit of extra carbohydrate for those workouts. And then just begin to phase out the carbohydrates for those as well. And remember my Low Carbohydrate Diet for Triathletes, if you follow the diet and you really follow it to the T, from the get go you’re going to have enough carbohydrates. You’re getting enough carbohydrates for liver to have more than enough glycogen to release as blood glucose to support something like a Crossfit workout. So, if you were going on a 20-mile run, it might be a little bit different. But if you’re really following that diet the way that I have that written out, this isn’t going to be an issue anyways. However, if you are finding that you’re just having a ton of trouble, then follow everything to the T. And then add a little bit of carbohydrate dose like half a banana or something like that right before you do your workout. And your body will get through it a little bit easier. But ultimately at some point, you’re just going to have to get used to being in fat burning mode and make that transition. And again like I mentioned, rather than me giving this question as long of a response as it probably deserves, we’re going to be talking about this for an hour this Friday. It’s just about the whole how to cut carbs, what happens to your body, how to do it well, how to overcome some of the issues. So, just listen in to this Friday’s interview. And for those of you listening too, this podcast at a later date, that’s the interview with Peter Attia. So, I hope that helps.
Brock: Yes. The only thing that I was going to add is Maria. I experienced the same sort of thing when I started doing the REV diet. And I’m training for a 70.3 right now. And like Ben said, just a banana or apple is really all that I needed to throw in occasionally. But I didn’t do it every time. But just when I knew I was going to crash or come close to bonking. It’s pretty easy. Okay. So, the next question comes from Bruce.
Bruce says: Hey Ben and Brock, what do you guys make of this article about popcorn having more of the healthful antioxidant substances called polyphenols than fruits and vegetables?
Ben: I saw this come out. I actually I tweeted something about popcorn and chocolate are going to be the two new magic health foods based off of the high levels of antioxidants.
Brock: Bring it on.
Ben: And the study actually did find that popcorn has a lot of really high levels of what are called polyphenols in it. Higher levels than you would find in most fruits and vegetables. And that’s great. You just want to make sure that first of all, you’re choosing the right kind of popcorn because for anybody who has seen the movie King Corn, there are some serious issues with genetic modification of corn and also pesticide and chemical treatment of corn. So, you do certainly increase your risk of consuming insecticides or besides fungicides, fumigants, and potentially genetically modifying ingredients when you do popcorn on a regular basis. And if you’re trying to get the polyphenols, you’d probably be better off doing something like an organic vegetable like a non-GMO vegetable instead. Now, in terms of popcorn and whether or not it’s got other things in it. It’s gluten free. It still is a grain. So, it may have some of the issues those lectins. And folks we’ve talked about lectins on the show before. It’s less of an issue than a lot of things like wheat-containing foods. It still maybe an issue for folks. And it still is a carbohydrate source. So, you want to be careful with it. But ultimately, the big thing here for me is making sure that if you’re going to do something like popcorn, and you choose an organic non-GMO source of popcorn. You could literally use the Google engine and go type in non-GMO’s certified organic popcorn. And I’m sure you can find a ton of different brands out there that you can get. There are websites just devoted to keeping a list of foods that are known to be non-GMO. And you could find something that’s certified that way for popcorn. So, that’s the main thing I’d be careful with. Popcorn is certainly full of polyphenols. My kids have and I forgot the brand that we use. It’s an organic form of popcorn. And I’ll have some of that with some butter on it as a snack. And they like that. But just be careful if you’re doing conventional microwave popcorn.
Brock: Alright. So, maybe the popcorn has all kinds of good stuff in it. And it’s got polyphenols and everything. But we do often slather it in butter and oil and even those terrible ketchup and sour cream and onion flavored things like that. Obviously, those would be bad for you. Is there something that you’d recommend if you do want to put something on popcorn? What do you put on for your kids?
Ben: You’re right. You do need to be careful. Like even a microwave popcorn bag, a lot of those are coated with Teflon. And that’ll breakdown once you get it into a microwave. And they’ll also coat the bags with another type of chemical called fluorinated PFC. And that also can break down and make its way into the popcorn itself. So, we air pop certified organic non-GMO popcorn. And usually, it’s just like grass-fed butter getting poured over this stuff. If I ever do popcorn, I like to dump some cayenne pepper and some cinnamon on there. And that’s a nice little mix if it’s also got a little bit of butter. It’s tasty. It’s got a nice little spice to it so you don’t end up eating it by the mouthful. You eat it by the single pop kernel because it tends to be hot. The cinnamon helps to regulate the blood sugar a little bit. So, butter, cinnamon, cayenne, that’s the way I’d go.
Brock: A little olive oil maybe.
Ben: Yes. You could do that instead of butter if you wanted to.
Brock: Alright. We’re talking some gourmet popcorn over here.
Ben: Yes. Stay away from the cod liver oil. I wouldn’t do that.
Brock: And krill oil.
Brock: Alright. The next question comes from Ralph.
Ralph says: Mayo Clinic Health Letter, March 2012, risk of vitamin supplements, analysis of latest research, the Iowa Women’s Health Study which 38,000 women 55 years and older for 20 years, indicated that the risk of premature death increased by 3.6 percent in those taking magnesium. I don’t know the protocol of this study, not my area of expertise, so I thought I’d ask for your thoughts.
Ben: Yes. I saw this study. They also found a 3.9 percent increase in mortality for iron supplementation and a bunch of other stuff about how vitamin supplements could kill you. In my opinion, this was a flawed study. So, you look at the details of the study. And it was a long study. It was an 18 years study, an observational study with questionnaires. But it was a long study. And they used 38,000 women. It’s a lot more than the eight guys that they used in that fasted study we were talking about. But they asked the women about their use of multivitamins, vitamin a, vitamin d, vitamin e, beta-carotene, b-vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc. Then they also gathered self reported data. So again, all of the multivitamin data was based on the questionnaire. And then all of the health data was based on self reporting. But they did self reporting based on body composition, general diet, and disease. And what the researchers did was they tried to isolate specific factors that resulted in greater death rate. And so, they were looking at weight, diet, disease, smoking, and all these stuff and trying to control for these issues. Interestingly, they didn’t even control for other stuff like hormone replacement therapy or prescription medication. And I’ll mention that in a second about why I think that’s an issue. But they showed that women who supplement with vitamin c, vitamin d, vitamin e, calcium, they had significantly lower rates of death. And supplementing with things like iron and copper were linked to a greater risk of death. And they found that the use of multivitamins seem to decrease the average life expectancy or at least not increase it. And first of all, the interesting thing is that in terms of controlling for factors like controlling for age and diet and weight and physical activity level and smoking status. All they used were general questions to gather this data. And I’m not sure how they controlled for it. Like physical activity was categorized in the study as moderate activity less than a few times per month, once a week, or twice a week. And that’s pretty much all they classified physical activity as. And so, someone who is exercising twice a week for a few minutes, that’s certainly better than nothing in terms of controlling your risk of death. But it’s really not going to be ideal for doing something like preventing disease or prolonging life. And so, that’s just one example of the issues when it comes to self reporting using general questions. They also didn’t really control for the diet that these folks were eating. So, they used a dietary questionnaire. But they didn’t find out if they were eating organic foods vs. conventional foods. They weren’t looking into whether these women were taking in artificial additives, food additives, pesticides, growth hormones, stuff like that. And if people were eating large amounts of these types of conventional or artificial foods, then that could’ve completely negated anything positive that they were getting from something like vitamin supplementation or magnesium supplementation. So, another issue here is that they didn’t really look into that at all. Another issue was that the macronutrient intake was pretty poor in my opinion. It was about 18 percent protein, 30 percent fat, around 50 percent carbohydrate. And so, it was a higher carbohydrate intake than what I would’ve liked to see as well. They didn’t survey at all about medication, about using hormone replacement therapy. Or anything else that could potentially throw a wrench in the equation of not only interaction with supplements that people were taking but also risk of death. So for example, we know that women who are using nutritional supplements are also more likely to be using prescription drugs. It’s just one of those things where they’re more open to putting things in their mouth that go above and beyond food like supplements or prescription medications. And so, there’s certainly an issue right there where if a women is at a higher propensity for hormone replacement therapy or use of prescription drugs. And she’s also the woman using more supplements. Well, who’s to say that the hormone replacement therapy which has been proven to have some issues when it comes to increasing risk of cancer and death rate or the use of prescription drugs which also can be an issue or not to blame for the increase of death vs. it being just the supplements. So, that’s an issue. The multivitamins that they were using or the supplements that they were using I would hazard a guess that if they fell into the category of the most people that I talk to or see using supplements that these were low quality supplements. We’ve talked about the issue with fillers and companies cutting cost when it comes to using cheap raw materials in their supplements. And it’s likely that most of the women were not using high quality supplements. For example in the case of magnesium, you look at magnesium oxide. That’s a very cheap and very small molecule. It’s not absorbed well by the body. And you can basically get a lot of it not really doing you any good at all compared to things like magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate which are larger molecules. They’re harder to package. They’re more expensive for companies to make. But they’re much more easily absorbed. So, there’s the issue of actual raw material used in these supplements and whether or not those contain toxins or solvents or heavy metal or harmful bacteria or yeast or mold or pesticides or anything else or whether or not they were actually high quality. So, this in my opinion was a flawed study. I didn’t really take anything from it. Other than the fact that if a women is consuming cheap supplements full of really bad raw materials and also at the same time taking in high amounts of prescription drugs, not exercising very much and eating a subpart diet, that she could increase her risk of death. That’s pretty much all I take from this study. So, to me it falls on the same category as that whole red meat study that came out last week or a couple of weeks ago. Any time I’m looking at self reporting, questionnaires, something that’s not very well controlled then you really can’t take much data away from it.
Brock: I know that I was sort of poking fun at that earlier study for having eight people in it. But maybe the problem of having 38,000 people in it is you can’t control for all that kind of stuff. You are doing self reporting. You’re not able to really control what all the variables are because the study is so large. So, you’re sort of doomed if you do and doomed if you don’t really.
Ben: The really important part of this comes down to customization. Go listen to the podcast last week that went over which blood test you should get and what lab test should get. Order those lab tests. Find out what’s going on in your body. And then customize your diet and your supplementation protocol accordingly using high quality stuff. And that’s the way you live longer.
Brock: Yeah alright. Well, let’s move on to our final question that comes from Osa.
Osa says: What supplements would you recommend for reducing belly fat? SafSlim is the new belly fat supplement that I am using that has gained a lot of attraction since it appeared on the Dr OZ show and Montel Williams raved about it. What do you think about it? Are there better supplements on the market for specifically reducing belly fat? I know you’re not mainstream like Dr OZ but if you could recommend one or more supplements specifically addressing belly fat, what would it be? Maybe once you open your mouth it will sell like hotcakes all over United States like every supplement Dr OZ recommends on his show.
Ben: Yeah. I certainly remember when he first recommended this SafSlim because I saw it all over the Twitter sphere. It’s another one of those highly marketable compounds. So, we know that good fats are healthy. And we look at something like a type of fat that they’re using in this SafSlim. And it’s very similar to Conjugated Linoleic Acid. And Conjugated Linoleic Acid is basically a mix of a bunch of what are called polyunsaturated fatty acids. And Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA, it’s been touted for fat loss for a while. Some studies have shown in humans that basically you can get reduced fat mass with CLA supplementation. And it’s even been called the fat that burns fat. For those reasons, you’ll find that a lot of supplements far before SafSlim came out we’re marketing CLA as a fat that you could consume that would help you to burn fat. Actual supplementation of CLA seems to be highly variable. Some studies have found effects. Some studies haven’t. And it could also depend on the overall fat content of your diet and your ability to actually use fat efficiently as well. Now, as far as this actual safflower oil goes, it’s a little bit different in molecular structure compared to Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Technically, it’s high linoleic safflower oil. But the idea is that for the SafSlim, they mostly tout a study that showed post-menopausal women who had high blood sugar and want to lose weight were able to increase their weight loss with the use of linoleic acid with safflower oil. And these were women who happened to have type-two diabetes. So, we know that women who are post-menopausal with type-two diabetes can benefit and lose weight faster when they’re consuming safflower oil. And I’d certainly don’t take that to mean that safflower oil or this SafSlim can cause similar results to the rest of the population. But that’s the study that they’re basing this entire corporation of SafSlim on. In terms of whether or not this stuff is actually efficacious, maybe it is. Like I say, the Conjugated Linoleic Acid research goes back and forth. But you could take this SafSlim or you could have a couple handfuls of raw sunflower seed as a snack. And you get the same amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids as you’re getting from the safflower oil. And you’re going to save yourself lots of money. So, when it comes to Conjugated Linoleic Acid, I am not convinced that someone who’s not already eating just a high amount of healthy fats, getting a little raw seeds and nuts in their diet is going to get any advantage over somebody who’s paying a lot of money for this safflower oil that may or may not work. But it’s certainly expensive. I never thought of SafSlim.
Brock: And it’s not as delicious as a handful of sunflower seeds.
Ben: Yes, exactly. And plus you’ve got the added fiber from eating something like that. Now, as far as a supplement for belly fat is concerned, here’s the issue. There are multiple reasons that you could get belly fat. I can think of three right off the top of my head. Insulin resistance would be one reason that you get high amounts of belly fat. We actually just talked about this. And in insulin resistance, you get that constant insulin production by the pancreas. The body produces too much insulin. The blood sugar rises. Insulin has to transport the glucose somewhere to be stored as energy. So, it ends up storing it in the abdominal area as fat. So, insulin resistance would be one reason that you’d get belly fat. So if we look at the type of things that can help you with insulin sensitivity, it would be eating a lower amount of carbohydrates. And then using supplements like cinnamon, like chromium, like vanadium, those types of things. Another reason that you could get belly fat would be from stress. And cortisol which we mentioned earlier in the show can not only contribute to insulin resistance but also is directly correlated with amounts of body fat. So, not only lifestyle changes and getting more sleep but something like using Chinese adaptogenic herbs. If stress is the reason for your belly fat, would be what you’d use in a situation like that. We know that women menopause, they tend to get some hormonal imbalances that can affect the adrenal glands that can affect the fat cells, and increase the propensity for belly fat. So, in a woman going through menopause who has issues with a sudden increase in belly fat, for her it might be actually doing something going to see someone who specializes in something like Wiley protocol. She would be getting a compounded natural hormone replacement therapy to balance out estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. So, in very few cases, someone who has a low metabolism which is very rare might have an issue with other thyroid production. Or with just a natural low metabolism in which maybe some of these fat burners like green tea extract and stuff like that might help out a little bit. But you can go down the line of fat burners that have been commercially available over the years from senefrin to clenbuterol to caffeine and ephedrine, fucoxanthin. On and on down the list that’s supposed to boost your metabolism, stuff that’s supposed to block carbohydrates, stuff that’s supposed to be the fat that increases fat burning like this Conjugated Linoleic Acid, appetite suppressants like high fiber extract. Most of this stuff has been studied. There’s a huge study that came out in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. And it showed that a lot of this stuff can have a little bit of an effect, a benefit of three or four pounds over the course of the year by using it regularly in a way that it’s intended to be used. But none of it holds a candle to moving more and eating less, none of it. We’re talking about a tiny percentage of the equation when it comes to using a fat burning supplement vs. putting your body into a state where it’s healthy, where it’s got enough nutrients. And it’s moving. And it’s not getting so many calories that those calories don’t get stored as fat. So, as far as my top number one supplement for burning off belly fat, it doesn’t exist. It totally depends on what’s causing your belly fat. And once you know what’s causing your belly fat, then you can take things from there. But in most cases, most of these fat loss supplements are not going to do much compared to lifestyle changes and optimizing nutrients in other areas. Like if you go to Pacificfit.net which were a lot of the supplements that I recommend are. The smallest category of supplements over there is the fat loss category. Like the digestion section over there is twice as big as the fat loss supplement section. And that’s because something as simple as improving your gut flora and the way that you digest foods is going to have a way bigger effect on fat loss than amping up with bitter orange extract or something like that.
Brock: You know what the problem is with this answer?
Ben: What’s that?
Brock: You’re not going to be able to sell that like hotcakes over the United States.
Ben: I know. I know. But I would be more than happy if instead people were to use my books, listen to this podcast, use those methods to determine what you need, and then supplement accordingly. But don’t just shock on a fat loss supplement into your body because you got to figure out the reason that you’ve got belly fat first. And then you go from there.
Brock: And definitely don’t listen to Montel Williams.
Brock: He doesn’t even have a doctor in front of his name. At least Dr OZ has a doctor in his first name.
Ben: Seriously. Maybe that’s what I need to do is to become a doctor. And I’ll add that to my list of things to do.
Brock: Sure. Or we can just get, on the internet somewhere, I’m sure.
Ben: Yes, Kazakhstan. Cool. Well, that about wraps up everything up.
Brock: That does before we continue being jaded and ragging on the entire pop culture. Let’s wrap it up.
Ben: That’s right. By the way, a study that just came out. I noticed this actually just came across my phone as we were recording green coffee bean extract helps pre-obese men and women shed 16 pounds in 22 weeks. So, we can add that one in there too, green coffee beans.
Brock: There you go. Doctor Greenfield says green coffee bean.
Ben: Coming soon. If you get a lot out of this podcast, go to BenGreenfieldFHYPERLINK “https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/”fitness.com. We have some shiny new donation buttons on there. You can sign up to donate a dollar on a monthly basis or five dollars or 20 dollars. It helps a ton to support the show. Or just go to Itunes and leave a ranking. That’s free. And that helps out the show too. Listen to this Friday’s podcast. Of course if you have questions, comments, or feedback on any of the articles or this podcast, then head over to BenGreenfieldFHYPERLINK “https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/”itness.com. This episode is episode 190. Everything I’ve mentioned is going to show up in the show notes for that episode. And that’s about it. Thanks to caffeine and adaptogenic herbs. We got though this one Brock huh?
Brock: We sure did.
Ben: Alright folks. Have a great week and this Ben and Brock signing out from BenGreenfieldFHYPERLINK “https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/”itness.com.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net
In this Apr 11, 2012 free audio podcast: Do Belly Fat Loss Supplements Really Work? Also: does being on your feet all day count as a warm-up, anti-inflammatory foods instead or prednisone, fuelling recommendations for a multi-day hike, do hormones and exercise create acne, the benefits of fasted exercise sessions, are carbs really killing you, adapting to a low carb diet, is popcorn a superfood, and do vitamins raise your chances of death?
Do you have a future podcast question for Ben? click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype to “pacificfit” or scroll down on this post to access the free “Ask Ben” form…
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- This is why I always try to exercise as soon as possible after I fly somewhere, even if I'm tired.
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Audio Question from Craig:
Craig wants to know if he needs to warmup before a run even if he has been on his feet all day. He also wants to know if there is something better/safer than steroids to take for erythema nodosum.
Audio Question from Tony:
This summer Tony is going after an unsupported speed record on a long trail (272 miles). He is looking for light/portable food recommendations and also an approximate amount of calories he will need for 40 miles per day over 6+ days. He is 5'6″ 135lbs.
Audio Question from Frances:
Frances wants to know if there is a connection between hormones, acne and exercise.
Can you comment on this study regarding fasted exercise and weight loss: “Exercising fasting or fed to enhance fat loss? Influence of food intake on respiratory ratio and excess postexercise oxygen consumption after a bout of endurance training.”
Ben recently posted a link entitled “carbs are killing you”. This was pretty interesting and I am curious if you know where any of the information on this handout is coming from. The archive information only gives information about the website design. Is there any scientific evidence behind this, especially steps 1-8? Here is a copy of that link to make things easier.
I recently purchased your Low Carbohydrate Diet for Triathletes book and I have a question about transitioning my diet. I'm a Crossfitter with a history of blood sugar crashes and bonking, so I'm quite apprehensive about doing a WOD during the first couple weeks of the diet. Do you recommend cutting my carbs gradually, going low intensity on my workouts for a couple of weeks while my body adapts, or just going all out and seeing what happens?
Hey Ben and Brock, what do you guys make of this article about popcorn having “more of the healthful antioxidant substances called polyphenols than fruits and vegetables”?
Mayo Clinic Health Letter, 3/2012, Risk of vitamin supplements: …analysis of latest research, the Iowa Women's Health Study (38,000 women 55 & older for 20 yrs), “…indicated that the risk of premature death increased 3.6 percent in those taking magnesium,…” (www.HealthLetter.MayoClinic.com) I don't know the protocol of the study, not my area of expertise, so I thought I'd ask for your thoughts.
What supplement would you recommend for reducing belly fat? Saffslim is the new belly fat supplement that I am using that has gained a lot of traction since it appeared on the Dr OZ show and Montel Williams raved about it. What do you think about it? Are there better supplements on the market for specifically reducing belly fat? I know your not mainstream like Dr OZ but if you could recommend one or more supplements specifically addressing belly fat, what would it be? Maybe once you open your mouth it will sell like hotcakes all over the United States like every supplement Dr. OZ recommends on his show.