August 8, 2012
Podcast # 203 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/08/episode-203-why-fiber-is-bad/
Introduction: In today’s Podcast, why fiber is bad? Also, electrolyte intake and your sweat, how to heal an ankle injury quickly, changing the consistency of your stool, ways to exercise in an airport, how often should you eat, are Lion Heart Supplements good, healthy ways to flavor drinking water, why certain oils are dangerous, and learning to get hungry during a race.
Brock: Good day everyone! Welcome to another episode of the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast. I’m Brock and always on the line, we’ve got Ben.
Ben: Hello, how are you doing Brock?
Brock: I’m doing pretty darn well actually, all things actually. Maybe it’s because we’re recording on a Tuesday instead of a Wednesday.
Ben: This is a little strange. I don’t know what I normally do Tuesday mornings. I just realized when I sat down to the podcast, I have no clue what I’d normally be doing right now.
Brock: Probably sleeping?
Ben: Yeah, possibly.
Brock: We’re in very different time zones. I don’t think anybody realizes, we’re actually three hours apart. I’m three hours ahead of Ben so I’ve been up for hours and been working on stuff and Ben just rolls out of bed basically and starts talking.
Ben: Yeah, I do that everyday. I just happened to be mic on Wednesday mornings and that’s yeah, we live in different time zones, different cultures really.
Ben: Totally different cultures.
Brock: I eat poutine for breakfast and you ate what, muskox?
Ben: I don’t even know what a poutine or muskox is, that’s just starters for where our cultural differences lie. It’s an enormous gap between Brock and I but we’re eventually learning to understand each other’s culture and language and respect each other.
Brock: We’re a model duen right here.
Ben: Yup! I did a half Ironman a couple days ago.
Brock: Yeah cool, was it at the Troika?
Ben: The Troika. It’s like one of the oldest half Ironman Triathlons in the world, like it’s just like been going forever and ever and hasn’t been bought by any big triathlon corporations. So it just kind of remains this local hometown half Ironman Triathlon.
Brock: It was started by Ukrainians or why is it called The Troika?
Ben: Ukrainians? I don’t even know, I think Troika is probably like an ancient Indian word.
Brock: Maybe it’s just that.
Ben: It should have been Washington State, that’d make better sense for it to be Native American than Ukrainian, I guess.
Brock: Here you go again, the cultures are so different.
Ben: Yeah, I’m sore.
Brock: I bet.
Ben: My legs are sore between that, and then Spain. I went to Congo, beat me up a little bit.
Brock: How did it go? Was it a good race? Did you?
Ben: Yeah, it was decent. I loved the race up to about mile 40 or so, the bike and then I got past by a guy and I tried to stay with him and I couldn’t. I’ve tried hard and then I actually got past again halfway through the run so I came in third.
Brock: That’s pretty good.
Ben: Yeah, I was happy with it.
Brock: Nothing wrong with that. Johnnie Brown is happy with that.
Ben: That’s right, the Olympics. Had their triathlon and he got third right? That was last night.
Ben: Yeah, cool.
Brock: And our Canadian hope didn’t even get his shoes on, on the bicycle, before he completely crashed and hopefully doesn’t has any really bad injuries or concussions or anything but that was sort of the end of it for my country.
Ben: You should’ve had more poutine.
Brock: You should’ve.
Ben: That’s right. I was going to call it a literation to try and impress the listeners but you beat me to it, yeah, a few interesting things. First of all, those of you who listen through the EndurancePlanet.com podcast may be aware that I actually do a weekly sports nutrition episode over there. The most recent one, I know it’s not released yet but we recorded it yesterday, the most recent one was on the fat burning and low carbohydrate diets and endurance performance and I think it’d be really good to listen. So whether or not you’re an endurance athlete or interested in endurance, we just had a really good discussion about low carbohydrate diets and to lay to something that I tweeted this week also which was about ketogenic diets and specifically what I noted was that ketogenic diets don’t seem to deleteriously affect your strength. Meaning that when you’re eating a low carbohydrate diet and not getting as many carbohydrates as you would think that you need in order to produce high amounts of strength doesn’t seem to hurt you and the study that looked at this was entitled Ketogenic Diet Does Not Affect Strength Performance In Elite Gymnasts and they basically fed these gymnasts a diet consisting of vegetables, olive oils, fish and meat and then they tracked their various performance aspects of everything from like push-ups to hamstring leg raise to parallel bar dips, pull-ups, squat jumps, ton movement jumps. A lot of really kind of short strength and power type of efforts and they found that there was no detrimental effect of a low carbohydrate diet on athletic performance. I guess like my one eyebrow that was raised at that was that we’re still talking about activities that are not very endurance-intensive, activities that’ll place high demands on like your glycogen storage, your storage carbohydrate and we’re also looking at folks who are elite, who are very well-trained. I’m not 100% sure that you could take the average individual, throw them into a tennis game or basketball game or something like that in a ketogenic state and witness no deleterious effect in performance. I know that I certainly do better when I’ve had some carbohydrate before a tennis match just in terms of like focus and concentration compared to not but still I thought the study was good in pointing out that you can roll out of bed in a low carbohydrate ketogenic state, go with weights and not experience a really deleterious effect in like your strength or your performance.
Ben: So yeah, there was that and another thing that I noted was that, that whole low fat versus low carb diet study that came out last month, lots and lots of folks were talking about it. Lots of blogs were going over this study that appeared in the journal The American Medical Association and the title of the study was The Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure during Weight Loss Maintenance and we actually talked about it on the podcast when it first came out. It was a low carb group, a low fat group and then a low glycemic index group and what they found was that, in all groups, when you’re losing weight, you’re going to see a decrease in your resting energy expenditure but that decrease in resting energy expenditure was least in the high fat-low carb group, meaning that they seem to experience less metabolic deficits associated with low calorie intake and weight loss compared to the other groups. And of course, one of the things that we mentioned when we talked about this last time was that there was a lot of media reporting that the low carb group had higher levels of C-reactive protein which is a marker in inflammation. When in reality, they’ve observed that that group had high levels of CRP but they didn’t know that there was an actual increase in CRP, meaning that that group in general, that low carbohydrate group, may have just had individuals and they had a low CRP going into the test, so they didn’t know. At the beginning of the low carb diet, they had low CRP and at the end, they had high CRP. They just noticed that when they tested that group, they tended to have a higher CRP value.
Brock: That’s sort of a strange protocol to have. Usually when you bring any sort of data into it, it’s data that’s measured during the entire process but at least before and after not just or an after snapshot because you’re right, that doesn’t give you a lot of information to go on.
Ben: Yeah! The low carb condition simply had the highest CRP levels compared to the other diets. You can’t necessarily say that it causes inflammation but anyways, the reason that I tweeted was that I was looking back at the study and I noticed that this low carb diet group had pretty much zero fruits and vegetables or almost like a non-existent fruit and vegetable intake. They’re getting all their fiber from a Metamucil. They’re getting fed three grams of Metamucil which is like this nutrient void cilium seed husk at every meal and I tweeted that because I thought it was not worthy that these folks really weren’t getting much in terms of anti-inflammatories, anti-oxidants etc. so let’s say that its possible, that a low carbohydrate diet does increase your levels of inflammation or in this case, that it may increase levels of inflammation that just grump up for a second. I would really be interested to see what would happen if you actually gave these folks dark, leafy greens and vegetables versus feeding them this nutrient void cilium husk fiber at every meal.
Brock: Give them kale and blueberry salad and see what happens.
Ben: Yeah exactly, and we’ll talk a little bit more about fiber later on in the podcast because we do have a question.
Brock: Boy, do we ever.
Ben: And then the last thing was a study that noted that alcohol actually decreases your ability to bounce back from a workout. It inhibits post-workout recovery and this was in a journal of strength and conditioning researchers entitled The Effect of Post-Match Alcohol Ingestion on recovery from competitive Rugby League matches and they tested the effects of alcohol ingestion on lower body strength and power and on physiological and cognitive recovery following a rugby competition and what they did was that they gave these folks about a gram of ethanol per kilogram of body weight and one group got vodka and orange juice, lucky them. The other group just got orange juice but the vodka-orange juice group showed increased markers of creatine kinase C-reactive protein which we just got done discussing as an inflammatory marker. That showed some decreased testosterone, increased cortisol and so it did certainly affect their recovery with the caveat being that it was the equivalent of about four to six drinks that they had, so it’s a lot of alcohol.
Brock: It’s a binge.
Ben: So you’ll see of course, and some study just came out yesterday, it was in the media that alcohol inhibits recovery. Understand that it was enough, maybe not for a Rugby player but to send most folks under the table, at least I’m immune to that type.
Brock: Me too.
Ben: Couple of little things to note. If you have been to BenGreenfieldFitness.com this week, there was one study where I talked about Risk versus Reward. Particularly, I used sun screen as an example and talked about what’s good about sun screen, what’s bad about sun screen and whether or not the risk of using sun screen is worth the reward of the skin protection that it may offer to you. And I kind of went to some other issues like chronic exercise and whether that risk is worth the reward and whether eating carbohydrates for exercise performance is worth the reward. So we got a good, little discussion going on over there and I’d love to hear listeners’ comments on that so you can check that out over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com and if you didn’t get a chance to listen to last Friday’s special episode entitled Is All Water The Same? That would be another good one to listen into. We geeked out on water a bit but not only are the audio pretty good but I have also got a link to a video and some other really interesting stuff in the show notes to that one.
Brock: I love it when a company like the Kinesis people actually get involved and actually like responded to your video that you put up and did such a really thoughtful and interesting way too, it’s very cool and companies take that kind of interest in social media and also in these kind of podcasts.
Ben: Yeah, that was the company that made the sun screen that I was questioning the ingredients of and they actually had some good things to point out and anyways, it’d open my eyes to some things and that’s why I wrote that article, so check that out. If you are interested in sun screen or if you are anyone except, I suppose an Inuit, they don’t have sun exposure, do they?
Brock: Never, they’d never see the sun.
Listener Q and A:
Brock: Alright, lots and lots of great questions as usual. Thank you folks and we may just jump right into them. Let’s start with this audio question from Paul.
Paul says: Hi Ben, this is Paul from the San Francisco Bay area. I just finished the Vineman Full Distance Ironman Triathlon and I know that you were trying to or you were racing without taking electrolytes in or at least talking about it a little behind on the podcast. I noticed a lot of people out there with a ton of salt on them on the race and I did these standard salt capsule once an hour and all the other stuff that had a ton of salt on me. Do you think that the waterlogged and the not taking electrolytes so that you won’t be secreting salt like everybody else do on the race? Thanks.
Brock: Cool, so yeah racing without electrolytes.
Ben: And salty skin. This is a pretty simple answer. I used to use electrolytes a lot when I would do triathlons, when I would go out training, when I would run and I used to have moderately salty skin meaning that if I were to brush my skin, I could feel some it almost would have like a grainy feel if I were to do something like a long 2-hour run in the heat or finish something like an Ironman Triathlon. I’d have a little bit of salt crusting on the sleeves of my jersey or my shorts or something like that and I’ve run to folks at races and had athletes who have coached who have experienced far more salt crusting than that. I mean salt crusting in the eyebrows.
Brock: As me, I’ve actually had salt streams like on my legs like you can actually vividly see the salts streaming down and drying.
Ben: Exactly, and salt excretion is a direct function of salt intake. In most cases, you observe these sweat sodium content of salts to decrease after just one to two days of switching to a low sodium intake or working excess electrolytes and salts out of the diet. in my case, I haven’t, for the past year and a half, ever felt my skin to be grainy after a workout, after like a long workout where I’m sweating a lot and I’ve never seen it as the same white crust that I used to get when I would do things like use electrolytes and salt tablets and things like that during exercise which I quit doing based off of the discussions that I’ve had on this podcast before with Tim Noakes. His book Waterlogged which basically shows you why you don’t need electrolytes and salt during exercise and why really most folks drink too much water as well but ultimately what it comes down to is that in almost every case that I’ve seen, salt excretion is a direct consequence of salt intake and by lowering salt intake and by especially lowering your intake of intake of salt capsules and things like that during exercise and during races, you’d tend to see that completely disappear.
Brock: Yeah! I actually did sort of a case study on myself. I was playing a hockey tournament over the course. I think it was four days over a long weekend and of course, we were at the rink and there was tons of salty food we were eating, French fries and hamburgers and chips and stuff just between every one of the games which has gorged in this stuff and go back on the ice but on like the third day, the sweat that was going in my eyes was stinging so much that I’d actually have to leave the ice occasionally to like clean my forehead off because I was blinded by my own sweat and I’ve never had that before. Like I’m a very salty guy but this was extreme.
Ben: Yeah, and there’s absolutely no reason that that needs to happen. So if you cut salt out, you’ll see that that goes away.
Brock: Now it’s not like it’s a harmful thing having the sweat building up on your skin isn’t that sign that you’re in trouble or anything like that. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing but it’s not a problem, is it?
Ben: Not necessarily unless if you’re eating a high sodium diet, that can certainly have an effect on your blood pressure or could potentially mean you’re eating lots of, for example, processed and packaged foods that are high in sodium but for the most part, sodium is vilified more than it should be when it comes to the dietary presence of sodium. However, sodium is also a huge industry in terms of electrolyte pills and sports drinks and things like that for exercise and that’s where that stuff is really not necessary and like I mentioned, once you decrease that intake, you almost immediately show that the kidneys begin to reduce their salt output, you get lower salt excretion in the sweat almost right away and essentially. You just start putting out less sweat as soon as you start taking in less sodium or you start putting out less sodium in your sweat and your urine once you’ll be taking in less sodium.
Brock: Awesome! Well, let’s move on to the next audio question from Alberto.
Alberto: Hi Ben, this is Alberto from Miami, Florida. I have a great question for you and maybe you can help. Eight weeks ago, I sprained my ankle really badly. The MRI indicated that I have a tear on the ligaments, bone concussion in the talus and some sprained ligaments. I started to swim about again last week but I still cannot run. So the problem here is that I have an Ironman in nine weeks and it’s a big one, Kona. So I am one of the 100 lucky Kona Learn winners so I’m just a normal person. So this is a big chance of a lifetime to go there, Ironman World Championship for me. I have done a lot of research but maybe you have an idea of how I can recover fast to start running again and regain my running fitness back. So thank you Ben and keep up the good work and hopefully I will see you in Kona. Thanks, bye.
Brock: Well I guess, first, congratulations on Kona.
Ben: Yeah that’s awesome. It’s going to be very cool for Alberto to experience that race.
Brock: I’m jealous.
Ben: Hopefully if he follows the advice here, he can experience it much more enjoyably. There are definitely some things you can do to speed up the recovery time on something like this and the really important thing to remember is that with sprained ankles, when you get this sprain, it’s either a stretch or a tear of the ligaments or the tendons in that ankle and what your body does is it repairs that damage by creating this really tough fibrous material which is scar tissue to bind those torn tissue fibers back together. Without that scar tissue formation, you wouldn’t get the healing but at the same time, if you try to push through pain and you do a lot of weight during and you do a lot of running on top of scar tissue. What can happen is it basically contracts around and kind of deforms the tissues that surround it and it can really decrease mobility in the ankle and you get a lot of people who have either chronic ankle pain or chronic ankle lack of mobility because they have either sped up the recovery process or been impatient during recovery and going straight back in to like running with slight pain, kind of like grit your teeth and get through the run and then ice it afterwards. That type of stuff can really lead to that excessive scar tissue formation. So that is where you need to be careful and that’s why when you go to a physical therapist to get your ankle rehabbed, they stress the importance of movement and increasing the circulation to that ankle to assist with the proper formation of that scar tissue and basically to help with the form and keep it from laying scar tissue on top of scar tissue over and over again. So you’re usually doing light exercises that help with blood flow but that don’t put excessive stress in the ankle. You’re doing range of motion exercises like active range of motion, ankle circles and standing on balance pillows in a controlled environment and things of that nature again, to help with the proper formation of that scar tissue and then you gradually move on to weight burning exercises prior to impact. So you gradually move on to things like squats and lunges and steps and moving into different directions with resistance bends and then also some balance exercises like I mentioned, on a balance pillow or a wobble board or a balance board to increase your appropriate reception, to increase your awareness as the ankle heals. So you definitely want to follow that sequence that you would be going through if you were for example, working in a physical therapy setting on this thing. That’s what they’re going to do if they take a basketball player getting paid whatever, a million dollars a year to perform. They’ll take them through that sequence of movement range of motion to weight burning exercise, to balance but prior to returning to like impact. Jumping, landing, hopping, stuff like that so that’s really important. At the same time though, you can pull out some gears, some tools, and some supplements that are going to speed this thing along. A few of the things, I’ll make sure that I’d link to all of this stuff in the show notes, this episode number 203, right Brock?
Brock: That’s right.
Ben: So a few other things you can do. First of all, anti-inflammatories, I’m not a huge fan of ibuprofen. I’ve got a bigger article about this coming out on Tuesday, kind of all the latest research on ibuprofen and why I don’t encourage it for most folks and that’s going to be over at QuickAndDirtyTips.com. I’ve got an article on that coming out. If you subscribe to my podcast, the Get Fit Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips podcast which you can get on iTunes, you’ll be able to listen to that episode on ibuprofen so I’ll put off any vilification on ibuprofen until then they say anything in detail but basically when you have inflammation from an injury, it’s caused by the release of prostaglandin and it’s sustained by an enzyme called Cyclooxygenase two or COX2 and when you take like an NSAID like ibuprofen or aspirin or whatever, it inhibits COX2 but it also inhibits another COX enzyme called COX1 and that is involved in the protection of your digestive tract and your blood vessels. So without adequate COX1, you can have ulcers, you can have leaking of the blood vessels and so extended use or high acute use of something like aspirin or ibuprofen can cause some of these issues. One of the things that I like as an alternative to ibuprofen that can inhibit COX2 without causing the same effects on the stomach and without inhibiting COX1 is called phenylcaine. Phenylcaine is something I learned about from Dr. Roby Mitchell who’s been on this podcast a few times but basically it’s got a few different ingredients. It’s got curcumin tract and curcuminoids are these little particles that make up curcumin which is the stuff that you’d taste if you were eating a meal of curry like an Indian-based meal and those are very potent COX2 inhibitors. Curcumin is dried from turmeric and so the reason that it works better than turmeric is because it’s extremely isolated and concentrated curcuminoid product from turmeric so you have to reduce about sixty parts turmeric to get one part curcumin and it’s a lot better way to go compared to like just using turmeric spice on your food which is fine, the turmeric capsules. Curcumin, it’s a little bit more of a nuke. So phenylcaine has the curcumin in it. It’s also got an herb called Boswellia in it and that’s also a COX2 inhibitor. It’s got DL Phenol Aniline in it. Interestingly, this is something that actually works quite well in folks who are depressed, who have move disorders. It kind of helps your body maintain higher levels of serotonin which is your feel-good hormone and when you can increase that, you also tend to get a little bit better pain management too. So this phenylcaine stuff, it has the phenol aniline in there and then finally, it has nato kinase and that’s enzyme derived from like a fermented soy bean extract. If you avoid soy for health purposes, don’t worry, this doesn’t have the same time of effect as like tofu or soy milk or something like that but has really good blood clot dissolving abilities and so that also can assist with speeding up healing and decreasing pain, so that’s one thing. When I’m injured, I’m usually doing about four to eight per day of those phenylcaine capsules and they’re kind of like bright yellow from all the curcumin that’s in them and you don’t really burp up curry, you don’t have breath that smells like you’ve been eating Indian food all day but phenylcaine would be one that I’d definitely do. I would highly recommend you consider combining that with another kind of like joint and cartilage blend that I really recommend, it’s called CapraFlex and CapraFlex is a blend of glucosamine and chondroitin. It’s got some chicken collagen type too in there. It’s got a blend of natural herbal anti-inflammatories particularly cherry juice extract. I would mark fever few, it’s got ginger, it’s got valerian, it’s got some lemon powder and then it also has proteolytic enzymes in it which help to break down fibrinogen and that is one of the things that can lead to that excess scar tissue formation okay, so advanced use of something like CapraFlex when you’re trying to get an injury to speed up as quickly as possible is anywhere from about nine to twelve capsules of those per day. I’m not a physician, I’m not prescribing this as medical advice but I’m telling you exactly what I’d do when I get injured and I’ll use Capra Flex after something like a workout, like this half Ironman I did a couple of days ago, just helps speed up healing. You talk about bone concussion. The other nice part of that CapraFlex is it’s got lactoferrin in it and lactoferrin in the past few years, has been shown to be a really effective supplement when it comes to stimulating osteoclast formation which is how your body lays down new bone cells and it’s shown some really cool stuff when it comes to stimulating speeding up healing of bone. So it helps with bone remodeling, bone regeneration so it can be useful for stuff like this, for stress fractures but its got some really cool bone growth factor properties and the CapraFlex says that in there as well. So from a supplementation standpoint, those would be kind of like my top two recommendations, would be to do phenylcaine and to do like a CapraFlex and we’ll be sure to put a link to both of those in the show notes. As far as like modalities that you can use at home, if you have access, and I’m not sure exactly where the sprain is on the ankle, if it’s a high ankle sprain, it’d be a little bit easier to do this. If not, sometimes it can be tough in terms of placement of the electrode patches but like a home electro-stimulation unit to improve blood flow without you having to move too much on that ankle, that can help out a little bit. There’s a company called Compex, they make a good brand of like an electro-stimulation device. Cold laser, a lot of these home hand-held, cold, low-level laser units are decent. They’re not as good as the ones that you’ll find at like medical practitioners office like the higher frequency low-level lasers but cold laser treatment tends to do really good things in terms of speeding up soft tissue injuries, improving blood flow to the area and assisting with healing, kind of stimulating the healing process and both of those are something that you could definitely get your hands on for home use or you could get access to them like a physical therapist’s or a physiotherapist’s office. And a couple of other things that I would definitely do would be to make sure that you are eating an anti-inflammatory diet so really cut out sugar, alcohol, caffeine. This stuff may seem trite but when you’re looking for every advantage possible in terms of not piling inflammation on top of inflammation, avoiding some of this stuff can be a really good idea. And then as far as kind of maintaining your ability to run, your running capacity, I would, as you’re rehabbing this thing, go from aqua jogging and I’m going to put a great link for you in the show notes on how to do deep water aqua jogging. Brock, you’ve done some aqua jogging right?
Brock: Yeah, when I blew up my knee just before my first half marathon of the season. I spent the whole week alternating between swimming and aqua jogging. That’s all I did and I almost managed to get a PR in that half marathon so it worked.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, you can get a floatation belt, some aqua jogging shoes that provide resistance. Most people or a lot of people I should say will think you’re supposed to aqua jog on a shallow surface where you can touch bottom, that would be kind of for the second stage for rehab because that’s technically weight bearing. Deep water aqua jogging is very low impact and can help maintain our cardiovascular capacity without putting stress on the ankle. So you wear special shoes that increase resistance. You don’t have to wear them but you’ll get your heart rate higher if you do. You wear a floatation belt and if you get super bored, which I do when I’m aqua jogging, you need an underwater MP3 Player. Put that on and yeah, geek out in the pool for a while next to the old people doing water aerobics.
Brock: I saw an amazing video of Husain Bolt actually doing some aqua jogging and he was just sort of hanging out in the pool and then all of a sudden it looked like the pool started to boil because he was just going so hard underwater but it works for Bolt.
Ben: Did you just call him Husain?
Brock: Isn’t that his name?
Ben: It’s Usain.
Brock: What did I say?
Ben: I think you said Husain.
Brock: Oh, sorry Usain.
Ben: He actually, he won yesterday. He won the hundred yesterday.
Brock: Cool! He is the fastest man in the world.
Ben: He lags for like the first 30-40m then his stride length just pulls him. That means it’s amazing. You watch that acceleration especially like the final 20, it’s amazing. So that’s where I’d start. I’d definitely incorporate some range of motion exercises, progress that to some easy weight bearing, some balance work and then eventually go on to weight bearing under impact. At the same time, I’d be doing like the phenocane, the CapraFlex, doing some aqua jogging for the cardiovascular capacity, trying to do some electro-stim and or cold laser if you can get your hands on it and yeah, those are definitely some of the places that I would start.
Brock: And don’t skip the proprioception balance stuff because I’ve seen way too many runners come back too soon. They think Okay, the pain’s got. I can start give and or now and they end up re-injured because they don’t get the neuromuscular connection back and you don’t have the mobility that you had before. You don’t get the feeling you had before and you just end up re-injuring it, so that’s an important step in the process.
Ben: Yeah! You don’t want to be looking like you’re drunk when you’re running.
Brock: Yeah! Or maybe you do.
Ben: That’s true. It is kind of a celebratory event, that race in Kona. By the way, we should let the listeners know that this is probably the last week wherein I have some weird audio cutting in and out.
Brock: Yeah! I’m moving out of my ghetto office. Hopefully the internet connection will be a little bit more solid from here on out.
Ben: Yeah. Regular listeners may know just like the past four episodes, sometimes when Brock talks, I cut out and vice versa. That will be fixed by next week, don’t worry.
Brock: Okay. While our audio is still running okay, let’s jump in to this next question from Ben.
Ben: Hi Ben, this is Ben from Brooklyn, New York. Love your podcast Ben although I’m not an endurance athlete. I get a lot out of it and I get a lot of it out of some people too so keep up the good work. I have a question. This is about digestion and elimination. Just so you know, I’m a martial artist. I’ve had trainings just to spend the night hours per week and I lift weights. That’s just like what’s in November 531 Program, that’s great, everything’s good. I mean when I’m putting on weight, I show that I’ve passed the qualifying. I worked paleo for over two years. I was high carb paleo for the last six, now I’m not. I can incorporate in frames again, I’m eating white rice, oats, radish stuff occasionally and sure fine, I’m loving it. My question is about bowel movements. I usually go within an hour of waking up, great routine, I love it, it’s great. Maybe once more or an hour after that may give out and then usually Wednesday afternoon between lunch and dinner, so I feel regular and I feel good about that. The thing is the morning bowel movement is kind of explosive. It’s kind of like a pile that comes out rather than a well-formed log. Now I read a lot and heard from different internet theories that a log is preferred and that a pile may represent a problem in your digestion. Now here’s the thing, I have no other symptoms, I have no stomach problems, no burping, no gas, no bloating, nothing like that. Like I said, I’m very active, I feel good all the time, constant energy and it may seem that I’m working like I said I put on weight, it shook the shape. So that got me thinking. Is there a way or is there something that I could do or that I’m not doing by my form of my stool if you will. That’s pretty much my question so I’ll see what you will think about that and give me a report. I eat about 3000 calories per day, two meals, just lunch and dinner, about a thousand calories at lunch and then a full 2000 at dinner. No breakfast, I’ve never eaten anything for breakfast. There’s people say I have to. For supplements to say, now I do take a pretty good alanine but I have gone off thankful weeks at a time because if the effects change anything, I’m not going to change, I don’t think that’s related. I do have a little bit of coffee but I do not ease that from my bowel movement. I usually go before I even have my morning coffee. Thanks a lot guys, keep up the good work.
Brock: Okay, one of us has to say it.
Ben: Say what?
Brock: Holy crap.
Ben: Yeah. Definitely quite a few angles we could comment this from. First of all, I want to talk a little bit about what many folks would do to kind of firm up their stool but I also want to get in to some of the issues with that as well. So we’ll talk about fiber in a second but first let’s just talk about like stool consistency. So there’s a really good scale. I’m going to link to it in the show notes and it’s called the Bristol Stool Scale or the Bristol Stool Chart and it breaks your poo down into seven different types. So like I won’t go through all the types like type one would be separate hard lumps like nuts that are really hard to pass and so it would be like dear pooper, erratic pooper or whatever, that type of poo you might experience after you’re on a bunch of pharmaceutical drug or something like that and you know your digestive system is a little messed up and then all the way down to type seven on the Bristol Stool Scale which is like liquid diarrhea basically which is also not ideal for anybody that has actually had that. Then there’s kind of like a couple of ideal stools on the Bristol Stool Chart and they’re termed type three and type four stools and these would be considered stools that indicate ideal digestive health, good gut flora and basically everything’s kind of moving smoothly so to speak. Type three is described and there are also nice little illustrations as well. Described as like a sausage but with cracks on the surface and type four is described as like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft.
Brock: That makes it sound so much more pleasant.
Ben: Probably almost. Depending on which category you fall into though, type three and type four is generally what you’re going for when it comes to your stool and there certainly things that you can do to take yourself closer to type one or closer to that ladder, kind of type seven liquid state. So when a stool becomes too soft, which appears to be the case here with you, it can kind of help you feel like you’re a little bit less explosive, a little bit more normal to achieve a slightly more solid stool consistency and your stool consistency as most people know, is really influenced by what you eat and by what you drink and what you want to do basically if you want to make your stool firmer is to basically reduce foods and beverages that are going to make stool softer and replace that with things that would not make your stool soft. So first of all, one of the things that can tend to create more of like a soft, liquid stool explosive movement type of thing would be excess fluid and a lot of people do drink too much water and much of your bowel movement is comprised of water and excess fluid is going to tend to make your stool softer. So if you are constantly obsessed with keeping your urine color clear and hammering large amounts of water from a Nalgene bottle during the day, you may find your stool consistency to be softer than it should. Then there’s one thing that you can do, is back off on the fluid. It sounds like you’ve been eating pretty healthy but alcohol can have a pretty significant effect on stool consistency and tends to lean towards making stool loose. In some people who tend to have like gluten tolerance or wheat intolerance, things like that, beer can tend to have an opposite effect or any type of gluten can tend any alcohol to have an opposite effect.
Brock: That’s why they call it the bud mud.
Ben: The bud mud but in most cases, alcohol is going to make the stool loose. Caffeine, anything from coffee to tea to colas to even chocolate interestingly, that’s a biggy. A lot of people don’t realize those stimulate the bowel, they make stool pass through faster and basically those can make the stool a little bit too soft as well. So we’re doing a few big cups of coffee in the morning and you’re sugaring with that, usually one nice cup of a warm beverage in the morning can get things moving along quite nicely but if you’re a two or three-cup a day type of person, you may find that that begins to affect your stool consistency and make it a little bit more uncomfortably loose. Things that don’t get absorbed well by your body can make your stools loose and one of the biggies there is artificial sweeteners and you’re going to find artificial sweeteners, I don’t know if you’re doing diet drinks, if your protein powder has sucralose or acesulfame potassium in it, maybe you’ve got like gum that you’re chewing during the day but all of those can make the stool loose because they’re non-absorbers. Sugar alcohols can have a similar effect. And fiber is another thing that can tend to make stools loose. Fiber is interesting because, depending on the type of fiber, it can both cause stools to become loose and it can also kind of gum you up. If you do too much fiber, basically it creates almost like a bowel impact if you’re doing a lot of like fiber capsules and a high fiber diet but pretty much any vegetable is going to tend to make the stool softer. It’s also going to tend to ferment and create more gas. We’ll talk about how that might be a bad issue for some folks but particularly like stone fruits, that would be like apricots, plums, peaches, they type of fruits that have big pits and also anything dried can have a really bad effect when it comes to your stool and really make it kind of explosive and loose, so that would be another thing to bear in mind. Some herbs, some spices as well have a pretty potent effect on the bowel particularly high amounts of, we talked about curry for example, being an anti-inflammatory. You will notice that that phenylcaine that I mentioned really has much of an effect on your bowel but if you’re doing a lot of like spicy Indian type of food as most people probably know, those are definitely going to influence your stool consistency. Medicines in pharmaceuticals go back and forth. I mean we could spend an hour on which medicines in pharmaceuticals are going to cause loose stools versus which ones don’t but in most cases, medications are going to have an effect but it doesn’t sound like you are on any type of medication.
Brock: Yeah, he didn’t indicate anything.
Ben: So those are some of the biggies. Too much fluid, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, too much fiber particularly from stone fruits or like dry fruits and then like really spicy food, all of that stuff could cause the type of issues that Ben is talking about. It leads me into though, something that I wanted to mention and we talked about this a few weeks ago about foods that can contribute to irritable bowel syndrome, excess gas. A lot of active people suffer from foods or from symptoms that tend to really bother them during the day. Especially the excess gas part and a big part of this in people who eat healthy are fermentable foods. When we talked about these in the episode FODMAPS which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols and basically FODMAPS are any short-chain carbohydrate that don’t get absorbed well in your GI tract and get pretty easily fermented by bacteria in your gut and a lot of times, you can find irritable bowel syndrome and changes in your bowel movement consistency and especially a lot more uncomfortable bowel movements when you’re eating a high amounts of these FODMAPS in your diet and in that episode, Brock, I think that that was two. It wasn’t last week, it was the week before right?
Brock: Yeah I think it was 201 or might have been 200.
Ben: Yeah, so episode 200 or 201 was linked to a FODMAP chart that showed the foods that would tend to stress your gut a little bit more when it comes to fermentable carbohydrates but really, it’s typically like lactose from some dairy products, fructose from especially those stone fruits that I mentioned, some what are called fructans from fibrous vegetables and then Polyols particularly from like sugar alcohols like mannitol and xylitol and sorbitol and a lot of these food ingredients. So check out that FODMAP chart for sure and then also, there’s a really good book that I recently went through that really opened my eyes to how you get pretty big law of diminishing returns when it comes to fiber consumption. The name of this book, and I’ll link to it in the show notes, is Fiber Menace and what they go over in Fiber Menace is all of the basically the lives that have been told to us about fiber. There’s no evidence that fiber wards off colon cancer. There’s no evidence that fiber wards off breast cancer. It doesn’t reduce the risk of heart disease. It doesn’t counteract diabetes. It doesn’t curb your appetite. It doesn’t, and this is a huge biggy because there’s huge cleansing industries built around this, it doesn’t necessarily keep your colon clean or improve elimination and in fact, it can actually delay gut transit time and cause extreme constipation. There are some big issues with fiber especially with high fiber supplements like the one I mentioned earlier, that Metamucil which is completely nutrient-void and can really interfere with the digestive process. So I would highly recommend that you check out the book Fiber Menace and basically what it comes down to is that many of the fibers that we get from plants simply don’t digest all that well and especially insoluble fiber that you get a lot of times from like the skin of plants, that can cause esophageal gastric and intestinal obstruction and it can lead the stuff like gastroesophageal reflux disorder, heart burn and ulcers and constipation and excess flatulence and even mechanical damage to like your lower GI tract like your colorectal organs due to basically fiber causing really increased stool weight and stool size. So believe it or not, eating a high fiber diet and then bragging about the size of your poo, could actually be kind of killing your insides.
Brock: I did a few weeks ago, a scientific American actually had an article about a very specific type of fiber that was really beneficial to the probiotics in your gut, so they were suggesting that instead of eating a bunch of yogurt, they just feed the bacteria that are already in your gut with this really specific type of fiber. Did you see that article Ben?
Ben: No, I didn’t see that article but of course, it’s referring to prebiotics. Every probiotic is going to feed on prebiotics to a certain extent and prebiotics are forms of fiber. Of course, the bad bacteria in your stomach are going to feed on excess fiber as well. What I’ve seen in terms of evidence on some of the best prebiotics feeding on the healthy bacterial cultures in your gut, some of the better ones like the sulfurous vegetables like onions and leaks and stuff like that, and then also I’ve seen good stuff with like kale and chard and some of these dark leafy greens and that would be versus stuff. Eventually we’ll eat the skin like say like asparagus or like a more fermentable fruit like peaches or prunes or something like that, so there’s definitely a difference in the type of probiotics or prebiotics when it comes to the ones that do the best job feeding the good bacteria in your stomach. If you find the link to that Brock, send it to me or put it up in the show notes because that’s actually an article I didn’t see. I’d like to see what prebiotic they were talking about in the article.
Brock: I’ll do that.
Ben: Thank you!
Brock: Alright. Shall we move on to Horacio’s question?
Ben: Yeah, now that we completely like ground fiber intake to find dust and stomping ground, let’s go ahead and move on and destroy something else.
Brock: Alright, that’s what we do best.
Horacio says: Hi Ben, odd question coming. I happen to travel on planes very frequently so I spend a lot of hours on airports so there are no gyms there [perhaps a business opportunity]. What good workouts can be done when I have a good two to three hours of waiting for my next flight while avoiding being deported for public disorder?
Ben: Well, you’re talking to a guy who has worked out in like stairwells of airports. I’ve literally like run three miles through airports by changing into running gear and literally just like running laps with my backpack and then going back in the bathroom and showering in the same. You name it, in an airport, I’ve done it. I’ve even gotten in some pretty good exercise sessions on an airplane, so when it comes to avoiding being deported for public disorder, if you’re serious of staying fit when you travel, you’re going to get some stares from folks especially when you consider that I think any stairs in any airport are like the least-used part of the airport. Like when people see an escalator, they have to get on that escalator and it’s amazing how quickly you can move through an airport by actually avoiding the escalators and the walking mills. That being said, business opportunities in terms of airport gyms, this is an interesting story. I actually, about five years ago as I was opening lot of personal training studios, doing a lot of gym work, I used to work five am to ten pm in the gym setting, I actually read an article about these two students. They’re from one of the either, I think they were either at Princeton or Yale back east and they actually won the business award for their school by developing an entire airport gym business, the whole thing planned out or they did in their business competition at this school. From where the gyms are going to be, what was going to be in the gyms, where are they going to put them and basically this entire like franchise network of airport gyms cross the country and eventually cross the world where people could stay fit as they travel. I got some local investors together and I flew these guys in. I footed the bill, flew them in and had them put together a presentation at one of my local personal training studios to this group of investors to go over their airport gym idea and it turned out to be full of so many holes. They gave us like a prospectus and went over the numbers. I mean in terms of the combination of the leasing, the liability insurance, what you actually have to have in an airport gym to make it very feasible in terms of having to be profitable on like a national or an international franchise network level, it was like a failed business on paper. They never actually did it but it was something I seriously looked into like I sunk some money in whether or not an airport gym franchise across the country would be something I could actually apply unattended and the numbers hashed out. Maybe since I’ve done that research, airport leases have changed but I was subscribed to all the major airports in the country in terms of like their leasing requirements and the cost per square foot and it was just out of sight in terms of turning an airport gym into a good business opportunity. There are just very few people and we did some surveys who would actually exercise anyways when they’re like walking through an airport. We like to think that there are a lot of folks but really, we’re a very small subset of the population where frequent airports would actually use an airport gym.
Brock: Isn’t the statistic in America anyways that forty percent of the population actually gets the 30 minutes-a-day exercise that the medical association prescribes and thirty percent of the population gets absolutely no exercise at all.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, if you listen to a podcast like this, you’re in a minority of folks who care about exercise to the extent that you do and listen to us talking about airport gyms. So yeah, it’s the reason that maybe like two percent of the folks you see when you’re at the airport are walking up the stairs, those are the people that would use the airport gym and they’re fueling hard between compared to the Cinnabon and they’re charging the money for the airport least based off of the type of visitor frequency you’d see with the Cinnabon or Starbucks or something like that. An airport gym, if you get a person walking in there every ten minutes to do a workout, you’re not going to survive.
Brock: Yeah, just charge them $200.
Ben: Exactly! There is a website though called AirportGyms.com so you can go to AirportGyms.com and get a list of gyms that are either in hotels that are very close to an airport or in the airport hotel, that’s one way that you can do it or gyms that are close enough to the airport where you could, on a long lay over, check out, go workout, check back in and make it there within reasonable time. I personally lately have been doing a lot of my traveling with a suspension strap. I use one called The Most Fit Suspension Strap. It’s like a quarter of the price of a TRX so it’s a good buy, it’s like twenty dollars I think and you can attach it to like I mentioned, in stairwells, doorframes, anywhere where you have something you could wrap it around and do suspended push-ups, suspended sitting leg lunges, suspended corkscrew twists, variety of different exercises and get a really great workout with that. I’ve been traveling with that, I like it for the hotel rooms as well. So that works out really well. I’m also going to put a link in the show notes to a collection of quick 10-minute body weight workouts that I’ve designed and this is based on an article over at GetFitGuy.QuickAndDirtyTips.com, you can check out those short 10-minute workouts. And then also, one of the things that you can do are fitness walks and I really like fitness walks because you get to see a lot of stuff in the airport and you’re not spending too much go time trying to find a gym or a natural place to workout. Usually you don’t get too sweaty, you don’t have to shower, you don’t get too stinky after one of these but basically fitness walk, you just set your clock for an allotted period of time like let’s say 40 minutes and you tripped through the whole gym and every 4 minutes, you stop.
Brock: In the airport?
Ben: Yeah! I mean, that’s just how whatever long, some layovers are like six hours long.
Brock: No, you said the whole gym. I just want to clarify.
Ben: Okay, yeah. And you stop like every four minutes and you can do like 60 seconds of squats or 60 seconds of jumping jacks or 60 seconds of lunges, 60 seconds of toe raises, 60 seconds of bench step-ups, you name it or you’re just kind of walking along and doing that. I’ve mentioned before that a pair exercise device, I’ll link to it in the show notes, but it’s like this biofeedback device that you wear and it walks you through a workout and I’ve got a bunch of workouts that have I’ve actually uploaded that pair device like when you buy it, you get a bunch of free workouts from me and one of the workouts is an 80-minute fitness walk where you’re just walking and walking and every four minutes, my voice comes on and tells you what to do next. And that’s another option is to use something like a pair to actually have it audio walk you through a workout as you’re hanging out in the airport, so that’s another option as well. Anyways though, I’m a complete geek when it comes to staying fit as I travel because I do so much of it and I also try and keep myself in pretty good shape as I’m traveling so those are some of the things that I would do and I can’t guarantee you won’t be deported for public disorder but it’s worth the risk.
Brock: Yeah! You’ll get funny looks and you can take it. Okay, our next question comes from Anderson.
Anderson: I was listening to some old episodes and I remember that you said in one of them that we have to eat every 1 minute half to three hours to have a thermogenic effect from the food but from the fat loss seminars or fat loss secret seminar that you did, you said we don’t need to have a lot of snacks, elevate the blood sugar all the time and there’s no evidence or benefits to this practice. So how many meals should we eat? I don’t know if that changes something but I have a skinny genetics and want to gain some muscle and of course, I know I need to lift some weights.
Ben: Yeah, and I owe a big apology to folks because for years, I’d write in my books and tell my clients and even say on this podcast that you have to eat every one and a half to three hours, so you have to be sure to snack frequently to keep your metabolism elevated or you got to pack five to seven snacks when you go to the office or even like don’t skip meals so you’re body won’t go into starvation mode but it turns out that this really isn’t true and I quit preaching this message a couple of years ago and multiple times I’ve gone forward and told people that really, the maximum number of meals that you need to eat per day to keep your metabolism elevated or get a little bit of this thermogenic effect of food is about three and in some cases, from some research, two. Basically, as long as your total calorie intake and your total nutrient intake stays the same, your metabolism at the end of the day stays pretty much the same as well. Like there’s a study on the British Journal of Nutrition where they randomly took all of these overweight men and women and they assigned them to various strict low calorie diets and they followed them for eight weeks and one group had three meals a day, the other had six meals a day and both groups lost significant amounts of weight with absolutely no difference between the groups that ate frequently and the groups that ate infrequently. There’s also no change in like metabolism, appetite control, hormones etc. and there’s a lot of other studies out there that have shown similar results. Frequent snacking or grazing that whole snack frequently myth comes from the myth of starvation mode which is something that won’t set in until you’ve been exposed to extreme caloric depletion for about four weeks. So in ancient times, if there was a famine and you needed to live under stored body fat, your body down-regulating its own metabolism, seems to make pretty good sense. However, your body’s not going to do that by you not getting your extra yogurt and carrot sticks in the afternoon. So that whole starvation thing is a myth and the other thing is that this whole thermic effect of food which basically refers to the fact that when you digest food, your body has to burn some calories in order to do that. Yes, there is a thermic effect of food but it’s very insignificant compared to the thermic effect of movement or to the thermic effect of exercising or even like the thermic effect of standing more. And the other thing about the thermic effect of food is it’s based off of the total quantity of food that you’ve eaten by the end of the day and not on your frequency of food intake. So again, you can have two big meals a day and your thermic effect of food is going to be the same as if you had six small meals a day.
Brock: That’s interesting, that makes complete sense when you say it that way but for some reason, it made complete sense the other way too that you’d have to keep it going.
Ben: No, you don’t. It’s not like this fire that you need to keep stoking.
Brock: Yeah but it makes sense. It’s the amount, like it’s breaking down the amount. It doesn’t matter how frequent that amount is, it’s a one is to one ratio, makes sense.
Ben: And I’ve read an entire article about this with links to the studies and stuff and I’ll certainly link to it in the show notes in my response but there was a study, it was in Science magazine, it was entitled The Role of Non-Exercise Activity: Thermogenesis In Resistance To Fat Gain In Humans and that study found that about 2/3 of the increases in total daily energy expenditure in people who were losing weight was due to increased non-exercise activity thermogenesis. What that means is calories burned from not exercising, from like fidgeting, maintaining good posture, standing up, taking the stairs, moving around and that this was altered in significant calorie burning and in leaner individuals, you tend to see more of this type of activity taking place especially, you see the opposite too. You see this in hard gainers and people who have a hard time putting on muscle, they just tend to be people who fidget, who move around more, who have a harder time remaining sedentary and it’s because of the huge effect that non-exercise activity thermogenesis has on the total amount of calories that you’ve burned during the day. So ultimately what this comes down to is if you’re trying to burn fat faster, snacking a bunch isn’t going to help with that. In some cases, it can take your body out of fat-burning mode because you’re constantly elevating blood pressure and instead what’s going to help you is to simply move more. If you are a hard gainer and you have skinny genetics and you want to gain muscle, then the whole snacking idea, the reason that you do need to snack in an environment like that is simply because, I’ve got folks who I’ve worked with who got to be eating 4,000 to 6,000 calories a day in order to put on muscle and you get to a point where you simply can’t get that gastric emptying by eating three 2,000-calorie meals. So if there’s someone like that who’s trying to put on muscle, yeah, sometimes you do have to be eating for five, six or seven meals a day but it’s not because you’re trying to take advantage of the thermic effect of food, you simply have this mechanical reason that your digestive system doesn’t work fast enough to be able to digest huge meals in frequently so you got to eat smaller meals more frequently but that’s for muscle gain, not for fat loss.
Brock: Sitting down to eat a meal with 3000 calories, for most people especially people listening to this podcast, probably would be very difficult. Oh yeah, for me, I am right now 45 pounds lighter than I was when I was body building and for me, in order to maintain being significantly above 200 pounds, I don’t have to eat until my eyeballs are coming out of my head and I don’t have to do it again and just like eating tons and lifting heavy stuff. You do have to eat frequently if you’re trying to put on a bunch of muscle.
Brock: Alright, let’s move on to what Giles has to say here.
Giles says: I have found an online health supplement company here in the UK, it’s called Lion Heart Supplements and I want to get your take on the super smoothie mix. The reviews for it are great and plenty of, pardon the terminology, “tree hugger” types seem to rave about it. Could I ask of whether or not this is a good product to include in my diet?
Ben: Yeah! I mean it’s a bunch of super foods mixed together. I looked it up and it’s got like carob, mesquite, I’m just going to read it here because I punched it off this list, carob, mesquite, astragalus, ashwagandha, rosehips, cats claw, maca root, milk, burdock root, tribulus, licorice, mucuna, chaga, rhodiola, hoven mill pods, chuchuhuasi. Whatever that is, sounds like a Star Wars character. Shitoba, shitake and lysine and basically they mix this all together in a super food. We talked about fiber. I don’t know how much fiber is actually in this thing. I don’t want you to put that all together but that’s something to be careful with if this is touted as a high fiber cleansing blend. I didn’t see any information about total fiber intake of this stuff but ultimately, most of those ingredients have been shown to contain things like adaptogenic herbs and anti-oxidants and blood sugar stabilizers and things that ultimately aren’t going to hurt you. Anti-manipulant shotgun supplement like this though and I’ve said this before in the show, you need to be weary of the actual source of the ingredients and make sure they’re not sourcing their stuff from China, which is where most people get their supplements from and they’re old and they’ve been sitting in bins for five years and getting sprayed with ethylene oxide and they’re stale, not a very effective supplement but you also want to make sure that this stuff, how are they stocking it, this Lion Heart herbs? Are they shipping it immediately or is it stocked for long periods of time, allowed to become stale, efficacious? So that’s the only issue but ultimately, I don’t know how much this stuff costs, 18 pounds for 250 grams. What’s 18 pounds, do you know?
Brock: It’s like $40 American, maybe 45.
Ben: I love Canadians, they’re so good at conversions. Yeah, 250 grams for $40-$45. Let me put it this way, it’s not going to hurt you but I have no experience with the stuff whatsoever so I can’t guarantee you’re going to notice much of a difference and be careful if by putting all these supplements in one compound, you’re getting this huge dose of fiber because like I mentioned, that can cause some bowel impaction and some long-term large intestine and colon issues down the road.
Brock: It sounds like it would taste awful just from that list of ingredients.
Ben: Yeah! I don’t know if they put anything in it to make it taste good. Honestly, it’s kind of hard to find the actual nutrition label of something like this and that always gives me a pause too when I can’t find the label.
Brock: Yeah, that’s never a good sign. Okay, let’s jump to Bert’s question.
Bert says: Your comments on diet soda have me motivated to drop my liter to two-liter-a-day habit. Don’t think I can go straight to water. I have seen a few of these water alternatives like Mio. Let me add this variable, I need this solution to be easy. If it isn’t easy, it most likely won’t happen and I won’t make the lifestyle transition which sounds odd as I used to weigh 310 pounds and could not walk to the end of the street but I’m now a three-hour and 20-minute marathon runner.
Bert says: The key for me was that I made one easy change at a time.
Ben: Yeah that’s cool, that’s great. Three hundred ten pounds to a 3:20 marathon runner. I’m assuming that you have, in the process, actually lost weight. He doesn’t say as much.
Brock: I can assume that. I can’t see a 310-pound person giving that kind of effort.
Ben: That’d be pretty big VO2 max to be able to pull that off.
Brock: Yeah! Actually, that’d be cool. I’d like to see that.
Ben: Yeah, it’ll be interesting. Anyways though, Mio, which would be a great name for like a pet or a sesame street character, is this liquid stuff that you add to water to make water more interesting. It is a blend of sucralose and acesulfame potassium and artificial colors.
Ben: Yeah. We’ve talked before about the neurotoxic effect of artificial sweeteners, their ability to kill up to 50% of the good bacteria in your gut, their propensity to stimulate your appetite and considering that there are better solutions out there that I personally use. Mio is not one that I would spring for. I would look into the company called Noon. Mio is a liquid,Noonis an effervescent electrolyte tab, I travel with these quite frequently. I also get very bored with plain water and for me, I got to do sparkling water or kombucha or coconut water or regular water with Noon in it. It’s pretty rare that I actually drink regular water unless I’m like racing. I’m always dropping something into my water but Noon, they have like a regular Noon and all apologies to the nice folks at Noon but I don’t really like that stuff because it also has acesulfame potassium in it but they also, so that they would be able to sell the stuff at whole foods market and have an alternative for folks who don’t do artificial sweeteners, they also make one called U Natural Hydration, that one’s really good. It’s basically some vitamins, some stevia and then like some vegetable juice that they use for coloring and then they’ve also got one called All Day Hydration and that’s a new one and that’s very similar with the caveat being that that has higher vitamins in it. It’s such that low level vitamins are in the thing that you don’t have to worry about like coding on vitamins if you’re adding a couple tablets of this to your water on a daily basis and whatever, still taking other supplements but this would be way healthier than doing something like Mio. So I recommend u try out the Noon U Natural Hydration or the Noon All Day Hydration, I’m a big fan of those. That’s what I personally use if I’m not just like doing kombucha or I’ve mentioned before in the show, I used the tea and chi Chinese adaptogenic herbs and like a mid-morning drink and sometimes I’ll throw some NutraRev which is this anti-aging blend into like an afternoon drink, but if you just want like some type of tablet, you can travel with it, you can drop it on some water, I’d look into the Noon All Day or the Noon U Natural.
Brock: I’ve been freezing blueberries and keeping them in the freezer and it’ll packed just and I just drop that into my water instead of ice, sometimes it doesn’t really flavor the water at all but you do get a blueberry in your mouth every once and a while and that kind of jazzes it up a bit.
Ben: Yeah, and then the Ben Greenfield Fitness Inner Circle for those of you listening who are Inner Circle members and there’s a lot of you now, my wife has a whole. There’s a big bonus, if you click in the bonus section when you’re inside the inner circle, you’ll see the list of all the bonuses that we’ve published over the past year and a half or so and one of them is infused water, like how to make infused water and you can make infused water and keep a pitcher of that in your fridge and that’s also a great way to do things and that’s actually technically even healthier than going out and buying a processed food and dumping that into your water.
Brock: I’m actually drinking water right now. This is infused with coffee I had before, put the water in the cup. I don’t recommend this. Alright, our next question comes from Cameron.
Cameron: You answered a question a while ago about other fats that would be good to include in your diet by discussing the smoke point saturation level and propensity for oxidization during cooking and or for colder uses. One thing struck me though. You said to avoid fats that are completely unsaturated and don’t have any of the hydrogens like canola, corn and sunflower oil. My understanding is that these fatty acids have omega 3s, 6s and 9s but no more than 3 double bonds per fatty acid. That means that all the rest of the hydrogens, 26 out of 30, are still there considering that, when I took a look at the composition of fatty acids in canola, safflower and sunflower, the composition of specific mono-saturated fatty acids are different but not substantially. Is it possible that for cold applications, each of these oils is perfectly fine?
Brock: This is obviously coming from somebody who’s got a background in like some sort of biology or chemical something or others.
Ben: Yeah! I don’t think I ever said that you need to avoid fats that are completely unsaturated because it’s pretty hard to find fats that are completely unsaturated. I’ve only ever said that you need to be careful with polyunsaturated vegetable oils compared to mono-unsaturated vegetable oils or oils that are completely saturated. The saturated part of that, meaning that the actual hydrogen or all the bonds on the fatty acid are linked to hydrogen rather than being like double bonds or hydrogen is not present and so there’s going to be varying compositions in terms of the amounts of hydrogen in varying levels of polyunsaturated vegetable oils versus like the huge mono-unsaturated vegetable oils only has one area of unsaturation or no hydrogens versus a saturated fatty acid which is solid at room temperature and has all of the hydrogens present but here’s the deal with vegetable oils. Even if they’re cold, you’re still going to back up and look at how they’re made. I’m going to put a couple of videos for you in the show notes. I’m going to put one video that’s going to show you how butter is made, and I’m going to put one video that’s going to show you how canola oil is made and you’re going to notice some pretty differences. So for example canola oil, that is basically a hybrid version of rapeseed and it was given the name canola as part of a marketing effort organized by the vegetable oil industry because not a lot of people are going to rush out to put rapeseed oil on their salad simply because of what the name indicates but canola oil or modified rapeseed oil is basically produced by heating the rapeseed and processing it with a petroleum solvent to extract the oil and then what they do is they heat that oil and they add acid to it to remove a lot of the solids or the wax that occurs during the first processing of the oil from the rapeseed. And then at that point, they’ve gotten this new canola oil that they then have to treat with more chemicals to help improve the color to make it look more palatable and to separate the different parts of the oil. That chemical process creates a pretty harsh smell, so then they have to chemically deodorize the oil again to actually make it palatable. If they want to move on and turn that canola oil into like shortening or into say like margarine, they would then have to go through an additional processing called hydrogenation to make that oil solid or spreadable at cold temperatures. All of that processing can definitely damage oil. It can create more free radicals which tend to wreak a lot of havoc on your cellular membranes and on your body. You look at your body; it’s about 97% saturated and monounsaturated fats. Only about 3% of your body is made up of polyunsaturated fats and about half or about a one is to one ratio of those polyunsaturated fats are omega3 fatty acids and the rest are omega6 fatty acids. Maintaining a balance similar to that in your dietary fat intake is very important and that’s one of the issues with vegetables oils is they not only have very high levels the polyunsaturated fats but very high levels of not the omega 3s but the omega 6s, so the omega3 to the omega6 ratio is kind of thrown out of whack. So you’ve got these polyunsaturated fats that do not reflect the fatty acid composition of your body but also very unstable that oxidize very easily in your body if they haven’t already been oxidized when they’ve been processed, when they’ve been exposed to light by sitting on the grocery store shelf or exposed to heat in your car or in transportation or anywhere else and that can cause a lot of inflammation. In arterial cells, that can cause a type of inflammation that digs in and causes atherosclerosis or oxidation of cholesterol particles. It can cause issues, for example, in reproductive tissue. There’s some evidence that these types of polyunsaturated fats that have been chemically processed can cause issues like endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome because the reproductive tissue’s very sensitive to oxidized fats. And so when you’re looking at vegetable oils with a high concentration of omega6 fatty acids and a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats, those create an imbalance of oils in your body. The other issue is that when these things are processed, they still wind up not being like a pure vegetable oil. They’ve got a lot of these harmful chemicals that I just talked about like there’s a couple in particular called BHA and BHT which are artificial anti-oxidants that they add to the oil to try and keep it from oxidizing or from spoiling too quickly on the grocery store shelf or during transportation in your home and all of these additives are potential carcinogens. Vegetable oils have also contained a lot of the residues of any pesticide or chemicals that have been used. For example, sprayed on the rapeseed or on whatever other plant is used to derive that vegetable oil from. So those are some of the issues and some of the main oils that are going to be prone to these issues of having high levels of omega6 fatty acids, high levels of polyunsaturated bonds or high levels of polyunsaturates, higher levels of the BHA and the BHT and just more chemical processing period are going to be canola oil, corn oil, soy bean oil, safflower oil which I mentioned, peanut oil, sun flower oil, margarine of course, shortening your course, any of these fake butters like Smart Balance, I can’t believe it’s not butter. All of these would be the type of oils to avoid whether or not you started them cold because it’s already been exposed to heat and exposed to pressure and exposed to chemical processing and a lot of foods contain the same oil like salad dressings, like mayonnaise, straw bar condiments, artificial cheese, any nuts or snacks that you buy in like the package at the store, they’re usually are carded with vegetable oils, cookies, crackers, sauces, pretty much anything you’re going to find when you’re in walking down the middle isle of the grocery store, had a lot of this stuff added to it. So as far as vegetable oils go, I wouldn’t really have them around. I mean here at our house, the fats that we have around, we got coconut oil, we’ve got fats of course from meat so like fish and fatty beef and stuff like that, we’ve got butter, we’ve got some organic cream, that’s just like from the raw milk that we get from a local farm. We’ve got some regular oil like regular olive oil, extra virgin olive oil and then of course some fats from avocadoes and eggs and olives and stuff like that but I would be really careful with any of these vegetable oils whether or not they’re being served cold and that’s why.
Brock: So Cameron, your math and your chemistry was correct but it’s not the necessarily the point I guess.
Ben: Yeah, so let’s throw canola oil down there with the Metamucil and stomp that into the ground.
Brock: Alright, our final question comes from Emily and actually, she’s got a few questions in here so let’s sort of break it down. First is a product called Healing Touch.
Emily: I heard there’s some research behind it but I want to know if the studies are legitimate or not.
Ben: This is going to be a rare moment in the podcast where I have actually no clue what she’s talking about, I don’t know any healing touches.
Brock: I have a feeling a Google search for Healing Touch wouldn’t get you any far either.
Ben: Probably not, it may even bring you to some potentially offensive. So yeah Emily, just write in or whatever and let us know what you’re talking about.
Brock: Yeah! If you can send a URL, that sort of goes to anybody who’s asking a question about a particular product. If you can include a link for us to look at, that’s always really helpful. Okay, so the second part of her question.
Emily: Also, I struggle with eating enough during long runs, marathons or longer. I typically don’t eat gels during training and try to supplement races. They don’t upset my stomach. I just don’t like eating while I’m running. Do you have any recommendations on liquids or mental techniques to push myself to eat enough? I noticed that I do get irritable towards the end of a long run which I’ve heard you mentioned can be a sign of low blood sugar.
Ben: Well first of all, as far as appetite stimulation, that can be kind of tough to do when you’re out exercising. There are certainly herbs that have been shown to be aperitifs or appetite stimulants or tonics for digestion. Ginseng is one of the most popular ginseng root. You can make your own ginseng tea that you set before you put it out, that can be an appetite stimulant, and then it’s going to help you run a lot better than an appetite stimulant like vodka or tequila or something like that which are aperetifs but may affect your performance. Valerian root is another one, that’s got an appetite stimulating effect. Last one I’m aware would be Dandelion or Dandelion Root. Any of those you can make a tea from, you can get it in capsule form, powder form and you can try something like that to stimulate your appetite before you head out there but you can also experiment with the actual energy gels themselves because there are so many energy gels out there on the market right now and when you compare them all, the calories in most of them are pretty similar. Most of us think that gels have a hundred calories. I’ve certainly been guilty of saying that before but if you look at the average gel, it comes out to about 75-80 calories per gel. By the time you actually kind of like eat it, don’t squeeze everything out of it and take into account that none of them actually start with the hundred calories in that package. So average gel is only going to be like 75-80 calories and all of them though are going to kind of vary in terms of the type of carbohydrates used to make that gel. Most of them, almost every energy gel that’s out there on the market, have multiple carbohydrate types in their formulations and there’s important reason for that. When you have multiple carbohydrate sources and an energy gel, what that does is it allows these different carbohydrates to be transported across your intestinal log differently. So like when you get glucose from a gel, that’s absorbed in your intestine by what’s called a sodium dependent transporter and fructose is absorbed by a sodium independent transporter. So like glucose is absorbed by, I forgot the name of the glucose transporter, but fructose is absorbed by gluten 5, the nickname of the transporter given to fructose but because glucose and fructose don’t compete for the same absorption side of the same transporter site from your gut to your bloodstream. When you consume a gel that has both of those in it, you can get more energy out of that gel compared to a gel that is just glucose or just fructose. When you look at like an oxidation rate or how quickly a carbohydrate is used, there are actually charts that will show you the oxidation rate like fructose is the lowest oxidation rate. It gets taken up the slowest and used the slowest for energy. Glucose and sucrose are kind of in the middle of the road and the highest energy-containing compounds are maltodextrin, anything that is a blend of glucose and fructose or anything that is a blend of glucose, fructose and sucrose. So any of these types of gels are going to give you more energy if you can get yourself to eat them. Any gel is a combination of compounds. And then they get all of, kind of like the marketing fluff. Some gels have amino acids added to them, some have vitamins and anti-oxidants added to them. There’s a gel that excels you out and that’s actually got about five grams of protein added to the gel. Some gels add trace amounts of electrolytes to the gel, nothing even close to what something like Gatorade has in it but they’re adding those to gel as well. So the ultimate effect of all this is that some people will feel when they’re out there exercising or competing or in like a bike race or marathon or triathlon, some people feel like some gels really stimulate their appetite and help them to eat and other gels just don’t seem to be palatable at all. One of the reasons most gels out there, if you turn it around and look at the label, one of the reasons that they use maltodextrin is because if they didn’t use maltodextrin, just about any other form of sugar is way too sickeningly sweet for it to even be palatable like you can have a gel be too sweet. And the gels that have maltodextrin in them are able to get kind of a blend or a more neutral taste because maltodextrin isn’t too sweet, that’s kind of another advantage of maltodextrin but you got a ton of different options out there and I am a fan of gels, they do allow you to ingest the same amount of carbohydrate as you would get from drinking almost like a full sports drink. So one ounce of gel is going to give you about the same as anywhere from 10-15 ounces of sports drink when it comes to actual calories. It’s what I use when I’m racing an Ironman, a half Ironman, out on long races and stuff like that but experiment with different flavors and different varieties and you may find one that makes you actually want to eat it during something like a marathon.
Brock: I guess as far as a mental technique goes, you asked about do you know any liquids or mental techniques. One would just be to time it. Just say like when I’m doing a half Ironman, every 20 minutes on the bike I eat a gel and it doesn’t matter if I want it or if I think I need it, I eat it because that’s what my body needs and I know I can handle it.
Ben: Yeah! There’s actually a really good book I’m reading right now called The Power Of Habit and it talks about cues and how cues can be used to create habit and so yeah, something as simple as setting your clock in every 20 minutes having a beep to remind you to eat during that session, that can be your cue that eventually trains you to be like the…
Brock: Couple’s dog?
Ben: Yeah, couple’s dog. It’s just some more things so yeah. Speaking of cues and habits, this is one of the few podcasts where I’ve actually had breakfast before the podcast.
Brock: I don’t know if it’s had any, it’s had a terrible effect on our internet connection.
Ben: It could be like the Deep 30 protein particles that I’m breathing into the microphone.
Brock: Yeah, you’ve ruined Skype.
Ben: Sorry Skype.
Brock: Alright, well actually, that wraps it up. That’s it for episode 203.
Ben: Nice! So I’m looking forward to getting the audio just worked out mostly because, and I don’t know if you guys have noticed it keeps Brock and I from being able to banter and have fun conversations back and forth because he pretty much has to be super quiet when I’m talking and vice versa so it almost gets like almost awkward. So we promised that the awkwardness will go away soon.
Brock: It will be replaced with some other type of awkwardness, hopefully a more fun awkwardness.
Ben: You can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com for links to anything that we’ve talked about in the show. Be sure to leave us a ranking in iTunes. If you go to iTunes and do a search for Ben Greenfield Fitness, those rankings really help to show out as do any podcast donations that you’re able to leave when you’re over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. For any of you listeners who happen to be at the Ancestral Health Symposium over at Harvard this week, I’m headed their tomorrow morning so I may see you there. Say hello if you’re there and I may be bringing a few little audio interviews and snippets from that healthy symposium as well. So that about wraps it up and this is Ben and Brock signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.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
Aug 8, 2012 free podcast: Why Fiber Is Bad. Also: electrolyte intake and your sweat, how to heal an ankle injury quickly, changing the consistency of your stool, ways to exercise in an airport, how often should you eat, are Lion Heart Supplements good, healthy ways to flavour drinking water, why certain oils are dangerous, and learning to feel hungry during a race.
Have a 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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- Interesting that in last month's “Lo Fat vs. Lo Carb” diet debate, nobody mentioned Lo Carb had nearly 0 fruits/veggies-all fiber fed from “Metamucil”. Weird.
- Ketogenic diet doesn't affect your strength… if you're doing really short stuff.
- Alcohol decreases post-workout recovery? Sure, if you have 4-6 drinks.
Need blood testing to find out your health or performance biomarkers? – Ben recommends WellnessFX
You only live once! – Come with Brock and Ben to Thailand and get this Asia Pacific 70.3 Training Plan for free!
The BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle – is now $10! Join now at www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle
As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
Audio Question from Paul:
He just raced Vineman. He knows that you, Ben, have been racing without electrolytes. Do you think that when you are not taking in electrolytes during the race that you will not be secreting salt like everyone else?
Audio Question from Alberto:
8 weeks ago he sprained his ankle badly. Has a tear, bone concussion and some strained ligaments. Started swimming and riding last week but still can't run and… he is doing Kona! He needs to recover fast!
Audio Question from Ben:
Digestion and elimination. He is a martial artist and a weight lifter. Was a high carb paleo isn't anymore. Has incorporated grains, sprouts, etc… His morning bowel movements are explosive (it isn't diarrhea but the urge to go comes on quickly and there is a feeling of he'd be in trouble if he weren't at home) and make a pile vs. a log. He usually poops one more time in the afternoon around 3-4pm. Has heard logs are better than piles. Wants to know how to firm up his stool. He has no problems like stomach aches, gas, loud stomach, etc. He feels fine all the time! He thinks he does all the so-called “right things” and yet still is having poorly formed poo! PS: He has never eaten breakfast. He eats lunch and dinner so he gets all his calories in two meals (about 3000 calories daily).
~ In my response, I mention this Bristol stool scale, eliminating FODMAPS as much as possible, and also the book: “Fiber Menace“. Brock mentions Scientific American's Fiber Boosts Bowel Beneficial Bacteria.
Hi Ben, odd question coming: I happen to travel on planes very frequently so I spend a lot of hours in airports and there are no gyms there (perhaps a biz opportunity?). What good workouts can be done when I have a good 2-3 hours of waiting for my next flight? (while avoiding being deported for public disorder).
I was listening to some old episodes and I remember that you said in one of them that we have to eat every 1.5 – 3 hours to have the “thermogenic effect” of food. But on the Fat Loss Secrets Seminar you said we don't need to have a lot of snacks, elevate the blood sugar all the time, there's no evidence of benefits of this practice. So, how many meals should I eat? I don't know if that changes something but I have skinny genetics and want to gain muscle. Of course I know I need to lift some weights.
~ In my response, I mention the article Snacking Will NOT “Boost Your Metabolism”.
I have found an online health supplement company here in the UK, Lion Heart Supplements, and wanted to get your take on the “super smoothie mix” the guy is touting. The reviews for it are great and plenty of, pardon the terminology, tree hugger types seem to rave about it. Could I ask your opinion of whether this could be a good product to include in my diet.
Your comments on diet soda have me motivated to drop my litre to two litre a day habit… don't think I can go straight to water. I have seen a few of these new “water additives” like Mio. Let me add this variable: I need the solution to be easy. If it isn't easy, I most likely won't make the lifestyle transition; which sounds odd as I used to weight 310 lbs and could not walk to the end of the street but am now a 3:20 marathon runner. The key for me was that I made one “easy” change at a time.
You answered a question a while ago about other fats that would be good to include in her diet by discussing the smoke point, saturation level and propensity for oxidation during cooking and/or for colder uses. One thing struck me though. You said to avoid fats that are “completely unsaturated” and “don't have any of the hydrogens” like canola, corn and sunflower oil. My understanding is that these fatty acids have omega 3's, 6's, 9's but no more than three double bonds per fatty acid. That means that all of the rest of the hydrogens (26 out of 30) are still there. Considering that, when I look at the composition of fatty acids in canola, safflower and sunflower the composition of specific monounsaturated fatty acids are different but not substantially. Is it possible that for cold applications each of these oils are perfectly fine?
~ In my response I mention these videos:
How canola oil is made:
How butter is made:
I was wondering if you were familiar with “healing touch”. I have heard there has been some research but I'm not sure how legitimate the studies are. Also, I struggle with eating enough during long runs, marathons or longer. I typically don't eat gels during training and try to supplement during races. They don't upset my stomach I just don't like eating while running. Have any recommendations on liquids or mental techniques to push myself to eat enough. I've noticed that I do sometimes get irritable towards the end of long runs, which I've heard you mention can be a sign of low blood sugar.