The Croissant Diet, Wine Fasting, Oodles Of Pork Lard, Keto Bricks & Much More With Brad Marshall.

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My friend Ron Penna recently emailed me about a guy named Brad Marshall who…

“…has a fascinating take on why we get fat called the ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) Theory of Obesity and how ROS signaling as a result of eating saturated fats is critical for satiety. Provocative stuff and the more I read the more I’m pretty sure he is onto something. Joel Greene thinks Brad is crazy on this point but I have a feeling he will end up being right on most if not all of it. You can read more here: “The ROS Theory Of Obesity”

Essentially, our entire meat supply (pork and chicken especially) is much higher in polyunsaturated fats than they should be and the only real way to change it is to change what we feed them. He is also starting to offer meats that are fed properly to ensure lower levels of PUFA.  He also has been working on how eating croissants is the key to leanness. It has to be wrong but he makes VERY interesting arguments about it.”

Naturally, I just had to get this guy on the show. Brad Marshall is the author of the Blog Fire In A Bottle and the creator of The Croissant Diet. Mildly obsessed with food and its history, his work focuses on trying to place current ideas about diet, including keto and carnivore diets, into the framework of traditional dietary patterns.  For instance, the French diet before 1970 combined flour, sugar, butter, and wine, and the population was lean.

Brad wrote The ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) Theory of Obesity, which posits that ROS generation in the mitochondria of fat cells could provide the mechanism that explains why a traditional Chinese peasant diet (low fat with 85% of calories from starch), a French diet combining butter, wine, and flour, and a modern keto diet could all be expected to produce leanness but combining flour with polyunsaturated fats is a recipe for obesity. The core idea comes from the Protons thread of Peter Dobromylskyj’s blog Hyperlipid. Brad tested this hypothesis with his dietary experiment The Croissant Diet.

He is also the founder of Firebrand Meats, which is dedicated to producing pork and poultry products that are low in linoleic acid, the n6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) whose intake has seen a dramatic worldwide increase in the last century. Animals cannot make PUFAs, so Firebrand Meats raises pork and chicken that are nearly free of them. “You are what your animals eat.”

Brad has a genetics degree from Cornell, a certificate from The French Culinary Institute, has studied cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and worked as a programmer for the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project. He spent the last 15 years raising rotationally grazed pastured pork on his farm in upstate New York while running a butcher shop, local food restaurant, and USDA-inspected meat processing facility.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

– Brad's background in molecular biology and cooking…8:00

  • Studied Biology at Cornell, and attended culinary school in NYC
  • Developed interest in French cuisine and agriculture
  • Introduction into raising pigs puts together Brad's varied interests
  • Connection between what you feed the pigs and the quality of the meat
    • Pigs fed corn had soft fat; barley resulted in firmer fat
    • Corn-finished pork fetch a low price compared to barley finished pork
    • Linoleic acid bioaccumulates in the meat
    • Corn is 5-6% oil while barley is 2-3% oil
    • PUFAs accumulate in the meat
  • What you eat affects your body composition
  • Ketogenic diet wasn't working and losing weight became harder as he aged
  • Rediscovering the “Protons” thread of Peter Dobromylskyj's blog “Hyperlipid”

– The production ROS and the ROS Theory of Obesity…18:43

  • The ROS Theory of Obesity
    • ROS production is a signal to the cell that mitochondria are burning fat
  • ROS is not bad, as you may have heard, but are simply messengers
    • Redux sensors monitor intracellular concentration of ROS and react to different signals from the ROS
  • Achieving “redux balance” or homeostasis in an oxygenated environment
  • Too many antioxidants can be a bad thing (for example, in cancer)
    • Cancer cells accumulate antioxidants to prevent themselves from being killed by the immune system
  • ROS is a dynamic system
  • Long-chain saturated fats in connection with ROS
  • Fat cells, free fatty acids, lipolysis, insulin, and blood glucose levels all connected to hunger
  • Study in Spain – Butter versus different oils connection to free fatty acids add to satiety
  • With a diet rich in long-chain saturated fats, ROS can cause a temporary state of insulin resistance (good!) and appetite stays satiated for longer on fewer calories
  • This insulin resistance is different from the pathological version of type II diabetes
  • The Randle Cycle – Shifting states of nutrient utilization
  • From a chemical standpoint, unsaturated fats (fish, seeds, nuts, avocado oil, olive oil, peanut butter, peanut oil) do not cause the body to shift into a state of insulin resistance or fatty-acid utilization as readily as the consumption of long-chain saturated fats

– Unsaturated fats vs saturated fats in connection to ROS production and satiety…34:25

  • Unsaturated fats don't create the insulin resistance effect and can, in fact, inhibit it
  • Chicken and non-ruminant animals in American diet can be high in polyunsaturated fats
  • What pigs and chickens eat matters, especially ethanol byproducts (concentrated corn oil)
  • Pork as the other white meat; selecting lean pigs for meat production in the 1990s
  • Soft pig fat in the meat is a sign of polyunsaturated fat content
  • Most chicken and pork are higher in polyunsaturated fat than canola oil
  • Good pork versus the other white meat
  • US Wellness Meats

-What this all has to do with croissants…44:45

  • Cognitive dissonance, because of the traditional French diet in connection with French health and fitness; doesn't jibe with current nutritional thinking about starch consumption
  • The question of how the French remain lean eating starch and butter combined
  • Stearic acid (Fire In A Bottle – 92% pure food grade) is the longest chain commonly found saturated fat; must be rendered to a ghee
  • Starch in the croissants – a publicity stunt?
  • Brad wanted to prove you can lose weight eating starch and fat together
  • Blood glucose rise with starch consumption connected to satiety in calorie-restricted diets
  • Using beef suet as a frying fat (use code BEN to save 15%)
  • Brad's Feasting Mimicking Diet

-The Croissant Diet…58:25

  • Overeating and satiety on a diet of long-chain saturated fats and starch
  • Forgetting to eat – satiation
  • Feasting Mimicking Diet – More information about macros, calories, blood glucose, ketones, etc.
  • Testimonial: Emmy's story – Struggling to lose weight before trying the Croissant Diet
  • Foods high in stearic acid – Elk back fat, higher in stearic acid than butter and cocoa butter

– Whether you should worry about endotoxemia with a diet high in saturated fats…1:03:45

  • Look out for brain fog, inflammation, and gut health
  • Dairy-based cultures around the world have eaten like this historically; butter and starch together
  • Carbohydrates may not have been the problem; it might be too much linoleic acid
  • Limiting lipopolysaccharide response with supplements

-The Wine Diet…1:09:30

  • Wine fasting
  • Ethanol does not stimulate insulin release, and for some suppresses hunger
  • Devil's advocate – Might wine consumption make one hungrier?
  • Some people become hypoglycemic when they consume alcohol, but regular drinkers usually don't experience that
  • Doing what works for you even if it might be controversial
  • Wine fasting article on Fire In A Bottle blog
  • Brad's newest work on vegans versus carnivores – Both can be disconnected from the basics of agriculture
  • Ben asks: Is this too good to be true? (Ben being a “calories in/calories out” guy)
  • Firebrand Meats and Keto Brick
  • Fish oil in natural foods is probably OK as well

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

– Brad Marshall:

– BGF Podcasts & Articles:

– Food & Supplements:

– Other Resources:

Keto Bricks

On a recent week-long New Mexico elk hunt with tons of aerobic walking, hiking, and carrying, I decided to try an experiment… After hearing from several folks in the keto sector (most notably my friend Dominic D’ Agostino) about these newfangled nutrition bars called “Keto Bricks,” I took the plunge and actually tried to sustain myself purely on Keto Bricks and meat for my hunt.

Let's just say, I was blown away by the stable energy levels and satiating nature of Keto Bricks.

So what are Keto Bricks? Essentially, they are a high-calorie meal replacement “brick” (think of an energy bar you know of, then quadruple the size). They are 1,000 calories each, so obviously created for adventures and hefty activity days for which you want tons of calories but barely any carbohydrates (roughly 90g Fat, 30g Protein, and 14g TOTAL, not net, Carbs!.

The ingredient profile is impressive. Here are the ingredients of what I found to be my favorite flavor (Mocha):

Raw organic cacao butter, plant-based protein powder (pea protein isolate, organic brown rice protein concentrate, natural chocolate mocha flavor, cocoa, stevia leaf extract, gum blend (konjac gum, guar gum, and tara gum), organic sacha inchi, sea salt, monk fruit extract, and digest-all (a vegan enzyme blend)), MCT powder (MCT oil, acacia fiber), organic golden flaxseed meal, raw organic fermented cacao nibs, ground coffee beans, ancient sea salt.

These things are addictively flavorful and contain no allulose, erythritol, or any other potentially gut-bloating sweetener. They are shelf-stable at room temperature, and shelf-stable *above* room temperature as well.

If you are an active person who needs massive amounts of keto calories for mountaineering, hiking, hunting, etc. I cannot recommend these highly enough. You can get them here, and when you use code BEN you'll be automatically entered to win a free month of Keto Bricks.

Episode sponsors:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Brad or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

13 thoughts on “The Croissant Diet, Wine Fasting, Oodles Of Pork Lard, Keto Bricks & Much More With Brad Marshall.

  1. Peter Cuce says:

    A “red faced Asian businessman.”? Really? Why did you feel the need to say that?

    1. BCND says:

      What’s wrong with it?

  2. Sandy says:

    How does the APOE4 gene come into play with this diet? (Some say APOE4 people should avoid saturated fat. )

    1. Peter says:

      Yes, those with APOE4 need to keep saturated fat intake to a minimum and replace them with MUFA oils like olive, avocado, and macadmia oils.

  3. Amy says:

    How does the French consumption of olive oil (significant by all accounts?) fit into this theory?

  4. Brad,

    How does turkey compare to chicken and pork when it comes to the type of fat? I eat turkey every day.



    1. jevon says:

      hey thanks for this info mane! i also recently came across this weight loss supplement “Proven” it really get rid of that weight , without you doing that hard workout and strict dieting #ITREALLYWORKS. CHECK IT OUT WONT DISAOPPOINT

  5. Jasmine says:

    I’m confused as Ben has mentioned mutiple times insulin sensitivity being desirable and enhancing it via Apple cider vinegar, Ceylon cinnamon, Kion Lean etc along with meals. But this diet seems based around the opposite- decreasing insulin sensitivity temporarily, and achieving greater satiety that way.

    Is there a place for both, at different times, or is this just a different theory/approach?

    1. Vashti says:

      I think it is the insulin sensitivity of the fat cells? or am I confusing this with the free fatty acids. I think fat cells stop releasing free fatty acids in response to insulin so if the are less sensitive then they will continue to release FFA…. SOmeone confirm or correct this please :-)

      1. Mike Guinness Bracciodieta says:

        You got it pretty much right 👍… from what I’ve been hearing.

        We want our fat cells to be resistant to insulin in that we don’t want them to only store fat…they need to be able to release it … and with fats or rather free fatty acids circulating in the blood we have energy available at all times and also the body will feel satiated so we don’t overeat…provided we choose to stay fasted mind you 😉.

  6. Laura Deller says:

    Hi Brad, I have just devoured all of your info on saturated fat. I Australia so stearic acid is a.bit pricey to get it from the states so I have sourced grassfed butter and might be able to get grassfed ghee. I have been doing it for a few days now and it seems a little slow so I am presuming that it will take a couple of weeks to kick in because I’m using butter ? But I have removed all the oils and nuts.

    Thank you for all your brilliant research.

    1. Mike Guinness Bracciodieta says:

      Perhaps try to get some cacao butter, supposedly very high in stearic acid.
      I’m trying to incorporate it in my fasting this winter and so far I feel very satiated 🤓
      However I’m also going to get some stearic acid from amazon dot ca … really curious to see what large amounts of stearic acid will do to help me lose the stubborn abdominal fat that keto and carnivore hasn’t been able to handle as of yet.🤷‍♂️

  7. Tom Griesel says:

    Check out the Paleolithic-Ketogenic Diet that Paleomedicina in Hungary uses to cure all sorts of chronic diseases. The high saturated fat is credited to improve intestinal permeability not make it worse.

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