Episode #106 – Full Transcript

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Podcast #106 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2010/08/episode-106-the-5-top-fitness-nutrition-myths/

Introduction:        In this episode: The top five fitness and nutrition myths, a free book, tips for altitude exercise, training for a marathon with injuries, product reviews of Amino Vital, Kona Endurance, Animal Pak and Testofen, good running drills, training in humidity, TRX training, making seeds more digestible, avoiding carbs before bedtime, is too much protein dangerous, doing multiple triathlons in a row, how to find a good natural physician, training with a broken collar bone and taking vitamin K.

Ben:                           Hey folks, Ben Greenfield here. Thanks for the feedback about the issue with the podcast becoming very long.  It turns out that most of you actually like them this length. However, I do have one final idea and that would be that I am considering actually adding a Q and A box to benfitnessgreenfieldfitness.com where you can type in your question. You can select a category of that question whether it be fitness, fat loss, nutrition, endurance sports or sports in general. And then that question is categorized and included in a podcast that comes out anywhere from four to five times a week that includes questions in that category. So, for example, Monday might be a podcast on nutrition, Tuesday might be a podcast on fitness, Wednesday might be a podcast on triathlon, Thursday might be our interview podcast and actually using that method, we can keep the podcast a little more palatable. So that’s another idea and again, I’m always looking for comments for you guys so if you like that idea, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and let me know. The other thing I wanted to mention before we move into our special announcements is that I included a free book with this podcast. So what happens is if you subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, then what happens was the book should have been delivered automatically via your iTunes feed, and what it is is it’s a free sample of 20 pages from my book 100 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism and that was the book that actually took me a couple of years to write in terms of collecting every single anecdote and piece of evidence I could find about little things that can bump the metabolism up and I went ahead and put it all into one 100-page collection called 100 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism. So I included 20 of those free with this podcast. So if you subscribe in iTunes you should see that automatically downloaded, and if you don’t subscribe to iTunes, then you can go to the podcast Shownotes where I put a bunch of other valuable stuff and you can grab it there. If you would like me to start including PDFs, books, things like that along with the podcast, I can do so. Go ahead and let me know, but one of the ideas that I had was that I can actually deliver the podcast Shownotes to you automatically to your phone or to your iTunes so you don’t have to go on the Internet and get them. Again, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and let me know if you do or do not like those ideas. Remember that your silence leaves me all by myself to come up with my guess of what you want in the podcast. So this week’s guest is Alan Aragon and I would highly recommend that whether you’re a fitness professional or you are just a person trying to get fit and eat right, you listen in to the interview with Alan. I think some of the things that he says is going to blow your mind. So listen in, we’re going to move on to the special announcements, a big Q and A and then the interview with Alan.

So in the introduction to the podcast, I probably went over most of the announcements, but a couple of things I wanted to remind you about was for you triathletes out there, let me know if you want to get in on the triathlon camps in Thailand in November or in Austin, Texas in February. You’ll need to email me [email protected] if you want in on that. Then the only other real special announcement this week is that I mentioned last week that we are looking for you or your business to actually sponsor the transcription of the episodes. And when you sponsor the transcription of the episodes, your banner and your advertisement appears on every single page that features that transcription and there’s a lot of traffic, a lot of searching that goes on for topics over at bengreenfieldfitness.com so it’d be good visibility for you and your business if you specialize in fitness or nutrition or are in that industry. So let me know. Shoot me an email [email protected].

Remember if you have a question, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page. You can Skype me if you’re international and user name Pacific Fit, or you can email [email protected]. The first question is from listener Alicio.

Alicio asks:            If I live and train at elevation between 5,000 and 9,000 feet but I race at sea level, how will my heart rates differ and how should I change my racing?

Ben answers:         Well Alicio, obviously as you probably know since you live at elevation, what’s called the partial pressure of oxygen is going to decrease the higher up you go. So as that oxygen decreases and as the amount of oxygen in the air that you breathe becomes less available, your heart has to beat faster to compensate for that drop in oxygen availability. And I know this isn’t an issue for you Alicio because you live at altitude and you’re doing the opposite, you’re going down. But for those of you going up wondering about the changes in heart rate, essentially what you’re looking for is at any given intensity, your heart rate is going to always beat faster even though your maximum heart rate drops. As a matter of fact, your maximum heart rate drops about one beat for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. So, of course that’s why if you are competing at altitude it sometimes help if you’re able to get a little bit of acclimation done at altitude preferably arriving a week or two before a competition. I know that’s not logistically feasible for most mortals, only for professional athletes, but it does actually help your body to adapt to that lower amount of oxygen that’s available, specifically your body begins to produce many of the things it needs for more efficient oxygen delivery. Now for you Alicio because you’re going from altitude down to sea level, you are in a pretty cool place to be because you don’t have to worry about those effects and as a matter of fact because your body has greater blood volume and a greater ability for your muscles to be able to extract oxygen from the bloodstream, a greater ability of your muscles to be able to use oxygen to  produce energy, you’re looking at being able to go faster. Ok? So if you’re using for example a power meter on your bike, you’re going to create more power for any given heart rate. If you have heart rate zones that you’re using like a zone 2 or a zone 3 or a zone 4 for racing and you’re also using a measurement like power or like GPS, then understand that you don’t need to freak out if you’re noticing that your speed has gone way up as long as you’re hanging right around those heart rates that you normally are at. So you’ll be able to basically  perform better using the heart rate zones that you have.  Of course the other way to do this, to work backwards is when you arrive at your sea level destination if you have time, you can do something as simple as a field test – like a lactate threshold field test – where you exercise at your maximum sustainable pace for about 20 to 30 minutes. You look at the average heart rate that correlates with that pace and I guarantee that your threshold heart rate at sea level is going to be higher than your threshold heart rate at elevation. So you can adjust all your heart rate zones by simply testing once you get down to sea level. So a couple of  different ways to do it but ultimately what you’re looking at is a greater performance at any given heart rate if you’re using the heart rate zones that you’re accustomed to when you’re training and living at altitude. You have a second part to your question, your question is regarding cardiac drift. You ask can you talk a bit about cardiac drift and how Ironman or endurance training is affected by it. Yes, Alicio. It’s a pretty simple concept. As you dehydrate your body, as you sweat, as you perspire while you’re exercising, your water volume drops and your blood volume drops and so as your blood volume drops what happens is your heart has to begin beating faster at any given intensity because it doesn’t have quite as much blood to pump so it simply has to pump more blood by beating more times each minute. So cardiac drift refers to the fact that whereas your comfort zone heart rate for running a marathon might be 130 beats per minute, well 12 miles into that marathon once sweat sets in and dehydration sets in that comfort zone heart rate might actually be 135 or 140. So what this tells us is that the heart rate can be erroneous during ultra endurance efforts or even during endurance efforts if you are using that as the sole method of tracking your intensity. One of the studies that was actually done on heart rate and cardiac drift in fit people – in a group of male fit people – looked at that cardiac drift and what they found was over four hours of drift of about nine beats, meaning that again if your comfort zone heart rate is 130, you might find that it’s 139 over four hours. Interestingly, they didn’t find that that didn’t affect maximum oxygen uptake. They didn’t find that that actually decrease the amount of oxygen that you were able to utilize so it could be that cardiac drift, even though you’re losing that blood, the increase in the heart rate doesn’t actually reduce your performance. However, what they did find was that there was a drop in what’s called the left ventricular contractile function which basically is the ability of the left ventricle of your heart to actually deliver blood to the rest of the body and deliver the oxygen that’s in that blood, and they did find that that correlated to a drop in maximum oxygen uptake. So while the heart rate may not be an issue, that left ventricular contractile function may actually be an issue. So ultimately what this comes down to is you stay hydrated as much as you possibly can and you realize that that heart rate monitor that you’ve been using so much in your training might not be giving you numbers that are going to be that helpful once you get well into an endurance event. And to explain what I mean from a practical perspective, when I’m racing Ironman, I pay attention to my heart rate on the bike and I pay attention to my heart rate on the run. Once I get out on the run because I’m just able to drink less water when I run – I’m able to stay less hydrated when I run – I actually pay attention more to how my body feels than to what my heart rate is telling me and I pay attention to a GPS more than I pay attention to heart rate. So if I know that I’m able to comfortably run 20 miles at a seven and a half minute pace and I look at my GPS and it tells me that I’m running at a seven and a half minute pace, then I don’t really get too concerned if my heart rate is five to ten beats higher than I’m used to seeing it because of cardiac drift, adrenaline and all sorts of things that happen on race day that can affect your heart rate and bring it to a zone that you’re unfamiliar with. So great question.

Addy asks:              I am seven weeks into a 16 week marathon training program for a marathon I’m running in October and I’ve missed the last three weeks of running due to foot injuries, finally diagnosed this week with tendonitis in both feet. Am I screwed for my marathon. Will cycling keep me fit? Do I just double the length of my rides to equal the length of my running? I thought about aqua jogging too, but I’m not sure how to track distance in the water.

Ben answers:         Addy, the first thing I’m going to do is tell you that I’ve actually produced a one hour program that tells you exactly how to train through injuries and train with injuries specifically for running and for marathon. That’s actually part of the Marathon Dominator package. I’ll put a link to that in the Shownotes for you or you can go to marathondominator.com, but I’ve run into that with my athletes before. That’s why I included that as a part of that program. I’m not going to give away everything that’s in that program. But the basic idea is that a few of the components that you can use to maintain fitness with a foot injury and never do any of these things if they cause pain, if they’re pain free – the elliptical trainer with and without the arms, the rowing machine, aqua jogging, swimming and cycling. As far as the actual length, usually distance does not correlate very well. For example if you’re supposed to do a 10 mile run going, going and doing a 20 mile bike ride doesn’t correlate. In the same way, if you’re supposed to do a 10 mile run, going out and aqua jogging 10,000 meters doesn’t really correlate. You want to more look at the actual time spent under stress. So if a 10 mile run is going to take you 90 minutes, then your training session for that day would be a 90 minute bike ride or if your intervals on the track planned for that day were 8×400 meters and you can run a 400 meter in let’s say 90 seconds, then you do 8×90 second efforts aqua jogging. So, use a time based equation, not a distance based equation and absolutely, there’s been studies done on – they were elite runners but basically they were able to maintain their VO2 Max and that was with aqua jogging specifically for four weeks. I personally and several of the people I train with have had to aqua jog due to an injury leading up to a triathlon and a half marathon and did just fine. As a matter of fact, sometimes you find that because you weren’t engaging in the impact based joint jarring movement of running so much leading up to your race, you’re actually able to perform even better and almost have fresh legs. So I wouldn’t worry too much but I would definitely jump into the cross training and use that to stay fit and of course that’s one of the challenges and joys of training for an endurance event – if it was easy, everybody could do it. Sometimes you have to be very creative in your training to string yourself along to the starting line. But it can be done.

So, we have a question that came over via Twitter and if you wanted to ask a question via Twitter, go to twitter.com/bengreenfield and write me your question. Make sure you hit the follow button when you go to twitter.com/bengreenfield and then you just basically ask a question. If you want to see how a question is asked, go to the Shownotes for this episode. You have to put the “@” sign bengreenfield before your question.

Frank asks:            What’s your take on the Amino Vital product for distance runners training for a marathon.

Ben answers:         Lots of marathon based questions today. Must be marathon season. Amino Vital, that’s basically, well they have several different products but specifically they have one called the Running Endurance product and it is like an electrolyte powder. You would mix it with water. You would drink it out of a water bottle, and it is your electrolytes so you have your calcium and magnesium, your potassium, your sodium. It’s got also carbohydrates and branch chain amino acids with protein in it. So it’s a carbohydrate protein blend of a gel. The only issue or the only concern that I would have is how are you going to string yourself through a marathon with a powder that you have to mix, unless you’re going to carry a water bottle during the entire marathon. This is something that might lend itself a little bit (repetitive) to cycling in my opinion. I mean the electrolyte profile is fine. I am a fan of using carbohydrate protein blends just to help out recovery a little bit and also reduce central fatigue. However, I’m not a fan of using drinks and powders for drinking. Typically gels work a little better for running. I would refer you to something like the Goo Rocktaine, which contains electrolytes, amino acids, carbohydrates similar to this but it’s in a gel form, not a powder form. But if you did want to use this, it’s not going to hurt you. Most guys actually want to use close to about 200 to 250 calories of this per hour while running and the way that you would do that is you could mix it into a flask and take it in a very concentrated form, or you could mix it in a water bottle and carry it in one of those fuel belts that has a water bottle holder on it. So absolutely possible to do. The only caveat that I would give you is that a lot of times these powders are designed to be mixed in what’s called a certain osmolality. Or a certain number of molecules of that supplement per litre or per volume of your water or whatever liquid that you’re mixing it in. So if you mix it really, really densely in a flask, it may mess up just a little bit the osmolality that it was designed for. Specifically if you want to read more about that, I just wrote an article about it over at bengreenfieldfitness.com. Read my article on Ironman Powerbar Perform to understand how that works a little bit, but just understand that a lot of this stuff was engineered to be mixed the way they tell you to mix it and if you start using your own little mixing protocol, sometimes it ends up not being quite as effective. But good question.

Christine asks:      I am training for an Ironman in Florida. The long rides on the weekends are particularly tough to get to. Any suggestions for training in humidity?”

Ben answers:         Well I don’t want to insult your intelligence Christine and tell you to make sure to replace your fluids and weigh yourself after exercise, see how much you’re losing. Try and make sure that you rehydrate, keep your electrolytes coming in. Everybody knows that type of stuff. One of the things that happens when it’s humid out is sweat doesn’t tend to work quite so well because the idea of sweat evaporation is it’s supposed to cool the skin but because there is more moisture in the air when you’re exercising in a humid environment, sweat slows down a little bit and cooling cools down a little bit. So, a couple of creative things that you can do aside from staying hydrated and taking in your electrolytes as I’m hoping that you’re doing is time your run or plan your run so that the first part of it or the first part of your training session is with a tailwind. So, the more difficult part of your training session if you’re able to go out back and do training sessions involves running into a headwind, so even though you’re never going to produce as much sweat that headwind will cool you down a little bit during what would hopefully be the harder part of your run or your ride – the latter part of your run or your ride. You can also make sure that you’re using clothing that is designed for heat. So use porous fabrics, fabrics that wick away sweat. You can use a sun protecting visor. Preferably a visor, not a cap, which can make your head more warm. If you’re able to have access to ice or very cold beverages, that’s something you can do as well. Occasionally when I’m training in the summer, I’ll always make sure I swing by a gas station or a grocery store and put ice in my water bottles or grab a bag of ice and actually use that to cool myself as I’m training because in most of the events that I do that are in hot or humid environments, I’m going to have access to ice at an aid station. So it’s not like I’m using something that I’m not going to have access to. So, do that. Stay hydrated. Use a few of those techniques and ultimately what it comes down to is you’re training in the environment that you’re going to end up competing in so that’s going to help you out quite a bit. Remember you don’t have to do every training session in a hot, humid environment. Really, all you need to do is get every third day to maintain that heat acclimation effect. So you can do some exercises or some workouts in your basement or at a cooler gym and not risk losing all your heat acclimation.

Mindy asks:           What is your opinion of TRX suspension training? I prefer to exercise outdoors and I feel that TRX offers a lot more variety than flat ground or playground equipment.”

Ben answers:         For those of you who don’t know what a TRX is, it’s basically a couple of specially designed – they’re almost like ropes or bands and you can drape them over objects and do pulling exercises. You can attach them to objects and do body weight exercises. It’s based on a variety of pushes and pulls that are almost a little bit like gymnastics and provides a constant tension on the body parts that you work. You can work your legs, your core, your upper body. I am a big fan of using them. I think they’re fantastic. There are a few elements of fitness that you might be missing if you use the TRX since you are going to be exercising with your own body weight only. You aren’t going to get some of the strength that can come from throwing around a free weight like a kettle bell or a dumbbell or a barbell. You won’t get some of the explosive plyometric type of strength that you can get from using medicine balls or elements that you throw or would be able to move a little bit more freely than a TRX suspension. But for body weight training, it’s a fantastic device. I would not neglect explosive and plyometric training and I wouldn’t neglect some of the multiple ranges of motion and balance requirements that come with free weight training, so I wouldn’t rely on it as your only training tool. Of course I’m a big fan of that overly used term muscle confusion. I’m a big fan of always having different elements included in your training program. So, for example if you were going to use the TRX, you could for example do a TRX workout twice a week. Do a plyometric explosive-based type of medicine ball workout once a week and a free weight workout once a week. So that would be as opposed to doing say four TRX workouts per week. So there’s a few little components of fitness to bear in mind using the TRX because absolutely. It’s a great device and it’s not going to hurt you as long as you use it correctly. It’s not one of those things that’s a waste of time, made for TV kind of exercise device. It actually does work and many athletes, people trying to lose weight, people trying to get fit have found a lot of success with the TRX.

Sarah Bear asks:  What do you think about running drills. Each week I do repeats of knee lifts, butt kicks, side glides and others over 25 meters. Are they useful?

Ben answers:         Answer to your question. Short answer is yes. Absolutely, yes they’re useful. Too many runners neglect running drills, track drills like As, Bs, Cs, the knee lifts that you’re doing Sarah Bear, butt kicks, side glides. Essentially when you’re simply running your body is moving through a repetitive and predictable range of motion. By engaging in running drills you can do things like teach your body to minimize ground contact time. For example when you’re doing heel to butt kicks or hops. Another advantage of something like a heel to butt kick is you teach your leg to stay bent during the movement phase, the swing through phase of the run gait and so you have to work a little less hard to move your leg through that phase when your leg is more bent from the heel to the butt. A few other advantages of the running drills is they can teach your hip flexors to be more powerful. Skips can improve your stride length. There are running drills, again the heel to butt drill is a great example that can improve your run stride frequency. And they’re very easy to do for after a workout, when you’re waiting at a stoplight during a run. Running drills should be included at least once a week in everybody’s program. I personally do twice a week running drills. Once I’ll go to a park and do some barefoot running, some skips, some hops, some bounds and then once a week, I’ll also during my long run include A, B and C running drills. Google A, B and C running drills. If you’re one of the athletes that I coach, you’ve probably done them because I’ve sent you videos of them. But absolutely, running drills if you’re not doing them right now can help you out quite a bit. The last thing I would mention is you want to include side to side running drills as well to maintain flexibility and range of motion from side to side which a lot of runners have a deficit in. So a grapevine drill, side squat slides, side glides that you talk about Sarah Bear, a lot of those things can help out quite a bit.

Richard asks:        Every night I grind pumpkin, sunflower and linseed with my coffee bean grinder. I soak the seeds every night and often dilute them in lemon juice. Is there anything else I can do to make the seeds more digestible?

Ben answers:         Well by sprouting them or soaking them overnight, you’re absolutely going to help with digestibility. You can soak them in water or lemon juice. The lemon juice is going to speed up that enzymatic activity just a little bit more. As far as my body of knowledge goes, the soaking that you’re doing is already helping you out quite a bit. Stepping it up with the lemon juice is helping out quite a bit. So for those of you listening in who have trouble digesting seeds and nuts, who get lots of gas from seeds and nuts, that’s something you can do. You simply put them in a jar and cover them overnight or for a couple of days. Beans, seeds, nuts that are high in tannins can inhibit digestion just a little bit or make it more difficult to digest. So some of those ones that you would want to avoid would be pistachios, cashews and pecans. Those are very high in tannin. So those would be some to stay away from. Walnuts actually contain quite a few tannins, and the other thing you want to watch are the skins. If you can get a skinned almond or a skinned peanut when you’re having nuts, those are always going to digest a little more. The flip side is you’re not going to get as much fibre when you skin them. But I personally, when I use beans, especially because I do a lot of hummus – I always get chickpeas, soak those overnight. I do soak almonds as well if I’m going to make something like an almond paste or an almond dish that includes grinding the almonds in a blender. But essentially the soaking that you’re doing in the lemon juice and the methods you’re using already are just fine. I wouldn’t worry too much about digestibility with what you’re doing.

Kai asks:                 In episode 104 with Brendan Brazier, Brendan says at one point that you don’t need as many calories if you consume higher quality raw foods. What is your take on this?”

Ben asks:                 Well Brendan’s argument in his book Thrive which is a fantastic book, go check it out if you haven’t yet. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and do a search for Thrive, it’s just good. It’s got good recipes and some really cool foods that you may not have heard of before. His argument is that if you are consuming foods that you’re not digesting properly, you’re not digesting fully, that are still sitting in your stomach being digested, still working on gastric emptying while you’re working out, that’s that much less blood and that much less energy that you have to devote to your workout. So your core temperature is going to be a little bit higher. Your cooling mechanisms aren’t going to work quite as well. You won’t have as much blood available to work in tissue and for any of you who have eaten a few slices of pizza and gone out for a run, you know this to be true. It doesn’t just matter if it’s raw food versus cooked food, it’s food in general. Too much food before a workout is always going to sap your energy. If you can only handle for example 300 calories an hour during a bike ride, you’re taking in 500 calories an hour, the same holds. You’ll be able to produce less power and not have as high a performance. However, as far as the raw foods versus the cooked foods – it’s very difficult to say because some foods – take tomatoes for example – they digest a little better when they’re cooked and some foods would digest a little bit better raw if the enzymes in those foods are not being destroyed by cooking. This is of course something we could talk for a couple of hours a bit. The enzymes that are destroyed by cooking versus the enzymes that are enhanced through cooking. But ultimately what it comes down to is that if you’re eating nutrient dense foods that don’t require you to eat a lot of in terms of volume around your workouts, then you’re always going to be able to perform better and keep your core temperature lower. It’s just common sense. So my take on what Brendan has to say is I absolutely agree with him although I am not going to avoid eating cooked foods or eating foods that have been treated with heat prior to a workout. My reason for that is not because I think Brendan is wrong, but because I like foods that are cooked. Okay? I had a zucchini parmagiana for lunch today and it had been extensively baked and fried and then reheated and broiled. It had fantastic melted mozzarella cheese that crunched in my mouth on top. The zucchini was nice and soft and the fried bread crumbs and parmagiana around the zucchini was great. So, yes there is something to be said for cooked food as well.

So we’re going to move on to a question from – oh wait you had one other follow-up question Kai. You said with the supplements that you mentioned in episode 104 for hiking at altitude also helped with running altitude. And you’ll know that I mentioned in that response, cortaseps and gingko biloba and I would absolutely try them out. There’s not really going to be a big difference in what I said with regard to hiking versus running. So yes, I would look into those supplements.

Twitter user Banks asks, and this is a related question…

Banks asks:            What is your take on the effectiveness of the Kona endurance product for improving anaerobic threshold?

Ben answers:         Well, the Kona endurance products are being extensively marketed right now to endurance athletes and they’re a mix of cortaseps and radiola. Just so you guys know, I take cortaseps and radiola. I don’t take them because the research knocks my socks off. There’s lots of studies that have been done on cortaseps. None have been especially useful in determining whether there’s going to be a direct performance enhancing benefit of it. You can always use that chronological snobbery argument that it has been used for a long time in Chinese herbal medicine and the sherpas who guide people up Mt. Everest swear by it. I place a little bit of credence on arguments like that. When something’s been used for thousands of years, there is sometimes something to be said for it. Not in every case, but sometimes. I know for me personally, when I use the cortaseps and radiola products that I use, I always feel like my lungs are not failing before my legs do. When I quit using those I feel like my lungs give out before my legs do. The idea is that they’re supposed to increase VO2 Max, specifically the term that gets thrown around is adrenal activation of lung tissue supposedly improving lung elasticity and reducing lactic acid build up. Now, whether or not that is actually true remains to be said but I know that I like the supplements that I take. I don’t take Kona Endurance. I take a product called Ultra Cortagen VO2. That’s the one all my athletes take because they get a 50% discount on it. It’s the same ingredient. It’s a radiola and a cortaseps. It’s probably a different strain, for those of you who are wondering what radiola and cortaseps are is they are basically like a fungal or a mushroom extract and you would take it about 30 to 60 minutes prior to your event. So my response is try them out, see if they work for you. Not the cat’s meow in terms of evidence behind them but they could work for you. They work for me. I would recommend that you take the Millennium Sports Ultra VO2. I’ve found that to be the one that I actually feel the most in terms of cortaseps.

Robert asks:           He says is there any study or proof that using a protein shake will cause pancreatitis? The reason I ask is because I went for a training ride on my bike and when I was done, I had a protein shake. About an hour after this I was in so much pain, I went to the ER and after a heart test and a blood test, they told me my pancreatitis enzymes were five times higher than what they should be.”

Ben answers:         Wow, that does not sound pleasant. Pancreatitis is basically an inflammation of your pancreas. There’s a lot of things that can cause it. Getting into a car accident can cause it, taking too many steroids, drinking too much alcohol and there’s a lot of different things that can cause your pancreas to become inflamed. But never have I heard of – never have I seen in any research the indication that a high protein diet can cause acute pancreatitis which is what you got. Unless you were actually experiencing abdominal pain and a little bit of pain in your midchest area for a while before that ride, it’s unlikely that this was a chronic pancreatitis. Now, acute pancreatitis can be caused by gall stones. What I would hazard a guess here is that you had a gall stone attack. You had a release of gall stones while you were riding and basically what happens is those can get stuck in one of the vessels that feed into your pancreas and basically it is a vessel for the outflow of pancreatic juices and when those juices back up, it begins to kill pancreatic cells – the juices that are supposed to be digesting fats turn back and begin digesting your organ or your pancreas, so it can become inflamed. I would hazard a guess that a gall stone attack is probably a more likely issue than the protein shake after your workout. Now, of course that doesn’t you do much good knowing that it’s possible that you had a gall stone attack. What could cause something like that? Typically your diet. If you have a low fibre, high fat diet, you have a diet really high in starch and carbohydrates, if you aren’t getting many of your omega 3 fatty acids in, if you have a magnesium deficiency, a calcium deficiency, a vitamin C deficiency or if you drink too much alcohol, you could increase the risk of gall stones. So, what I would do is look at your diet. I do nutrition counselling. If you keep track of your diet, you can send me your diet for the last few months leading up to that bike ride and I can look at it for you. I’m not a doctor. I’m not giving you medical advice but if you were me, and I were in your shoes, I would hazard a guess that you might have had a gall stone attack and maybe you should go look at your diet to make sure that you’re not putting yourself at risk for gall stones. So, good question.

We have a question here from Paul.

Paul asks:               I have seen ads from a supplement that contains testofen from fenugreek seed. It is supposed to raise testosterone. As an older athlete this interests me. I am always looking for an edge over my running and biking buddies. I’d be interested in your thoughts on testofen and raising testosterone in older athletes.

Ben answers:         Well the very first thing that I should tell you Paul is that here at bengreenfileldfitness.com, we have done two big podcast episodes on raising testosterone naturally. They were both with Dr. Cohen, I would highly recommend that you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and do a search for testosterone because we talk a lot about younger and older athletes and the issues with testosterone and how to actually raise it naturally, effectively and legally. Now, this Testofen from the fenugreek seed; not a ton of research that has been done on it but there is for example one recent research that just came out last month in Biochemistry Journal and it studied the use of fenugreek steroids. They were administered to diabetic rats for 30 days. In these diabetic rats, they found that there is a significant increase in the hormones testosterone and some of the other sex hormones but primarily testosterone as well as an increase in the activity of some of the enzymes responsible for creating steroids in the bodies of those rats. I would emphasize they were rats, not humans. So, there’s something to be said for the fenugreek use and I personally take the Optimale from Bioletics.com and its primary ingredient is that fenugreek and I have doubled my testosterone levels, and I did it over four months of use with that. I have several of the older athletes that I coach who take it and who I highly recommend to take it and it’s again one of those things where again what I would do is test your pre-supplementation levels, take a source and I would recommend that Optimale from Bioletics and then retest. Use yourself as a case study. Testing your salivary testosterone levels is not expensive to do. Once you’ve looked at those salivary active testosterone levels before and after, I would use it for about three to four months but once you’ve looked at that before and after, that’s when you can make a judgment and say okay, this stuff is actually working. So I would recommend you use yourself as a case study, just because it’s so easy and relatively inexpensive to do.

Chuck asks:            I have three half Ironman triathlons coming up. The first is September 11, than a three week break. Then another, and then a two week break, finishing with a final. So that’s three within five weeks. How do I structure my training around these races to perform optimally at all of them? They are all A races, and they are all championships and qualifiers.”

Ben answers:         Well if I were your coach, I would be basically kicking myself for structuring your program so that your three high priority races of the year all fall within five weeks, especially considering that they’re half Ironman events which require at least a week of recovery to clear out the inflammation and muscle damage that occurs from one of those events. So you’re really in a tough spot here because whereas stringing together two is alright – the way that you do it is you just train very, very lightly, low volume, a few high intensity training sessions and lots of recovery protocols. Doing three all together means that by that third, you’re probably going to have lost a good deal of your base fitness by the time you get to that third. You take a pro triathlete like Torrenzo Bizoni. He’s strung together a few. I think the maximum he did in a row was three half Ironman triathlons and by the third he had lost much of his fitness and was not performing quite as well. He’s a pro triathlete probably putting in 30 to 40 hours of training a week. I guarantee that you’re probably not doing that volume of training. So I have no clue why you structured your season so you’re doing all these races, all these high priority races all in a row like that. That’s not smart, I hate to say that, but really it’s not smart. But you’re there. This is the hand that you’ve been dealt, so now you have to do something with it. Here’s what I would do. Do that first race. As soon as you finish that first race, you need to get into recovery mode but it has to be active recovery mode so you’re using topical magnesium therapy, you’re using compression tights. If you’re able to get your hands on a foam roller you can use that, engage in an ice bath for the couple of days after that race and then do light training until you’re not sore at all. Once you’re not sore at all do a few high intensity race paced training sessions and then a couple of days before your next race begin to taper down again. And then for that third race you may need to if you can get a couple of midweek long training sessions in to get just a little bit of your base fitness back, but ultimately you’re going to lose quite a bit by the time you get to that third race. So I would consider making that second race a lower priority race and maybe just train through it so you can do better at the first and third races. Ultimately it’s going to be pretty tough for you to string together but as far as the individual workouts go, that’s one of the things I do for athletes – write out their individual workouts. If you want the microplanning I can help you out with that, but ultimately that’s kind of an overview of what you should do.

Bob asks:                 Can you give some advice for finding a general doctor that agrees with the things talked about in your podcast? I’m looking for a doctor that agrees with or at least will support and understand the holistic lifestyle, supplements, etc.

Ben answers:         Bob, I would definitely go check out the Web site acem.org. On that Web site you’re going to find a list of physicians who are qualified to provide natural health care and use naturopathic methods. A lot of them will be N.Ds. which stands for naturopathic doctor and may also be M.D.s or traditionally trained allopathic physicians. I would also – and this is based on a recommendation from Dr. Roby Mitchell who’s been on this podcast before, he’s a very good natural healing physician – look for someone who’s trained in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy which means that they would be able to customize your healthcare to your needs. I would also recommend that you look at angieslist, and angieslist which you can Google – it’s kind of like craigslist but it provides reviews, specifically reviews of local car mechanics, businesses and health care practitioners and that’s a great way to look at a doctor. Of course ask around at your local community. For example in my community there’s a certain physician who has a weight list that’s typically anywhere from six months to a year long and it’s because he gets such good results with his patients. He is a natural healing physician and he does a lot of natural methods or use a lot of natural methods when he’s working with his clients but everyone I know who has him as their personal physician is incredibly healthy and knowledgeable about health care and I respect their approach to health care and so if you’re connected with your local community and able to ask around, especially asking around people who engage in the same type of lifestyle as you do whether it be sports or weightlifting or triathlon or anything like that, that will help out quite a bit as well. So good question.

Timothy asks:       I heard you’re not supposed to eat before bedtime, especially carbs because it inhibits your body’s natural production of HGH. Is this true? And does your body produce HGH when you sleep?

Ben answers:         Okay, so this is a good question and for those of you who don’t know what human growth hormone is, it’s basically a protein based hormone that’s secreted by a part of your brain, actually the pituitary gland in your brain and it would be termed an anabolic hormone or hormone that helps with repair and recovery of tissue. It may also help with your body’s ability to mobilize and burn fat. The argument goes that if you eat any type of food especially carbohydrates that would spike the insulin levels before you go to bed then your body may not produce the larger amounts of HGH that it normally does produce when you’re asleep. When you do sleep, your body does produce a lot of hormones produced with repair and recovery, but one of the primary ones is the human growth hormone. So if you could enhance the production of hormone growth hormone or even be sure not to shut down the production of human growth hormone while you’re asleep then you could repair and recover just a little bit quicker and perhaps wake up more refreshed. Now the body is going to produce the most growth hormone during the first two hours that you’re asleep. So if you’re eating a large meal before you go to sleep. It doesn’t matter if it’s carbohydrates, protein, fat, whatever – all of it’s going to produce some insulin release and having that excess insulin in your body after that large meal can slightly suppress the output of growth hormone which can prevent your body from getting its proper rest and recovery. So my take on this is that your first priority should be to get adequate sleep. If going to bed hungry keeps you from getting sleep, then it’s going to hurt your growth hormones production far more than getting a full night sleep but doing it after you had dinner at 9:30 and going to bed at 10. So first focus on the sleep, then focus on not eating too much before bed if you want to increase the growth hormone production. Interestingly, some people will tell you that if you take a bunch of amino acids before you go to bed, you can enhance growth hormone production. The studies that were done on that used a very large amount of amino acids – specifically 40 to 60 grams – and you would need to be taking in almost – I believe that amount is almost four heaping tablespoons of amino acids from some sort of amino acid powder source. That’s a lot of amino acids to stomach before you go to bed. I do take something called Somnidren GH before I sleep and it is recommended to take on an empty stomach. I do take it on an empty stomach and I like taking that stuff because it helps me get to sleep right away. I actually take that with a mineral supplement called ZMK and I feel far more refreshed. I always take it before a race, and I always take it when I know I’m going to have anywhere from six to eight hours to sleep. Because you do get a little bit groggy if you take it and you only sleep six hours and you get up. But if you can get a good night of sleep, the Somnidren GH combined with the ZMK works really well. Those are both Millennium Sports products.

Brad asks:              Ben, could you please review Animal Pack as a multivitamin. My gym friends swear by them because a large percentage of RDA vitamins and the resulting fluorescent urine. I am sceptical about Animal Pack’s effectiveness. Please settle the debate.

Ben answers:         So if we look at Animal Pack and we look at the ingredients in Animal Pack, it does have a lot of vitamins. A thousand percent of your daily vitamin E needs which is interesting because vitamin E is fat soluble which means your body can store it and is potentially toxic. Same goes with vitamin A. It’s  a fat soluble and there’s 198% vitamin A in that. vitamin C, 1667%. Vitamin B, 9000%. And a lot of other things: milk thistle, carnitine, ginseng. Looks like a full amino acid profile, digestive enzymes, and ultimately a lot of the stuff in here isn’t going to hurt you. I would give pause to the amount of fat soluble vitamins in there. But typically – this is almost always the case – you’ll get the individuals who go out and buy a can of this stuff and they’re working out an hour a day. They’re going to the gym and pumping iron for an hour a day. The amount of nutrients in vitamins in a product like this would be ideal for someone who’s burning through and using far more energy than the general population. We’re talking about bodybuilders who are in the gym for three or four hours a day. Ironman triathletes training for two to four hours a day. People who are out there on the edge in terms of physical activity. You’re going to be spending a lot of money on this stuff. It looks like you can get 15 servings of it for about 25 bucks, but if you look at the ingredient label, the ingredient label is reflective of two servings. So 25 bucks a week to be on this stuff. So if it’s worth it for you to take it in for $25 a week and you’re exercising a lot, then you may be able to justify the use of something like Animal Pack. It is one of my pet peeves when people start on a product like this and they use it as an excuse not to eat their fruits and vegetables. There are things in this that you’re still not going to get like your fibre, you’re still not going to get  a lot of the synergistic effects that you get when you eat a whole piece of raw fruit or vegetables. But again, it’s not the most damaging of supplements I’ve ever looked at, as a matter of fact. If you’re not overdosing on you fat soluble vitamins then it may be something that could make sense to take. So, good question. I’d just be very careful about wasting your money if you’re just the average gym goer, the weekend warrior because this wouldn’t be the stuff for you.

Mark asks:              I would appreciate some advice. I broke my collar bone in a bike crash about four weeks ago. I’m registered for a half marathon on October 10th, I’m not supposed to run for another three weeks and I’ve been spinning and doing the elliptical trainer. Any suggestions on building my base until I can start running?”

Ben answers:         This is interesting because we kind of answered this question earlier Mark. But just a few other things I would throw on top of this for you, the first is that when you have a collar bone fracture, some physicians don’t give you this but you can go to a medical supply outlet for example online, but it’s called a figure eight splint. You’ll need the help of a spouse or a friend to put this on but a figure eight splint can really help keep your clavicle supported during exercise and could help you return to running earlier although you do need to follow the advice of your doctor in terms of the healing time. I would also look into making sure that you’re not overstressing your collar bone while you’re using a bicycle. The one thing you can do if you’re using your own bicycle set up on an indoor trainer, you can get an extra set of handlebars, tape that extra set of handlebars on top of the existing handlebars and ride your bike in a more upright position, which can reduce a lot of the pain and the discomfort from a broken collarbone. I would also make sure that you’re taking a calcium, magnesium supplement. I would make sure that you are looking into – not that these are going to necessarily instantly heal your body – but I would definitely look into taking glucosamine lactoferrin. That’s two supplements that could help you in terms of assisting with the healing and also make sure that you’re not consuming a highly acidic diet. Not consuming a lot of things that could increase your risk of lowering bone density or inhibiting bone healing. Soda, coffee. Those type of things. So ultimately take some of the advice that I gave earlier about training for an injury but also take into account the collarbone and the bone healing. I will put a link to a figure eight clavicle splint in the Shownotes for you.

The next question, and the last question comes from listener Laurie.

Laurie asks:           Hi Ben, this is Laurie Jensen and I was asking about vitamin K supplements. I was interested in knowing whether you think that would be beneficial for me. I’ve been on a proton pump inhibitor for a little over five years and that was due to being on a high dosage of ibuprofen over a course of months and that caused me to have an ulcer and once I got on the proton pump inhibitor, I had a rebound effect every time I tried to get off of it. If I was in the middle of training for something, an ultra marathon or marathon or triathlon, then the inconvenience of having that problem just drove me back to using it again. So, I’m in the process of getting off of that now, and I’m concerned about my risk for osteoporosis because I took it for so long. So I was wondering if that might help just with my calcium uptake, along with taking calcium and vitamin D, whether the vitamin K would be beneficial.

Ben answers:         Good question Laurie, and if you look at vitamin K, there have been studies done on the relationship between taking in vitamin K and lowering the risk of osteoporosis. Specifically women who took vitamin K had – or women who took low amounts of vitamin K had a 30% higher risk of hip fracture in a long term study – the nurse’s health study. However there have been other studies that have directly supplemented vitamin K and not found an association between even dietary vitamin K intake – that’s not vitamin K intake from a nutritional supplement but just dietary vitamin K intake from natural food and no correlation between that and bone mineral density. So, all of your green leafy vegetables are usually your source of vitamin K, and of course eating a lot of green, leafy vegetables to get your vitamin K is not necessarily going to hurt you. Some other vegetable oils are sources of vitamin K, but I wouldn’t recommend that you be taking in a lot of canola oil and mayonnaise. I’m talking about using broccoli, kale, spinach, swis chard, parsley – things of that nature to get your vitamin K, but ultimately the research is a little bit iffy on whether or not it’s going to actually help out with bone density. I would definitely look into using some of the same supplements that I recommended earlier to the gentleman who had asked about the stress fracture or the clavicle stress fracture – specifically the glucosamine chondroitin and the lactoferren and also make sure that you’re taking a magnesium supplement which is a crucial co-factor for calcium and has been shown to assist with bone density. I would also use pause with using too much calcium. I’ll be publishing an article on Friday explaining how calcium actually increases your risk of low bone density versus raising it. But ultimately, to directly answer your question, I wouldn’t necessarily take a Vitamin K supplement. It’s not going to hurt you, but I don’t know that it’s going to be completely necessary for you. Ultimately, I think it’s interesting that you started on this proton pump inhibitor in the first place from the ibuprofen related ulcers. So to kind of return to the root of the problem, proton pump inhibitors – go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and read the article, how to kill your stomach acid. Just go there, bengreenfieldfitness.com, do a search on how to kill your stomach acid. Proton pump inhibitor is a great way to do it. Also, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and do a search for ibuprofen because we did a big interview with Dr. Roby Mitchell on the dangers of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. I’m not saying you should never take them. I’m saying that long term use can cause quite a bit of damage. I recommend that you look into a supplement called Fenocaine, if you want a natural to alternative to ibuprofen that’s not going to put you into the place that you got into before from the ibuprofen. Look into something called Fenocaine. I’ll put a link to the Fenocaine in the Shownotes.

We’re going to move on to this week’s interview with Alan Aragon.

Folks, this was another coffee shop recorded interview and I realise that my voice gets a little faint at times, I apologize for that but because Alan does most of the talking, it really shouldn’t be a big issue.

Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and I have on the call today a man named Alan Aragon and Alan is well respected among the nutrition and fitness industry for being a very knowledgeable and very, very unbiased man when it comes to providing a lot of information on the research that’s out there in fitness and nutrition. I subscribe to a report that he puts out on a monthly basis and he has such fantastic information that I thought you would benefit from getting him on the show to talk about some of the prevalent myths in fitness and nutrition and how you need to think about the concepts associated with those myths and basically provide you with some new ways to think about your own fitness and nutrition. So, Alan first of all thank you for coming on the call today.

Alan Aragon:         Thank you for having me Ben.

Ben:                           So the best place to start here is just really quickly so people can get an idea of who you are and where you’re coming from and what your certification or what your background is, what is your background? How did you get into this field?

Alan Aragon:         Okay, well I started off with a couple of personal training certifications from the NASM back in the mid, late 90s and those – I haven’t kept those active since I’ve been focusing on nutrition and I got my undergrad in nutrition as well as my master’s degree in nutrition so that pretty much the beginning and the end of my formal credentials. Since then I’ve been in the field working with clients and it’s pretty much been a fulltime thing for me since the mid 90s, just working with clients and writing and when I’m not working with clients, like you mentioned, I put out my monthly research review and I also write for Men’s Health. I’m sort of their – not necessarily their fact guy but a research consultant type thing for Men’s Health – and I’m also their “weight loss coach.”

Ben:                           So nutritionist, personal trainer, author. Now, in terms of getting right into the meat of the topics here, there’s a lot of things that people believe about fitness and about diet and before we talk about some of those things, in terms of research and studies and the way that you approach the actual myth in question or the topic in question, do you have a specific method that you use or do you have research journals that you turn to on a regular basis?

Alan Aragon:         Yeah, well the first bit of my approach is probably more philosophical than anything else because I mean whenever a claim is made in the fitness industry about a product or a protocol that doesn’t necessarily match up with what we’ve learned in our basic fundamental curriculum of human physiology and things along that line, then you go okay, well this thing is being touted. Obviously it’s working for a lot of people and it’s popular but is it working because of its own scientific verifiable merit or is it working just because people are really latched on to their personal beliefs that it is working and therefore it’s working via placebo or via just inducing more consistency in the compliance of the people who are on the program so to speak. So my big issue is not with using stuff that isn’t the actual agent that’s working. My big issue is when people start thinking well this is the only way that I can accomplish this and I need to dish out hundreds of bucks a month in order to keep this result coming. So that kind of gets me mad when people are just sort of wasting their money and perpetuating their mis-education over stuff. So, what really what we have to turn to is the scientific literature. I always disclaim the whole thing by saying the scientific literature is far from perfect and it’s not free of biases, whether it be commercial biases or other, but at least it’s a better attempt to control the multitude of variables at hand and try to fetter out the real cause and the real effects. So scientific research isn’t perfect but it beats the hell out of gym gossip and hearsay. So that’s kind of my approach in a nutshell. Of course, scientific research can only cover so much of what we’re trying to figure out and whatever gaps there are in the scientific literature, whether those limitations be the populations used or the protocols used, you kind of have to fill in the gaps with field experience which you and I have quite a bit of, so we have that advantage over folks who just have to rely solely on the scientific research. So I recently got into a debate with somebody on my blog who just started accusing me of leaning too hard on (pub med) and little does he know that I’m leaning on my clients all day long before I get home and get on pub med. You have to look at the full range of evidence from the academic and theoretical all the way to the field evidence and then you form your opinions on various topics. But in the end, even our personal field experience isn’t controlled enough or free enough of our own biases for us to say okay, well this is the way. Nobody can say that.

Ben:                           So the topic today is the top five myths in fitness and nutrition. Let’s jump right into things. What is the first myth?

Alan Aragon:         The first myth that came to my mind when I was thinking about this topic was the meal frequency and metabolism myth. So, I’m always surprised when I find out that there are some folks out there who think that eating more frequently throughout the day will rev up your metabolism compared to just eating a few times throughout the day. That’s just purely and simply not true and it’s been demonstrated in controlled conditions that this is simply not true. When you match diets in terms of caloric intake and macronutrient composition or even if you don’t necessarily match macronutrient composition that meticulously, the difference in metabolic effect is practically nil. As long as things are matched up, whether you have that intake over the course of six meals or whether you have it over the course of three meals, it’s simply not going to make a dent in thermogenic differences.

Ben:                           So when you’re talking about the end of the day, say you consumed 2000 calories, what you’re saying is as long as you consumed equal percentages of those macronutrients, carbohydrates, proteins and fat and the same number of calories, you’re not going to see a difference in the metabolic rate of someone who has eaten that for breakfast versus someone who has split that into six or eight or ten meals in a day?

Alan Aragon:         Yes, that’s correct. The whole reason for that is because every meal you eat has some sort of thermogenic effect. Or some sort of diet induced thermogenesis. So the larger meals will have larger thermogenic effects and smaller meals will have smaller thermogenic effects. So at the end of the day it all comes out the same. Now there is some research pointing to extreme grazing patterns having better effects on insulin sensitivity, and in some cases lipid profiles and such. However, this is on populations who are sedentary. So any sort of small benefit that increasing meal frequency might have really does disappear in the active population. It also would disappear on a longer term basis if these studies were carried out and the rest of these people’s habits weren’t checked. So, I like to push the idea that if you do not favour a grazing pattern and you’re much more comfortable eating three times a day and you don’t like the inconvenience of having to pack your food in a cooler Tupperware everywhere you go, then you can rest easy knowing that you’re not compromising your metabolic rate by having a lower meal frequency than the next guy.

Ben:                           Interesting. Getting into the theoretical, when people wait all day to eat, do you find either in research that you looked at or in the clients that you work with, that they tend to not make the smartest choices in terms of their nutrition intake if they say don’t eat breakfast, maybe have a handful of almonds at work over eight hours then get home to eat dinner?

Alan Aragon:         It really does vary with the individual. There are folks who naturally do better on a more grazing pattern. Their hunger and their appetite is better controlled that way and so for those people it might be counter productive to push the idea that they do need to skip breakfast and wait and fend for themselves at the dinner buffet. But in the majority of folks who have their diets planned out, it’s really not going to be an issue especially if they make the proper choices during the times that they do eat. Some foods are just a bit more self-regulating in how much of it you eat than other foods. You’re definitely not going to have somebody not eat all day and then present them with a cheesecake at 10 p.m.  or maybe you would on occasion. But, yeah. It really does vary with the individual on that.

Ben:                           So the idea here is not necessarily to neglect planning and preparing your meals, your nutrition intake but instead not to freak out or be anal about eating every 1.75 hours.

Alan Aragon:         Yeah, that’s correct. And in some cases, there’s practical limitations to lowered meal frequency especially in folks that are trying to get in a lot of calories. In some cases, it’s easier to eat more meals than more food per meal. So there’s practical limitations there but it’s mainly for the dieting population who has heard through the fitness grapevine that they need to eat six times a day or they need to eat every two to three hours. It’s for the population who’s dieting pretty severely that thinks they need to eat these two to three hundred calorie meals. A lot of folks would feel boxed in by that and that they’re being teased with every meal when in fact they can have a substantial meal each time they sit down to eat, but it’s got to be less frequent in order to hit the lowered caloric target for the day.

Ben:                           Okay, gotcha. So people’s concern in term of caloric deficits when you’re talking about starvation mode or when you’re talking about lowering your metabolism significantly  would be only well-founded if we were talking about true starvation, about multiple days of severe caloric deficits.

Alan Aragon:         Yeah, we’re talking weeks and months of severe dieting will lower metabolic rate to a small degree depending on which research you’re looking at. Anywhere from ten to 20ish percent depending on the severity. But it really wouldn’t have anything to do with meal frequency during a 24 hour period that’s for sure.

Ben:                           Gotcha. Okay, interesting. So moving on, what would the second myth be?

Alan Aragon:         This is kind of a fun one, a big one, a controversial one. It’s the paleo dieting myth. It’s not necessarily that paleo is an unhealthy way to eat but it’s folks who base their dietary belief paradigm around the speculative nature of what our ancient ancestors might have eaten. It’s those people who are very absolutist in their dietary philosophies, their paleo dietary philosophies that really bug the shit out of me.

Ben:                           Gotcha. Let’s focus on the research of course, and in your studies what have you found to be the studies that back up your idea that the paleo diet may not be all that it’s cracked up to be?

Alan Aragon:         Okay, well before I get into that I want to make it clear that the guidelines of paleo dieting can be quite a bit healthier than the standard American diet which is basically loaded with processed crap. Whereas paleo dieting, you’re limited to vegetables and fruits and some people go with the lean meats, some people go with the fatty meats that are okay. There’s a lot of variation in people’s view of paleo, which is one of the problems. There’s no universal paleo diet. But just taking the most popular one, it’s fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts. That’s basically it. In a lot of cases that is a lot healthier than a McDonald’s Happy Meal with a Big Gulp and then three or four Nutrigrain bars for the day, let’s say. I’m just picking random stuff that’s all processed. But here’s the point. Paleo takes an extreme stance and eliminates entire food groups from the diet so they’re eliminating all grain foods. They’re eliminating all dairy. They’re eliminating all legumes. They’re also eliminating added sugar and they’re eliminating or at least minimizing added salt. I think I covered dairy. What you have is basically diet as religion. It’s simply – it’s a belief system that is not fully supportable by solid evidence. So yes, there are healthy aspects of it but there are also compromised aspects of it. I think I semi-began to answer the question.

Ben:                           You’re obviously going to find people who will make the argument about gluten. That’s of course one of the founding characteristics of the paleo diet, is the idea that gluten can have a damaging effect on the digestive system. Now for people implementing the paleo diet may have celiac disease, obviously there’s a leg to stand on there. But in terms of the gluten argument, do you have anything to say about that?

Alan Aragon:         Well  I mainly would have to say that unless your diet consists mostly of carbohydrates, then you wouldn’t really have a whole major issue. Most busy, professional folks – carbohydrate isn’t really the dominant macronutrient in their diets, especially if they’re not particularly active. So you’re looking at a huge population where it’s not even really an issue. If you’re getting your carbohydrate from a variety of sources like let’s say fruit, dairy, potatoes, peas, corn – I like a variety of starches and or fruits and dairy, then whatever gluten sources you might be running into would comprise such a small percentage of your total dietary intake of the carbohydrate, that if you’re doing everything right and if you’re doing everything optimally and you’re not necessarily focusing on huge hits of grain foods daily, then you don’t have anything to worry about. Now you take somebody from the other end of the spectrum who has a huge energy demand and a let’s say some sort of predisposition to not tolerating gluten, then they can have a problem if all they’re eating are gluten containing foods for their sole carbohydrate source in large amounts through the day. I think that people tend to just freak out over nonissues. With particular regard to the gluten issue, if you have not been clinically diagnosed as intolerant or gluten sensitive.

Ben:                           Have there been any studies or research that look into the difference in body composition of people who incorporated something like a paleo diet versus people using any other diet or a control group?

Alan Aragon:         Actually yeah, there’s a small body of research that compared paleo dieting with the standard American diet. And the paleo diet always does better on a range of parameters like improving glucose tolerance. Just basic parameters having to do with insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles and these sorts of cardiovascular risk indexes improve on the paleo dieting condition versus the standard American dieting condition. That’s kind of a “Well, no duh” kind of thing because the paleo dieting groups routinely eat double the protein and way more fibre. So, when you control those variables and let’s say we don’t even control those variables but we add a structured exercise program, the differences in the paleo and standard American diet would diminish quite a bit. Now if you not only add an exercise program, but you match protein intake – say you match macronutrient intake, period, and you match fibre intake – then whether or not the foods in the control group are paleo approved or not, I highly doubt there’d be any differences in these clinical benefits that are seen in the paleo groups compared to the standard American diet which is a crap diet.

Ben:                           Now the paleo diet – a strict paleo diet that completely eliminates some of the things that you talked about that may be considered healthy like legumes and dairy and things of that nature – is something that in my experience a lot of people who say they’re following a paleo diet aren’t necessarily doing. I mean that strict, strict paleo diet. The argument that you’re making is that the strict paleo diet that completely eliminates those things has not been shown to be superior over a normal healthy diet?

Alan Aragon:         That’s correct in some cases. You look at the Mediterranean diet. They’re violating paleo principles with a bunch of the foods in that diet. Or even a better example might be the Okinawan diet where they’re violating paleo principles by having a soy element in their diet. They’re violating it by having some added sugar in their diets. They’re violating it every which way. The French violate the paleo diet very nicely, then you’ve got decent cardiovascular risk profiles in the French population. Well at least for the most part. So there are examples in the research of violating paleo principles and still doing just fine. Now the folks who are – I agree that it’s people who claim to be following paleo don’t do it strictly but the people who actually do it strictly, I think there’s a detriment there and I think they’re compromising the quality of nutrition that they could be getting out of the diet. This is given the premise that they have their macronutrients in check and they’re not going to be sitting down and eating two huge bowls full of beans. Because we’re not talking about going hog wild on paleo unapproved foods because in the end you’re going to be violating your macronutrient target. So getting your macro straight is really a self-regulating type of tactic where it frees you from having to follow these pseudo religious dietary rules that aren’t necessarily backed by science in a solid way.

Ben:                           Okay, gotcha. So anything else you wanted to bring up about the paleo diet before we move on to the next myth?

Alan Aragon:         You know there’s probably a ton of things I’ll think of after the fact.

Ben:                           We always have the comments section on the show.

Alan Aragon:         Yes. Yes.

Ben:                           And for those of you listening in, Alan of course tends to throw around the word macronutrients. For any of you who aren’t (inaudible), that’s carbohydrates, fat and protein. I know we have some nutritionists and dieticians who listen in to the show but a few people may need clarification on the macronutrients. So, okay well let’s go ahead and move on to the next myth that you’ve come up with for fitness and nutrition.

Alan Aragon:         The next thing I thought of is the whole idea that you’ve got this (unintelligible) in order to recover well or recover or grow optimally, then you’ve got to fulfil the post workout window of opportunity as it’s been called. So what it’s done was create a market for products that consist of some sort of refined carbohydrate along with a quickly digested protein and then people really think they need to go through the pains of using the post-workout shake as soon as possible, otherwise they’ll screw up their gains or their recovery. So that’s definitely a myth. The way that myth was born was from research on endurance athletes where they take the subjects and put them through a glycogen depletion protocol after a 10 to 12 hour fast. So, the quicker fuels post workout aided in recovery better than nothing at all. So therefore this myth of the post-workout shake was born. It was born from research that was completely inapplicable to the real world. An exception to that may be endurance athletes who have multiple glycogen depleting events during a single day. But certainly folks who train once a day for an hour or an hour and a half or whatever the case may be, they train once a day and they have a pre-workout meal. Getting your protein and carbs in as quickly as possible post-workout is really not a pressing concern because of the time course of that pre-workout meal. It basically stays in circulation whether your blood nutrient level is elevated – depending on the size of the meal – a good three to six hours after you’ve eaten it. So yeah, that whole post-workout shake, get it in fast kind of thing, that’s definitely a myth.

Ben:                           So for individuals who are eating an adequate pre-workout meal and who are not engaging in repeated or very long bouts of endurance based activity – the post-workout meal is offering no addition benefit in terms of recovery?

Alan Aragon:         That’s correct.

Ben:                           Interesting. So it’s my understanding that the levels of the enzyme responsible for allowing your body to take an uptake or uptake carbohydrate and store it away is glycogen and tends to be at an elevated level post-workout. Is that something that would allow greater uptake or faster uptake of amino acids and carbohydrates? If so, would that help you out if you were the average person exercising for an hour a day? Help you out in terms of your performance or in terms of your appetite satiation after a workout, anything of that nature?

Alan Aragon:         It potentially could but I mean when you look at different contexts… like say for example, say somebody eats a full sized solid meal an hour prior to training. Their blood nutrient levels of glucose, insulin and amino acids – they’ll peak at slightly different times – but for the most part, that peak will happen depending on the nature of the meal. Let’s say if it’s solid, then that peak will occur probably two hours or at least 90 minutes after they’ve finished that full sized meal. So what’s happening during their workout is their nutrients are just making their way into circulation and they’re not necessarily on the way down in terms of blood levels until quite a bit after the workout is over. So, what that does – the nutrients are there in circulation and they’re there for use even while glute four is out regulated and everything is receptive and ready to go, then you’ve got the nutrients there. So yeah it’s really kind of the time course that people are not necessarily taking into consideration of a full sized solid meal.

Ben:                           If I could interrupt real quick, does the time length of the workout – do you have a certain time period that you would place on the length of the workout for that diminished return from a post-workout meal? If someone’s going in for an hour, like you mentioned and has eaten an adequate pre-workout meal  as may be the case – but let’s take for example, a lot of people listen to the show, they train for Ironman triathlon. Let’s take someone who’s gone on a two and a half hour bike ride but eaten two hours prior in the range of 600 to 800 calories – in case like that, is a post-workout meal going to help them even if they’re not working out again for another 24 hours?

Alan Aragon:         I would say Ben, if they were doing a during workout regimen of roughly let’s say 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour and oh, eight to 15 or ten to 20 grams of protein per hour of training, then at the end of the workout, there’s really not this tremendous physiological demand for that stuff if they’ve taken care of it during the training. So what the strategy would be is just basic rehydration and the next scheduled meal. A lot of folks don’t necessarily have the appetite to get in this huge post-workout meal. So, it kind of depends. If someone is sort of underfueled during training then it can be more of a benefit to recovery, to play catch-up. But yeah. In the other case, not necessarily.

Ben:                           Now what about the blood levels or the levels of amino acid? Is that going to have any kind of triggering effect in terms of you having after the workout x amount of amino acids as far as any type of muscle wasting or any anti-muscle wasting effects something like that might have?

Alan Aragon:         Yes. It would. But again when you look at the time course of let’s say 20 grams of whey protein let’s say, it’ll peak in the blood within an hour of you ingesting it and it will stay up there and your levels of amino acids will be elevated for a good two and a half hours after that 20 gram hit of whey. So you take guys who are doing 40 grams of some solid protein or even 40 grams of whey, two scoops of whey plus some carbohydrates then you get this exponential jacking up of these substrate levels in the blood which far surpasses that previously mentioned 20 gram of protein time course. Then you’ve got a whole lot less concern for your levels being too diminished by the end of the workout. Just back up for a second, I’m not against having a quick post-workout shake. It’s just not necessarily more beneficial than just having a regular scheduled meal at whatever point it may occur after the workout. I know a lot of folks, the way that they time their training, it’s like they’ll eat their pre-workout meal one to two hours out from the training bout. If the training bout is one to two hours, they’re pretty much ready and scheduled to have a meal. My point is it doesn’t have to be this rush towards a liquid quickie carbohydrate and protein shake that you’re keeping right there in your back pocket ready to go after the workout.

Ben:                           Okay, gotcha. Now just two final follow up questions to that before we move on to the fourth myth. The first is working out after an overnight fast, would things change in that case?

Alan Aragon:         Yeah. I mean if you’re working out after a prolonged fast,  gosh well, I would have a preference towards getting your pre-workout nutrition right. So if your training first thing in the morning you’d want to go through the lengths of getting a certain amount of at least protein in you before you start training. Ideally it would be a combination of training and carbohydrate for a number of purposes related to preventing muscle protein  breakdown, promoting muscle protein synthesis and pulling out the stops for performance of the training bout. And so, in that case you would want to have an easily digested, very  gastrically tolerable small meal before you get out there and train. But in the hypothetical case that that’s completely missing – let’s say your wife wakes you up out of bed and throws you outside to go run down the street – then you can come back and have a regular old meal. Truly, unless you have these pressing concerns of being ready to compete to exhaustion within 6ish to eight hours depending on what research you look at, again during the same day, there’s really no pressing need to get these quick substrates in as long as you’re hitting your macronutrient targets for the day. Because any time you put your body through the stress of training and you deprive it of nutrients, it will upregulate its anabolic signalling in order to compensate for what’s going on. So there’s always this sort of homeostatic dance going on no matter what you do on a sort of transient, temporary basis as long as you hit those targets at the 24 hour. Then you really should be fine. This kind of goes back to the idea of nutrient timing can help a little bit in some populations. But it really takes a backseat to getting what you need by the end of the day.

Ben:                           Okay, gotcha. And then the final question with regards to this is from a psychological standpoint or even from a physiological standpoint. One of the recommendations that I make to people is that if they really, truly have to have a Snickers bar, then the best time to time that Snickers bar would be right after their workout for the reasons of insulin sensitivity and less propensity for that to send the blood sugar level skyrocketing. Anything to say on that in terms of post-workout nutrition from a psychological “I have to have my snack perspective” or from a physiological “That’s just not true” type of perspective?

Alan Aragon:         I think that in certain populations, that tactic would be warranted. I think in certain elite populations who are trying to attain a sort of super normal level of conditioning, that might be warranted because in the post-workout period, your fat synthesizing machinery is basically shut off and your body is very well equipped to take in nutrients and calories and the uptake in lean tissue is pretty much guaranteed compared to other points in the day. So a case can be built for that. In the regular Joe couch potato population, I wouldn’t necessarily focus on the timing of that Snickers bar, for example. I would just mainly have them limit it to one Snickers bar.

Ben:                           Alright, well we spent a lot of time on this. I guess the takeaway message for people is that unless you’re an elite athlete or training for an Ironman triathlon and working out two or three times a day, that you don’t necessarily have to be stumbling over yourself in a mad dash for your post-workout shake to hit your magical window after the workout.

Alan Aragon:         That’s correct. Especially for guys who are training for an hour once a day and they’ve got their pre-workout meal or their pre-workout shake in circulation. This is my rule of thumb. If you are burping up your pre-workout meal at the start of your workout, chances are you don’t need a post-workout meal.

Ben:                           Gotcha. That is so true. Alright so let’s go ahead and move on to myth number four.

Alan Aragon:         Alright. Myth number four is kind of inspired by the whole clean eating type of cult which has been perpetuated in the popular media by various authors and personalities. The whole idea that you got to eat clean and x food is clean and y food is dirty. I think that’s a mythical sort of binary and polarizing concept that just tends to do more confusing than it does educating.

Ben:                           This is one that I know I personally need more definition on. When you say eating clean, are you talking about people who say are eating organic or people who are avoiding packaged foods and diet sodas? What exactly would eating clean include?

Alan Aragon:         That’s a good question Ben because that is one of the problems with eating clean, is there really is no universal definition. Everybody ascribes their own biases and their own perspective to what eating clean is. So you take the bodybuilding population and they will deem dextrose or waxy maize starch in all its macronutrient food glory as a clean food because it’s fat free and you got to get it in post-workout bro, you know what I mean? So they’ll deem that as a clean food and at the same time they’ve been told that fruit is no good for dieting, so they’ll look at fruit as an unclean food for a dieting phase. So it goes by the population. You look at the paleo dieters. Their clean foods will be their three or four food groups and they’ll kick out grains and dairy and legumes and added sugars and oh gosh, what else do they kick out? Those foods are dirty. And then still you can go over to the vegetarian population or the semi-vegetarian population and they’ll see any food that’s not plant based, they won’t see it as a clean food. They’ll see it as a compromise.  So, clean eating again, it’s something that’s very subjective. Certain foods and certain food derivatives get pegged as dirty and what happens is this whole sort of culture of avoidance and anytime when you place a strict avoidance label on a food, it almost takes on this taboo nature, like sugar for example. A lot of people would call sugar an unclean food, so what they do is they avoid anything with sugar. I don’t think that’s healthy to adopt that sort of extremist of philosophy of mode of practice because there’s always room for small amounts of anything you want in the diet.

Ben:                           Now, in terms of returning to idea behind using research and studies to back things up, has there been anything that’s looked into any of these concepts of clean eating that you’re talking about?

Alan Aragon:         I’m vaguely recalling a hamburger study that looked at – this is off of memory after not having looked at the study for ten years. There is a hamburger study and for the readers, I’ll dig it up. It looked at the hormonal responses between that and something of a comparable macronutrition and the hormonal responses were similar.

Ben:                           Hormonal responses including which hormones?

Alan Aragon:         I’m not recalling off the top of m head.

Ben:                           In general, are we talking about insulin response?

Alan Aragon:         Most likely yes. Yeah, you can’t hold me to anything on this and I’d have to dig it up and take a look but the conclusion was there wasn’t any significant difference from this fast food meal versus more a regular type of meal that you’d have at home. But they looked at hormonal response or they looked at a small set of parameters and anytime you do that, you’re looking at things in a vacuum. You’re not necessarily able to take that and apply it to a broader context. But to circle back to your question, other than maybe that, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of research looking at so called clean eating versus dirty eating. Maybe another example I can think of is a particular study where they looked at a diet which had a significant amount of carbohydrate coming from sucrose or table sugar versus a diet where the carbohydrate source was starch. Because it was a hypocaloric diet, both groups, I believe they lost similar amount of weight and had a similar set of changes in metabolic parameters and so the fact that one of the diets had its carbohydrate largely as sugar really didn’t make a darn bit of difference because of the hypocaloric nature of the diet, I would assume.

Ben:                           Gotcha. So the flack that I received last week when I posted on my Twitter account that a chocolate bar dipped in almond butter would be good post-workout fuel – I actually received an email back from someone basically giving a lecture on the evils of processed sugar and the fact that a banana would be a far less damaging item to consume post-workout compared to a dark chocolate bar is not necessarily founded on research?

Alan Aragon:         Yeah, I think what that person is doing is they’re looking at an isolated incident and they’re extrapolating it against the entire range of your diet. They’re making just a bunch of assumptions here. It’s kind of like this. Where you get your sugar from or – back up for a second. Whether that sugar that you’re eating – whether it’s the chocolate-dipped almonds or whatever it might be, whether that’s a good or a bad thing, that added sugar, really depends on how much of it you have in the course of your whole diet. Okay? So those chocolate dipped almonds that you had post-workout might have 20 grams of sugar or something. Whatever that case might be, we’ve got a very small percentage of the diet as that. Probably less than… how many calories do you consume in a day roughly?

Ben:                           I personally consume about 3200 on an average day.

Alan Aragon:         Okay, yeah. So you’re looking at a miniscule proportion of the diet coming from added sugar. You could probably add two or three of those and still be fine. The only time that sugar compromises a diet in terms of its essential nutrition is when your added sugar exceeds roughly over 20 percent of your total calories. So you’re consuming 3200 calories. I would assume that you’re not hypocaloric right?

Ben:                           Right. Usually about (four) balance.

Alan Aragon:         Okay. So you’re right. It’s balanced. In theory, or at least according to what we’ve seen in research, 20% of your total calories is 640 and if we just make that purely from sugar we’re looking at 160 grams of sugar – added sugar – that you can add to your diet. So in teaspoons we’ll just divide that by 16 to be safe. So yeah that’s like 10 – wait a minute, I’m getting – how many grams of sugar are there in a teaspoon?

Ben:                           About four?

Alan Aragon:         Four, five. Alright. So we’ll double that. So 20 teaspoons of sugar is what you can add in theory to your diet and still stay at that 20% limit of added sugar to your diet and still be fine and not compromise your essential micronutrition. I would even take it a step farther and say in your case, it still wouldn’t be compromised if you went over that because you’re at caloric balance.

Ben:                           So when you say compromise the micronutrition, what we’re talking about is those 20 teaspoons of sugar obviously very low in nutrient density and the type of nutrients that my body is going to need compared to the sugars that I can get from a sweet potato – but as far as the – when we’re looking at the nutritional deficits, for me to have 20% of my diet coming from processed sugars, is not going to create a nutritional deficit on average.

Alan Aragon:         Yeah, in your case no. Because the whole premise behind limiting the amount of added sugars you put in your diet is it might displace essential micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. It might displace the intake of those and then you wind up with deficiencies over time. But this really only happens in people running at severe caloric deficit, taking down the majority of their carbohydrates just from empty calorie sugars. So in your case when we go back to that example of that one dipped almond bar, if somebody is telling you well you’d better sub that with a banana, he’s probably talking about 1 or 2% of your added sugar intake in your diet. So he’s really just looking at a micromanaging view of the whole thing. For all he knows, you eat three or four bananas elsewhere during the day as a snack. For all he knows. And you’re doing just fine. The problem with polarizing foods into good foods and bad foods is that people really end up putting bad foods on a list and avoiding them. In the research they’ve seen that there’s a greater risk for disordered eating behaviours in people with strict dietary type of philosophies versus flexible dietary philosophies. So yeah, that’s kind of the risk you run. You create a taboo mystique with certain foods and in certain individuals, it can create a tendency to binge on certain foods because they figure gosh, well I’m not supposed to be eating this. I’m never going to eat it again for at least another six months so let’s go all out right now.

Ben:                           Gotcha, and I’m glad you brought that up because I was wanting to bring up a takeaway message for people, and I think what you just said is a perfect example. That you don’t have to beat yourself up when you for example are stuck in the gym like me sometimes and you have a choice of going  home to eat your Quinoa and chicken or grabbing some trail mix from the vending machine at the gym. Don’t beat yourself up over something like that.

Alan Aragon:         Right. Exactly. Because there is a certain margin in the diet of “It doesn’t matter.” There’s a certain percentage of your diet that can be literally from whatever, as long as it’s a small enough percentage. You’re not going to live longer the next person if that percentage isn’t there, you’re not going to be happier than the next person if that percentage is close down to zip. If you want to look at things from a bigger picture, then the quality of your life as a whole and the amount of health and longevity you have as a whole – if you were to look at what determines that on a pie chart, I’d say 80% of that is not necessarily going to be your nutrition and training. 80% of that is going to be your interpersonal relationships with friends and family, your self esteem, things of that nature will take precedence over nitpicky different food types and how much clean or unclean foods you have in the diet. Then you’ve got this little sliver of that pie chart, let’s say 10% of it being the diet and the other 10% of it being physical activity. So you’ve got a good 80% being your stress levels. Your interpersonal relationships. The mojo. So I think that people tend to zero in on these little micro aspects that by the end of a lifetime doesn’t really freaking matter. By the way, just to back up a bit, that 20% figure of added sugars was taken from the literature. I routinely allow my clients to have basically 10% of whatever they want. 10% of their calories being from whatever they want. So you’ve got anywhere from 150 to 300 calories coming from whatever the hell depending on how many calories somebody is on for the day. It’s an up to 10% type of thing. They don’t have to try to gun for that 10% everyday just because it’s what they’re allowed. It’s a flexible thing.

Ben:                           Gotcha, and before we move on to the fifth myth because we are getting close to an hour here, for those of you who are running on the side of the road or sitting at the gym shouting blasphemy when you hear things about the paleo diet and clean eating, remember that catharsis is the comments button in the Shownotes for this podcast episode which is going to be podcast 106. So if you want to leave a comment, if you have an argument to make then go to the Shownotes and leave it. We’re all about discussion here at bengreenfieldfitness.com. So we’re going to move on to the fifth and final myth from Alan. What would that be Alan?

Alan Aragon:         That would be that people think that science and research – they think it’s all – and this really depends on the population looking at it, but a lot of the strength and conditioning and bodybuilding crowd – I’m not saying all of them, I’m just saying in my experiences debate wise – they tend to dismiss research in favour of anecdotal evidence. I think that’s a mistake. I think it’s a mistake to strictly go by what your muscular bro says or what coach blah blah blah says and completely dismiss what’s been seen in scientific research because it hasn’t been done under these specific conditions with this specific study sample. So, yeah. The whole myth that anecdote is all that matters. I still see that out there and I still deal with that on a regular basis. We kind of touched on this earlier about how you have to base your opinions on the full range of evidence from research to experience. I just think it’s a total myth for people to say, “Oh yeah well science doesn’t matter. What matters is what we see in the gym.” Well the problem with that is what you see in the gym is completely uncontrolled. What you see in your practice is basically a repetition of your own biases. I think the guys trying to gain the new knowledge and trying to gain the understanding should look at the research and should look and see what’s being done in the sort of controlled and “lab” type arena. Because that’s what gets us further in technology and that’s what can get us further in the realm of fitness and nutrition and training, etc.

Ben:                           Alan, I think that’s a great point to end on because I wanted to bring up the resource that you have out there, especially for people listening in who may be a physical therapist, personal trainer or nutritionist. Someone who wants to have access to more research and an unbiased opinion when it comes to some of the things we’ve talked about today. Can you tell me how people would be able to access the report that you put out on a monthly basis.

Alan Aragon:         Sure, it’s a little more hidden. The link to it is potentially more hidden on my Web site. On my blog it’s a little more blasted out there. But either one. Alanaragon.com. You’ll see a banner to the research review on there. Then if you go to my blog alanaragonblog.com and that’s also linked from my Web site, then you’ll see a big banner that links to a page that talks about my research review and basically it’s a monthly collection of analyses of studies that are relevant to the fitness and nutrition populations. So I’ll look at training, nutrition and supplementation. Individual studies and also do a synthesis of a particular topic like starvation mode, for example, or number of repetitions for hypotrophy or some of the more recent ones. The differences between rats and humans with respect to fructose and sugar metabolism. Other ones that stick out, the existence or nonexistence of a metabolic advantage. That whole debate between the low carb folks and the higher carb folks. I just take a look at various hot topics and gather up the research and form some opinions based on the evidence. This is a monthly thing I do to keep up with my own continuing education and just share that with other practitioners in the field. It’s a monthly subscription based thing.

Ben:                           Absolutely. Folks, I do read Alan’s report. It’s very good. It’s a good investment of your $10 each month and well worth it.

Alan Aragon:         Thank you.

Ben:                           So Alan, I’m looking forward to some of the comments that we may get from this discussion over at bengreenfieldfitness.com and I want to thank you for giving your time today and coming on the call.

Alan Aragon:         It’s been a pleasure Ben, thank you so much for having me.

Ben:                           Alright, this is Ben Greenfield and Alan Aragon signing out from this week’s podcast at bengreenfieldfitness.com

Alright folks, I’ve got a link to Alan’s blog and Alan’s research review at bengreenfieldfitness.com in the Shownotes for podcast episode number 106. I also have the links to everything that I talked about in this episode so be sure to go there. I put those Shownotes out there to help you out quite a bit. Now remember this podcast takes a ton of work so please donate to the show if you’re able to. I will send you a free bengreenfieldfitness.com T-shirt if you donate to the podcast and you can do so by scrolling down to the bottom of the Shownotes for any of the episodes. Let me know if you like my creative ideas about splitting the podcast into multiple segments released throughout the week. And also let me know if you or your business are interested in sponsoring the transcription of the episode so they can be searchable via search text engine. So until next time, this is Ben Greenfield signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a great week.












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2 thoughts on “Episode #106 – Full Transcript

  1. DarciDrake says:

    You state here that pistachios are not easily digested, but I can't find much other mention of them anywhere on the site. For someone with no digestion issues, are pistachios a bad choice (similar to peanuts) and do they fit on a high fat diet? (Bodybuilder here, no endurance sports)

    1. I'm OK with pistachios (just like other nuts and seeds, only in moderation). Here's a good article on their benefits: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pistachio.html

      make sure yours aren't roasted/heated.

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