January 25, 2012
Introduction: In this podcast: Healthy High Sources Of Fiber, Is Gum Good For You, Gluten-Free Products And Insulin Spikes, Glycemic Index Vs. Glycemic Load, Dairy- Free Probiotics, How Much Salt Is Enough, Treating Bone Bruises, Is Donating Blood Actually Beneficial For Men, Nipple Fat, and Is African Mango Really That Great?
Brock: Hello exercise, weight loss, triathlon, and wellness fanatics! This is Brock. And it’s time for another episode of the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast. And as always, how could we do it without him, Ben Greenfield is here. Hey Ben, how is it going?
Ben: Hey. It’s going well Brock. I realized that probably after I say this, the only people that will still be listening to the show will be the fanatics. But I have been geeked out this morning on the whole healthy lifestyle thing. Not only did I get foam rolling in and a consumption of my Chinese adaptogenic herb drink to stabilize my cortisol levels because I had a hard workout last night. But, I also did a stool test this morning. So, I’ve been a busy boy.
Brock: Do you want to go into detail of how this stool test went about?
Brock: Oh really?
Ben: I mean, I can fill people in because I know people are curious.
Brock: Actually, you know what I asked that as a joke. But I am curious.
Ben: Yeah. Well, it’s a GI panel. That’s more of a nice way to put it than a stool test.
Brock: I think poop test is even better.
Ben: Yeah. Literally, my poop is in the refrigerator right now waiting to be FedExed off to the lab.
Brock: Keep your kids out of there.
Ben: Yeah. Seriously, don’t eat the one with a pink cap kids. But basically, the expanded GI panel is what you use to test yourself for pathogenic bacteria in your digestive track. And it will also screen you for a Candida Albicans which is a fungi that can cause things like fatigue and resistance to weight loss. It goes through the entire range of basically protozoa and worms and any parasite. So, Bacillus, E. coli, Blastocystis, and just a ton of different things that actually a lot of people have. I interviewed Ann Louis Gilman. A doctor who specializes in peoples digestive tracks early in the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast. This was a couple of years ago. And I did a GI test back then after I interviewed her because I was like holy crap, unintended, I wonder how much I have in my GI track. And I was actually fairly clean. However, it does also screen you for major food allergies like gluten, milk, eggs, soy. So, I did screen positive for some gluten intolerance and some lactose intolerance which I was aware of anyways. But the reason I am doing it this time around is since I’ve gotten back from Thailand, I’ve had a couple of episodes where I just had some severe stomach issues. And so, I’m curious if I had something hitch a ride back over with me after coming back from Asia. So, that’s why I’m doing the stool test. And that’s what I was up to this morning.
Brock: Wow. So, is that a much better way to test for allergies? Like I’ve had the scratch test where they put all these stuff across your arm and just do a little scratch and then they see how much it swells up. I’ve also had the blood test that they can check for some antigens and stuff. But is actually doing the GI paneling a better way?
Ben: Well, the problem with the scratch test, and sometimes with the blood test, is you can get a lot of false positives. You get all this information about stuff that you’ve always eaten and been fine with. And all of a sudden you’re freaking out because the blood or the scratch test showed that you’re a positive. There are some tests that are better though for certain intolerances like you take fructose intolerance which actually a fair number of people have. And the best way to test for that is a breath test. So, it depends. But in my opinion, the stool test is a really good way to go because it goes above and beyond just food allergies. You just get a complete, really comprehensive look at everything that’s going on in your GI track. And it’s one of those deals where it gives you peace of mind just to know because you can’t see your intestines. And it’s tough to know what’s going on in there so to speak without actually getting a look at something that has passed through your entire GI track. Starting from your mouth and going all the way through and essentially making it into your colon and coming out. And then you send it off to a lab. And you can get a lot of insight on what’s going on in your GI tract.
Brock: That’s very cool.
Ben: I realized that I should write a note to myself. I will put a link to the panel that I did in the show notes too. Let me just write a note so that if people go to the show notes for this episode, is it 180?
Ben: They can check that out if they wish to do a stool test from the comfort of their own home like I did.
Brock: Well, my morning is nowhere near as exciting as yours. I am on the third day of the rev diet. And things are going well so far. Although, you and I just had a talk about the extreme calorie deficit that the first few weeks of the rev diet put you into and how that doesn’t quite jive with an active lifestyle. So, I’m happy.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. I wrote that diet to start with a reboot phase and an ideal scenario your reboot phase is like in the extreme off season where you can just like sit around, maybe do a yoga class or an easy walk every day. But since in the coaching program I have you on, we’re already starting hardcore into triathlon training. We’re not taking four weeks off while you do the reboot phase or four weeks easy while you do the reboot phase. So, yeah, I’m just making some adaptations to keep you clean. As we mentioned, avoiding a lot of tannins from tea and coffee, really choosing safe starches that don’t have any digestive irritants in them and just adapting the diet. And for people who have the rev diet and are listening in or who are interested in getting the rev diet which is over at revdiet.com. Yeah, you can adapt that reboot phase for slightly higher calorie intake if you’re doing like what Brock is doing and exercising.
Brock: So far so good.
Ben: Should we move in to the special announcements?
Brock: Let’s do it.
Brock: Okay. So, I guess first and foremost in the special announcements, you should probably talk about the superhuman food pyramid.
Ben: Yes. That was the major post at BenGreenfieldFitness.com this week. I’ve been working on it for a while. And it morphed from being just a pyramid into also being a fairly comprehensive grocery shopping list. I put that together. It’s available at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. If you don’t see it there, just scroll down the right side of the page. And you’ll eventually get to a little picture of the food pyramid. You can click on that and download it.
Essentially, I outlined in the article that I published along with that food pyramid, the problem with the current food pyramids across the globe or the food graphics. Since America has the “choose my plate” instead of the actual food pyramid now. And why I actually made my new food pyramid which I am calling the superhuman food pyramid the way that I made it. So, check it out. Download it. And if you have questions, then leave them in the comments on that post. And eventually, I will be publishing a more comprehensive overview of why the foods that I chose are actually prioritize the way they are in the food pyramid. But for now, just get it and freaking eat what it says. I’ll tell you why it works later.
Brock: And stop asking questions about tomatoes. Everybody seems to be hung up on the whole tomato thing.
Ben: Tomatoes, potatoes, nightshades, eggplants. Only if you have Hashimoto’s or an auto-immune disorder or suspect that you may have one, you really need to avoid those types of foods. If you eat them and your joints hurt, avoid them.
Brock: I think the next thing in the special announcements is Google+. The Ben Greenfield Google+ has been going crazy over the last few days.
Ben: Yes. I am on Google plus now. And I’m not going to beat around the bush. I mean the main reason that I originally looked into Google+ was because I want Ben Greenfield fitness to show up well on people’s search for health topics. And Google now prioritizes or really makes your search results show up a lot better when you’re active on Google+. Well, my issue is that I didn’t want to go over to Google+ and just publish all the content that people can already get at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. So instead, what I did is I’ve got new, fresh content over at Google+ that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s just really handy, practical snippets that are published each day. And you can find BenGreenfieldFitness on Google+ by going over there and doing a search for Ben Greenfield fitness or by going to bengreenfieldfitness.com and following the link on that right side bar that takes you over to Google+.
Brock: It’s really cool. I love that it’s completely a different content. I think everybody is guilty. I’m guilty of it too. I’m on Twitter. I am on Facebook. I am on Google+. And I tend to put the same information on all three. Like I just copy and paste, bang, bang, bang, got them all into the same spots. But I love that while you’ve done a really good job of keeping Twitter, Facebook and Google+ really their own entities. So, it’s worth following all three instead of just one.
Ben: Yeah. It annoys the heck out of me when I’m seeing someone just repurpose content on Twitter and Facebook and anywhere else. Like if I’m going to follow you and any of those platforms, I want there to be a reason for me to do it but by me actually seeing different things and platforms.
And one other thing before we move into the news flashes Brock, just for people who are interested, I was down at Sacramento this past week giving a talk at a health fair down there. For those of you who are in the Sacramento area, I did run into one guy who I want you to jot down to go see if you’re an athlete or somebody who exercises a lot. This guy’s name is Herb Akers. He’s been on the podcast before. So you can search for him at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. He does body realignment stuff. He’s one of those people who are literally just magical with the way that he can realign your body and reset you. He’s incredibly intuitive in terms of automatically seeing imbalances and problems with your alignment and adjusting your body accordingly primarily via soft tissue manipulation. What he does really hurts and is really uncomfortable and then you feel like a new person after you get off his table.
So, anyways, if you are down at the Sacramento area, check this guy out because I really couldn’t do this podcast without mentioning him just because I’m so amazed at what he does. I wish he’d lived here in my city. But his name is Herb Akers. I’m not affiliated with him in any way. And he doesn’t pay me or anything. I just really wanted to mention it. And then in terms of my upcoming travels, the next stop is over at Triathlon America Conference down near Rancho Viejo, California on February 19th to the 21st. I’ll be down there. So if you’re involved in triathlon, come on over to TriathlonAmerica. You can check out more about that by googling Triathlon America Conference.
Brock: Very cool.
Brock: Alright, news flashes from Ben, mostly from Twitter.com/BenGreenfield. What have we got?
Ben: Well, a few studies. This week I’m posting a lot of things about muscle gain and muscles in general. But I’m also releasing some of my thoughts on some other issues that have come up. The first is that they’ve got this new pill out that is reported to have the same effect as exercise. You may have seen new stories about this. It’s a newly identified hormone. It’s called Irisin. And they’ve found that when you inject this hormone into mice specifically, it causes the same type of energy expenditure and some of the same type of responses as if you had exercised or at least as if this mice had exercise. So, they’re talking about it as being the next new big thing, this exercise pill.
They’ve found that especially the consumption of oxygen by the cells and the cellular metabolism goes up in the same way that it does after exercise when this hormone is injected. What all of the newspapers and the magazine articles and all of the hype about this failed to mention is that the researchers tested the hormones effects and found that the primary benefit was in obese mice on a high fat diet. So, it may transfer over that. If you’re an obese person with a high fat diet, maybe this is going to do you some benefit possibly because the particular cells that responded to this irisin injection in mice were fat cells. So, it should go without saying that the more fat cells that you have, the more you might respond to injection of this particular hormone.
Now, it doesn’t do things like increase your bone density or give you new muscles or anything like that. All it does as it appears is to bump up the metabolism a little bit. So, there is only one very small component of exercise. I shouldn’t say very small component of exercise but only one component of exercise is affected by this pill. I see if it ends up being marketed as mostly just being good option for people who are bedridden or who have severe obesity and need a little bit of help out. But I was annoyed when I saw all the hype about this being the next big thing and nobody would need to exercise anymore. That’s really not the case.
Brock: I love to scoff at that kind of stuff. But I have to admit, if and when they do come out with an exercise pill, I’ll probably buy it.
Ben: Yeah. I don’t think I will. I actually enjoy exercising.
Brock: I enjoy it. But I don’t enjoy certain aspects of it. I guess if they’d give you the freedom to just for the fun parts.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely. Well, my whole take on this is if exercise isn’t fun for you, then you should go find some new form of exercise that actually is fun. But for me, I love to swim. I love to bike. I love to run. I love to lift weights. I freakin’ love that stuff. So, for me, I’d feel like I was missing out if I didn’t get that. If I didn’t like to swim or bike or run, I probably off playing tennis, playing basketball. For me, once exercise quits feeling like play, I’m not too interested in it anymore.
Brock: That’s a very good point.
Ben: Another interesting study that came up in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. And this one is applicable primarily to the swimmers and triathletes listening in. It was a comparison of different warm ups for a swim. And the take way message for this one was that folks who did a really short warm up, like 50 yards at a fairly decent effort, really had pretty similar performance times to the people who warmed up for about 1300 meters which is a really long warm up. And actually, even that wasn’t super significant compared to people who did no warm up at all. So, what this comes down to is that you don’t need to freak out if you don’t have a chance to warm up before a triathlon or before a swim meet or something like that. You can still have a pretty decent performance without actually doing a warm up. So, I thought I’d mention that because there’s a lot of people that do triathlons really make a concerted effort to get into the water before the race. It’s not totally necessary.
And actually, one of my best swims was down in the New Orleans half Ironman where I literally got my swim time messed up and was running down the dock to get into the water as the gun went off. And I was one of the first guys out of the water with no warm ups. So, I just thought I’d mention that for triathletes and swimmers out there.
And the last thing I wanted to mention was a study that looked at motor unit survival in life long runners. And this was an interesting study because they wanted to see if basically the ability to maintain muscle when you are active especially when you’re older. If you need to just do any form of activity or if you want to maintain a muscle, if you literally have to do an activity that stimulates that particular muscle. So, if you go out and you go for a run, is that going to have this protective effect across your entire body in terms of you being able to maintain muscle or just on like your leg muscles and calf muscles. And sure enough, it turns out that if you’re a runner or a cyclist or something like that, you are still, as you age, going to have a ton of upper body muscle atrophy and loss unless you’re using those particular muscles. It turns out that there is no full body protective exercise. That exercise is very muscle dependent as you age. And so, if you are older or planning on being older at some point in your life, then it makes sense to not specialize in just one particular movement pattern like running or cycling and to instead expose yourself to as many different loads and directions on your muscle as possible.
Brock: Cool. It makes sense.
Ben: Yeah. It’s very intuitive. But I think a lot of people don’t think about that. Like just going for a three mile run a few days a week, it’s great for your longevity and your endurance and your cardiovascular performance. But ultimately, a big part of mortality and quality of life as you age is how much muscle you have going into aging. And it really is one of the things that make me nervous about endurance sports. And one of the reasons that I primarily coach people from a quality over quantity, not a ton of endurance exercise, a lot of intervals and a lot of weight training because essentially, what endurance exercise does is it causes your body to dip into its organs and your brain tissue and your liver tissue and your muscle tissue and catabolize that and use it for fuel, and essentially cause you to waste away your muscles.
And if you go into your latter years like that, it really can make you frail and fragile. And I am willing to carry a little bit of extra muscle as an endurance athlete if it means that I’m just going to be a lot better when I’m older in terms of still having all the hormones still being able to do things like have good sex and swing a golf club fast and do the things that I want to be able to do when I’m older. And so, it just basically comes down to when you’re doing activities as you’re younger or before you’re pushing 65 or 70, make sure you think about what that activity is going to give you down the road. And if it’s just like running until you’re blue in the face everyday and it’s your only form of exercise, then you may want to consider adding some extra things in.
Brock: Yeah. I think we really focus on cardiovascular health as being the only thing that needs to be protected as we get older. But that’s just one part of the equation.
Ben: Muscle is incredibly important. So, one last thing before we go into this week’s Q and A that’s this Friday/Saturday’s podcast is going to be a really good podcast for you runners out there. It’s going to be an interview with an Australian running coach about all of the myths in running and all the issues with the running drills that most running coaches use for runners. And why they’re performed wrong and why running is taught incorrectly and what you can do about it. So, it’s going to be a cool interview. Tune in this weekend if you’re a runner and if you want to listen to that.
Listener Q and A:
Brock: Okay, our first question comes from… and I gave her this name, fiber one girl only because she didn’t say her name. It was a voice mail left. Make sure to say your name everybody and we can address you correctly. But since she didn’t give her name, let’s listen to the question.
Fiber One girl: Hi Ben. I have a question about what you thought of Fiber One Cereal and if you don’t like it then would you have any more natural sort of high fiber concoctions to try. I like Fiber One Cereal. I have a half cup a day and mixing it in with yogurt. I like the taste and I like the crunch. And it seems that it doesn’t cause any distress for me. So, I was just wondering what you thought about it? Thank you very much. I really enjoy your show. And I’ve learned a lot from it. Bye.
Brock: Okay. So, Fiber One Cereal Ben, what do you think?
Ben: Alright. So, my response to Fiber One girl, short response is to steer clear of this stuff. And the reason for that is not only because I’m going to tell you a lot better ways you can get your fiber, but also because there are many things in this that we’ve talked about on the show before as being bad for your blood sugar and very irritating to your gut and potentially harmful to your immune system. The first two ingredients in Fiber One are corn brand and whole grain wheat.
So, right off the bat, you’re looking at all the issues of wheat that we’ve talked about just a few episodes ago. And you can listen to that episode. I believe it was 177, maybe 178. But it’s called The Shocking Truth About Wheat. Go listen to that episode at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. You shouldn’t be starting off your day with a great big portion of whole grain wheat and wheat brand which are some of the ingredients in this. Anytime you are seeing in a packaged product, ingredients that are also in this such as corn brand and corn starch. That’s GMO corn. It’s not doing you any favors. It’s not very nutrient dense. It’s mostly just sugar. Yes, you are getting that soluble form of fiber. But again, there are better ways to get it.
Then you move on down the list in Fiber One, you’ve got some guar gum. And that’s basically just in the emulsifier that helps all the components of Fiber One stick together. It’s not a huge issue. They add some color to it, some salt, and some baking soda. And then they put corn oil in it which is really full of pro-inflammatory omega six fatty acids. Again, it’s not really great. And then finally, and this is kind of the nail on the coffin for me is it sweetened with aspartame. And I’m not going to go into aspartame because I’ve talked about it so many times on the show before. I’m really not a fan of its potentially neurotoxic effect. You can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and do a search for aspartame.
But ultimately, Fiber One Cereal, really to be honest with you, just any boxed cereal that’s out there, is not a great way to start your day. And as far as fiber goes and better ways to get your fiber, they’re out there. There are a lot of different types of fiber. And the fiber that you’re going to find in something like Fiber One is primarily going to be soluble fiber otherwise also known as viscous fiber. And you’re going to find that a lot of times in seeds and nuts. You’ll also find soluble fiber from a source called pectins in fruits and berries. And so fruits, berries, seeds and nuts included with a breakfast that doesn’t include things like corn brand and wheat brand would be a better way to go. You could even do something like I do and just take some raw oats and add some fruits and berries and seeds and nut sources to some raw oats. And then stir in a little protein powder. And that’s how I start my day many days a week. I put some healthy fats in there too usually from coconut milk. But that’s a great way to get your fiber without getting the wheat and the corn and the aspartame.
Now, I mentioned that I was going to give some other good fiber sources. And here’s something interesting Brock. This is something I use about a full heaping tablespoon of this stuff every morning. And that’s cinnamon. Did you know that cinnamon is one of the highest fiber sources that you can find in terms of its fiber density per volume?
Brock: I had no idea.
Ben: Cinnamons are excellent for the blood sugar. But it also is really excellent in terms of its fiber density. And just a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon have a really good amount of fiber. It’s got about almost three grams of fiber and considering that cinnamon has all these other really great benefits that’s a good source. Another really good source of fiber is dark leafy greens. Everything from turnip greens to colored greens to Swiss chard to spinach to bok choy. Including those every time you go to the grocery store and buying those and having them around your house is going to ensure that you eat them. And they’re also very good sources of fiber.
And again, I’m mentioning those things because they’re way more nutrient dense than something like Fiber One. Kale would be another example. And then of course as you know, beans are full of fiber, lintels and black beans and just about any bean. But you really need to be careful with beans. They can be very irritable to the digestive system unless you soak them for a significant period of time prior to eating them. Soak them, get them in some warm water, and treat them correctly. Go, do a search at BenGreenfieldFitness.com for beans because we talked about these comprehensively. But that’s another really good way aside from the seeds and the nuts, the fruits and the berries, the cinnamon and the dark leafy greens to get your fiber. So ultimately, the answer is no on Fiber One.
Brock: And for all you international listeners out there, I believe most of us pronounce it as aspartame.
Ben: Aspartame. I’ve always just said aspartame.
Ben: Maybe it is aspartame.
Brock: I have no idea which is correct.
Ben: I live in an artificial sweetener cave. So, I have no clue.
Brock: That’s right. Why would you know anything about what I said? Okay. Our next question comes from Ron. And it’s an audio question as well.
Ron: Hello Ben, it’s Ron down in Texas. And I have a question for you. The doctors of course just told me that eating chocolate or a dark chocolate is good for my blood clotting. But they’ve also lectured me on chewing gum. I’ve always thought that chewing gum can help improve your memory as well as your muscle reactions. Is there any truth to that Ben? Once again, enjoy the show and I always love hearing you talking about grains. Thank you.
Ben: Alright. So Ron, by the way a shout to Ron, he is a supporter of the show. He has donated multiple times. It’s fantastic. But as far as gum goes, I myself am a big fan of gum. I originally started chewing gum to wing me off of diet soda. And I would just do a club soda and gum. And it gave me that similar buzz from the artificial sweeteners that we just got them talking about as well as the carbonation. And eventually, as I researched artificial sweeteners more and more, I got into gum that was naturally sweetened, things like zylitol, and mannitol and sugar alcohols that are derived from natural sources. And now, what I choose is a gum called spry.
I just ordered a big bulk order of spry from Amazon.com, I’ll throw a link in the show notes to it, everyday. And I like it because it has some appetite suppressing effects. It keeps you from eating cheap food and junk foods. And not only is a chocolate bar hard to eat when you’ve got gum in your mouth but also if you spit the gum out and eat it, it just doesn’t taste as good. Gum just makes a lot of junk food not taste quite so hot. So, there are certainly weight loss benefits to chewing gum. But as far as gum and memory and gum and muscle reactions, these are two lesser known effects of gum. And there have been certainly studies that have looked at the effects of chewing gum on mental performance and on memory. And in most cases, there has been a positive correlation found between chewing gum and performance and memory tests and performance in mental performance tests. Now, I’ll speak in a second about the hypothesis in terms of why gum may have this impact on test performance. But the one caveat that I want to point out with a lot of these studies is it’s very tough to do a study on something like gum and have the test subject not knowing that they’ve got the non-placebo pill because there’s not really a placebo for gum. You can’t tell someone, take this test and pretend you’re chewing.
Brock: You’re tricked into chewing gum.
Ben: Move your jaw up and down and take the other portion of the subjects in the study and give them gum to chew.
Brock: It reminds them to do the one side.
Ben: Exactly. It’s a little bit tough to do a study on chewing gum and not have that effect of the actual substance. Basically, the study subject knows that they’ve got the gum in their mouth. So, there’s a little bit of a placebo effect basically. However, the number of studies that have been done all the way up to 2012 in terms of gum and recall and gum and grades on like a math test. And there was another study on gum. It was actually fairly big. It was 160 or so subjects. And that was back in 2011. So again, fairly recently that was a number of different mental test that were performed like logic puzzles and math puzzles and counting numbers back words and things like that. And people just did better when they have the gum. And by the way, it’s not because it raises your blood sugar because there is no difference between the sugar free and the sugar filled gum. So, you can’t just say it’s because the brain is getting glucose. That’s probably not the reason why gum has an effect on cognitive performance.
Now, as far as some of the reasons why gum might actually work for mental performance, it could actually include blood flow to the brain when you’re doing that chewing movement or that mastication movement basically. That increased blood flow could allow more oxygen and nutrition to get into your brain and promote activity of brain cells. So, that could certainly be one reason that gum improves your mental function and possibly even improves your arousal in terms of your cognitive function. Gum may also, simply the act of chewing it like causing your muscles to work, may simply keep you more aware in the same way that twitching can keep you more aware and make you a little bit cognizant of what you’re doing. You’re just actively doing something. And chewing gum is maybe enough to have that response.
Now, there were studies that were done or one study in particular that has been done on the movement response time. And Ron mentioned this in his question. And the muscle’s response time, particularly a jumping motion in response to a signal. And this study was done on people with gum in their mouths versus people who weren’t. And the people who were chewing the gum had a faster reaction time too. And this has been reported to be enhanced by chewing gum that is harder versus gum that is softer because chewing gum that is harder causes a change in blood flow to the brain and again can increase your awareness and your cognitive function. So again, it’s something else very interesting about gum chewing and blood flow and response time.
There’s that drop in stress that can happen when you chew gum. There was actually a study done on the relationship between gum chewing and mental ability that looked at changes in adrenaline and more adrenaline. And a lot of these basically corticotropic hormones, these adrenal hormones and found that they were all showing a decreasing trend in relation to chewing gum. And the hypothesis there was that gum chewing inhibits the sympathetic nervous system activity and results in reduced stress. And being less stressed may actually help you to focus more and possibly do things like improve your response time and have better cognitive function.
So, the other interesting thing about gum is there was a study also done on the fact that gum chewing can reduce drowsiness. It will also increase those levels of arousal and energy. So ultimately, there’s a lot to be said for gum chewing. I’m not sure why a physician would not want someone chewing gum. Again, there might be something that I’m missing there in terms of some type of cross reactivity with a medication that’s being prescribed. It’s tough to say. I’ve never heard of something like that. It may also be that there’s a concern about the potentially somewhat irritating effect of high amounts of xylitol and sugar alcohols on the digestive system in a patient or somebody in the hospital. But you’d have to chew a lot of gum to actually get that effect. You need to really be chomping down a ton of gum to get all those and oils seeping down into your stomach. Ultimately, I think that any cons of gum or detrimental effects of gum are highly outweighed by the benefits and pros of chewing gum especially when you’re chewing gum that’s not a chock full of sugar and artificial sweeteners. So, have you gum and eat it too is what I say.
Brock: Excellent. Okay. The next question comes from Andres. And it goes like this.
Andres: Your podcast about wheat was pretty amazing. I was shocked to hear about the ability of gluten free products to raise blood sugar the way they do. My question is when Dr. William Davis spoke of wheat, he mentioned that all forms of grain are inflammatory. Does this include those types of grains thought to be “healthier” like quinoa, millet, amaranth, etc. And if so, what are healthier options to substitute with? Does coconut flour also cause the same physiological effect on the body as well?
Ben: Well, a quick clarification and I’ve probably been guilty as referring to them as grains because they’re kind of pseudograins. But amaranth and buckwheat and quinoa, not only are all of those gluten free but they’re derived from seeds of leafy plants. So, they’re not really grains. They’re essentially like seeds. And I think technically quinoa is classified as a fruit. So, the issue with them is not the same as the gluten and the wheat germagluten issues that come with wheat consumption. The issue with things like quinoa and amaranth and buckwheat is they’re coated with a saponins which basically acts like soap. And it has been used as such by Mexican populations for example. They rinse their quinoa and use the water that they’ve rinsed their quinoa to wash their clothes because that water is chock full of saponins. So, you need to, whenever you’re using something like amaranth or quinoa or millet, you should preferably rinse it overnight. Soak it and then in the morning rinse that soak quinoa out. And then get rid of the water and use it the way that you’re going to use it. But ultimately, you don’t have the same type of digestive irritation from something like a soaked amaranth or buckwheat or quinoa as you do get from wheat. You can still get a fairly decent rise in blood sugar because again, quinoa is kind of a fruit. And seeds and nuts can certainly raise your blood sugar as well. But it’s certainly nowhere near as significant as wheat. And coconut flour also is not as significant as wheat in spiking your blood sugar. It’s a more stable blood sugar release. And it also has none of those digestive irritation effects as like wheat flour.
Now, there are a ton of different things you can use as an alternative to flour, as an alternative to wheat flour. We use almond flour a lot. That’s really easy to make. And Jessa uses almond flour. She also uses amaranth flower which is made from the seed of the amaranth plant. And that’s also a really great alternative. Buckwheat flour which I mentioned earlier. Buckwheat is a plant. It’s not a cereal or grain or grass. It’s a plant. That also is a great way to get your flour as rice flour. Rice flour is again a really great source. That’s why things like rice crackers and rice cakes are gluten free. Flaxs meal is a really good source. It’s got like this nutty taste that’s just ground up flax seeds. And that can be used a lot of times in a similar way as flour can be used. Quinoa flour is another one that we use. And that actually is really high in amino acids. It works really well as flour. Coconut flour, we don’t do so much with. I’m not really sure how well it cooks. It’s certainly is for people who want to avoid seeds and nuts and grasses and grains all together, one of the things you can choose like if you’re going strict paleo or something like that. But I haven’t done a whole lot in terms of cooking with coconut flour. And Jessa doesn’t use coconut flour too much. So, usually around here we got amaranth flour, almond flour, rice flour and quinoa flour.
Brock: Right. I don’t remember exactly. It’s been awhile since I’ve listen to the interview. But didn’t Doctor Davis actually say that some of the flours that you just mentioned are the ones that spike the insulin and have a really high sugar reaction?
Ben: Well sure. Just about any flour is going to cause that.
Ben: And really, I know that a lot of people that listen to this show are not totally sedentary people. They’re active individuals. And an active individual comes down to the same type of opinion I have about fruit in moderation. It’s fine because your body is insulin sensitive. You exercise. If you’re going to eat something that you’ve made from flour, have it before or after a workout. And that’s the time of day that you should be eating just about anything that’s going to spike your blood sugar. Not at night with dinner or as a snack before you go to bed at night or in the middle of the day when you’re sitting at your desk. But there’s a time and a place for everything. And I certainly, before an afternoon workout, will have some just as fabulous rice crackers or quinoa flower crackers or even flax seed crackers. And you dip those in little homemade yogurt cheese. I’ll occasionally put some raw honey in there. And yeah, there’s some decent spiking of the blood sugar going on. But I don’t care. I’m about to work out. And it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to get fat or something like that or get some type of arterial inflammation just because all that sugar is being used to move my body or lift weights.
Brock: I think that should answer Andres’ question. So, our next question comes from Steph.
Steph: I have a question about high glycemic index foods, are they the main cause of the obesity epidemic and all the disease around and should people be watching that more closely almost rather than watching their calories? Also, if I were to limit my carbs how many grams would you say I need per day? I am 22 years old, 5″4 and 122 pounds and I am quite active!
Ben: In terms of what you actually need as far as your brain, your kidney, your heart function, and your body to actually survive, very few. The body just does fine on fatty acids and ketones for energy if you really want to avoid carbohydrates almost all together. But you’re going to find in most people in most situations about 200 to 400 calories of carbohydrates per day as far as what your body needs to have around to feel pretty decent. So, gosh, I’m doing the gram conversion in my head. What are we at? Like 50 grams or so of carbohydrates, around in there but you’ve got four calories per gram. So, I would do a minimum of around 50 grams of carbohydrates. But you shouldn’t need much more than that if you’re really trying to go minimum carbohydrates.
Listen to my interview with Paul Yamane from the Perfect Health Diet. He’s got some information about the maximum carbohydrates necessary if you’re trying to get by and survive so to speak. The glycemic index though, I talk about this in my book fueling myths. And in that book which is available and all my books are available if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and click the whole thing in the sidebar that says books by Ben. But I talk about the glycemic index in there. And that’s just this numerical index that ranks carbohydrates based on how fast they get converted to glucose. So, you use a scale of zero to 100. And higher values are given to foods that cause the most rapid rise in blood sugar. Pure glucose would have a glycemic index of 100 for example.
So, the idea with the glycemic index is that you’ll basically see people say that the high glycemic index foods are going to cause that rapid spike in blood sugar which causes your pancreas to release an excessive amount of insulin to try and drive your blood sugar back down. And what you get is the cells becoming some more insensitive to that constant big release in insulin. And also, you get a large drop in blood sugar that’s followed by an increase in appetite and an increased propensity to store fat. And essentially this vicious cycle that leads you into obesity. And so, the end product of that is that this theory developed that you use the glycemic index to minimize these problems by identifying all the foods that have the greatest effect on your blood sugar and avoiding those foods. The problem with that is that a lot of foods that rank really high in the glycemic index really aren’t that significant in causing you to gain weight.
So, if you want to have a little bit of pineapple or a nice side of boiled beets with dinner, both of those just rank off the charts in terms of glycemic index. And then, you take something like pasta, and it ranks lower in the glycemic index. And so, for someone who was trying to lose weight by using glycemic index, they are going to choose pasta instead of beets or pineapple. And that’s an issue because pasta ultimately has a much higher glycemic load. And the glycemic load of a food is a much more important number to look at. What the glycemic load is, is you take a food’s glycemic index but then you multiply that by the actual amount of carbohydrate calories contained in the food. And you divide that by 100. And then what you get is a number that reflects not only how much of food is going to spike the blood sugar. But also what kind of calorie bomb that you’re dropping on your body that’s associated with that high glycemic index food.
So again, we look at pineapple as an example I used earlier and that’s got a really high glycemic index or a decently high glycemic index. Its glycemic index is 59. But when you look at its glycemic load, it’s seven. Watermelon is an even better example. It’s got a glycemic index of 72. But it’s got a glycemic load of four. And you can find glycemic load charts in the internet if you just Google glycemic charts. Now, we compare that with something like a bagel. So, we just talk about watermelon. So, a bagel has about the same glycemic index as a watermelon. Its glycemic index is also about 72. But whereas the watermelon has a glycemic load of four, the bagels have a glycemic load of 25 which means that if you had to choose between watermelon and a bagel even though they have the same glycemic index, the bagels going to make you get fat. And the watermelon is going to cause a little bit of spike in blood sugar but it’s like boom there and gone. And the bagel sticks with you for a lot longer period of time in terms of calories and blood sugar.
Another example would be pasta. It’s got a glycemic index of 44 which is lower than watermelon and lower than beets. But its glycemic load is like four to five times that of watermelon or beets. So, the difference there is that if a food has a low glycemic load, it’s far less damaging to your blood sugar levels, far less likely to cause you to gain weight. The website I would go to if you want to get a good glycemic load chart would be nutritiondata.com. nutritiondata.com is a decent website. And they’ve got some of those values up. So, I would check that out. I’d also read my fueling myths book where I bust a lot of similar myths about why a lot of these things that people tell you is that it can cause you to gain weight really aren’t and why things that people tell you to eat to lose weight are actually going cause you to gain weight. But ultimately, that’s the deal with the glycemic index. Glycemic load is way more important. Glycemic index will tell you a very small part of the story.
Brock: Now, Steph asks in her question whether people should be paying attention to glycemic index over calories. Would you prioritize the glycemic load over the calories?
Ben: Yes. Glycemic load takes into account both the glycemic index and the number of calories. So, the answer to her is kind of neither. Use the glycemic load if you’re going to be tracking a food like that. Or better yet just grab the Ben Greenfield Fitness food pyramid and eat the foods that are towards the bottom of the pyramid and you’ll be fine.
Ben: That would be just my response to all the questions now. So, the podcast will be really short.
Brock: You’ll just put yourself out of business.
Brock: Okay. So, Kim just go to the website and download the superhuman pyramid. Nah, I’m just kidding. So, Kim’s question is…
Kim: What amount of probiotics is optimal? I have a ‘green food’ mix that contains 200 mg. of dairy free L.acidophilus, B.longum, L.Casei, Rhamnosus.
Brock: Am I butchering this?
Ben: I don’t know. I don’t even have the question in front of me or anything.
Brock: I’m guessing there are a bunch of probiotics.
Ben: Essentially, probiotic strains are hard to pronounce. So, is she asking if she could take too much?
Kim: My reason for asking is that I’m considering cutting dairy out of my diet (due to possible allergy) and want to make sure I don’t miss out on these healthy probiotics.
Brock: So, she’s got a green food mix that has a bunch of probiotics in it. And she wants to know what the optimal amount would be.
Ben: Yeah. If you’re going to cut dairy out of your diet, I would still be taking some of the lactobacilli’s probiotic compound that you’re going to find in dairy. You can usually get those by picking up a capsule. If you want to get one that’s based off of dairy, look at one that I take. It’s called Caprobiotics. We talk about the goat milk last week. That’s also derived directly from the goat milk. So, you’d still get a lot of those dairy based probiotics without the dairy even though I don’t have a personal problem with dairy from the right sources. But ultimately, I’ve wondered the same thing myself whether you can overdose on probiotics because I do a ton of fermented foods like kefir and kombucha and miso and yogurt and sauerkraut. And we pickle a bunch of stuff. And I’m eating fermented foods all day long. So, I’ve wondered before.
The fact is that you can take a ton of probiotics without causing harm to your body. It would be very hard to overdose on these. I don’t even know the actual volume of how much kombucha and kefir and stuff like that you’d have to eat. But essentially, you can literally get 30 billion total floras per day. That’s like total actual microorganisms per day. And you’re not going to cause any harm to your body. Now, when you’re looking at probiotics, the most important thing is to choose a variety of fermented foods. And a good daily probiotic regimen is going to expose you to a million dozen different strains of beneficial bacteria to populate your gut. And it would be an exercise in tongue twisting to actually try and pronounce all the different probiotics that are out there. But I can at least go through some of the foods that you may want to include.
Some of the best sources of probiotics that fly underneath the radar as far as probiotics because I’ve talked about yogurt and kefir and stuff like that. But I wanted to mention just a few to give you access to a few different things you can throw into your diet to expose yourself to a greater number of probiotics than the probiotics you’re going to get from some of these things that we know that naturally contain high amounts of probiotics. So, one would be Nato. A Nato is from a soy bean. But it doesn’t really have a lot of the issues that soy beans have with them because it’s fermented. And when you ferment a soy bean, it’s not as bad for your digestive system or for your health. And that contains a couple of strains of probiotics that are tough to find in other foods. And Nato is kind of sticky and slippery and it has a texture of a bean. But you can just have that with some white rice. Nato is traditionally consumed with rice for breakfast in Japan. And that would be fine as something to add in if you’ve got access to a good Asian grocery store in your area.
Kimchi would be another. This is like a pretty well-known Korean pickle dish. It’s basically cabbage mixed with a bunch of ingredients like hot peppers and carrots and garlic and ginger and some really cool anti-inflammatory compounds. And that has a different strain of probiotic in it as well. You can make your own kimchi. There are recipes online that you can find on how to make your own kimchi. And you don’t have to go to a fancy Asian grocery store to get it. It’s fairly easy to make kimchi. Miso is another one. We have Miso soup a lot actually here. And Miso again has a different type of fungus/probiotic in it. And again, it’s from a soy bean but because it’s fermented, it’s an okay source of soy to eat. And Miso, you can find in paste form readily available in most grocery stores really. You can also get it at Japanese or an Asian supermarket. But Miso soup would be another thing that you could easily add into your diet a couple times a week or just once a week.
The last soy bean derivative that you can have that would be an okay soy bean derivative again because it’s fermented would be tempeh. And tempeh almost kind of has a meat-like texture. And in a lot of cases, it’s actually deep fried in order to make it taste okay. You can make it into a patty and use it in the same way that you’d use a hamburger. You can stir fry it with vegetables. You can boil it and serve that with a Miso soup. But tempeh, again, has a different type of probiotic strain in it. And again, there are so many different types of bacteria out there that by including a lot of these different foods that you’re getting, a lot of these probiotics. Another one is sauerkraut like kimchi. It’s super easy to make. A different form of probiotic in that fermented cabbage source. So, that’d be another one to include in your diet as far as something to make on your own or get the more expensive stuff you get at health food store. Like the bottle or can stuff, you can find it in the shelves of grocery store. I’ve talked about this before. A lot of the probiotics are dead in that. But those are some of the things I’d look into. Sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kimchi, and nato in terms of other things you could add in if you’re dropping out yogurt.
Brock: So, there isn’t really, I think she was looking for more of a hard and fast number of milligrams. I think based on that green food mixes that she’s having.
Ben: If you’d have to eat so much, I don’t know is the short answer in terms of how many billions and billions of probiotics before you’re just maxed out. But you’ve got bigger fish to fry. I don’t think you can eat enough to actually really cause issues. So, I wouldn’t worry about that too much.
Brock: Okay. Now, onto Scotts question.
Scott: I’m in my 50′s and tend to sweat an extreme amount and wonder if you recommend a salt supplement to add to my electrolytes. I generally use Heed but the sodium amount is minimal. I’ve heard unbleached or black salt mixed into a glass of water before a workout or event could help. How many milligrams of salt per day is advisable?
Ben: Milligrams of salt per day highly varies. You’ve got endurance athletes who are sweating a lot, perspiring a lot. And they may need 5000 to 6000 milligrams of sodium per day in order to not deplete the body’s natural sodium stores. And then, you may have somebody who is going on a walk for lunch time everyday, staying active but not perspiring as heavily. And if they’re eating more than 1500 to 2000 milligrams of sodium a day, they may experience high blood pressure and a lot of the cardiovascular risk that can be associated with excessive sodium consumption. So, it really varies based on your level of physical activity.
But ultimately, what it comes down to is that if you are a heavy sweater, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the sodium loss from sweat is all that great because based on your genetics, the actual sodium that you lose in your sweat is going to vary. And you can actually lose quite a bit of water this way because I’ve had my sweat sodium tested. I lose a ton of water in hot conditions. I sweat a lot. But I’ve actually done the lab test. I had myself covered in patches that are absorbing the sweat that I lose from different sections of my body. And I had those patches centrifuged and the sodium is collected at the bottom. And then you feed that into an equation to determine how many milligrams of sodium you’re losing per hour. But even though I sweat a ton, I’m only losing about 1.8 to two grams of sodium per hour which is not incredibly significant. That means with my natural sodium stores, I could go at least five hours in hardcore and humid hot conditions without taking any sodium at all would be just fine.
I’ve done that before in races. I’ve gone five and a half hours before with nothing except water and gels and done just fine. The reason for that comes down to something we’ve talked about very comprehensively with a guy named Doctor Tim Noakes on the podcast. And Doctor Noakes has performed studies and has released data from studies that show that we don’t need as much sodium as much as we’ve been lead to believe by companies like Gatorade. And as a matter of fact, the body is very good in attending its own sodium levels that are in the bloodstream. So, when you are sweating a lot and when you’re losing a lot of fluid and when you’re engaging on physical activity, your body simply releases more sodium from your storage levels of sodium which are significantly 10000+ milligrams. And it makes that available to your body uses in the ways that it uses sodium. And so, what happens is when you take on a bunch of extra sodium from oral sources or food sources, and then your body simply excretes that sodium in the urine and in the sweat to maintain a proper electrolyte concentration in your bloodstream. And so, by consuming electrolytes as you are suggesting or by consuming a lot of salt as you are suggesting, you may simply be driving more salt loss and not really doing yourself any favors. You need to realize that the major study that Gatorade is basically based off of the fact that sodium consumption stopped the decline in sodium levels, you need to know that even though it attenuated that the decline on sodium levels on the difference was not significant between people who are consuming no sodium at all. And you can go read the study and see in the discussion that that’s the case that the ability of sodium to assist with any effect in terms of sodium in the bloodstream is fairly insignificant. So, what this comes down to is that I’m not convinced that you’re really need to be taking in an electrolyte supplement at all. If you find however that you simply cannot function without getting these electrolytes into your body and you want to add some electrolytes in, I would look at a concentration that’s really close to what your blood plasma likes to be as far as sodium intake.
One company has done a lot of studies. It’s run by a really smart guy. I’m not affiliated with the company at all but I have tried the stuff that they made. And I know their electrolyte profile is spot on. It’s a liquid electrolyte. It comes on this bullet-sized container. And you just shoot it or dump it into like a bottle of water. It’s called The Right Stuff. And I think their website is therightstuff.com. I’ll link to it in the show notes. That would be one thing to look at. One of the guys that I work with at the RockStarTriathleteAcademy, Kerry Sullivan, he swears by this stuff. It’s called the therightstuff.com.
The form of electrolytes that I’ve personally use when I’m out doing an Ironman and I’m going for a lot longer than five hours is called Athlytes. And that’s made by a company called Millennium Sports. And I’ll link to that in the show notes. They actually sponsor me. It’s millenniumsport.net. I really would recommend you go listen to that podcast interview with Doctor Noakes as well.
Brock: Excellent! Alright, our next question is from Jason.
Jason: After completing my first marathon, I noticed pain in top of my left foot. Upon review with a podiatrist, I was told I have a bone bruise in my second cuboid. I was given some cream to reduce swelling and was told not to run for 6 weeks. I was given the okay to ride a bike, use an elliptical and lift weights. Six weeks have gone by and I still have a bump on the top of my foot but I have no pain in my foot. Any ideas on how to reduce or eliminate this bump? Any supplements that can aid in the healing of a bone bruise?
Ben: You know, your body does have the ability to lay down an extra bone on an area that’s been stressed or damaged. And it’s tough to get rid of that if you actually change the anatomical structure of your bone. And he just actually needs to change the type of shoes that he’s wearing in order to actually fix that. So, Jason that bump could actually be bone that’s formed after your bone bruise healed. However, it could also just be inflammation that has not yet subsided from that injury. And was it the cuboid bone?
Brock: Yup, the second cuboids bone.
Ben: Okay. The cuboid bone is part of your… you got all these bones that are called tarsal bones. And they form your ankle. The entire ankle complex is made up of all these different bone. It’s not just one big ankle shaped bone. There are a lot of little bones in there. And the cuboid bone is one that tends to get beat up a little bit when you’re running. It transmits loads from the outside of your foot into your ankle. And so, especially if you’re heavier or you’re an overpronator, then the cuboid bone gets beat up for sure. So, as far as own bruises, basically there is going to be swelling and discoloration like any bruise. And some of that swelling may be what you’re seeing as far as that bump. It’s possible that inflammation is still there even though that healing has occurred.
So, I would certainly consider doing some therapy in that area that would be directed to reduce that inflammation. I would look into an electrostim therapy. I would look into infrared. I would possibly look into like a microcurrent, blanking on the name of the electrical therapy that Doctor David Minkoff has talked about on the show before. It’s like a pulse electromagnetic therapy. I think it’s called PMT. But go listen to the podcast that I did with Doctor David Minkoff on pain management. I don’t know what episode it was but just do a search for Minkoff in the show notes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com or in that right search side bar at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Listen to his stuff. But it’d be PEMT, Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy, infrared, electrostim, even ultrasound if you can see a physical therapist to break up scar tissues, improve blood flow, and decrease inflammation in the area. It may even respond to ice.
I don’t know how acute or chronic this inflammation actually is. But I would certainly look into those. And as far as healing a bone, probably the substance that I’ve seen the most really high quality research being done in it and the best results would be a substance called lactoferrin. Your body uses it to basically stimulate osteoblast, bone healing activity. I personally use Capraflex. It’s got lactoferrin in it, some anti-inflammatory, and some glucosamine chondroitin. I’ve been fighting a bum knee for a little while. And I pop nine of those a day. So, I would look into using Capraflex as well. I’ll link to that one in the show notes. But in addition to some of these therapeutical modalities for inflammation, that’s what you could take in terms of a supplement.
Brock: Back in the 1970s, we used to take, if you’d have a bump somewhere you’d whack it with a bible. I would suggest Jason that.
Ben: I wasn’t even alive in the 1970s. But it sounds like a horrible time.
Brock: Oh, it was fabulous. We were whacking each other with bibles all the time. Okay, the next question comes from Avi.
Avi: I had a question regarding men donating blood.
Brock: When I first saw this question, I was just going to miss it because we’ve talked about donating blood on this. But he’s got a very different angle here.
Avi: Other than being a gracious thing to do for those in need, I’ve heard it’s a good thing for men to donate blood every once in a while because of the build-up of iron in our blood. Is there any truth to this and would you recommend this from an overall blood and heart health?
Ben: You do get an iron lowering effect when you give blood. And high blood iron levels do have the potential to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease because iron is basically an oxidant. So, if you’ve got a lot of small cholesterol particles that you get from for example like high consumption of processed sugars in your bloodstream and that’s combined with high levels of iron circulating in your bloodstream, the iron can oxidize those small cholesterol particles and cause arterial inflammation. So, because iron can accelerate that oxidation process, it would make sense that lowering your blood iron levels could help you out a little bit. And one way to do that would be to donate blood regularly.
Women who are menstruating are going to lose blood once a month and don’t have as much of an issue with high iron levels as men do. But what you need to realize is if you’re an athlete and you’re perspiring, you do lose a lot of iron in your sweat. And so, you may not really have a real need to donate blood aside from the fact that it’s good for society. And it gives people who need blood an actual blood bank. Giving blood may lower your risk of cancer. Consistent blood donation in epidemiological studies has been associated with lower risk of cancer. And that may possibly be just because of the lifestyle of the people who donated blood. People who donate blood live healthier. So, they have lower levels of cancer. But there’s definitely a correlation there.
There’s another study that found that regular blood donors who donate regularly over multiple years in a row have a significantly lower risk of heart attacks in cardiovascular events. And again, that maybe because the type of people who donate blood maybe are lower stressed, healthier people. They eat healthy. They donate blood. That type of thing. So, maybe they have just lower risk for a heart attack because they’re healthier. But again, there is that smoking gun correlation. The other interesting thing that you can actually give your red blood cells a step up when you basically deplete some of your blood supply and allow it to replenish. So, all those red blood cells you use during donation and we’ve talked about this before, they’re replaced within about four to eight weeks. But there’s what’s called like hormetic effect of giving blood and forcing your red blood cells to turn over and regenerate. That may actually help your system or your factory so to speak for producing red blood cells to be more efficient. So, again it’s another possible reason to donate blood. But you can also damage and increased turnover of your red blood cells also through exercise.
So, it’s not like especially for sweaty exercising individuals, I’m not convinced that the health benefits of donating blood are going to be as great as they would be for someone who isn’t quite as active. But bloodletting has been around for a long time. Any time something has been around for a long time, I don’t want to commit the logical fallacy of chronological sobery and say that just because something has been around for a long time it’s good. But you also need to pay attention that’s been around for a long time. And bloodletting has been used in like medical society in the face of the planet for a really long time from the Greeks to the Mayans to the Aztecs to the Egyptians to the Asians. A lot of folks have used bleeding. I think originally to model the process of female menstruation in men believing that females somehow were purging themselves through the monthly menstrual process. Bleeding was introduced into the medical society to simulate that. And bloodletting has been advocated as a way to get rid of stuff in the body for a long time. So, we could probably talk about bloodletting for a really long time like the science behind it and leeches and all that stuff. But ultimately, hopefully that gives a little bit of direction in terms of the whole blood donating thing.
Brock: It probably does. Okay, onto Johnny’s question. Now, Johnny’s question is quite long and involved. So, I’ll do my best to sort of sum it up. I’ll read the first a little bit though.
Johnny: I do not have man boobs. I have a proper chest shape and I’m working out heavily at the gym. I’m 21 and am slowly gaining muscle mass. My problem is that I have fat around my nipples. It does not show anywhere else on my chest, only around and on my nipples. One is quite a bit bigger than the other. It happened like this: when I was very young, I hurt my nipple by touching it too hard and then I tried it on the other one also… I don’t know what I was thinking! It has been very embarrassing for me now and it has been more than ten years. I have a good chest and body tone but am now not able to even wear a tight t-shirt. Please help me. Should I go for liposuction only or is there any other way. Will it go naturally away on its own?
Brock: Any ideas?
Ben: I can’t remember seeing this question at some point on Facebook. I just kind of glanced over. And I think I deleted it or something because I thought you know you see all this. And you think that it’s a joke or something. But it actually is an issue and can be a serious embarrassing issue for a lot of guys. Nipple fat is something you see complained about less than you see man boobs being complained about. But they both come from the same underlying issue which is called in medicine gynecomastia. I’ve talked about it on the show before but not in relation to nipples. It’s mostly in relation to men just having excess breast tissue that keeps you from having a nice looking chest. Or it can be embarrassing in terms of your breast showing when you’re wearing things like a t-shirt.
In this case, it can be just excess breast tissue around the nipples. And the whole thing is related to hormonal issues and usually an estrogen to testosterone imbalance. And that can be somewhat genetic based. It can be lifestyle based. It can be both. Some people can be more prone to gynecomastia just because of the way that their body is built than others. And it can manifest really efficiently when there’s any type of hormonal imbalance going on.
So, there are two things that I would look into doing. The first would be to really reduce exposure to estrogens. And that’s because gynecomastia really is an estrogen dominance type of issue. So, when you’re looking at estrogens, typically the most common sources of estrogens in our environment are plastics, cleaners, pesticides, herbicides, and things of that nature. So, some of my practical recommendations based off of that would be to avoid eating off of plastics, microwaving foods in plastic, drinking out of plastic water bottles. And make sure that you’re really rinsing your food preferably using like a vinegar rinse if you’re buying non-organic vegetables or as much as possible buying the organic vegetables and buying the organic fruits to reduce some of the pesticide and carcinogen exposure that can cause estrogen dominance. Another thing that can throw off your hormone balance is excess insulin in the bloodstream which can reduce the amount of sex hormone immunoglobulin and sex hormone immunoglobulin combined to free estrogens. So, free estrogens are going to float around your body. They’re going to enter target tissues, in this case breast tissue. And high carbohydrate diet that is promoting excessive release of insulin can reduce your body’s ability to bind this free estrogen.
So, I would really limit intake of refined carbohydrates. And the other thing that you can do to help control insulin and we’ve talked about this before earlier in the show is fiber. Add foods that are higher in fiber like the things we’ve talked about, cinnamon, dark leafy greens, flax seeds, nuts, berries, things of that nature. Another thing that you can look into is your intestinal bacteria. Essentially, an imbalance of your gut flora can allow estrogen to recycle a little bit more efficiently. Just go back and listen to what I talked about a few minutes ago in terms of probiotics and really introduces many probiotics in your body as possible.
The other thing that I would look at is bumping up your testosterone levels as high as you possibly can while at the same time limiting your exposure to estrogens. And we’ve talked about this on the show a little bit before. But there are two ways you can do that. Number one is you can decrease how quickly your testosterones or how efficient your testosterones are getting converted into estrogens. And you do that by taking a supplement that contains an aromatase inhibitor. And as a matter of fact at this health fair that I was at down in Sacramento, I learned that one of the most potent ways to inhibit the conversion of testosterone into estrogens is through nasal use of an aromatase inhibitor. And the one you’d want to look into is Chrysin. And this would be nasal use of Chrysin. Now, the aromatase inhibitor I’ll typically take is either Prostalon made by Impacts or the PSA capsules made by Hammer Nutrition. However, you may need to bring out the big guns in this case. Something like a nasal Chrysin would be one way to go. And at the same time you’re doing an aromatase inhibitor, you’d want to step up your testosterone production. There are multiple ways to do this. I’ve talked about testosterone on the show before. Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and do a search for testosterone.
I’m going to throw one thing in here that I haven’t talked about before that I’m seeing more and more evidence for in terms of improving testosterone. And you’d definitely want to make sure that you’re using an aromatase inhibitor if you use this because it can potentially increase levels of estrogen but its D’aspartic acid. I’ve just started experimenting with D’aspartic acid myself. I just ordered some pure powder. It’s kind of bitter. I use them by the tablespoon like around three grams a day. And at the risk of information over sharing here, I’m waking up like a 14-year old boy every morning. And it’s actually been great in particular for the sex life. And a big reason for that is because of its effect on testosterone. So, you can use natural testosterone enhancement like that and combine it with an aromatase inhibitor. Make sure you are limiting the amounts of estrogen you’re exposed to. And that should start to help you out with this issue.
Brock: Okay Johnny. Thanks for sharing. I know that was, you mentioned a couple of times that that was quite embarrassing. So, thanks for asking because there could be more people out there that are keeping it to themselves.
Ben: There absolutely are. It’s an issue.
Brock: Okay, onto our final question that comes from Paul. Paul wants to know if there’s any truth to the benefits of African mango irvingia gabonensis? How’s that?
Ben: African Mango will do.
Paul: Any caveats to its use? The first person I thought to recommend it has adult onset diabetes. I was thinking of myself too, I have a family history of diabetes but I have not been diagnosed with it. I don’t need to lose weight. I’d consider it if it increased my HDL.
Ben: African mango extract, it seems that fiber is coming up a lot in this podcast. It’s a big source of dietary fiber. And it was found in a recent study that’s being reported a lot and a lot now because it allows anybody who sells African Mango to sell African Mango. But what the study found was that this water soluble dietary fiber that’s found in this African Mango extract because water soluble fiber can delay stomach emptying and lead to a more gradual absorption of the sugar that you’re consuming in your diet. It can reduce the elevation of blood sugar after a meal if you have this stuff before you eat a meal. And when you’re looking at lower levels of blood sugars after eating a meal, you’re looking at better control of blood cholesterol, blood lipids, triglycerides, and a lot of the issues that could potentially cause increase propensity to deposit fat on your waist line.
So, there was a study that showed that compared to a control group, people who were taking in African Mango extract were able to lose more weight. The issue is that there are probably less expensive ways to get dietary soluble fiber. You can rewind an hour and listen to me talk about them in the beginning of the podcast. It comes down to the fact that just because the multilevel marketing company that you’re buying African Mango extract from or any other super expensive compound that has these magical health effects. Just because you’re able to buy that for a high price doesn’t mean that it’s better than flax seeds, chia seeds, blue berries, dark leafy greens, and all the other stuff that you’re able to get your hands on a lot more conveniently at your local grocery store and for a lot lower price. So, African Mangoes would be cool to eat, I’m sure. It would be cool to tell your friends about. But you don’t have to eat those to get dietary soluble fiber. There are other ways to do it.
Brock: Alright. Well, that wraps up the listener Q and A for today. And we’ve gone long once again. We were very proud of ourselves last week for coming in under the one hour and fifteen mark. But we’ve gone over this week. But it’s really because people just keep writing in with these fantastic questions. And if we ever have a deficit of questions, I’m sure that the show will get a lot shorter.
Ben: Our listeners are geniuses. And by the way, the questions are kind of backlogging a little bit. So, please go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and do a search for what you’re asking your question about before you just disseminate it. I know it’s cool to get your question answered on the show. But when you submit a question that covers something we’ve already discussed, not only are you a little less likely to get your question answered on the show but you’re also taking away from new questions. So, be sure that you just give us a comment courtesy from having to filter questions and do that search at BenGreenfieldFitness.com before you do your question. Or you can even use Google. Just Google Ben Greenfield like it’s my name and whatever you’re searching on and read up what I’ve already put out. And all the podcasts are transcribed.
There are a lot of resources that are out there that have been answered in the past as you can imagine. I know we’ve been going awhile as Brock said. So, I’ll shut up in just a second. But thank you for listening. Leave the podcast a review and a ranking in iTunes if you can. Leave a donation over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com if you get a chance. Download the food pyramid. And remember, everything that I’ve talked about today from the poop test to the studies in the news flashes to anything that I’ve mentioned as a resource in my response to questions is all in the show notes for this podcast episode. Help me out here Brock. 180?
Ben: Podcast number 180 at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Thanks for listening.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net
In this Jan 25, 2012 free audio podcast: Does Fiber Help You Lose Fat? Also: is gum good for you, gluten free products and insulin spikes, glycemic index vs. glycemic load, dairy free probiotics, how much salt is enough, treating bone bruises, is donating blood actually beneficial for men, nipple fat, and is the African Mango really that great?
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The Ben Greenfield Superhuman Food Pyramid – now available for download!
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The GI stool test that Ben mentioned taking – from the comfort of his own home.
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- Any pill that has same effect of exercise has to raise your eyebrow…shortcuts often dangerous.
- Reason not to worry if you're doing a triathlon and need to just “jump in the water and go” with no warmup.
- Running or bicycling just doesn't cut it when you get older you need to work any muscles you plan on keeping.
Audio Question from Fibre1Girl:
What do you think about Fibre One Cereal and/or other high sources of fibre.
Audio Question from Ron:
Does gum help with memory and muscle reactions.
~ In my response to Ron, I mention the Spry gum I chew every day.
Your podcast about wheat was pretty amazing. I was shocked to hear about the ability of gluten free products to raise blood sugar the way they do. My question is when Dr William Davis spoke of wheat he mentioned that all forms of grain are inflammatory. Does this include those types of grains thought to be “healthier” like quinoa, millet, amaranth, etc… And, if so, what are healthier options to substitute with? Does coconut flour also cause the same physiological effect on the body as well?
I have a question about high glycemic index foods, are they the main cause of the obesity epidemic and all the disease around and should people be watching that more closely almost rather than their calories? Also if I were to limit my carbs how many grams would you say I need per day I am 22 years old 5″4 and 122 pounds and I am quite active!
What amount of pro-biotics is optimal? I have a ‘green food' mix that contains 200 mg of dairy free l.acidophilus, B.longum, L.Casei, Rhamnosus. My reason for asking is that I'm considering cutting dairy out of my diet (due to possible allergy) and want to make sure I don't miss out on these healthy pro-biotics!
I'm in my 50's and tend to sweat an extreme amount and wonder if you recommend a salt supplement to add to my electrolytes. I generally use Heed but the sodium amount is minimal. I've heard unbleached or black salt mixed into a glass of water before a workout or event could help. How many mg's of salt per day is advisable.
After completing my first marathon, I noticed pain in top of my left foot. Upon review with a podiatrist, I was told I have a bone bruise in my Second Cuboid. I was given some cream to reduce swelling and was told not to run for 6 weeks. I was given the OK to ride a bike, use an elliptical and lift weights. 6 weeks have gone by and I still have a bump on the top of my foot but I have no pain in my foot. Any ideas on how to reduce or eliminate this bump? Any supplements that can aid in the healing of a bone bruise?
I had a question regarding men donating blood. Other than being a gracious thing to do for those in need, I've heard it's a good thing for men to donate blood every once in a while because of the build up of Iron in our blood. Is there any truth to this and would you recommend this from an overall blood and heart health.
I do not have man boobs. I have a proper chest shape and I'm working out heavily at the gym. I'm 21 and am slowly gaining muscle mass. My problem is that I have fat around my nipples. It does not show anywhere else on my chest, only around and on my nipples. One is quite a bit bigger than the other. It happened like this: when I was very young, I hurt my nipple by touching it too hard and then I tried it on the other one also… I don't know what I was thinking! It has been very embarrassing for me now and it has been more than ten years. I have a good chest and body tone but am now not able to even wear a tight t-shirt. Please help me. Should I go for liposuction only or is there any other way. Will it go naturally? When I was not working out it seemed pretty invisible (to some extent) but now that I have muscles in my chest, the fat in the nipples shows and is a little awkward and I wear vests to hide it. I wanna get rid of this nipple fat, Ben. What do I do ?
Any truth to the benefits of African Mango Irvingia Gabonensis? Any caveats to its use? The first person I thought to recommend it has adult onset diabetes. I was thinking of myself, too: I have a family history of diabetes but I have not been diagnosed with it. I don't need to lose weight. I'd consider it if increased HDL.