[Transcript] – What Should I Eat? The Ultimate Podcast Guide To Choosing The Perfect Diet For You: Part 1

Affiliate Disclosure



[0:00:00] Intro

[0:01:30] About this Solosode

[0:02:20] Podcast Sponsors

[0:05:36] How Do You Choose What Diet Is Right for You

[0:07:40] There Is No Such Thing as An Average Person

[0:12:00] The Ketogenic Diet

[0:21:59] The Thrifty Gene Hypothesis

[0:24:28] Sugar as Biochemical Individuality

[0:27:22] Podcasts Sponsors

[0:30:19] Differences in Methylation Between Individuals

[0:34:58] Eating According to Your Ancestry

[0:38:04] How Would You Test?

[0:43:46] What You Can Do from A Diet Standpoint?

[0:46:19] Recommended Meal Plans

[0:58:00] The Weston A. Price Diet

[1:00:53] What to Expect on Part 2?

[1:02:13] Closing the Podcast

[1:03:01] End of Podcast

Ben:  I have a master's degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I've spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world's toughest mudder, the 13 Ironman triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world's top experts and performance, fat loss, recovery, gut hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.

Well, hello folks. This is Ben Greenfield. You are going to notice that several times over the course of this month, I'm going to come at you as I have a couple of times in the past with a solosode. And today's customized nutrition solosode is no exception. You're going to learn how to choose the diet that's perfect for you based on self-quantification. You're going to learn why I wrote an article called, “F Diets” and why it is that I actually don't really endorse any one particular diet but I am going to equip you with a ton of information, everything that you need to know to self-select the nutrition approach that is perfect for you. You're going to learn everything about overmethylation, undermethylation, the different ways that you can calculate how many calories that you need to eat, what to do if you want to be vegan, if you want to be keto. I'm going to cover everything and feed you through the fire hose when it comes to nutrition.

So, this will be handy for you, especially if you're planning on kind of trying to dialing your diet for the upcoming New Year if you kind of want to have something to rely upon in between the giant amounts of feasting that you may or may not be doing over the holidays. Anyways, it's going to be a fun episode but we might as well, appropriately enough, kick things off with talking about food.

In this case, food like oven-baked meatball pitas and sheet pan pesto salmon, or how about cilantro-miso noodles? These are all on the menu this week at Blue Apron. So, the way that Blue Apron works is they send all the recipes to your house. They send the recipe cards that walk you through step-by-step very, very quick and easy ways to make these amazing culinary experiences. And then, they, of course, provide you with, because it kind of suck if they didn't, perfectly portioned ingredients, exactly laid out the way that you need them to be so that you can make the recipe in a flash. So, you're going to eat a lot healthier than you would if you had gone and done takeout or, I don't know, I suppose had a random car delivery service, deliver meals to your house. But you can actually get these incredible meals in as little as 20 minutes with fresh seasonally inspired ingredients. The way that you can actually get started on this and get your first three meals free is over at blueapron.com/ben. That's blueapron.com/ben. When you do that, you'll get your first three meals free. You can have dinner or lunch or you could even have, I suppose, pesto noodles for breakfast in as little as 20 minutes with insanely delicious flavor. So, check it out, blueapron.com/ben.

This podcast is also sponsored by Joovv. Now, you no doubt have heard me talk a lot about photobiomodulation before, but specifically, I've noticed three major differences in my health since beginning to incorporate light therapy into my routine. Number one, physical performance. I'm able to use a pre-workout and get enhancement of nitric oxide, get enhancement of blood flow, but also recover faster when I use it in the mornings for about–I do about 15 to 20 minutes, just standing at my desk in the morning, drinking my cup of coffee.

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Alright. As promised, this is the official solosode on personalized nutrition, how do you choose what diet is right for you. Not your next-door neighbor who lost 20 pounds, putting 8 vats of coconut oil in their coffee, not your grandma who reinvented her entire life when she went vegan, not your friend Jack who started eating a ribeye steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but you, what's right for you.

So, in this episode, here is what you can expect. I'm first going to lay out the concept of biochemical individuality and help you understand the type of things that dictate your response to certain nutrients, chemicals, compounds and food groups.

Next, I'm going to go into some of the differences in methylation between individuals along with examples of–for example, how we respond to coffee differently, how we respond to sugar differently, how we respond to fats differently.

Then, I'm going to bring you into kind of a tutorial on the best type of tests to get done if you want to figure out what kind of diet is right for you.

Then, we'll get into the good stuff. I'm going to give you some of the best diets that I actually do like and some of the best books to support each of those diets.

I want to finish with it with a few final things in today's episode. What I want to do is spell out some best practices for, particularly folks who are eating a plant-based diet. Because we do have a lot of listeners who eat a plant-based diet, I want to get into the overall ethics of food and how we can support our environment and sustain Mother Earth through our dietary practices.

And then finally, I want to give you some of my best books, some of my top resources when it comes to food books and diet books that I think everybody should own.

So, if that sounds good for you, speaking of books, it's a perfect segue because we're going to jump right in.

So, there is a book that was recommended to me at a health conference by one Dr. Jeffrey Bland. He's actually deemed as the Father of Functional Medicine. In this book, it's called “Biochemical Individuality.” It's written by Roger Williams back in 1998. And it goes into how there is no such thing as an average person, how we're all genetically and biologically unique. When sperm meets egg, our characteristics are not locked in stone. Bad genes do not necessarily cause disease by themselves. And nutrition and environment can alter the outcome.

Now, the book is very interesting because there's a range of different sizes of stomachs and sizes of hearts and spleens and livers. It's crazy how widely varied, how biochemically and really anatomically varied each human being is, which again dictates why the diet that works for your neighbor or your grandma or your friend Jack wouldn't necessarily work for you. So, let me give you some examples. Despite it being present in copious amounts in just about every multivitamin on the face of the planet, some people don't actually need to supplement with any ascorbic acid or vitamin C or vitamin A or a form of vitamin B called riboflavin. Why? Well, some people happen to harbor intestinal bacteria, their microbiome that produces ample amounts of each of these vitamins.

Now, the only way to know if you possess that bacteria would be to do the type of simple at home poop testing, I'll get to later in this podcast. Another example would be vitamin D. There are well-authenticated cases of vitamin D-resistant people. So, these folks produce heart-damaging amounts of calcium and phosphorus deposits in their blood vessels when they consume even the FDA's current recommendation for vitamin D, which would be about 20 micrograms per day. Two thousand international units per day is very common among a lot of people and that can actually lead to excess calcification in the artery. So, that should be a big warning sign to anyone popping vitamin D like candy. But at the same time, many people, especially people with darker skin tones, they can limit the amount of vitamin D produced from sunlight, or people like me who possess a gene, a snip that's responsible for lowering the amount of vitamin D that can be efficiently produced from sunlight. Well, we can develop serious health issues like osteoporosis and hormone deficiencies when we don't supplement with vitamin D.

So, it's odd because despite the enormous amount of biochemical individuality that exists from person to person, there are a plethora of diet books published every year, particularly close to swimsuit season or the upcoming New Year and they promise to be the de facto final solution for everything from fat loss to acne to beating carb cravings to building muscle. When in fact, the same ketogenic diet that helped your neighbor shed 20 pounds could result in rampant inflammation and brain fog and oxidized cholesterol for you.

So, what Roger Williams says in his book, I want to give you a quote from his book. He says, “Genetic influences are far better understood now than in 1956 from major nutrition-related problems such as alcoholism, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer yet we seem frustratingly slow to integrate this knowledge into clinical practice and common knowledge. Most clinicians still treat and write about these problems as if inborn differences are unimportant. Professional and lay authors still recommend restrictive diets they assume are best for nearly everyone. They debate heatedly about which one of the conflicting diets is right. High-carb, low-carb, vegetarian, high protein, et cetera. When will we automatically consider that all of these diets likely have merit but only for some individuals?”

Okay. Nutritional and biochemical individuality. He wrote that in 1998. And, of course, the wheel keeps turning, keeps spinning when it comes to all these diet books coming out that claim to be the ultimate diet.

So, what I want to get into is, first of all, a little bit more detail about this concept of biochemical individuality. I want to give you some hardcore examples. So, why not start with one of the elephants in the room, right? The ketogenic diet. Okay. So, the ketogenic diet. High-fat, low-carb diet. That isn't necessarily the way that our ancestors would have attained ketosis. Our ancient hunter-gatherers weren't walking around with blenders full of butter and coconut oil and exogenous ketones and DARPA developed supplements for enhancing ketosis. They were basically fasting or starving and ketosis was a built-in survival mechanism that we've realized is good but most of us don't want to go through the pain and suffering of fasting to get there. So, we take supplements. It's pill popping.

Anyways, the extreme high-fat, low-carb diet is championed by many people as the perfect way to lose fat or enhance cognition or increase endurance and it does work for these goals. For example, I personally followed this strict ketogenic diet for years, starting in 2013 when I was racing Ironman triathlons. I participated in this fascinating high-fat diet lab experiment called the FASTER Study. And in that experience, if I can talk, myself and 18 other elite endurance athletes followed this strict 90% fat-based diet for 12 months. Then we appeared at the University of Connecticut lab to subject ourselves to blood and urine and stool measurements, followed by a brutal three-hour treadmill run and preceded by equally brutal VO2 max test attached to blood collecting equipment and calorimeter masks. This was not like a run out in the park. This was full on lab rat and we had a painful biopsy of muscle tissue from the quadriceps and the fat tissue from the ass cheeks that's like a miniature guillotine shoved in your flanks to cut out tissue samples. It was painful. All for science.

But the results of that experiment completely rewrote exercise physiology textbooks by revealing that long-term adherence, long-term–like I was on that diet for 12 months before that study, not two weeks like a lot of these studies. Long-term adherence to this high-fat diet nearly doubles the human body's fat burning capacity, both at rest and during exercise without causing performance decrements. So, I still occasionally use ketosis and I supplement with exogenous ketones, which are basically like drinkable rocket fuel as a brain-boosting or endurance-boosting strategy on mentally difficult days or on days that require a lot of endurance.

However, when reviewing blood work and biomarkers on lab tests of clients and people whom I do fitness and nutrition consulting who are following a ketogenic diet, I've seen things like concerningly high levels of cholesterol, skyrocketing well over 400. I've seen rampant inflammation. I've seen inflated triglyceride levels, unfavorable triglyceride HDL levels, high CRP, and even high liver enzymes. So, how could this be? Well, let me give you a few examples. There's one condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia that affects up to 10% of the world's population. And people with that condition tend to experience a metabolic firestorm in response to a diet high in saturated fats because their cholesterol and inflammatory biomarkers increased dramatically in response to foods like coconut oil and butter, and to a certain extent, a large intake of very fatty fish and fatty meat and eggs.

When I talked to my friend Chris Masterjohn who's been a podcast guest before about this, and he's a very bright guy when it comes to nutrition, he explained to me that the best way to deal with familial hypercholesterolemia based on the research he's done is to take the one gene for the LDL receptor that's responsible for contributing to this condition and try to bring it up to the expression level that would be found in someone without familial hypercholesterolemia. So, he went on to explain that from a scientific standpoint that could be accomplished by maximizing the biological activity of thyroid hormone and suppressing the activity of this gene, stay with me here, called PCSK9. Both of which are achieved by increasing insulin signaling.

Well, this is not achieved–this metabolic tweaking is not achieved with a ketogenic diet. So, much to the chagrin of ketogenic zealots, this diet comes down to eating a, drumroll please, low-fat, fiber-rich, high-carbohydrate diet and replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats using a diet very similar to what we might see among, say the Kitavan Islanders. These folks almost all have the familial hypercholesterolemia gene but they don't get heart disease. Their diet is rich in fiber-dense carbs like coconut meat and starchy tubers and fresh fruit. We also see a similar scenario in, for example, a plant-rich Mediterranean diet with tons of vegetables drowned in extra virgin olive oil.

So, it turns out that people who don't thrive on a high-fat, low-carb diet could actually prosper on a low-fat, high-carb diet. There are other things that can dictate whether or not ketosis might agree with you that I'll get into in a moment, but that's just one example.

So, what are some other examples of a poor response to a ketogenic diet? Well, how about this, alpha-linoleic acid? Okay. Alpha-linoleic acid, ALA, that's an omega-3 fatty acid that's found primarily in plant-based food sources like flax and walnuts and seeds and nuts. I mean, it's essential fatty acid because similar to essential amino acids, it can't be produced by your body, so it needs to be obtained through food.

Now, plant sources of ALA are very popular among vegetarian and vegan diet enthusiasts because once in the body, they can theoretically be synthesized into DHA and EPA. And those are critical fatty acids that enhance your cognition and your brain health and help to stabilize the state of ketosis. But, there is research that suggests only two to a maximum of 10% of that ALA that's eaten is actually converted into usable DHA or EPA. And in addition to that, the ALA converting genes, they're known as FADSs. Those can vary widely. So, one variant of them can increase conversion, another can reduce conversion resulting in some people having a worsened ability to make effective conversion compared to those with the conversion increasing variant.

Okay. Biochemical individuality once again. So, what am I getting at here? Well, the FADS variant that improves ALA conversion is most common in folks like African, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladesh, Sri Lankan populations, moderately common in European populations, and least common in Native Americans and indigenous Arctic populations. And that's likely due to the relative availability of plant sources of omega-3s and genetic adaptations to that availability. The more population would have historically relied upon plant sources of fatty acids on ALA, the more that population probably adapted to be able to convert ALA into usable DHA and EPA. And the more population consumed historically, DHA and EPA, directly from animal and marine sources, the more the conversion increasing gene variant was replaced by the conversion decreasing variant.

So, if you have, say, African or Southeast Asian ancestry, then you likely carry the conversion increasing variant of the FADS gene, and you don't need to consume as much DHA and EPA from animal or fish sources. That doesn't mean you don't need to consume those at all but you can get some DHA and EPA from plant-based sources. But if you have, let's say a far Northern European or Iberian or Native American or indigenous arctic ancestry, you may not be able to effectively convert ALA into usable DHA and EPA. Those of British and Northern European ancestry might be able to make effective conversion but not as commonly or as upregulated as some of those other populations. So, if your genetic heritage comes from these people groups, then you would need to get your DHA and EPA directly from meat and fish. Okay? So, your ALA genes would influence your need or your not need, I just made up that word, for ALA from plant sources.

Now, how about this one? There's another response to a high-fat diet that is related to elongation of omega-6 fatty acids. Now, omega-6 fatty acids are like omega-3s, they're polyunsaturated fatty acids, most commonly in poultry and eggs, grain, seeds, nuts and vegetable oils. So, omega-6 is like linoleic acid, act as precursors to molecules called eicosanoids. And those, when derived from omega-6s, can be pro-inflammatory, especially when in excess.

Now, well, eicosanoids are derived from omega-3 fatty acids or anti-inflammatory. Humans lack the ability to efficiently convert omega-6s to omega-3. So, a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids, multiple spoonfuls of that nut butter in your pantry without a proportionally high intake of omega-3s could lead to cellular inflammation and weight gain. But if you do consume adequate omega-3 fatty acids like a 1:1 ratio or up to a 4:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3s, you may not be able to handle omega-6s as well as other people, even if you do that.

The process of converting omega-6s into inflammatory compounds is called elongations. And that, getting back to biochemical individuality, is genetic. So, some people have upregulated elongation that results in a greater conversion of omega-6 fatty acids into inflammatory compounds. So, if you have upregulated elongation, a significant amount of the linoleic acid that you consume like seeds and nuts that gets converted into arachidonic acid and that's a precursor to inflammatory compounds. So, to eliminate that inflammation, you would need to get rid of a lot of these common ketogenic diet fat sources, and that would include seeds, nuts, large amounts of seed and nut butters, and even things like poultry and eggs. Or if you do consume them, you would have to simultaneously increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fatty coldwater fish like tuna, mackerel and herring and sardines. So, this is another thing that you can determine by getting an omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid index along with a genetic test.

Okay. Hopefully, you're not going cross-eyed yet and smoke isn't coming out of your ears. I'm going to throw one more at you. The Thrifty Gene Hypothesis. So, there's this geneticist named James Neel. He proposed the Thrifty Gene Hypothesis back in 1962 in an attempt to explain why certain populations are susceptible to type 2 diabetes. So, this hypothesis explains–it's been used to explain at least why humans tend to accumulate fat mass by claiming that in the past, thrifty genes allowed humans to build fat reserves as a buffer against leaner times and a type of long-term feast/famine cycle. So, as food became overabundant in the modern era, these genes continued to allow humans to build fat reserves but quickly led to this pandemic of obesity because the foods responsible for triggering the thrifty genes are consumed in much higher quantities today than they have been in the past.

So, the fact is there are indeed certain genes that cause some people to gain fat more easily than others especially in response to, you guessed it, high-fat foods. So, the most common nutrients associated with genetic obesity are fatty acids. And two of the most notorious genes responsible for storing these fatty acids are the FTO and the PPAR genes. So, the FTO that stands for fat mass and obesity-associated protein, that gene regulates fat mass and body weight. Research suggests the FTO gene is the primary genetic factor associated with weight gain and that diet is the primary environmental factor that triggers the FTO gene. So, a high-saturated fat intake is associated with FTO-induced weight gain. So, if you've got one or two copies of that FTO polymorphism, you probably want a diet that's pretty low in saturated fat. I fall into that category. I only eat about 5% to 10% of my total daily fat intake from saturated fat. Everything else is olive oil and avocado oil and more Mediterranean fats, not butter and coconut oil.

There's another gene, the PPAR gene, stands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor. Okay. The PPAR gene, that's also associated with weight gain following a high-fat intake. It's also associated with an inflammatory response following a high-fat intake. And that gene is responsible for regulating fatty acid storage and uptake of fatty acids and growth of new fat cells. So, a variant of that gene causes you to gain weight and produce inflammation in response to things like omega-6 arachidonic acid from seeds and nuts, as well as saturated fats.

So, if you have either of these genes, you're going to do better on a lower fat diet, or at least, at the least, a plant-rich Mediterranean diet versus a ketogenic diet. Okay? So that's one example, just one example of biochemical individuality.

I'm going to throw another few quick ones here at you. There is sugar, right? That's another example of biochemical individuality. Wild variation in blood sugar responses that occur when subjects in controlled dietary studies eat foods like cookies or bananas or sushi or whole-grain bread, and the latest research on this was detailed in pretty nitty-gritty specifics in Robb Wolf' book, “Wired To Eat.”

I'm going to put a link to all the books that I talked about and everything in the show notes for today's podcast. The show notes are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets. Yes, as in [censored] diets, okay? F Diets. So, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets. So, in “Wired To Eat,” Robb talks about how every person's capacity to extract energy from food differs dramatically due to genes and microbiome that's a biggie diet environment, lifestyle. And that means that common measurements of the sugar content of foods like the glycemic index can be kind of useless when compared to individualized measurements of blood sugar responses to different foods. That's why I like blood glucose monitors or even continuous blood glucose monitors.

There was a study in Europe called Food4Me. They looked at 1,500 participants in seven different European countries. They were randomly given personalized dietary advice based on their genetic data or they were told to follow standardized dietary prescriptions like eating lots of fruits and vegetables or lean meats or whole grains. And the participants in the personalized diet group fared far better eating according to their genetics than those in the one-size-fits-all diet group.

Another example in addition to sugar and in addition to fats should be coffee. Current guidelines advised consuming no more than four or five cups of coffee per day, which is fine for about half the population or slightly more that are genetically fast caffeine metabolizers. But for the other half who have a particular variant of a gene called CYP1A2, any more than two cups of coffee per day actually increases the risk of a heart attack and hypertension.

So, it's very, very interesting. And scientists are slowly beginning to tease out all these connections. They've now linked at least 38 different genes to nutrient metabolism. Roger Williams wasn't aware of this fact when he wrote Biochemical Individuality because this research has come to light since 1998. But there are genes like MTHFR for folate metabolism, and FTO for body weight and fat composition, and ApoE4 for cholesterol, and FADS1 for fatty acid metabolism, and TCF7L2 for blood sugar regulation.

So, this all means that depending on your genetic makeup, your microbiota, your health history, your living environment, you may need to consume more or less choline or vitamin C or fatty acids or starches or caffeine or folate. Don't begin to get down as I say this because the fortunate thing is you live in an era where through basic self-quantification, you can figure all this out pretty easily as far as how to customize your diet to you.

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Let's also talk about overmethylation and undermethylation because I think the carnivore diet is a hot topic these days and I could go on and on about the carnivore diet. I've got an upcoming article in Outside magazine about that. That'll take a deeper dive. So, I'm not going to get too derailed talking about the carnivore diet, maybe a topic for another day. But for the carnivores out there who just have to have their meat, the meat eaters who say, “I like my steak. I like my steak with eggs,” there is a problem. Most meat, particularly muscle tissue, has high amounts of methionine which is a potent methyl donor.

Now, over the next few minutes, you're going to learn what a methyl group is, why it might be bad for you to consume a large amount of strong methyl donors and how to eliminate the side effects of overmethylation or undermethylation. So, a methyl group, that's a carbon atom. It's attached to three hydrogen atoms. It's a highly abundant organic compound derived from methane. Now normally, methyl groups are attached to larger molecules but when found on their own, they can either be methyl anion, methyl cation, methyl radical. And methylation occurs when a methyl group is taken from one compound or molecule and is transferred to another. So, a methyl group can be added to your DNA from a methyl donor like methionine.

Now, the process is largely responsible for switching genes on and off and silencing viruses in the human body. So, when your body has normal methylation, less desirable genes are switched off like those that code for say cancers or autoimmune diseases, while helpful genes are switched on. Methylation is required for cell division, for neurotransmitter synthesis, for detoxification, for cellular energy metabolism, for the formation of your protective myelin sheaths run your neurons, for central nervous system development in children. And so, the critical functions of methylation mean that when it malfunctions, your body can go haywire pretty quickly.

So, undermethylation, that's a state of low methylation, as the name implies, either because your body is unable to adequately transfer methyl groups or because there's not a high enough intake of methyl donating compounds or foods, like me. Overmethylation is a state of high methylation. Now, neither of those states is necessarily bad but they have the capacity to cause different kinds of stress if the diet isn't set up to support them properly.

So, undermethylation, it's kind of interesting. Undermethylators, they have certain personality types associated with them. It can be a hard-charging high achiever. It can lead to perfectionism and overachievement. It's been associated with OCD tendencies, a low tolerance for pain, very ritualistic, systematized controlling behaviors. And by keeping serotonin levels low, a state of undermethylation can also make people more susceptible to depression. Overmethylation is associated with people who are more creative and sensitive. If you're prone to overmethylation, you probably have high levels of empathy or might also experience sleep issues, food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities, hyperactivity, panic attacks, unwanted weight gain, and that's also correlated with schizophrenia. Well, undermethylation is more correlated with depression.

So, here's the deal. If you're prone to undermethylation, you would actually do pretty well with a high intake of muscular meats. As you do not have enough methyl groups being transferred to places that need them like your DNA, you might need to consume a higher amount of meat to compensate, especially if you consume high quantities of plant matter and folate, as those don't supply sufficient amounts of methyl groups necessary for good health in undermethylators. Now in addition, folate acts as a serotonin reuptake promoter. So, drugs like antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are received very well by undermethylators. So, any compound like folate that exerts the opposite effect could be devastating to undermethylators. So, if you're an undermethylator, a plant rich or at least a vegan or vegetarian diet void of meat is probably not going to do you any favors and may kind of screw you over. But if you're prone to overmethylation, the last thing you need is a high intake of methyl donors like muscle meat or daily servings of steak and chicken, a ribeye for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, this would be an instance where vegetarianism or veganism or a largely plant-based diet maybe with some fish and some eggs here and there could be extremely beneficial. If you're an overmethylator, you need to consume a little bit of protein but not become an extreme carnivore who loads up three-quarters of your plate with cuts of animals and fills up the rest of the plate with one-tenth of an inch of vegetables. That ratio should actually be reversed in overmethylator. And the only way to know that is to undergo genetic tests like a DNA test from 23andMe or from Youtrients, for example.

Okay. So, I actually know I said I was going to get into testing but I thought of one other thing that I wanted to go over. And this is pretty important. Eating according to your ancestry, eating according to your ancestry. So, ancestral dieting, eating like your ancestors, that's something that can come in here as well.

So, for example, in my case as someone from a predominantly Northern European ancestry, I eat plenty of fermented foods and meats and fish and eggs and berry and raw dairy and salt without a large intake of citrus fruits or other foods my ancestors would not likely have encountered in their local habitat.

If you're of Scandinavian origins, your ancestors had good access to fish, rich in omega-3s and vitamin D. So, you probably need a diet higher in fish and vitamin D for optimal longevity. And certain genes can also influence these decisions. An MTHFR mutation is what would influence the methylation that I talked about earlier. It can create a poor ability to methylate and that tends to cluster in regions and populations where group's traditional diet was rich in folate. So, in one study from 16 different regions across the world, Mexicans, Hispanics, Italians and Chinese were more likely than others to carry MTHFR mutations that increase their need for dietary folate.

So, if you come from Chinese heritage or your grandparents migrated from Italy or your dad was Hispanic, you should probably eat more folate-rich foods like leafy greens or even organ meats or pastured egg yolks, or you could take the AMY1 gene that codes for salivary amylase production, salivary amylase digest starch and carbohydrates. And the more AMY1 copies you have, the more salivary amylase you produce when you eat carbohydrates. So, the more copy numbers you have, the more likely it is that your ancestors ate relatively high amounts of starch, and the more likely it is that you can personally handle a higher starch intake.

Populations that are traditionally more agriculture like Japanese or continental Europeans or populations that are high starch foragers, like Hadza tribe in Tanzania, those will have higher AMY1 numbers compared to lower starch consuming populations, areas of Turkey or the Congo, for example. And if your ancestors came from a region that eats more carbohydrates, you could thrive on more starches like sweet potato and yam and plantain and taro and fruit and rice.

And then here's another example for you. The lactase persistence gene. So, lactase is an enzyme that allows an adult to be able to digest lactose without getting gut distress or diarrhea or all the other mayhem that can happen in a state of lactose intolerance. So, as you can imagine, cultures that have not traditionally raised dairy livestock including countries like Asia and Africa and most of India rarely carry that lactase persistence gene. And in contrast, if you're of European descent, you're probably lactose intolerant. So, this concept of eating according to your ancestry along with the concept of overmethylation and undermethylation, along with the concept of specific responses to sugar, specific responses to caffeine, specific responses to fats, these all are perfect examples of biochemical individuality.

Now, I'll actually get into, when I describe some specific meal plans that I like, how you could eat according to your ancestry more specifically. But before we dive into that, let's actually talk about how you would actually test, how you would actually kind of look at your specific susceptibility to any of these issues.

So, here's what I like to do. Here's what I encourage everybody to do. A, get a good blood test. I'm going to include links in the show notes. Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets. A good blood test can determine holes in your diet that need to be filled by indicating different health markers like blood sugar, mineral status, thyroid status, cholesterol status, red and white blood cell levels on B levels, acidity, alkalinity, vitamin D status.

So, for blood tests, there are two that I recommend. One would be just a test of all your hormones; vitamins, minerals, nutrients, et cetera, everything that lets you see if there are any holes that need to be filled in with supplementation or specific food groups. I like one that I helped the company called WellnessFX to design. It's called a Longevity Panel. It's a big panel but one of those in a year and you would know a lot about what's going on metabolically.

I also like another blood test that's going to separate or be separate from the one I just described, and that's for food allergies. There's a company called Cyrex as the gold standard and testing for food allergies. And rather than sending you a dizzying and frustrating laundry list of false positives and hundreds of foods to avoid which is what you get from most popular food allergy tests, Cyrex is far more sensitive. Test white blood cell reaction to raw form of the protein, cooked form of the protein. So, have your basic blood test and then you have a Cyrex panel.

Now, next is stool testing. Like I mentioned, there are certain bacteria. There are yeast, fungus, parasites, digestive inflammation, all of this can be used to determine your need for certain probiotics, whether or not you would need to do some kind of like a gut-cleansing system or a reboot prior to launching into a more complex diet. And I'll explain some of that here in a moment. Whether you would need to avoid or include more fermentable substances, et cetera.

So, there are multiple companies now that offer microbiome tests. The company Viome is doing kind of a full microbiome panel. There's a lot of controversy around a lot of these microbiome panels and whether what it's testing in the stool. It really reflects what's going on higher up like in the small intestine. There's also a three-day–a stool panel from a company called Genova Diagnostics that can also take a look at bacteria and yeast and fungus. In gold standard scenario, you do both. You get like a Viome and a Genova and kind of take a look at everything that you get from both. I would say if you wanted to choose one, at this point, I'd go with something like a test from Viome, which is going to give you your complete microbiome analysis. So, that's what I do as far as stool is concerned.

Then there's DNA testing, right? Very big, big stuff what I've just said. So, there are companies like Youtrients and you may have heard my podcast with Karim Dhanani that I'll link to in the show notes for this podcast. There are companies like 23andMe that you can test with and then export your results to Promethease or Strategy or Genetic Genie to take a deeper dive into specifically health-related genetic results. Even though something as simple as 23andMe will just show you like your ancestry so you can begin to make decisions and even type in. You can Dr. Google a lot of this stuff. This is what people hire me many times to do is help them to dig through a lot of these results. For example, you could look up, “Okay, what are the snips associated with the PPAR gene? I want to see if I have an inflammatory response to saturated fats.” You type those into your raw data at 23andMe. You see if you're homozygous or heterozygous or what type of polymorphisms you have in response to or related to PPAR or any of these other genes that I've mentioned, methylation, MTHFR, et cetera.

So, we've got blood testing, we've got stool testing or microbiome testing, DNA testing, and that's typically saliva. Then there's urine testing. I like urine testing for hormones. There's a test called the DUTCH test. It's a very good test for hormones. There's also very related to that something called an Organic Amino Acids test. It's almost like a micronutrient test. It tells you about a lot of organic acids and fatty acids and amino acids and vitamins and minerals and antioxidants and hormones that you can't necessarily get off the strict blood test. And that one, that would be, for example, a test from SpectraCell. And I'll include a lot of links to some of my favorites in the shownotes. But okay. So, far we have a blood test, stool test, saliva test for DNA, my microbiome test, and a urine test.

And then, the last one you would want to get if you wanted to determine how many calories you're burning, very accurate determination of calories, you get Arresting Metabolic Rate test. Many universities offer these. Many gyms and health clubs, the fancier gyms and health clubs, a lot of times they'll have a BOD POD or some other way to determine how many calories you should burn.

So, now, you're kind of sitting there and you're armed with, “Okay, what nutrients am I deficient in? What do my ancestors eat? What kind of genes do I have? What kind of micronutrients might I be deficient in? What's my biome status and what kind of bacteria might I be deficient in or have an excess of? Do I have any food allergies? And finally, do I have any indicators from a gut inflammation or a liver enzyme standpoint or anything like that that would dictate that I need to follow a very restrictive diet for a short period of time before I move on to something more complex and varied?”

Okay. So, now at this point in the podcast, you should have a basic understanding of biochemical individuality and you should have a basic understanding of the basic tests that you can get. I'm using the word basic a lot. I realize that can allow you to look more into these types of things. And so now I want to get into–once you have this data, once you're armed with this data, what you can actually do from a diet standpoint? So, here's the deal. I want to give you some of the best of the best, like the basic to advanced diets that I found to work time and time again for a variety of issues like fixing the gut or gaining muscle, losing fat, enhancing performance, pick your poise and whatever your goals are.

Now, before I fill in the holes for you and give you a few of my favorite diets, I want to emphasize something. No matter what diet you follow, we tend to see time and time again in a lot of ancestral diets, diets the Blue Zones would follow, diets where there are disproportionately high amounts of longevity and centenarians. We see the same dietary practices over and over again. So, no matter what diet you follow, you should include some of the basic recommendations that we see, some of the basic things that pop up over and over again, incorporations of regular intermittent fast or longer fasting periods, being ruthlessly cognizant of inflammatory foods and controlling glycemic variability, blood sugar fluctuations. Occasionally refeeding the body with some kind of a fast day or a refeed day that gives you adequate calories and carbohydrates. Occasionally engaging in periods of more intense detoxification or fasting. Whatever, given the option between packaged and processed foods, choose the former. Even if you have a kick-butt greens powder canister sitting in your pantry that you paid $60 for but you also have kale and spinach and cilantro and parsley and thyme in your refrigerator, take the wild plants first. Save the powdered stuff when you're in a hurry or you're traveling. Eat a wide variety of multicolored plants and herbs and spices whenever possible. Eat clean, organic, wild non-GMO or other wisest healthy foods and ingredients. Whenever possible, eat locally grown foods that are available on a seasonal basis. Okay?

So, no matter what diet you follow, those are some of the best practices. I actually, just yesterday, released an article at BenGreenfieldFitness.com called, “What is the Perfect Human Diet?” And if you go and you read that, it should still be on the front page of BenGreenfieldFitness.com or just Google, “What is the perfect human diet?” Ben Greenfield. And you'll find it that will kind of layout some of these basic best practices for you along with a few more.

So, now let's dive into some of the meal plans that I actually like, interrupted by a sip of Zevia. I was not a sponsor of this podcast but should be, nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Okay. So, here are some of the meals that I like. If you have tested, you found inflammation, you have gut distress, you know that you need to switch to a clean-eating protocol for some part of your life, typically for 4 to about 12 weeks.

Number one would be the autoimmune paleo diet, the autoimmune paleo diet. So, this diet is also known as the paleo autoimmune protocol. It's like a very strict version of the paleo diet. So, it eliminates dairy, grains, eggs, nightshades, and legumes. It's very good for people who need to heal inflammation and to heal a leaky gut. Okay? It could be mixed and matched with the SCD diet or the GAPS diet that I'll outline to in just a moment. And the best book I like for that is the “Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook.” I have many of my clients who first come to me for coaching who have been eating an unclean diet for a certain period of time and we have a lot of red flags on their Cyrex panel, follow an autoimmune paleo diet for at least 4 to 12 weeks. And sometimes you can retest and the gut inflammation has subsided and you can move on to a more complex diet that I'll outline in a minute.

So, another beginner option would be the specific carbohydrate diet, and that was originally designed as a way to manage celiac disease and gluten issues. And it's a gluten-free and grain-free diet. It was actually a popular treatment for celiac disease decades even before gluten was discovered. And this would be the diet to follow if you have IBD or IBS or bloating or gas or gut inflammation, particularly those brought on by gluten or grain consumption. And you could mix and match any meal from an SCD diet with paleo autoimmune diet or GAPS diet, the best book. To spell out the SCD program would be a book called, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall. I'll link to all the books that I recommend in the shownotes.

The next very simple diet that I really like again as a diet to just reboot the body and get you started would be the gut and psychology syndrome diet, the gut and psychology syndrome diet also known as the GAPS diet. So, it was actually derived from the specific carbohydrate diet to heal the gut lining. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has really worked on that protocol to develop a really good book called, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome.” And it really focuses on foods that tend to inflame and cause issues with the nervous system. So, you have cognitive issues and irritation and brain fog or nervous system-based problems related to the gut. This would be a diet that could be beneficial for you to follow.

And then, the other very basic beginner options that I like, one is called Dr. Thomas Rau's “Swiss Detox Diet.” I like that one, along with a diet by Dr. John Douillard called the Colorado Cleanse. Those would be if you've test, you have high liver enzymes, you have a beat-up gallbladder, low bile production, fatty stools, issues with particularly the liver, the gallbladder, pancreas to a certain extent. Both of these protocols include things like kitchari, olive oil, celery juice. If you heard my podcast, my other solosode about how to cleanse your liver, it's basically kind of a protocol very similar to Dr. Thomas Rau's Swiss Detox Diet or Dr. John Douillard's Colorado Cleanse diet. So, either of those books would be perfect to spell out these diets, but I like that. Even a couple of times a year is a basic cleanse for the body. So, I would say that's the type of diet that you do a couple of times a year and then you kick things off by healing your gut with either the autoimmune paleo diet, the SCD diet, the GAPS diet or variations of all three. There's kind of more than one way to skin the cat here.

And finally, if you need to pull out all the stops to manage gut inflammation and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and candida and yeast and fungus and constipation and FODMAP sensitivities or leaky gut and you want to push the reboot button on digestion altogether, you can spend two to four weeks on what is called an elemental diet. It's very simple, relatively boring. It involves consuming a meal replacement powder for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with a few extra oils and fats and amino acids for added nutrients.

I have some clients who have come to me with constipation and SIBO and I'll put them on this diet for 30 days sometimes. So, it would involve one to two servings of Thorne's MediClear, meal replacement powder. It's called MediClear-SGS. And for each of those shakes you add amino acids, you could use the Kion Aminos. You use a little bit of extra virgin olive oil or MCT oil or coconut oil, typically can blend it up using organic bone broth. You can add some ice. You can add some stevia. So, every meal taste like a giant Wendy's Frosty.

And I've actually followed that diet myself when I need to. A couple of times, I've actually had SIBO, tested positive for SIBO and knocked it out using this diet and a few choices of herbal protocols. So, to learn more about that diet, again you can go to the shownotes, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets or you could read Dr. Allison Siebecker siboinfo.com website or Dr. Michael Ruscio's book, recent podcast guest, his book called, “Healthy Gut, Healthy You.”

Okay. So, those are some of the ways you could reboot your body; autoimmune paleo, specific carbohydrate, GAPS diet, the detox diet by Thomas Rau or John Douillard or the elemental diet. Okay. So, you've cleaned things up, you've tested, you'll understand biochemical individuality. Now, you want to expand things a little bit. So, you've followed these clean-up diets, you've cleansed your liver, you've cleaned your gut, and now you want to move into something that is clean, that is easy to digest, that primarily consists of real whole food, and that allows you to eat a wider variety of foods.

So, I've got three options that I like. One is the Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls. She has one that's like a low-carb ketogenic version as a version of her diet that I actually like because it's very rich in plants, it's kind of paleo-esque. I'm not paleo. I'll tell you what I eat in a little bit. But for people who are trying to keep things super clean, on the Wahls Protocol, you eat a lot of meat and fish and vegetables, especially green leafy ones, brightly colored fruit like berries, some fats from animal and plant sources but it's really skewed towards omega-3 fatty acids, and you don't do much dairy, eggs, grains, legumes, nightshades or sugar. A lot of people feel really good on the Wahls Protocol. It was originally developed to help her manage MS, but I've had a lot of people follow that or combine that–again, you can mix and match with these other diets that I'm going to describe to you.

One other that I like is Steven Gundry's Plant Paradox diet. That eliminates all dietary lectins which are natural plant-based defensive protein that can cause gastric distress in a lot of people found in foods like green beans and lentils and edamame. And you limit sugar significantly. You curb your intake of a high amount of omega-6 fats. And it starts off with like this three-day cleanse. So, there's kind of a cleanse phase in there as well.

Now, I like that diet, particularly if you want to eat a wide variety of plants and vegetables but your gut doesn't seem to do well with those giant green smoothies and green beans and legumes and things like that. So, the best book to go along with that is the Plant Paradox Diet. He's another guy that I've interviewed and I'll link to that one in the shownotes.

And then, the last kind of like somewhat restrictive but relatively broad diet is just a basic lower carbohydrate, lower sugar version of a Mediterranean diet. So, it's a plant and omega-3 fatty acid rich diet. It's prevalent in many longevity hotspots and Blue Zones. We see in a lot of these hunter-gatherer and healthy ancestral populations' limitations of sugar and a high intake of starches in many cases but also a high intake of plants. So, the ketogenic Mediterranean diet or lower carbohydrate Mediterranean diet, that's another option.

Now, I realize I've said low carbohydrate ketogenic over and over again. Now, that's not necessarily because I think that everyone should be on a ketogenic diet per se, the way that modern nutrition industry has defined a ketogenic diet with all these supplements and all these saturated fats. But I do think everyone should be very cognizant of glycemic variability, limitation of frequent fluctuations in blood glucose. And in many cases, being cogs in the amount of carbohydrates that you eat can be useful.

If you're sub-Saharan African or you're Southeast Asian or you've tested your genes, you have good copies of the AMY1 gene, you can expand out and you can include, especially with dinner. There have been other cases if you're an athlete, you know, more starches, more tubers, taro, sweet potato, yam, quinoa, amaranth, millet, fermented sourdough bread, et cetera. But even that's just once a day, and even my clients who are eating a lot of carbohydrates, athletes and folks who have that AMY1 gene, they're doing most of it at dinner. So, it's a low-carb the entire day and then including carbs, modifying some of these diets to include almost like a carb refeed for dinner. So, I have athletes, Ironman athletes who I work with and marathoners will follow the Wahls Protocol, low-carb version or Steven Gundry's keto version of his Plant Paradox Diet or a low-carb Mediterranean diet. And then they just do carb refeeds in the evening. So, those are some intermediate options.

So, next we get to advanced options. This is where you fix your gut. Your blood glucose and your inflammation are under control. Your body weight is where you want to be. You've achieved full-body wellness and now you just want to enjoy and experiment with as many foods as possible. And even weave into your diet the concept of eating according to your ancestry. So, here's what you can do.

Number one, huge fan of the Weston A. Price diet, the Weston A. Price diet. The Weston A. Price diet is probably the closest to the way that myself and my family eat. And it's simply kind of this idea that you can eat just about any food on the face of the planet if it has been prepared properly. So, raw milks and fermented foods and sourdough bread and grass-fed butter and organ meats and a whole variety of foods prepared ancestrally, and it also includes a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, usually prepared in olive oil or butter, a lot of really mineral rich salts, a lot of raw vinegar, and even the inclusion of some sweeteners like raw honey or maple syrup or maple sugar, and some amount of organic wine or beer. The whole Weston A. Price protocol is really sound if your diet can handle a wide variety of foods. It's very little. I'm personally allergic to, I mean like, green beans are one of the ones that pop up on my Cyrex panel. But for people who don't have a lot of allergies, et cetera, ma'am, the Weston A. Price diet is very good. You can also customize a Weston A. Price-ish diet to your ancestry. There's a very good book called, “The Jungle Effect” by Dr. Daphne Miller. I also interviewed her in my podcast and she explains the dietary wisdom of traditional cultures who follow a diet specific to their genes and ancestry. And she even gets into a lot of these areas that she identifies as cold spots, which are the opposite of hotspots, and these are areas that have a remarkably low incidence of diseases like diabetes and heart disease and depression and colon cancer and breast cancer and prostate cancer.

What she actually found was that many of these cultures, they kind of eat a whole foods Weston A. Price-like diet but it's specific to their tradition, their ancestry, and their local environment. So, for example, Crete, Greece, that's a cold spot for heart disease and the foods that they include traditional Mediterranean staples like olive oil and whole grains and legumes and red wine and leafy green vegetables. Copper Canyon, Mexico, if you're Hispanic, that's a diabetes cold spot. Rather than eating a traditional Taco Bell diet, they eat corn and beans and squash and peppers and nopal cactus and onion, cilantro, tomato, jicama, nuts, avocado, guacamole.

Iceland, that's a depression cold spot. They eat fish, walnuts, high intake of omega-3, omega-3 enriched eggs, wild game, high in omega-3s, cabbage, bilberries, flaxseed oil, barley, rye, organic dairy products, and that's specific to their diet. And kind of staving off something that would normally be found in high amounts, if they were to move to America and eat a westernized diet, but based on eating their traditional diet is actually supporting their ability to be able to fight off something they're genetically susceptible to. Very similar like a Katahdin population eating a diet rich in kind of like fibers and coconut meat and things like that instead of high amounts of saturated fat.

Africa, Cameroon, West Africa, if you're African American, that's a colon cancer cold spot and they eat a lot of collard greens and mustard greens and spinach and okra and plantains and beans and legumes and wild poultry and even some kefir and yogurt and fermented vegetables. That's their diet. It keeps them from getting colon cancer as opposed to like a high saturated fat, high vegetable oil diet that frankly, not to stereotype, but a lot of African Americans, especially in the southeast–so I've been down there. I've spent a lot of time there and it's an area where some of these westernized versions of an African diet have taken over and screwed a population from a health standpoint that should instead be eating a diet more specific to like a hunter-gatherer-esque, African-based diet.

Okinawa, Japan. That's a breast and prostate cancer cold spot. They're eating a lot of fermented forms of soy, tempo, and miso, and natto, and fish, cabbage, bok choy, a lot of bitter plants like bitter melon extract and green tea and sea vegetables and sweet potato, and even some fruits like watermelon and grapefruit.

And so, you can actually go read Dr. Miller's book, “The Jungle Effect,” but you can take a Weston A. Price's diet and just kind of tweak it and shove it a little bit in the direction of where your genetic ancestry resides. I would say like that's an eating for life protocol. After you fixed your gut, after you've kind of spent some time teaching yourself how to prepare plants properly and doing things like the Wahls Protocol or a ketogenic Mediterranean diet, I mean I think everybody is good to the point where they're kind of following a Weston A. Price's diet, eating all of the food that grows on the face of the planet and preferably eating according to their ancestry.

So, that's the deal with some of the diets that I actually do recommend. And I'll link to the article that I released this week that kind of gets into some of these diets in particular in more details, and also lays out a supplementation protocol that you could use to go along with each if you want to throw supplements into the mix as well.

So, what I did not get to yet was what to do if you are vegan, what to do if you also want to eat a plant-based diet but you want to kind of get into ketosis, what you should do when it comes to taking care of the environment with the diet that you follow but alas, a little bit out of time. So, here's what I'm going to do for you. In Part 2, you're probably going to be listening to this when it comes out this week. In Part 2, which I'll release over the next week or so, I'm going to go into some of my recommendations for plant-based eaters. I'm going to go into some of my recommendations for taking care of the diet and the environment. And I'm also going to leave you with some of my top books and top resources for learning even more. So, you're going to have to wait with bated breath for Part 2. But ultimately right now, if I've generated a lot of questions and you have follow-ups for me, what I want you to do is just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets and I will respond to your questions and I'd try to at least take a glance at each one.

And finally, I want to thank you for listening to this solosode. If any of this is helpful for you, leave me a review in iTunes. Just say something nice. Leave 5 stars. Leave a review or subscribe on any podcasting platform that you use, whether that's Overcast or Stitcher, what else is there, Google, Google Play, Google Music. If you subscribe and leave a review, and I know it gets annoying sometimes for me to ask this but that's huge to support the show because it's kind of a labor of love. Yeah, we have some sponsors but it's very good if you actually subscribe and you leave reviews as far as supporting the show. So, it's good karma.

In the meantime, thanks for listening. And again, shownotes are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets.

Want more? Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com or you can subscribe to my information-packed and entertaining newsletter and click the link up on the right-hand side of that web page that says, “Ben recommends,” where you'll see a full list of everything I've ever recommended to enhance your body and your brain. Finally, to get your hands on all of the unique supplement formulations that I personally develop, you can visit the website of my company, Kion, at getK-I-O-N.com. That's getK-I-O-N.com.



If you read this week's article “What Is The Perfect Human Diet? “, then you are aware that I'm not a big fan of a myopic “one-size-fits-all” approach to diets.

And yet, despite the enormous amount of biochemical individuality that exists from person to person, there is still a plethora of diet books published each year (particularly close to swimsuit season or the New Year) that promise to be the de facto final solution for everything from fat loss to banishing acne to beating cravings and building muscle when, in fact, the same ketogenic diet that helped your neighbor shed twenty pounds can result in rampant inflammation, brain fog and oxidized cholesterol for you. The same could be said for a vegan diet, a carnivore diet or many of the other currently popular eating approaches.

On today's podcast, Part 1 of a 2 part series on customizing your diet to you, you're going to discover more about the concept of biochemical individuality, along with how to test your body to determine the perfect diet for you, and a range of dietary options to choose from that have been vetted by yours truly. Enjoy!

During this solosode, you'll discover:

The concept of biochemical individuality…7:35

  • Book: Biochemical Individuality by Roger Williams
    • No such thing as an “average” person.
    • Nutrition and environment can affect our outcome.
  • Some people do not need to supplement Vitamin C, A, Riboflavin, etc.
  • Others are resistant to things such as Vitamin D; taking the recommended amount damages their system.
  • What worked for someone else may be damaging for you.
  • Ketogenic Diet
    • I used this when racing in Ironman triathlons; I still use it for days I need endurance.
    • Some are high in cholesterol, high liver enzymes.
    • Familial hypercholesterolemia; negative response to high intake of fats.
    • Low amount of Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) is converted into usable DHA or EPA
    • Elongation of Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Thrifty Gene Hypothesis (James Neel in 1962): Why humans build fat mass
    • Some people possess genes that cause them to accumulate fat faster than others.
    • FTO and PPRA genes are responsible for storing fatty acids.
    • Consider a low fat, or plant-based diet vs. a ketogenic if you have these genes.
  • Book: Wired to Eat by Rob Wolf

-Differences in methylation between individuals…30:20

  • Meat eaters: most meat has high amounts of methionine, which is a high methyl donor
  • Methylation occurs when a methyl group is taken from one compound or molecule and is transferred to another.
  • If you're undermethylated, you would benefit from a high intake of muscular meats.
  • Folate acts as a serotonin reuptake promoter. Good for undermethylators.
  • Overmethylation: last thing you need is a bunch of meat for every meal.
    • Consume protein, but don't be an extreme carnivore.

-How to eat according to your ancestry…35:05

  • Northern European: Access to fish, Vitamin D
  • Mexicans, Hispanics, Chinese: More folate-rich foods, leafy greens.
  • Japanese, Continental Europeans: High starch consuming
  • Lactase persistence gene
  • If of European descent, more likely to be lactose intolerant.
  • Genes help determine biochemical individuality

-The best types of tests to figure out what diet is right for you…

-The best diets and books I've come across over the years…44:05

And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Book: Biochemical Individuality – Roger Williams

Book: Returning to an Ancestral Diet – Dr. Michael Smith

Book: The Jungle Effect: Healthiest Diets from Around the World-Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You – Daphne Miller M.D

Article: The Zen Of Customizing Your Diet To Your Unique Body And Goals – For Vegans, Females, Seniors, Kids, Fasting, & Ketosis.

Article: F*@# Diets – Customized, Delicious Nutrition Made Easy.

Article: How To Use Genetic Testing To Personalize Your Workout And Diet.

Article: The Jungle Effect: Book Unlocks the Power of Indigenous Diets

Article: Guts and Grease: The Diet of Native Americans

Article: Country Food (Inuit Food) in Canada

Article: Can a Vegan Go Keto?

Article: How To Be Extremely Active And Eat A Plant-Based Diet Without Destroying Your Body.

Article: Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Other Resources:

Wired to Eat: Turn Off Cravings, Rewire Your Appetite for Weight Loss, and Determine the Foods That Work for You – Robb Wolf

A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol – Eileen Laird

The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain – Steven R. Gundry

The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles – Dr. Terry Wahls M.D.

Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food – Dr. Cate Shanahan, M.D.

The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World – Sandor Ellix Katz

Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat – Paul Jaminet Ph.D. and Shou-Ching Jaminet Ph.D.

Nourishing Traditions – Sally Fallon

Recommended Tests:

Blood: WellnessFX Longevity Panel for Women

Blood: WellnessFX Longevity Panel for Men

Microbiome: Diagnostics Solutions GI MAP

Microbiome: GI Effects Comprehensive Stool Profile Genova Kit – Direct Labs

Microbiome: Viome – use code FITNESS for $50 off

DNA: 23andMe


DNA: Youtrients Genomic Analysis from The Centre for Biological Medicine – use code CBMBGF ($50 off consultation, $520 off testing, $130 off monthly price for custom supplements)

Optional Tests:

Cyrex Labs Array 10 Multiple Food Immune Reactivity Screen

Genova Individual Optimal Nutrition (ION) Profile – DirectLabs

Metabolic Test – To find a Metabolic Testing Center near you, Google the name of your city + Resting Metabolic Rate Test (RMR) and Metabolic Test (VO2 Max Protocol).

More Resources:

Article:  What Is The Perfect Human Diet?

Book: The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott

Book: Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall

Book: Gut & Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Campbell-McBride

Book: Swiss Secrets to Optimal Health by Dr. Thomas Rau

Book: The Colorado Cleanse by Dr. John Douillard

Book: Eat Wheat by Dr. John Douillard

Book: Body, Mind, Sport by Dr. John Douillard

Book: Healthy Gut, Healthy You by Dr. Michael Ruscio

Book: The Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls

Book: Plant Paradox Diet by Dr. Stephen Gundry

Book: Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet by Robert Santos-Prowse

Book: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Episode Sponsors:

Blue Apron Choose your meals. Unpack your box. Create magic. Get your first 3 meals for FREE when you order using my link.

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Kettle and Fire Bone Broth. Support skin, join and gut health. Save 15% and get free shipping on orders of 6+ cartons when you use my link.


Ask Ben a Podcast Question

2 thoughts on “[Transcript] – What Should I Eat? The Ultimate Podcast Guide To Choosing The Perfect Diet For You: Part 1

  1. Grant Weaver says:

    Great podcast as always Ben! Which diet would you recommend for someone who already eats a healthy diet but wants to do a detox and just get everything reset at the beginning of the new year? Thanks

  2. Lukas says:

    Hey Ben, I really liked these episodes and I’m super motivated to start incorporating many of your tips into my diet. Any suggestions for how to eat healthier on a budget? Currently in grad school and living off loan money at the moment. In your opinion, what are some cheaper options to hack my diet?

    Love listening to your show, man

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