May 13, 2017
Podcast from: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2017/05/wired-to-eat-book-review-with-robb-wolf/
[04:14] About Robb Wolf
[09:53] Porn And Nacho Cheese
[14:50] Ketosis And BNDF
[27:02] The Banana And Cookie Study
[30:46] Universally Appropriate Foods
[41:49] Quick Commercial Break/Onnit
[43:12] Blue Apron
[44:33] Continuation/The 30-Day Reset
[48:48] Why A1C Tests Are Not Accurate
[53:10] The Seven-Day Carb Test
[59:12] Carb Mitigation Strategies
[1:05:28] What To Do After The Reset And The Carb Test
[1:09:40] The Food Matrix
[1:15:57] End of Podcast
Ben: Yo, yo. Porn, sugar, cookies, bananas, sweet potato chips, even the Matrix, we cover it all on today's show with Robb Wolf. This that you're about to hear is a can't-miss episode. But speaking of can't-miss things to do, if you're a man or you're a woman and you want to enhance your sexual performance, or go from good to great, or even treat things like ED, or let's say less than satisfactory orgasms, there's this company called GainsWave, just like it sounds like, GAINSWave. And what GainsWave does is not only do they have these really cool anti-aging therapies and hormonal therapies that you can do, but they also have high frequency acoustic sound wave machines that they use on you when you go to any of their facilities, and it does things like breaks up old blood vessels and stimulates the formation of new blood vessels in your nether regions to turn you into a complete rock star in the bedroom department. So to get advantage of the GainsWave treatment, you just need to text the word “Greenfield” to 313131. And when you text the word “Greenfield” to 313131, you get 150 bucks off any GainsWave treatment at any of their 60 places nationwide, and it's very, very simple. Waltz in and then waltz out as a complete rock star. You can also go to GainsWave.com and click “Find a doctor” to locate a GainsWave facility near you.
This podcast is also brought to you by some very, very, very delicious chocolate protein. So I've talked before about this company's green powder, it's called Organifi, but they also make a protein that is designed with hemp, quinoa, and pea. Really unique blend. But when you put all those three together, you get a complete spectrum of amino acids. Then they take it one step further, they add medium chained triglycerides, they add unique digestion soothing digestive enzymes, monk fruit, coconut, and it tastes amazing. Tastes like a Wendy's Frosty. So you can get a big discount on this stuff when you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi, and use discount code “Ben” to get 20% off of their green juice, or their delicious chocolate or their delicious vanilla protein. And now onto today's show with Robert, I call him Robert, Robbie, Robb Wolf.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“A1C is calculated off of an assumption that our red blood cells live about a maximum of 90 days. And so they will accumulate a certain amount of advanced glycation end products, which is usually reflective of an average blood glucose level.” “There's a thought that something happens with these modern processed foods, whether it's like a glycemic insult, whether it is a rewiring of the kind of hedonic centers and the down regulation of dopamine production. Like I don't know how much we really understand on that, but something changes.”
Ben: Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield, and the last time that I had the extremely entertaining and educational, I suppose that makes him an edutainment, edutainer, edutainer. The last time I had Robb Wolf on my show, let's see, we talked about nicotine gum, we talked about alactic training, binaural beats, small scale farming, and a whole lot more. And I'll put a link to that episode in the show notes for this episode, which you can access over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/wired. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/wired. Why Wired? Because Robb just wrote a new book called “Wired to Eat”. I read it last month, and it's really good. I know for those of you who are podcast junkies, perhaps you've heard Robb making the rounds on other podcasts, talking about this book. I promise that I will try not to cover everything that you've heard before, and hopefully we'll even weave in a relatively detailed discussion of porn in today's episode because you talk about it in your book, Robb. So why not, right?
Robb: And it seems like that's just the way things are going. So, yes.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. And as Robb and I were discussing before we even got on the show just now, if you guys hear like the sound of what sounds like an air compression machine in the background, it's because I figured out how to wear my fancy space-agey compression boots while I'm podcasting to keep myself from dropping dead of a blood clot, I suppose, or what's it called, Robb? When you're on the airplane and you get…
Robb: The DVTs. The deep vein thrombosis?
Ben: Yeah. Deep vein thrombosis is something you won't hear me experience during this podcast episode. If all else goes to complete [censored], I at least am not going to have a DVT. So there you have it.
Robb: Fantastic. I'm excited for this.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. And for those you not familiar with Robb, I'll certainly put his extensive bio in the show notes, again over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/wired. But he's a former research biochemist, which means he actually knows the science. He didn't just read about it on a blog post. He is a bestselling author. He wrote the book “The Paleo Solution”. He's a speaker. He and I run into each other quite a bit at all these fancy health, and fitness, and nutrition conferences around the globe. And also, Robb, you're getting into hunting now as well. We've had that discussion a couple of times the past few times we've met up.
Robb: Yeah. I hunted a decent amount as a kid and really got pretty geeked out on traditional archery and definitely love it. Like it's kind of that zen flow state similar to spearfishing or jiu-jitsu for me, like there's just not a lot of things, I'm not much of a yoga, seated meditation type of guy. But getting out and doing some planking around, like trying to get some rabbits and stuff like that around my house is a ton of fun.
Ben: Yeah. Are you shooting traditional bow when you're going after a rabbit?
Robb: Recurve, yeah. Because it's…
Ben: Okay. That's more of a challenge.
Robb: It is. But it's interesting, if you have something that potentially is a moving target or it pops up and runs, some people do a good job with the compound bow set-up and stuff like that, but there's a lot of folks that do remarkably well with this instinctive shooting. And we do a fair amount of practice where like we'll take kind of frisbee-type things and throw 'em up, and I use a special type of arrow called a flu-flu, which has some really large fletching on it, it kind of slows it down, and so you're able to get some pretty good eye-hand coordination. It's interesting. It is a very perishable skill, like you do you need to practice it. But if you kind of relax into it and let that instinct take over, you can get a remarkable degree of proficiency with it. It's a ton of fun.
Ben: Oh, yeah. When I was a kid, that's what I used to shoot. Growing up in the hills around Lewiston, Idaho was just like a little Recurve that my parents bought me and I'd go after little squirrels, and rabbits, and stuff like that. But I've since moved on to the Ferrari of bows, the compound bow. Have I told you before about that Train To Hunt competition, which is basically like obstacle racing with a weapon?
Robb: Yes, yes. And it sounds amazing.
Ben: Yeah. They have a Recurve division in that.
Robb: Oh, interesting.
Ben: So if you decide to transfer your jiu-jitsu and your power lifting skills and merge those with your archery skills and your extreme knowledge of fitness hacking, you could probably do pretty well.
Robb: Maybe. Work my knowledge of all that, I would realize how horrible, how much pain is involved in that. But that's fascinating. That's awesome.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. So in the book, which I guess we're supposed to talk about on today's show according to the promise that I made…
Robb: We can, but we don't have to.
Ben: You actually talk about, let's start here. You talk about porn. You actually have a section in the book where you discuss Gary Wilson's book, which is really good by the way, called “Your Brain On Porn“. So tell me why you decided to talk about Gary's book as a part of a book about eating. Not that porn and eating don't go hand in hand, but I suppose we could make some dirty hand washing, nacho cheese on your fingers jokes here, but…
Robb: And it's funny because I think the subtitle for that chapter is “Porn With A Side of Nachos” actually, if memory serves. But if I pat myself on the back about anything in the work that I do, I'm pretty good at synthesis. I will spend some time reading or watching material that seems to be out in a completely non-related field and I feel like I do a decent job of kind of pulling that stuff in. And Gary Wilson's book and all the work that they've done on this kind of sexual dysfunction from porn is really interesting. And if folks aren't familiar with it, back in the early 2000's, sex therapists and people in the health care scene started getting reports of young men, both heterosexual and homosexual, who started developing really profound sexual dysfunction. Like they couldn't attain an erection at all, they couldn't have normal sexual relationships with living human beings, and this got progressively worse as the internet bandwidth got faster and faster. And what guys figured out how to do, they would get kind of one flavor of porn open in a tab, and then they would get another flavor, and another flavor, and another flavor, and they would just kind of bounce through these things. And what appears to be happening is they get exposed to something that we would call a supernormal stimuli, a stimulus that just goes above and beyond anything that our genetics are really reasonably wired up to have, unless I guess you're like a rock star, or like the head of some obscure religious cult, or something like that.
Ben: Or maybe some ancestral king laid out on a couch with women feeding you grapes.
Robb: Exactly. Yeah. And what appears to happen is the brain, the hedonic centers of the brain gets so jacked up, like literally just driven over the top with stimulation that then you need another dose that's even greater than that. And at some point there's nothing left on the internet that is weird enough that won't get you thrown in jail that is able to get you what you're looking for. And then the flip side of that is out in the real world, nothing really is interesting or capable of kind of getting your rocks off. And the younger individuals are that go down this path, the more severe the dysfunction is, like it literally appears to be kind of a form of brain damage, pretty hard to recover. It looks very similar to kind of the extinction methodology that's used in drug addiction and stuff like that.
But the interesting parallel for me is looking at our modern hyper-palatable food environment where we have substances like sea salt and vinegar potato chips that are effectively supernormal stimulus. They are so above and beyond what you would be able to find in any reasonable approximation of not even just like an ancestral diet, but like 1950's America. There's stuff that's been engineered in the last 10 years that is just been unheard of and when people get habituated to these types of foods, anything that is less refined than that literally takes on the appeal of like cardboard. And people kind of paint themselves into a corner with this and they find it pretty difficult to make diet changes in particular because just nothing really is appealing other than like a hot fudge sundae draped over sea salt and vinegar potato chips with an Almond Roca chaser. Something like that kind of becomes the norm, and so suggesting that they eat some pork spare ribs cooked in olive oil with ginger, and some broccoli, and maybe a sweet potato, they're just like, “Are you mad?” So this is the parallel that I draw with this kind of porn dysfunction and the neuroregulation of sexuality being somewhat analogous to the neuroregulation of appetite in that we're probably genetically wired for some kind of like exposure, and frequency band to that exposure, and whatnot, and if we're consistently using some sort of modern technology to jam our experience out into the stratosphere that there may be some downsides to that.
Ben: Interesting. So you're basically equating chili cheese nachos to some fringe Asian horse wearing high heels draped over rose petals in a giant king size bed next to a heart shaped hot tub type of scenario.
Robb: At a minimum, yes.
Ben: Got it. Okay. Cool. So essentially from like a neurotransmitter standpoint, is there actually something going, like from a chemical standpoint are our brains actually changing when we get exposed to these more hedonic foods?
Robb: It appears so, yes. And this is one of the interesting things that where a ketogenic diet may shine in certain circumstances in general. Man, there's so much contention around this and you deal with it every day as to why, but there's a general trend towards the more fat in the diet, the greater tendency to overeat and some stuff like that. There's caveats to that, but I mean Dan Pardi who's really brilliant with this stuff, like he can speak on this at a very high level, but interestingly there is a point where when we kick over and do this ketogenic process that we actually get a really profound appetite suppression kind of activity. And it appears, the ketogenic diet has been studied for a long time for different neurological conditions like epilepsy, more recently people have been looking at it for traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's. So quite an interest variety of kind of neurodegenerative states, and there's a thought that something happens with these modern processed foods, whether it's like a glycemic insult, whether it is a rewiring of the kind of hedonic centers and the down regulation of maybe dopamine production. Like I don't know how much we really understand on that, but something changes. But it appears that a ketogenic diet might be pretty helpful in restoring that situation for certain people. So yeah, I mean there definitely seems to be something going on there, and it may be at the level of actually a change in neural architecture, there's certainly something happening at the neurotransmitter level, and then there's kind of knock on effects from there.
Ben: Interesting. I hadn't thought about a ketogenic diet before as being something that would stabilize neurotransmitters or reset something like the hedonic centers in the brain. I would imagine that the type of ketogenic diet would matter, like a plant rich diet chock full of coconut oil and olive oil might be far different than chicken wings, and coconut manna, and grass-fed butter, I don't know, drenched over some other type of high fat substance like say bacon.
Robb: Right. I honestly, I would assume that the food quality piece like always is a really important issue here. If we're nutrient deficient, micronutrient deficient, we're not really set up for remodeling anything, whether it's a broken bone, a pulled muscle, or trying to redo some element of the brain. One interesting feature, and again there's no randomized controlled trial on any of this, it's all review papers, speculation, proposed mechanism, so definitely take it with a grain of salt, but also don't just, folks, jettison it out of hand. But there is some great research that suggests that the neurological benefits of exercise appear to be derived from the release of brain derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF. And interestingly, the main signaling mechanism in BDNF release is dependent on the presence of ketone bodies, specifically beta hydroxybutyrate. So if we don't get a BDNF release, or if we don't get a threshold of beta hydroxybutyrate at a certain concentration, then we just really don't see BDNF release. And so that's another piece to this, that if we are goosing seeing things by increasing the circulating levels of ketone bodies, then maybe that alone is enough to augment that BDNF process. Certainly that plus exercise may augment that process.
And again, oftentimes we're mitigating some of the damaging effects of blood sugar swings substrate inavailability, and so kind of a stress response, we're mitigating some of the kind of glycemic damage that can occur. So there's a lot of different possible mechanisms going on there, but the practical takeaway is it's best to just not get too far down that path. Once you are far down that path of potentially kind of altering your neuroregulation of appetite, it may take some significant work to pull you back. And for people that coach others, health care providers, if you're stumped or frustrated by the difficulty of changing this, like if you looked at this more as like a neurotrauma on par with a traumatic brain injury, then I think it could remove some of the frustration and the expectations that this is “just a behavioral issue”. At the end of the day, all behavior derives out of the brain, and the neuroarchitecture, and the neurotransmitters, and whatnot. So at the end of the day, this stuff does ultimately have some sort of an organic or biological underpinning. But if you understand that there might literally be something on par with effectively brain damage or brain alterations, then we can be a little bit more understanding, forgiving of both of ourselves and of the people that we're trying to caretake with this process and kind of understand that it might be a lot to unpack.
Ben: Yeah. From that neurotransmitter standpoint, I know that Stephan Guyenet has a new book, I actually have him slated to come on the show, I believe, in a month or so…
Robb: It's outstanding. “The Hungry Brain”.
Ben: Yes. “The Hungry Brain“. And he really delves into that hardcore, the neurotransmitter and hormonal response to some of these hedonistic foods. And so for those of you who want to take a deeper dive into that, definitely stay tuned because I'll certainly be interviewing Stephen about that “Hungry To Eat” book soon, and I'll put a link to that in the show notes over it bengreenfieldfitness.com/wired if you want to check that out. That's interesting though, Robb, what you say about ketosis and brain derived neurotrophic factor because one of my go-to strategies when I have a mentally intensive day, which might happen once every few weeks or so, I try not to think too much and generally just…
Robb: It's better that way.
Ben: Try to have more beefcake days than mentally intensive days. But ultimately on those days when I know I need to call upon more cognitive superpowers, I do try to do a fasted morning aerobic workout to jack up blood ketones. And based on neuro research last month, it turns out that it appears that both intense interval training as well as weight training seem to allow for increased levels of BDNF just as well as aerobic exercise. I've just gotten into the habit of, based on the research leading up to that point, of relying upon aerobic exercise as my primary stimulant of BDNF. But yeah, like a fasted morning workout, especially like if I'm at a conference before I'm going to go onstage a couple hours later, something easy, 20, 30 minutes, but definitely in that ketotic state. It seems to really trigger quite a bit of, I guess, mental superpowers. I suppose I can just probably pop some of Modafinil, but the fasted morning workouts really do seem to give you an edge from a cognitive standpoint. So that makes sense what you say about ketosis and BDNF. I just didn't know that the two were correlated.
Robb: Yeah. I have to give all credit to my understanding of that to Ken Ford who runs The Institute for Human Machine Cognition. That guy…
Ben: Oh, does that guy run the podcast…
Ben: I've come across it a few times, the StemTalk podcast. That's actually a really good podcast.
Robb: It's a phenomenal podcast. And Ken is just an amazing guy and has so many different pots that he stirs from robotics, to elite human performance, the IHMC is tied in with Dom D'Agostino and a number of other people that do some of the research around ketosis for hyperbaric oxygen situations, they work closely with Naval Special Warfare and DOD on a lot of this research. Ken is just a brilliant guy, and I'll throw this out there, I know this might get out in the weeds a little bit, but he also just shot me a paper that suggested that elevated ketone levels are a pretty potent myostatin inhibitor. And that's interesting when we're thinking about effective aging, and there's a lot of back and forth about like “is a ketogenic state amenable to muscle gain”, and Ryan Lowry just did a really interesting paper that was looking at that. And it seemed to paint the ketogenic state as at least as good as a standard mixed diet, with possibly some other benefits. But if there is in fact some sort of a myostatin uncoupling kind of process where you're kind of suppressing that activity in addition to just generally doing a smart strength training program or whatever, that could have some really interesting knock on effects too.
Ben: Interesting. Because one of my goals is to actually look like the myosatin knockout bull that you can find via a simple Google image search. Those of you have not typed in myostatin knockout bull, or myostatin knockout mice or mouse into Google image search, you're missing out on a pretty interesting phenomenon of super-duper swole animals. So you're saying we could achieve the same thing potentially through like ketone bodies?
Robb: It can goose it that direction in theory. And I will throw one other kind of wacky side note with that. Theoretically, and I haven't dug super deep on any of the papers on this, but sildenafil, Viagra, theoretically is a potent inhibitor of myostatin.
Robb: So put that one in your pipe and smoke it.
Ben: Interesting. I've taken Viagra, and also a Kamagra, the Asian generic version, that might be the Indian generic version, I don't know, whatever they gave me in Thailand before some bicycling workouts before just to see what would happen, and it actually does have a pretty significant performance enhancing effect. Banned by WADA by the way, for those of you athletes listening in. You can't actually do this as a daily habit if you're racing in a sanctioned sport, but it does seem to have a pretty interesting performance enhancing effect in places other than the bedroom. I wasn't aware of the myostatin inhibiting effect of it though. That's interesting.
Robb: Is that like VO2Max-type stuff, or vaso…
Ben: Just exactly what you'd expect with nitric oxide, like lactic acid buffering, blood flow, boners if a hot girl happens to run by while you're on your bicycle, that type of thing.
Robb: That could be problematic though.
Ben: It could be. You just have to make sure your spandex is of a high quality and you get to go. That or a little duct tape. Okay. Anyways though, we digress. Although so far we've covered porn and Viagra, so I'm going to call this podcast a success already. You, kind of like the meat of the book, Robb, you get into these fascinating kind of like cookie and banana type blood sugar studies that were done, I believe over in, was it Tel Aviv? Or somewhere in Israel?
Robb: Yeah. Weitzman Institute in Israel. Yeah.
Ben: Okay. So go into what they looked at in that study because it really I think kind of lays down the foundation for people understanding some of the recommendations that you have in the book.
Robb: Yeah, yeah. It was a really fascinating study. I think it's been published maybe two, two and a half years now, and it's looking at nutrition and the glycemic response around that. And the study design started off [0:27:14] ______ group of 800 people, they fitted these folks with a CGM, a continuous glucose monitor, checked their blood glucose once a minute for the whole duration of the study. They then did a full gut microbiome analysis and a genetic analysis on these folks, as well as like your standard kind of lipidology panel, fasted glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, et cetera. And then they started feeding folks different meals, and what was really fascinating about that is the blood glucose response to these meals were all over the map. Like they're just, at the surface level, didn't appear to be a ton of rhyme or reason to what was going on. And they had some really interesting occurrences, like the cookie and the banana example that you mentioned. Like one person would eat a banana and they would have a beautiful blood glucose response. I mean it looked like they drank water. It barely went up, there wasn't much of a crash at all because it really wasn't much delta in that number. And then they would eat a cookie, and these things were matched. They did a really good job. These meals were matched for carbohydrate content, they had accounted for the fiber and everything. So it was…
Ben: So the only difference was really the type of food or the glycemic index of that food?
Robb: Right. Yeah. So one person would have a great blood glucose response to a banana, a terrible blood glucose response to a cookie, which some people would be like, “Okay, that's not surprising. Processed food versus non-processed food.” Well another person would have a terrible; I mean horrible blood glucose response to a banana. At that two hour mark, they were at peri-diabetic levels of blood sugar. And the cookie, again, it was like, “Did they eat a cookie or did they have a glass of water?” Like this thing barely went up. And when I was putting together the book proposal, I mentioned this stuff. And so the publishers jumped on it, they were like, “Oh, there's cookie and banana profiles!” I'm just like, “No. It's not that simple.” There's not six buckets of people out there that, some of them are great with cookies, some are good with bananas. This stuff is incredibly random from one person to the next. One of the consistencies, and I know one of the questions you have later is, “What are some universally good and universally bad foods?” One of them that was really interesting was hummus, which, even though I'm like the paleo guy…
Ben: Hold on. Hold on, Robb. Back up. It's hummus. [hoom-uhs]
Robb: Hummus. [hoom-uhs]
Ben: And by the way, tahini, it's actually [0:29:54] ______. You know how I know this Robb, is because for a very long time, the Israeli Chamber of Commerce was under the impression that I was a Jew.
Robb: Oh, really?
Ben: Well, with the name Benjamin Greenfield, how can you go wrong. And so I would get these emails, and they would fly me over to Israel to do food tours, to do blogging food tours. So I've been all over Israel, and Galilee, and Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem eating hummus and tahini. So I'm an expert in not only how to pronounce these, but exactly how much you can eat before basically your entire [censored] explodes. So anyways, I have experience, and I can tell you right now, you need to begin to pronounce it hummus. [hoom-uhs]
Robb: Well, I'm going to do some cultural appropriation still make it sound like it's just rotting leaf from the forest.
Ben: That's right. Hummus. Anyways, back to universally appropriate foods.
Robb: So the tahini and garbanzo bean mix, formerly known as hummus, about 50% of the folks that had it had a great blood glucose response, which you really wouldn't be surprised by that because it's protein, and fat, and fiber. I mean there's really not many carbohydrates to speak of there. But then about 50% of the people that they studied in this process had a really remarkably high blood glucose response. So it was kind of like a coin toss. It was about a 50/50 proposition, and the researchers are really wonderful people, they were very forthright with information and kind with their time. I got to interview about six of them for some kind of back story on all this stuff, and I asked them, “Do you think this elevated blood glucose response,” I mean it's greater than really what the carbohydrate content of the food could account for. It's almost like we created matter or something, and I said, “Do you think that this could be an immunogenic response? Could this be kind of a stress response?” And they said, “We didn't study that specifically because we weren't even contemplating looking for this, but clearly that is a likely mechanism.” And some of their follow-on work is going to investigate that. And so…
Ben: Now when you say “stress response”, do you mean like someone might be allergic to a food or might have some kind of like, I guess like an allergenic or a protein-based response that would cause a cortisol release and subsequent mobilization of liver glycogen?
Robb: Exactly. Yeah. Is it directly an issue with a protein in the food? That's a possibility. Is it an issue with this food encouraging some growth of specific types of bacteria and then maybe some endotoxemia? Like there's a couple of, it's funny. It's kind of, you could say, “Yes, it's an immunogenic response.” But then we still don't know exactly what that mechanism is. But the black box model is food causes some sort of an immunogenic response, that causes likely a release of cortisol, and adrenaline, noradrenaline, that pings the liver, the liver releases glucose to elevate blood sugar levels, which is a normal part of that fight or flight response. But this does appear to happen in some people. It doesn't happen always, but it's likely a mechanistic description of what's going on when you have a food that you see a blood glucose response that are really kind of off the Richter relative to what the carbohydrate content is.
Ben: Right. Something you wouldn't expect. Like you have a salad and perhaps you, I don't know, you're allergic to some kind of bacteria that's on the dirt, that's on the kale on that salad that you never would have expected to produce a pronounced blood glucose response, your body produces cortisol, your liver responds with glycogenolysis, your blood sugar goes up, and maybe your neighbor down the street has zero deleterious response to said…
Ben: Okay. So that would be like an immunogenic response. You also mention like a bacterial response. So is it then theoretical that someone with a different gut microbiome then, their neighbor would have a different response to like a cookie versus a banana?
Robb: Yes. And that's really the crux of this thing is when they, so initially it just looked like random noise, like they couldn't get their hands around any of this stuff. But when they started applying some machine learning algorithms to this massive data set, like I want to say if it was 800 people, one blood sugar sample per person per minute over the course of three weeks, and I want to say it was a million, like six million sample, a huge…
Ben: Oh, wow. ‘Cause they were wearing continuous monitors?
Robb: Correct, yeah. And so they had to get like supercomputers in crunching on this. But trying to find some signal in that noise, and what they did start noticing was if you have kind of this genetic profile with this overlay of gut microbiota, which would be the epigenetic kind of influence, if you ate foods A, B, C, you would have blood glucose response X, Y, Z. And this is actually part of what they did for the validation of this whole process is that they then took another group of a hundred people, outfitted him with CGMs, did the gut microbiome and the genetic sequencing, and then based off that, ran the machine learning algorithm over their data, and then said, “Okay, what foods will they likely do well with?” And the correlation number, like a perfect match would have been like a .7, and they were getting like a .68, .63, like really really significant in that regard. So they did perform a validation kind of process on the back end of that.
Ben: Now I don't know where they've gone in terms of those machine learning algorithms, but would someone listening in right now have the ability to take, let's say they've done the American Gut Project or they've had their gut microbiome sequenced in some way, would they at this point in the research, or in terms of what's available online be able to take that data, and feed it into some of the research that they've done over in Israel, and actually see the type of foods that they might have a deleterious blood sugar response to based on their particular microbiome?
Robb: Yeah. My understanding is currently that stuff. It's all kind of locked down and proprietary, but there is a company called DayTwo, which is kind of ramping up in its offerings of being able to get the microbiome and the genetic testing, and I actually went through this. And they're really really cool people, but I have some…
Ben: It's called DayTwo?
Ben: It sounds like a zombie movie.
Robb: It's a horrible company name…
Ben: I'll hunt it down and link to it in the show notes for people listening in.
Robb: Again, really nice people, really interesting process, but there's some stuff that I'm still not clear with. So like I'm super reactive to gluten, I have celiac, I think I also have gluten inreactivity, and stuff like that. This would not have been picked up on this. And interestingly, I don't think that I necessarily have that immunogenic response that leads to elevated blood glucose with gluten. I've been unwilling to test that directly, but just kind of observationally when I get a cross contamination from gluten, I don't get a blood sugar peak and crash. I feel like dog [censored]. My problems are different. And so, I do still have some reservations in unreservedly recommending this methodology because, I think we will be at a spot at some point where we're able to look at genetics, look at epigenetics, specifically the gut microbiome and maybe a few other features, and have a pretty good bet that you have problems with eggs, or you have problems with soy, or you likely have intestinal permeability right now and so you're reactive to a million different things. But if we fix the intestinal permeability, you're going to be reactive to nothing. And I think that we will get there eventually, but I don't think we're quite there yet. And so this DayTwo company will run your genetic analysis, will do the gut microbiome sequencing. And then based off that, they do generate some recommended kind of meal plans, but there's some gaps in it currently.
Ben: Yeah. I'm looking at it right now though. It's kind of exactly what I asked you. You provide a stool sample, they sequence your microbiome, they predict which foods could be good for you, or which foods would or would not increase your blood sugar levels. And then it looks like you get a personalized nutrition app. So, interesting. I might have to, I know you said there's still some foggy correlations there, but maybe I'll try this out and report to folks what I find out about my own poop…
Robb: I could definitely intro you to the CEO. Lihi Segal is the CEO. And really, again, great people. I think that they're on to something really interesting. But the reservation that I have is to the degree that I've had a decent amount of success in this space, I usually lead with this kind of elimination diet, and that just, man, it fixes so much stuff.
Ben: And that would be similar to what you talk about in the book, right?
Robb: It is. And what I ended up recommending in the book is a 30 day reset built around largely a paleo type of template. And then I recommend testing via reintroduction of a variety of foods and using seven day carb tests while we check the blood glucose response. And what I'm encouraging people to do in that scenario is to [0:39:52] ______ active elements, like what's your cognitive function, how long can you go between meals, what's your digestion like. So those are the kind of soft science stuff, but important subjective elements coupled to the really objective, hard, factual observations that we get from blood glucose testing. And that was kind of the way that I navigated this process. I could be wrong. I may be fooling myself. But I still think there's something really powerful and important for a lot of folks to kind of give some thought towards this ancestral template and in maybe calling into question some grains, some legumes, some dairy at least in the beginning, and reestablishing normal gut microbiota, or kind of shifting it in a favorable way, rewiring the neuroregulation of appetite, and then circling back around and really kicking that thing and pressure testing it by the reintroduction of these foods, seeing what the subjective elements are, and also looking at the blood glucose response.
Ben: Okay. So what you're seeing is the first thing that you're recommending based off of the results of this study that was done in Israel is before you even begin to test your blood sugar response to a meal to identify which foods would or would not be appropriate for you and your individualized blood sugar responses is like people to do like almost like a clean-up diet even before they start doing that?
Robb: Yes. Yeah.
Ben: Okay. So that's 30 days. In your book, what's that called? Phase one?
Robb: It's “The 30 Day Reset”. Yeah, that's part of phase one.
Ben: Okay. The 30 Day Reset. TM. Right.
Robb: Exactly, yeah. If I had some wherewithal with that, I should have probably done that, but I think that ship has sailed now.
Ben: Hey, I want to interrupt today's show to tell you about total human optimization. That almost sounded like Sean Connery, or a really old man. Anyways, so this company, Onnit, they make battle ropes, they make suspension rings, they've got a speed rope, they've got what's called like a balance board or an SI board. If you haven't been to their website and seen this, it's sick. They've got steel bells, they've got sandbags, they've got ballistic medicine balls, they've got not just steel clubs and steel maces, but they have a quad mace. If you've never seen a quad mace before, basically it is made from a hand sculpted cast iron, it's longer than most maces, so you've got more leverage, it's got a slip resistant ashwood handle. It's pretty much the coolest thing that you could ever put in your gym and it was designed to withstand 100,000 swings. I don't know who tested that. They must've gotten pretty tired doing 100,000 swings. Without any signs of wear or stress, it's the pinnacle of form and function, and just like slamming stuff around and hitting it. So you can get a discount on this, their supplements, their functional foods, anything. I really dig their stuff. And your URL to save on any of their stuff is just onnit.com/bengreenfield. That's onnit.com/bengreenfield, and you get 10% off of anything at Onnit. onnit.com/bengreenfield. Check it out and go there today.
This podcast is also brought to you by Blue Apron. Blue Apron makes amazing meals, they send 'em to your home, you make them. What's on the menu this week? Well, they've got chicken and sweet pepper tostadas, shrimp and squid ink spaghetti, what? and seared beef knockwurst. But I'm gonna go back to the shrimp and squid ink spaghetti thing. Yes, they actually send this to your home, actual squid ink, and then like all the instructions for the spaghetti, and you make it. And they teach you how to blanch, and how to cook, and how to chop, and everything with these little recipe cards, and then you just make it all yourself. And yes, they have fresh squid ink spaghetti. Totally not kidding. You can get any of their very unique meals, obviously, sent right your way. They're sustainable, they work with chefs, they work with farmers, and it really is good, good stuff. It tastes amazing. You go to blueapron.com/ben and you get your first three meals totally free with free shipping. Just go to blueapron.com/ben. Free meals, free shipping, you can't go wrong. And who knows, you may find more uses for the squid ink. I don't know. Let me know how that goes for you. Either way, blueapron.com/ben. Check it out. And now back to today's show.
Ben: Okay. So you do the 30 day reset, and obviously we don't have to give away everything that's in the book, but that's just kind of like eating clean for 30 days, more or less.
Robb: It's essentially a paleo-type template, but I'm pretty proud of like the triage process. So before starting that, we get people comfortable with tracking some of these subjective elements, like how long can you go between meals, what's your cognitive function, all that type of stuff. And then I recommend a battery of blood work that is like the standard, total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, we look at A1C, we look at fructosamine, we also look at the LPIR score, lipoprotein insulin resistance score. And what we've found in the work that we've done here in Reno is that there are some great things like fasting insulin, there's the triglyceride-HDL ratio, there's the HOMA IR. These things are really valuable, but the HOMA IR is a bastard to get that done. Triglyceride-HDL ratio…
Ben: Robb, what's HOMA IR?
Robb: Oh, man. I forget the breakdown on it, but it's basically a testing protocol where you are actually doing blood samples over the course of time, getting an area under the curve for total amount of insulin in response to like an oral glucose tolerance challenge. So we're doing a direct measurement of insulin, which is tougher to quantify. There's not really like finger stick type activity with that. It gold standard, but it's kind of hard to do. It's reasonably expensive to do. So some people will use things like the triglyceride-HDL ratio as a surrogate for insulin resistance. But what we've found is in, particularly like police, military, and fire populations, they may have insulin resistance caused largely by sleep disturbances or a hyper vigilant state, and the triglyceride-HDL ratio does not pick that up. So there's a bunch, 40 to 60% of people that are insulin resistant, but it's not specifically diet driven, it's actually kind of lifestyle driven, either sleep or hyper vigilant state. Like just being stressed out, those people can be missed, whereas the LPIR score will catch all of those people. It's cheap, it's really effective, and so we use that to kind of set the background. And based off where you…
Ben: Before the 30 day reset?
Robb: Before the 30 day reset. And so if you tend to be a little more insulin sensitive, then part of the thirty day reset is going to be jumping in with more carbs. If you're more insulin resistant, then you jump in with fewer carbs. If you have or suspect an autoimmune condition, there's an auto immune paleo process that is an option through the book. There's also a transitional ketosis option, which is built around a low glycemic load food intake and supplemented with MCT oil, and then a nutritional ketosis option. I provide a pretty good sorting mechanism to figure out, “Okay, who are you, where do you want to go?” Based off of subjective and objective elements, which bucket you fall into? And based off of which bucket you fall, like the ketosis and the transitional ketosis plans are a little bit different and I save those for the very last chapter of the book. If it's either the basic paleo or autoimmune paleo process, then that's where you jump in on that 30 day reset specifically with that, and then we overlay that seven day carb test after that.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Before we jump into that seven day carb test, I had a couple of questions, because you get into these labs that you just went over in the book. But one thing you that say, because a lot of people will test this so I wanted to ask you about it, hemoglobin A1C, kind of like that three month snap shot of blood sugar levels, is something that you say might not be actually accurate, or a lot of doctors aren't really aware of the full story when it comes to elevated A1C. Can you explain why you're not a fan of that as a go-to marker for an accurate analysis?
Robb: I really like it, but we can get a little bit of a hip fake from it. And the hip fake comes from if someone is already eating reasonably low carb, so the A1C is calculated off of an assumption that our red blood cells live about a maximum of 90 days. And so they will accumulate a certain amount of advanced glycation end products, which is usually reflective of an average blood glucose level. And that's usually pretty solid in most populations, like there's pretty good correlation there with what the real blood glucose was. But in people that generally eat kind of low carb, their red blood cells tend to live longer and they may live significantly longer. We don't know exactly what the numbers are on that, but they may live an upwards of twice as long. So you could have someone, it could be you, that you check your A1C, and the A1C is like 5.8, or 5.6, or something, pretty darn high, like higher than what most people would really want or be comfortable with. And it looks like your average blood glucose has been really high over time, but maybe it hasn't been, maybe this is an artifact of you eating differently. And so that's where I recommend using another marker called fructosamine, which is a different advanced glycation end product, biomarker. And if both fructosamine and A1C are elevated, then it's like, Okay, we almost certainly have an average elevated blood glucose that probably reflective for what's being reported here. If we have a high A1C, but a low or normal fructosamine, then we probably have a situation where the person is just kind of artificially seeing elevated numbers on that A1C because the red blood cells are just living longer.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So in people who have red blood cells that live longer, which would be people on like a low carbohydrate diet, they would actually display elevated A1C values that should not necessarily be interpreted as high glucose unless that's accompanied by high fructosamine and high fasted glucose levels?
Robb: Correct. It doesn't always happen, but it can. Kurt Harris, who used to be pretty active in the kind of paleo low carb scene, but he pulled like a Dr. Manhattan and obtained omnipotence and basically disappeared, but he was very, very knowledgeable on this stuff, and I got to pick his brain a fair amount about it before he kind of disappeared.
Ben: It's kind of the opposite thing with athletes, isn't it? Like endurance athletes who have, I believe higher red blood cell turnover, can sometimes display, I think it would be low hemoglobin A1C, even if they're eating like crappy high sugar diets and they may actually have really high blood glucose and low hemoglobin A1C.
Robb: Correct. And that's why, I mean there's a million different things that you could test, and there's always like this trade off of what's enough to be able to paint the picture you want and it's not like onerously expensive. So there's back and forth on that, but that's why I kind of settled on fasting glucose A1C, fructosamine, plus that LPIR score. And so we're able to get a really good sense of insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance for the individual. And then when we start actually real world testing foods, then we get a legit picture out of that.
Ben: Got it. By the way, we mentioned fructosamine a couple of times in the past few minutes. For people who aren't familiar with the fructosamine measurement, which isn't that common on a diabetes evaluation, what is the fructosamine test?
Robb: It's just another biomarker that's looking at a different type of advanced glycation end product.
Ben: Okay. Got it.
Robb: Definitely related to glucose, but it's happening, instead of at the proteins on the red blood cell, it's a, I believe, a plasma protein.
Ben: Okay. Cool. So you do these tests, and then you jump into, based on the results of your test, the appropriate 30-day kind of reset diet. And then after that, that's when you do what you call the seven day test?
Robb: The seven day carb test, yeah.
Ben: Okay, the seven day carb test. And how does that work?
Robb: Do we pick a battery of foods that we want to kick the tires on, and ideally we, again, we try to do this as scientifically and consistently as possible. So what I recommend is you do this for your breakfast meal or first thing in the morning, and we try to do it as consistently as possible. If you exercise in the morning, it gets a little dodgy because I would want you to do the exact same exercise, the exact same intensity. So I tend to recommend not to exercise at least initially. I know you have a question on mitigative strategies, and so we could maybe throw that in after this, but we're trying to make it like a scientific study. So if you drink coffee, drink the same amount, have it at the same time. And I recommend the breakfast or the morning process because that tends to be the most consistency that we see throughout our day, whereas one day you might have a meeting, another day you might be exercising all day. And so when it gets later and later in the day, we have more and more variables that could really move that blood sugar response around. So we try to get as consistent as we can.
In the book and also on the website, there's a link to the website to an expanded list, but we have a list of foods where we are recommending a 50 gram aliquot of effective carbohydrates. So we subtract out the fiber, we get 50 grams of effective carbs, you eat that. And then once you finish the meal, then we test that at a two hour mark, and if at the two hour mark we see blood sugar levels below a certain point, then we usually say, “Okay, that's a pretty good number to run with.” If it's above a certain point, then we start asking some questions about, “Okay, would it be a good idea to cut this in half, or avoid it, or some of the mitigating strategies that you would mention in some of your pre-recording questions like…
Ben: Now before we jump into those mitigating strategies, by the way, when you're looking at the blood glucose, when you're consuming these 50 grams of carbohydrates, like for example in your matrices here, or matrix, although I think matrices makes me sound more intelligent so I'm going to roll with that. In your food matrices, you say for example like 1.6 white potatoes would be 50 grams, or 3.25 cups of lotus root, whoever the hell eats 3.25 cups of lotus fruit, you have a whole bunch of stuff listed here that would fall into that 50 grams of effective carbohydrates category. And by the way, what's effective mean? Why not just carbohydrate? What is effective carbohydrate mean?
Robb: So it's the amount that's going to be metabolically available to your bloodstream. So to the fiber might get turned into some short chain fats by bacteria and stuff, but it's not going to register on the blood glucose response.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So people eat that. And are you looking, just throw some numbers out at me. Like if someone was actually eating the 50 grams and then testing afterwards, what numbers are they looking for to indicate that it would be a deleterious blood sugar response?
Robb: So I would like to see numbers at that two hour mark below 115, 115 nanograms per deciliter, which is pretty low. I had a lot of people in the medical scene that were like, “Oh, we don't even look sideways at things until it's above 150 or 160 at two hours.” And I'm like, “Yeah, you guys aren't [0:56:38] ______. ” So I base these numbers actually on some pretty good studies which I got from Stephan Guyenet actually, which he had tracked down and looked at oral glucose tolerance tests in a hundred gatherers in pre-westernized populations. This was interesting because most of these people, they're little people. Like the fully grown males are like 5'2″, 115, 120 pounds. Like they're small people. And there's a dilution factor that you have to consider. If you have a 200 pound person versus a 100 pound person, there's twice as much surface area and mass to just like diffuse that glucose throughout the individual. So there is a consideration there. But even with that caveat, these are small folks. They did the oral glucose tolerance test, and that the two hour mark, they were routinely in about the 95 to the 110 nanogram per deciliter range, which is phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. And so I bumped that up a smidge, and it's interesting 'cause some folks mention some numbers, like Peter Atia throws out there. Like he would like to see your average blood glucose not really much above 83 to 85, he doesn't want to see much more than about a 10 to 15 nanogram per deciliter change…
Ben: Yeah. But he's extreme. He does 24 hour bike rides on a kidney bean.
Robb: Yeah, he does. But it's interesting. So he's really kind of geeked out on this longevity side of things. So mine is probably a bit more relaxed than where Peter's recommendations are, but not by much. I mean we're talking about 100 versus 115 as kind of some top ends, but it's much, much lower than what is generally acceptable within standard medical…
Ben: Right. Okay, 90 to 115. Got it. And that's within two hours after a meal. And by the way, when you die early, Peter is going to be standing in your grave, laughing…
Robb: Exactly. He's have a full gluten pizza…
Ben: You’re so liberal as your blood sugar recommendations. Either way though, so we do this test, we do the food matrices, the 50 grams, do the testing, look at that number to be between 90 to 115 within two hours afterwards. And you also mentioned carb mitigation strategies and where those would fit in here.
Robb: Yeah. So like for myself, white rice tends to put me into near diabetic blood sugar levels. So I could either say that's not a good option for me, or I could do something like using it after a really hard Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu session. I could cut the amount that I have into a smaller portion. I could try…
Ben: What about just mixing it with like fish and fat?
Robb: Those things, it's really interesting. So when we mix, I don't know. Here's the slippery thing: I don't fully know what I'm at. So if we mix protein into this story, we get an aggregate larger insulin response, which that might be good or it might be bad. So if we see people, this is where the subjective elements are really important. If you experience like a hypoglycemic event after this, and not necessarily from specifically the number that you get but from the cognitive function, like you get hungry and foggy headed, and it happens in pretty short order, and it's made worse by adding protein or even fat, in some people, adding fat to a meal blunts both the glycemic response, like the rate and the total magnitude of glucose entering the bloodstream, and also reduces the insulin load. But in some people, the insulin load increases in lockstep with the total caloric content of the meal. So it's not universally a fix to just add more fat to a carbohydrate-rich meal. And this is where people, but there appears to be a threshold. So this may be a situation where the person might be able to add fat to a 25 gram rice meal, and then they get that really nice mitigative effect from the fat. Man, it gets complex and it's pretty individual, but if this is some of the stuff again on kind of social media, people were like, “Well, just put fat in it and it will fix it.” And it's like, “Nah, it doesn't always work out that way.” And there does seem to be a threshold mechanism to that whole story.
Ben: Right. Obviously people talk about eating protein with a meal as a potential blood sugar mitigating strategy. People talk about, one of my favorites, going and doing a bunch of deadlifts before you have your sweet potato fries, which can actually work 'cause I've tested it. When you lift weights especially, that seems to really help up regulate that glucose transporter response. And so doing a hard workout before a meal certainly seems to be an effective strategy. What about like pills that you can pop or herbs and spices that you can take? Like you hear about people talking about like Ceylon cinnamon or apple cider vinegar. Have you experimented with anything like that?
Robb: I've played around a little bit with the vinegar, and I maybe get a 10 to 15 milligram per deciliter Delta off of that, lowering. I haven't done a ton with the cinnamon. Even just doing a short walk though, like an intense workout definitely works better, but even just getting up and doing a 5 to 10 minute walk can drop that average blood sugar response by about 10 points. So I mean there are some really simple mitigating strategies like that. Chromium is another…
Ben: Actually not just blood sugar, but I think based on the studies they did in Japan, postprandial triglycerides as well drop with like a brisk like 15 minute post-meal walk.
Robb: Right. Yeah. So berberine has some effect, both short term and long term. Clearly there's stuff like metformin, so there are definitely some mitigating strategies out there. But with metformin, there was just an interesting study, and I had suspected this for a long time, but they found that metformin really wasn't improving life times in diabetic users. And what metformin appears to allow these people to do is avoid some of the direct glycemic insult of constantly elevated blood glucose levels, but it's still basically encouraging or allowing one to over consume calories, force excess energy through mitochondrial complexes and whatnot, and we still get a lot of problems. So some of these mitigating strategies need to be considered in context. If we're just facilitating the over consumption of food, then that's really not going to move us in a favorable direction.
Ben: Right. My own personal sweet potato fry trick is bitter melon extract. I don't know if you've tried that before, but I believe it has the insulin-like compound Polypeptide-P in it. There's some interesting studies on it. If you look up, just go to PubMed, or Google I suppose, and look up bitter melon extract hypoglycemic response or blood sugar response, like I know they did a study in The Journal of Ethnopharmacology where they showed a really significantly reduced blood glucose response. And I think there was another study where they found it pretty similar to that diabetic drug metformin in terms of lowering blood glucose response. And that's one that you can obviously just like buy, bitter melon rinds, or bitter melon capsules, or whatever. But that's one that I keep around because I tend to have more carbohydrates for dinner. And sometimes if I haven't worked out beforehand, that's something I'll throw in there.
But right, it seems to work pretty well. And then there are those other things that you mentioned, like metformin, or the apple cider vinegar trick, Ceylon cinnamon seems to have some decent research behind it as well. But yeah, I mean as you've alluded to, there's also the individualized testing response based on your microbiome, and your cortisolic response, and all those other variables that you discuss in the book. Now what about, after you've kind of tested, you've done your 30 day reset, you've tested, you find out which carbohydrates are appropriate for you and which ones aren't, then is it simply a matter where for the rest of your life you avoid those foods that cause that pronounced blood sugar response?
Robb: That's a great question. So the final part of this, I think the chapter, it's a short chapter, but it's titled “Riding Into The Sunset”, and that's where you just have to kind of play with this stuff. I mean the goal with all of this is ultimately kind of rewiring the neuroregulation of appetite, which blood sugar control is just such a critical feature to this. But you're rewiring things in a way that you can spontaneously eat at a level that supports activity, supports good body composition, but you don't tend to do the full hookers and cocaine freak out and you start having weight and health problems. And exactly how you navigate the rest of that, it's a reasonably subjective kind of story and a lot of this is kind of focusing on trigger foods to kind of circle things back around to us talking about hyper palatable foods, you have to figure out a lot of mitigating strategies. Like for me, I love, I'm not that motivated by sweets, but you know stuff like sea salt and vinegar potato chips, like if there's an old woman between me and a bag of sea salt and vinegar potato chips, I'll push her down in the streets, step on her spine, and grab the bag and eat it all.
And so it's not that I never have those, but we, so we just had an Easter gig a couple of weeks back and we had a bunch of folks over that have kids around the same age is our kids, and I went and got some of like the Justin's or Jason's Honest Sweet Potato Chips, or whatever, and they're absolutely amazing. Got a couple of bags of 'em, and I knew, it's like, “Okay, we have 15 people coming over. I'm definitely going to have a couple handfuls of these things, but then they're going to be gone.” And that's the way that I handle that. So it's not that I never have them, but I almost never have them just sitting in the pantry where at 11 o'clock at night, I wake up and I'm like, “Man, maybe just one or two of those would be good,” and it ends up being one or two bags because it's just the way it works. So I do offer up a lot of kind of strategies for navigating this over the long haul so that it's not necessarily a story that you never ever have something again, but you make it more of a dinner out or special occasions. It's kind of like good self-defense strategies. Like if you don't want to get mugged, don't go to biker bars at two in the morning and have like your wallet dangling out of your back pocket with a bunch of hundred dollar bills dangling out. You just don't do that. And so similarly, if you know that you had some trigger foods, then you plan that or you let it pop up in a kind of organic way. But if you really make this whole thing, if the success is dependent on willpower, you're almost doomed from the beginning. Like you've got to have some foreplanning involved or we're going to have serious problems.
Ben: Yeah. I want to interrupt this show to tell you about today's sponsor, Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips, non-GMO sweet potatoes. They actually are pretty good. It's basically like sweet potatoes, coconut oil, and sea salt I think are the…
Robb: Oh, they're health food!
Ben: Yeah. Plus they're made in the USA. Just can't go wrong. Anyways though, Robb, the other thing that I wanted to ask you about was this, speaking of matrices or matrixes, you actually have the in the book kind of like this diagram where you, it's very simple and I wanted to mention it because I love simplicity versus like complex meal plans. You have, I think it was part of the, and now I'm literally just like holding your book trying to find the spot, but you have just like Part One, choose this, Part Two, choose that, Part Three, choose this to put together a meal. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Ben: Okay. Here we go. Page 169, the food, I was right, it is a matrix. The food matrix. Can you go into how that works because it looks like you say you can have 81,000 meal options from the short matrix. Just explain that one to me. It's obviously a very simple concept, but just delve into that real quick.
Robb: Yeah. So years ago, we had a client, a really funny gal, but she came in one day and she just looked like Eeyore. Like it looked like somebody had run over her or her dog and her best friend had died, and I'm like, “What's going on?” And she's like, “I'm just bored.” I'm like, “Bored? Bored of what?” She's like, “Bored of eating this stuff.” I'm like, “How are you bored?” Boredom, for me, denotes that you're getting over exposure to something. And I was like, “You're not bored, you're just a cookie addict.” And so I went up on the board, for some reason I was thinking about like this Chinese food menu kind of deal, one from column A, and one from column B, and I have no idea why it popped up this way. But I made a list of proteins, and then I made a list of like carbs and vegetables, and then a list of fats, and a list spices. And just really quickly, I was like, “Okay, if we multiply this, by this, by this, we had like 4 or 5,000 different meal combinations. ‘Cause it's like if you have, in the book I think I've got like 25 protein options, 25 or 30 carb options, vegetable options, five or six oil options, and then like 20 or 30 spice options. And so if you go across the top of it and it's like, “Okay, chicken breast, plus broccoli, plus coconut oil, plus ginger.” Coconut, brocolli, coconut oil, garlic.
Ben: Oh, yeah. My kids could freaking do it. Yeah.
Robb: Yeah. And you just go through it, and so this is where you, just in the book alone, if you just look at the food matrix, there’s 81,000 potential food options, and this is hilarious. Some of the Amazon reviews are absolutely amazing. So one guy gave me a four star review. He said the book deserves five stars, but USPS delivered the book late and so I'm giving it four stars, which made me literally want to become a serial killer and start murdering people. And then the other one was, “the book claimed that there were 81,000 recipes in here and there were nowhere near that many and the person was completely banned. And so the whole math part of the food matrix [1:11:50] ______.
Ben: It is true though. I mean like on the page after the matrix, you point out the fact that you could pick like eggs, and cantaloupe, and rosemary, and thyme, and have a recipe. And this is kind of true. A lot of times, we don't think about that. It's like, I think in Tim Ferriss' book “The 4-Hour Chef”, he's got like a matrices for scrambled eggs where you could literally, like for the rest of your life, just eat scrambled eggs with that matrix, and have like thousands of different scrambled eggs options. But I think that if anything, if you're listening in, that single page is worth it just to grab a whole bunch of different cool food ideas if you're into simplicity. And there's obviously a ton more in this book. Robb walks you through a bunch of recipes, the last 30 pages or so of the book are just some pretty good recipes from Asian short ribs, to garlic cilantro shrimp, to seafood chowder. All sorts of stuff in there. And then he has the seven day test, and then the 30 day reset, and kind of all the details of the Israel study that we talked about, and a lot more. It's actually a really good book. So anyways, if you're listening in, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/wired. That's where you can access the show notes. And I will link to everything from the previous episode where we talk about a day in the life of Robb, to Stephan Guyenet's “Hungry To Eat” book, to that DayTwo website that Robb mentioned, maybe we'll throw a link to Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips in there, Robb. And perhaps our favorite porn websites, since that came up too.
Robb: Just throw a Pornhub in there. That's kind of a one-stop shop.
Ben: Yeah. So they say. Never been. But I've heard of it. And then of course even that book, “Your Brain On Porn”, which actually is a really good book for those you who want a good argument about why porn sucks. Anyways though, all that's going to be over a bengreenfieldfitnesscom/wired. And Robb, thanks for coming on the show. Well thanks for writing this book, and also thanks for coming on the show, man.
Robb: Hey, man! Huge honor. You do just amazing work, so it's a ton of fun always to get to spend a little time with you. Thank you.
Ben: Word, man. And I look forward to us going out and maybe shooting a rabbit sometime or something, and mixing it up with…
Robb: I'm looking forward to it. And you will be at Paleo f(x), right? You are getting in on that gig and…
Ben: Yeah. But I don't think we can shoot rabbits there.
Robb: Probably not, probably not. But Chris Kresser did say that there's going to be a surf park that should be opening then. So maybe we can go check that out.
Ben: I don't know how that has to do with rabbits, but yeah. Sounds like fun.
Ben: Alright. Well, cool. We'll call it a wrap there folks. Again, bengreenfieldfitness.com/wired where you can grab this podcast, all the links to it, as well as the previous show with Robb. Robb, thanks for coming on the show, man.
Robb: Thank you. We'll talk to you soon.
Ben: Alright, folks. This is Ben Greenfield and Robb Wolff signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
The last time I had Robb Wolf on my show, we talked about nicotine gum, alactic training, binaural beats, small-scale farming and a whole lot more.
This interview with Robb threatens to be no different, as we delve into his new book Wired to Eat: Turn Off Cravings, Rewire Your Appetite for Weight Loss, and Determine the Foods That Work for You.
The surprising truth is that we are genetically wired to eat more and move less, the exact opposite of the advice we are often given. Robb claims to have developed a more customized weight loss solution that works with your body, a solution based not on arbitrary restriction of foods but on what works for you. A former research biochemist, health expert, and bestselling author Robb Wolf, has designed an eating program, based on groundbreaking research, that will rewire your appetite for weight loss and help you determine the optimal foods for your diet and metabolism.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Why Robb decided to include a discussion of your “brain on porn” in his new book, and how chili-cheese nachos are like a porn site…[9:10]
-The fascinating link between ketosis and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)…[14:50]
-How one could theoretically build massive amounts of muscle with the use of (surprise) Viagra…[25:00]
-The shocking study done in Israel that showed massive variations in blood sugar responses to everything from hummus to cookies to bananas…[26:30]
-How you can test your poop and microbiome to generate an individualized diet based on your predicted blood sugar responses…[35:55]
-Why hemoglobin A1C, which is what many doctors will test to see what your blood sugar levels have been at, may not actually be an entirely accurate marker of blood sugar history…[48:25]
-What fructosamine is and why Robb recommends you track it…[49:55 & 52:20]
-How to test whether or not a food is actually good for your blood glucose levels, and exactly which numbers to look for 2 hours after you eat…[56:00]
-The best foods, herbs, spices and supplements you could add into a meal that is high in sugar to lower your blood sugar response…[61:54]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
–A Day In The Life Of Robb Wolf
–TrainToHunt bowhunting/obstacle course competitions
–Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction
–Stephen Guyenet “Hungry To Eat” book
–StemTalk podcast with Ken Ford
–DayTwo.com – use code “greenfield” to get 5% discount
–The bitter melon extract Ben mentions for controlling blood sugar response
–Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips