Welcome to Pushing the Limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential with your host Lisa Tamati. Brought to you by lisatamati.com.
Lisa Tamati: Hey everyone. Today's episode is just packed full of fantastic knowledge bombs, one after the other after the other. This gentleman is absolutely fantastic. His name is Ben Azadi, and he is the founder of the Keto Kamp, podcast and business. He's also the author of Keto Flex and a number of other books as well, and today's topic is all about metabolic flexibility, how to stop metabolic dysfunction, insulin resistance, diabetes, and keto.
It's fantastic, absolutely amazing. He has such a depth of knowledge. I really, really love this episode. And we've been doing, you know a number of episodes lately around the theme of keto and what it is and where it's therapeutic and what it can be used for. It's not the only tool, as Ben says, in the toolbox, but it is a very important one and understanding some of the science behind it is really, really valuable.
Before we head over to Ben, please, if you're listening to this on YouTube, give the channel a like give us a subscription if you want to get great content all the time like this. And if you are listening on the podcast, please rate and review. That would be really, really beneficial for us in getting the word out there.
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We also have our health consulting if you have a health problem that you want help with. I work with all sorts of people from really difficult health journeys to people that just want to optimise their health, their longevity, anti-aging strategies, biohacking. You name it, we can help. And also we do epigenetics and DNA testing as part of our programs.
This can be very informative for you to build a framework about developing the right lifestyle interventions, the right exercise, the right food, all of that sort of thing for your specific genes. Right over to the show now with Ben Azadi.
Well, hey, everyone, I am super excited today to bring you a gentleman who is oh man, this guy's brain is enormous and he has an incredible backstory. Ben Azadi, welcome to the show. Fantastic to have you.
Ben Azadi: Yeah, Lisa, thank you. I love the work you're doing you came on my podcast a couple of months ago had an amazing conversation got such great feedback on that so I'm grateful to be back with you now on your show.
Lisa: Yeah, it's absolutely fabulous and I appreciate you taking time out for me. You Mr. Keto, you run Keto Kamp. Can you tell us though a little bit of your backstory because it's quite an interesting backstory. You weren't born just amazingly full of knowledge and having the right diet and everything from the get-go. Can you give us your backstory?
Ben: Absolutely. Yeah. So I follow, you know, growing up here in America, I follow the standard American diet, which we know very sad, toxic, process-filled diet. And growing up here, my parents first and first and foremost, my parents immigrated to Miami, Florida, where I live from Iran. So I am first generation here in America. My parents made that scary, bold decision to leave Iran and come here in the ‘70s and I was born 1984.
After that my parents got divorced when I was very young, and my mom raised me and my sister she worked three jobs and two of those jobs were at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. I'm not sure if you have that in Australia.
Lisa: New Zealand. Yeah, we do. Unfortunately.
Ben: New Zealand. Excuse me. Yeah, so unfortunately, you do. It’s fast food, my mom would bring me fast food, I would eat the fast food and I was pretty much left to my own devices growing up meaning my mom was working all the time. And I hung out with the wrong crowd and had really bad behaviours drugs, alcohol, video game food addictions. So this manifested with poor health, obese physically obese mentally, and this was my life growing up as a child.
I was always that kid that was fat, bullied, picked on low self-esteem, low self-confidence. And as an adult now, this transferred into my adulthood because my behaviours dictated my future and these behaviours were really poor. So I found myself at the age of 24 years old that was 2008 being mentally obese, physically obese, weighing 250 pounds wanting to give up on life because I was depressed, suicidal and just sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I actively explored suicide and every time I did that, if I thought about my mom, I thought about what she would have to deal with if I took my life and I didn't want to do that to my mom. So it stopped me. And I knew I had to figure things out. So, thankfully, a friend of mine, my best friend, Ronald, and his wife, Carla, they were not married back then they're married now. But they said, hey, you know, I think you should read this book.
One book led to five books, which led to 10 books. And I started to fall in love with these amazing authors. Bob Proctor was one of the the main ones. And here's a photo of him behind me on my desk. And he changed my life saved my life. Him, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Jim Rohn, Earl Nightingale. I mean, they’re incredible authors and the books did a lot for me, it opened up a whole new world that I never knew existed.
The most important thing the books did for me, it helped me take ownership and responsibility for the first time ever, you know, up until that point, my ability to respond to life, which is your responsibility, my ability to respond to life was poor. Of course, I'm obese, it's my slow metabolism. It's my enabling family members, it's my bad genetics, you know, I had that victim mentality.
When you take ownership, that all goes away, and when you take ownership and responsibility, when I took ownership and responsibility, I immediately became the victor, of my future stopped being the victim of my history. So I started to exercise and I started to eat better, I started to move my body and I went through this incredible transformation where I lost 80 pounds, I went from 250 pounds, to 170 pounds, 34%, body fat to 6% body fat.
I did finally achieve a physical six pack was, which was a huge desire of mine being the kid that would never have that. The most important thing that I achieved was a mental six pack, I started to understand how important your mindset is, and your thoughts, a lot of the things you talk about Lisa.
That was 14 years ago, ever since then, I've been exploring different diets and protocols, and, you know, keeping up with the research, and I've been a student of the game, and I've explored a lot of different approaches. That was my backstory. And I've been on a mission ever since to educate inspire 1 billion people. That's the goal here at Keto Kamp to educate and inspire a billion people.
Like you, you know, losing your dad having the challenge with your mom, my dad also got sick in 2013. You know, he always had type 2 diabetes, never, I never really understood it. But it's so common type 2 diabetes and I followed that conventional approach and refilled his medication every Tuesday took him to the grocery store every Tuesday, made sure he was taking his meds, and he got worse, and worse and worse. And he ended up suffering a massive stroke.
It left him paralyzed. It left him with the inability to speak. And he was pretty much on his deathbed for nine months. And after nine months, he ended up passing away in 2000. On August 12, 2014, he passed away and it raised a lot of questions for me, you know, why did this happen to my dad, if I followed everything that conventional doctors told me to do? Why are so many people suffering from type 2 diabetes and the problems that are associated with it?
You know what, I got the answers to all those questions, thank God. And that's the same information that we share on our platforms. But if I would have applied that to my dad, I know that he would be alive today. But I also get that I was given that mountain so I could show the world that mountain can be moved.
I went through my transformation, it was more of a hobby that I was treating health and teaching it when I lost my dad, it went from a hobby, to pain to purpose, and that's what lights me up every day to get the message out there.
Lisa: Well Ben that is just so powerful. I'm trying not to cry, because I've been through the same journey different times with my dad as well and my mum as well. And this is why you're so driven, I think, you know, because you know, you want to stop people having this pain. Every single day when I'm out and about and I'm talking to friends and talking about their families and so on.
Every single day, I'm hearing people diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease, all of these things, and I'm just like, can you listen to me for five minutes and you know, they get all these unsolicited knowledge bombs from me when they don't want it. But I'm just like, desperate to have their eyes open to some of the things that we know, like you and I know, and you know a hell of a lot more than I know, and just to have this have the opportunity not to go down that path.
Because it isn't inevitable. We can and I think a lot of our older generation, you know, I was just speaking to someone yesterday, his dad, you know, had diabetes and a foot, you know, removed and I'm just like, please come and see me please. You know, like I know I have some answers but trying to get convince people to actually take these interventions when that's not been promoted by the doctors and the traditional medicine. And it's not understood as to why.
A lot of people won't put the effort into knowing the why. And this is, but this is, you know, when when I listened to your lectures and hear you speak, I'm just like, “Damn, you're a good communicator, and you really get this stuff across. And I'm learning from you,” I'm thinking, “Man, I could do that better. And I could present it in this way too.” And this is what it's all about people learning from each other, and then helping others out of this hole.
When you've gone through a physical transformation, and I have too, even though I was, you know, the crazy runner, I was always overweight, despite horrendous amounts of training. And I was just like, what? What's going on? Now I know what's going on. So Ben, let's dive in into keto. Now you have a new book out, that's called Keto Flex. You've got some other books. Tell us about your other books as well. And then tell us a little bit about Keto Flex.
Ben: Yeah, thank you for the kind words as well. I appreciate it, well received, and I'm grateful for that for you. Yeah, I have four books, a book just about general health called The Perfect Health Booklet, which I wrote in 2018. Just some general steps that I wanted to write. Because the reason I wrote the first book, and you could probably relate to this being an author. I was tired of just having those conversations when people are giving me my business card, and nothing happened as a result, right.
I thought, alright, if I had a book, very easy to read book, kind of like a pamphlet but a little bit bigger. And I handed it to them, there's more of a likelihood that they would kind of keep that on their desk or coffee table and eventually pick it up. A lot of people will throw away a business card, pretty uncommon to throw away a book. So that was the thought press process around that. It's a very easy read. Just some general information on health called The Perfect Health Booklet.
After that, I wrote a book about intermittent fasting, another easy to understand book about the top 20 questions I've been asked about intermittent fasting, I answered it in a book provided some science easy to read. And then I wrote a book about sleep because as you know, sleep is one of the fundamentals to health. And that's called The Power of Sleep.
Keto Flex is what I think my flagship book is it took me about two years to write very comprehensive, over 300 pages. And I wanted people to really understand what ketosis is, how to apply it, and how to use it as one tool. There's many tools. This is not just the only one, but it's a very powerful tool to achieve metabolic flexibility.
In America. And I know it's very similar across the world, including New Zealand and other countries. There was a study that came out here in America in 2018. This is a 10-year study. They got over 8000 people in this study, it was done by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. And they wanted to look at how healthy or how unhealthy is the adult American population.
They looked at over 8000 people they tracked their A1C, their blood pressure, their BMI, their triglycerides, are they on medication off medication. And the study confirmed the results of the study said only 12% of the American adult population is metabolically healthy 12% meaning 88% of American adults are metabolically unhealthy. That was before COVID. Then COVID happened that probably got worse, right?
Ketosis and keto flexing, which I write about in the book, these people need that because they have a keto deficiency. And a lot of people think keto is a fad diet. And we'll get into that. But I wanted to write the book because I wanted to clear up all the confusion, keto is very popular. The way that I teach it, the way that I view it and study it is how do we apply it to reduce cellular inflammation? And I did that I believe I did that by writing the book.
Lisa: Absolutely fantastic. Actually, I watched one of your lectures and where it was, which one was intermittent fasting, but you talked about cellular health, and I was like, “Aha, we're on the same thing here.” And then it comes down and I think you've come in from a slightly different angle. But from my teachers, I've been taught about cellular health being the basis of, we need to come back to the cell.
We need to come back to the singular cell, if we can get that singular cell working as it should be, then we can get the organs working, we can get the whole body working, you know, by extrapolation, because we are made up of how many trillion cells I keep forgetting.
Ben: Thirty to 70 trillion. Somewhere in between there.
Lisa: Yeah, no one's ever counted, right? Trillions of these cells, and if we can get our cells operating properly, as they were meant to be operating, and each cell on their body has a different job. So a neuron has a different job than a liver cell than a skin cell, and so on and so forth. But there's some similarities. Can you go into a little bit about cellular health, the membranes, inflammation on the membranes, you know, all of that sort of stuff?
Ben: Yeah. Great question. I love the topic and the question. You're right. My mentor, Dr. Pompa said if you want to get well, you got to fix the cell. And that's exactly what you're saying here. So we think about the intelligence of the human body. There is an innate intelligence within the body that is there, as the world's greatest physician, healer, doctor, chiropractor, health coach, I mean, it's within yourselves.
For so many years, we thought, so many scientists believe that the intelligence of your cells was in your DNA, nucleus, median, and that premise. I don't like because that premise means if you have cancer that runs in your family or diabetes that runs in your family, you got those genes. It's just a matter of time. It's like a victim mindset. This was a guy named Dr. Bruce Lipton, who I know you know who he is. You interviewed him?
Lisa: Yeah. Yeah. Do you want an intro?
Ben: I’ve got to listen to that.
Lisa: I'll introduce you to him.
Ben: I interviewed him too.
Lisa: Oh, you have?
Ben: Yeah, he's amazing. So I'm going to listen to the one you did with him. He came on the scene, right? And he said, “All right,” he wanted to challenge that premise. So what he did is what he would look at cells. And he would extract the DNA nucleus and observe what happened next. And what happened next was that the cell actually continued to function for up to two months, sometimes even longer, until it went rogue and ended up with apoptosis, which is cellular death.
He thought, “Okay, if it's not the DNA nucleus that's controlling the cell that the intelligence is there, where is it,” so then they remove the membrane of the cell and boom, instant death, that goes to show that it's the membrane that the intelligence lies in, and the membrane actually communicates with DNA, it's where your hormones are connecting to your nutrients, your thoughts, your oxygen, etc. And so the membrane is very important.
Then the next question is, what's the membrane made of, and we know it's made up of protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and to your conventional doctor, those are bad words. But how can be bad for you if you're made up of that, right? And it's not just the cell membrane, the mitochondria also have its own membrane. And the mitochondria are very important as well, because that's what helps you produce energy, and many other things.
We want to find ways to reduce membrane inflammation, what's causing excessive membrane inflammation, and it comes from nutrition, lifestyle, behaviours, thoughts, etc. Once you start removing the interference, then inflammation is reduced, then you have this amazing orchestra in your body that's functioning well, and things start to happen towards your favour.
Lisa: Wow, that is just so good. So when we get the membrane so let's go let's talk briefly about the cholesterol side of that equation because yeah, it's demonised, you know, LDL and HDL and ACLs. Good and LDL is bad and triglycerides, and there's a lot of confusion about it. And in the keto world, oh, your cholesterol has gone up. Therefore, the keto diet is bad for you. We need cholesterol, we need it for hormone production, as you said, we need it for our cells and membranes.
Ben: The most important thing is that we have good fats in the mix. And that in our in our cooking and our in our eating, and I've heard you do a lecture on some of the the good fats to take and the bad ones. So let's briefly touch on that and then go into the cholesterol story a little bit. What oil should you have and what when should you absolutely not have because these are the building blocks of your cells.
They are the building blocks you’re right so there are a set of fats oils that cause more membrane inflammation than sugar, processed carbs, and some even say smoking. They are called PUFAs, that stands for polyunsaturated fatty acids. That's just the chemical structure of them that word poly means many. And so when you look at the chemical chemical structure, it means it has many double bonds, the more double bonds of fat has the more oxygen that it attracts.
The more oxygen that it attracts, the more it oxidises, so the analogy that I always give is, if I bit into an apple, and then I left the apple on the counter and came back five hours later, that apple starts to oxidise and turn brown. That's kind of what's happening at the cellular membrane level with these bad fats. When I interviewed Dr. Cate Shanahan, who was the nutritionist for the Los Angeles Lakers, she wrote a great book called Deep Nutrition and Fatburn Fix.
She believes that these bad fats are worse than smoking cigarettes, meaning it'll lead to more disease than smoking cigarettes each day, because of this inflammatory response. And they're also called linoleic acid omega-6 fats. And the half life of omega-6 fats in our fat cells is two years. That is the estimated half life meaning if you remove all these bad fats from your diet today, in two years half of them will still remain in your body fat. That's how damaging they are.
Isn't that crazy? So that's why I'd rather have sugar than these bad fats. Because if I have sugar, I can be active and burn it off. But if I have bad fats they stick around for a long time, so there's eight of them we want to avoid. And look, they're all keto friendly, but they're not all health friendly. So there's three C's, three S's and two others. And Dr. Cate Shanahan, calls them the Hateful Eight. So I'm going to share all of them right now.
We have canola, corn, and cottonseed oil. We have soybean, sunflower and safflower oil. And then we have grapeseed oil, and rice bran oil. Those are the really rancid fats that we want to avoid. Instead, because your audience is going to wonder, okay, if we can't have those, what are the healthier fats that support the membrane support inflammation, reducing inflammation, that's going to be saturated fats, and mono unsaturated fats.
Butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil. What else do we have here? Beef tallow, duck fat, real lard. These are healthier fats that support that membrane, they have a lot of cholesterol in it. But cholesterol is amazing. I mean, part of your membrane is made up of cholesterol. So that's a big thing right there. If you take one thing from this conversation, switch those fats for healthier fats.
Lisa: Absolutely. And olive oil, just on the olive oil one. Cold pressed extra virgin, make sure you're getting quality oils as well just not like go to the supermarket and grab the first olive oil off the shelf. Because you can pretty much guarantee it will be mixed with other oils. And it won't be a good quality to make sure you're getting from one one orchard that you know. And it's cold. And it's extra virgin and all of that sort of good stuff.
Then you mentioned in one of your lectures that olive oil is not so great for high temperature cooking. So which ones should be used for cooking and which ones should we not use for like, you know, if we're, you know, sautéing stuff or whatever.
Ben: Beef tallows are really solid cooking fat. So if you find yourself some 100% grass fed beef tallow. I get a lot of some of the companies that I buy some grass fed meat, get it from New Zealand. So yeah, that's, you're right in the right place. You're right about the olive oil. You want to make sure it's cold pressed, extra virgin, in a dark bottle, not from your supermarket, because that's probably oxidised or cut with a vegetable oil.
Olive oil could be used for cooking, even though it has a lower smoke point, as long as it's real olive oil, which is protected by polyphenols. So that's something you could use coconut oil as well, avocado oil, all those are fine for cooking. Beef tallow might be at the top of the list there. But even with that, you still want to make sure you're not frying a lot of foods and letting it smoke a lot because even though they're healthy, eventually it could turn bad. So you want to you know, mitigate how much heat you apply to any oil.
Lisa: Right? So that's a really, really important point. Don't let it smoke for 10 minutes before you put your veggies in or whatever. Because this is I think the most misunderstood thing you know, we think, “Oh, as long as I'm not eating fish and chips, which is a very common takeaway food here, or Kentucky Fried Chicken. I'm good. I'm not eating deep fried foods, so therefore, I'm not getting good fats.” Where do these bad oils hang out? And besides those obvious places, like KFC, but where else can we find those?
Ben: They're pretty much at every restaurant that you go to unfortunately.
Lisa: Somebody needs to educate the restaurateurs in the world.
Ben: The reason they use them because it's so cheap, right? They want to make a profit. But here's what I do. When I go to restaurants, I always ask the waiter, the waitress, the server, which oils do you use at this restaurant? And it's 99% of the time I'm going to be one of those bad ones. So what I say is I'm allergic to those oils. Do you have real olive oil? Do you have butter? And most of the time they do but you got to make the request and you got to say you're allergic so they're listening to you versus it's your preference.
Restaurants are another place. They're in probably every processed packaged food. So read the ingredients don't just fall for like the non-GMO label or organic it could still have these oils. your safest bet is to eat whole foods that don't require a nutrition label. Like if you ate an avocado, there's no label on it because it's just an avocado. So the more whole foods you can get, the safer it's going to be for you.
Lisa: It's absolutely true. And then there's the whole thing with E numbers and all the processed chemicals that are put in you know it's this difference between going and getting some tomatoes out of your garden that are organic tomatoes that haven't got pesticides and whatever crap and making a tomato sauce to put on your your meatballs. Perhaps not spaghetti. An going and getting a Dolmio out of the supermarket which of course is much easier, as it says much easier.
It's much more. And this is the problem. You know, we've all got like time limitations, we're all busy. We're all like things. But when you grab that Dolmio, you can guarantee it's got a whole lot of shit on it, and a whole lot of bad oils and a whole lot of chemicals and a whole lot of E numbers that you can't pronounce. And if it has, then that's an sugar on top of it. So you know, where possible, cook from stress, I think is what we're trying to say.
Now let's go into I wanted to actually like for me personally, I wanted to know a little bit more after listening to one of your lectures about the counter regulatory hormones on the membranes of the cell, we have our receptors, right? So there's inflammation, then the receptors aren't working well.
Then we get something called insulin resistance. Actually, can we talk a little bit about insulin resistance because you've had Dr. Ben Beckman on your show? A number of time who's who hopefully I'm going to get on mine. Tell me a little bit about the story of insulin resistance.
Ben: Yeah, insulin resistance, very common and insulin resistance leads to type 2 diabetes and type 2 diabetes leads to a whole host of other problems. As a matter of fact, it's pretty rare to die from type 2 diabetes, people die from the degeneration of it, right? My dad, the stroke, the amputations, the heart attacks, the infections, etc, the kidney failures. So insulin resistance is the first step of that process.
Insulin resistance could take 5, 10 years, and then eventually could take 15 years before your doctor says you have type 2 diabetes. So what is insulin resistance, a basic understanding is when we eat carbohydrates, whether it's processed or not, but any carbs, your body, it's going to raise glucose in your bloodstream. And then insulin which is secreted by the beta cells of your pancreas, is the innate intelligence sees the excess glucose in the bloodstream, because the human body only wants about one to two teaspoons of glucose in the bloodstream, sugar in the bloodstream that's considered optimal.
It's about 80 milligrams per deciliter. When you eat carbs, there is going to be more than that in your bloodstream. So the innate intelligence tells the pancreas to produce insulin from the beta cells, and then insulin is produced. Insulin’s job is to take that excess glucose from the bloodstream and deliver it to your cells to be used for energy, which regulates then your blood sugars.
Now, if that happens, from time to time, no big deal, that is totally fine. But the issue in America and across the world, the average American is eating about 300 to 400 grams of carbs per day, and they're eating it all day long. That means glucose spike insulin spike, glucose spike insulin and insulin spike all day long. And what ends up happening is the receptor sites that are listening to insulin and picking up that message to get glucose into the cell becomes deaf to the screams.
It's like you got headphones on right now, Lisa, let's say you were listening to music. And you were listening to music nonstop, month after month. Let's say you started off at 60% volume, after a month, you keep listening to the same music over and over and over that volume sounds like it's reduced. So you need to increase it to 70% and then 80%. And all of a sudden, you're deaf to the music, that's kind of what's happening at the cellular level, those receptor sites are getting deaf.
That means the solution is to dial down the music, reduce your carbohydrate intake, practice intermittent fasting, drop, glucose and insulin. And that's why keto and intermittent fasting are two really powerful ways to dial down that music. So you could reverse this condition.
Lisa: That is just absolutely so because of insulin resistance. We all know sort of roughly what diabetes or type 2 diabetes is. And we sort of know that that's a bad thing. But we don't understand that that's the gateway to all of these other things that Alzheimer's, heart disease cancer, you got a much increased risk of cancer by the way, if you've got any of these things, you know, that's not a common new normal and thing.
Then insulin resistance is something like 85% of the Western world has insulin resistance. And a quick way to measure this, which is from Dr. Bergman is if you, you know you haven't got all the measures and stuff at the doctor's, twice around the circumference of your waist. And then compare that to your height. Now if it's more than your height, then you've probably got insulin resistance and I just look at people if they've got a muffin top around the middle, you know, there's some metabolic dysregulation going on. And that's what you probably need to start working on. And you know, like I when you were talking about your dad, my dad, I didn't have all this knowledge within but my dad was a big man, and he did not look overweight. And he thought he could get away with eating whatever he wanted. And he smoked. He was physically active all day. So that was a great thing.
But he, because he was big, he didn't have protruding gut. He didn't ever been around, gut or, or anything hanging over anywhere, he didn't think he was overweight. I remember going and getting him a body scan and they said, ‘Oh, he's got a lot of fat around the middle.’ And I'm like, right. Then I took him to the doctor, then I started looking at his blood sugar levels, then we found out okay, he's actually diabetic, pre diabetic, diabetic, I would say diabetic. And I was just about to get into all of that when he went down with an aortic aneurysm. Now, what does the aortic aneurysm come from, came from the stiffness of, so the stiffness of the arteries. And then one day they broke, and that would have been probably smoking, he was also a firefighter.
So he was exposed to a hell of a lot of toxins in his life. Plus, he loved his fish and chips and his pies in his, you know, and so that was the end result, and we will never know which of the what did what. But over time, even though he was physically extremely fit, extremely strong, did not look overweight, he had a massive metabolic dysregulation going on. That should be a warning sign to people listening to this. Get yourself checked your loved ones checked, you can you can get, and just doing it that simple, you know, twice around your waist, is it more than the height? If it is then go start digging a little bit more. So yeah, sorry to go on a rant. But I thought that was.
Ben: That was a great, great practical tip, everybody should do that. And it's true. A lot of people wait too long, and then it's too late. They get diagnosed with a disease or they suffer a stroke, like what happened to my dad, you don't want to do that. If you treat your health casually, you end up a casualty, okay, I want everyone to get that you got to take ownership and responsibility right now. And if you have insulin resistance or type two diabetes, you know, I'm going to say it's fairly easy to reverse those conditions. I've seen dozens, if not hundreds of my students in my academy come in, do keto intermittent fasting, work with their doctor and get off their meds and reverse those conditions. It’s fairly easy to do, you just got to do the work. First, it starts with responsibility.
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Thanks very much for joining us.
These are lifestyle interventions and dietary changes. And nobody can make money out of that. So nobody's going to be pushing you to do that. And it is hard. Like, you know, we all love food. You know, most of us have a cultural, you know, relationship to food, and we have emotional relationships to food. And so we've got to work through these things. And I battle with this too. And I'm sure you do too, being you know, from time to time if you lose the battle, but it's about you know, every day trying to get a little bit better. And understanding the processes will make you much more likely to do it, rather than. You've read that you shouldn't have much carbs. But then after a week, you're like, damn, I really, you know, starving for some carbs. And if you don't understand the mechanism of why, the science behind, then you're less likely to continue on doing it, you know, because you forget. You know, I see this with my clients all the time is that they'll start even taking their supplements or something. And then the bottle runs out. And they're feeling so much better, that they don't buy another one because it's fixed now. And it's like, yeah, you’re fixed because we’re doing this, this, and this and then you've gone and stopped it again. And well, if we want those epigenetic changes to happen, then that has to be over a period to have at least six to eight weeks, if not long, much longer. We have this mentality in our society, I think of when, if if I start something today, I want to see the results by tomorrow at the latest.
Ben: It’s the microwave thinking, and it doesn't work that way. I always tell people, you know, how long did it take for you to get to this point of type two diabetes or whatever condition? Yours? So how do you expect for it to be taken care of in two weeks or two months? And the reality is this, you know, people don't like to hear this. It's years, not months of you doing the right things to get to optimal health. Now, that doesn't mean you won't get benefits month after month. That doesn't mean you have to avoid carbs for years. But it means you explore different avenues of healing in years, not months, typically, to get to the optimal peak healthy states.
Lisa; Yeah. But that shouldn't stop you. Because you will start to feel the benefits very, very fast. That's correct, then days, so you will like be put off by, oh, this is going to be years. And now I won't bother. Start doing some of these things now. And you will have an immediate response. So, you know, when we talked about with, you know, my mom's journey with the aneurysm, it was months and months with her with a brain injury, like you're retraining brains, that takes frickin ultra marathon endurance, that's what that takes, because you just see nothing and nothing and nothing and nothing and people telling you why you're doing it, it's not going to work. And then all of a sudden, bang, we'd have a step. But that step that all of a sudden, was actually six months of work every single every every single day. And that's what people don't get, they look at her and just go, oh, well, she's great. That must have just all come about naturally. There was thousands and thousands of hours that went back into her rehabilitation. And it continues to this day, and we're seven years into that journey. And she's still improving. And I get constantly still. But I remember talking to a physio recently, and I'm like still working on her drop foot. She doesn't lift this right foot because she was paralyzed on the right side. And I'm like, running out of ideas and how to get her brain to do that.
And he just look, that's all you're going to get. It's all you're going to get, just give it up. And I'm like, nah. And so far, he's proving right. I can't get that foot, but I'm never going to, I'm never going to stop. Yeah, I'm never going to stop. Not until you know, the day she dies. That's when I'll stop.
Ben: Yeah. That's the type of tenacity and commitment you want, you are committed, right? That's the difference. There's a difference between being interested. And being committed. There's a great quote, I actually want to get it right. I'm going to read it right now for your audience, because it's going to demonstrate exactly the difference between somebody who's interested, versus somebody who's committed. So Ken Blanchard said this, he said, there's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something you accept no excuses, only results. So you're exactly somebody who's committed versus somebody who's interested.
Lisa: Yep, yep. And sometimes you don't when I know that I can know you know, I know that I can still fail on these things. I don't go in with that mentality. though. I go in with a, I divorced my mind from the consequences. I just do the work, do the daily. Do the daily and that's, I think, really, really important. Now, I wanted to come back to the counter regulatory hormones, cortisol, human growth hormone, norepinephrine, and glucagon. Can you tell me what you meant when you were because this was like, Ah, that was a bit of a wake up call. And I was listening to where your lectures going. That when the insulin goes down, the counter regulatory hormones, cortisol, human growth hormone, those ones I just mentioned, they come into play and what do they do? Because I hadn't put these pieces of the puzzle together.
Ben: Yeah, this happens when you're in a fasted state, right? So when you're intermittent fasting, daily, 16 hours, 18 hours, whatever you want to do. You're dropping insulin, which as we established very important for 80 plus percent people out there, you want to drop insulin. As you lower insulin, you have these set of hormones that you just mentioned, that run counter to insulin, they're called counter regulatory hormones, they go up as insulin goes down. This is the amazing human body the innate intelligence. This is the way of the innate intelligence pumping the body full of energy, and resources to be alert, focused, and able to go hunt and kill. That's why the body is doing it because the body thinks we're hardwired for the old school. The human body does not know about your Kentucky Fried Chicken, your refrigerator, we have UberEATS here in America, the human body doesn't understand that. When you go 16 hours without food, the human body thinks oh, ‘We're going through a famine, what we need to do is keep this human body alert, focused and energised to go out there and hunt and kill.’ So it raises counterregulatory hormones. That's why so many people feel amazing when they're fasted, the body is doing this to keep you alert.
But the hack here is, if you live in a country like we do that has food readily available, you don't have to go hunt. So you can use that to have amazing energy levels and focus. And in the same token, insulin is dropping. So you're burning body fat and producing ketones, which also crosses the blood brain barrier and gives you another fuel source. So that's what counter regulatory hormones do. This is the biggest difference here between, let's say, you cut your calories. By default, with intermittent fasting, just because you're eating less by eating less often, versus cutting your calories by eating small portion controlled meals throughout the day, you're cutting your calories, but eating frequently throughout the day, you do not get the benefits of counterregulatory hormones, you do not get the benefits of lowering insulin. When you cut your calories by default, with intermittent fasting, you do get the benefits of dropping insulin and getting the counterregulatory hormones. So that's what essentially what's going on in the body.
Lisa: Wow. So when when cortisol goes up in your human growth hormone, I mean, human growth hormone going up is a brilliant thing. Because this keeps us younger, it keeps us more vital. It's helping us pursue this muscle, and then norepinephrine. So that's like adrenaline in the brain. That makes you more focused, more concentrated, better able to do your work. This is why people who are fasting often have a clear brain. But however, when people start doing this, and if you've been on a high carb diet, that sort of standard sort of stuff, and then you suddenly stop eating, some people get the shakes, some people get the low blood sugars, the hypo glycemia. What's going on there? And how do they get through that period of time so that they can come to that place where the body goes is actually better when it's when it's fasted? And without that hypoglycemic state?
Ben: It's a great question, because a lot of people will hear this conversation and they're like, I'm convinced. I'm going to fast tomorrow. And they get none of the benefits we're speaking about. They feel worse. And the reason is because they are metabolically inflexible. So how do you deal with that? What do you do? That's why I love keto. I love getting fat adapted before you do any fasting. Think of intermittent fasting as a muscle that you develop over time, like a bicep muscle, you wouldn't just be a couch potato for ten years and then go do a CrossFit workout or run a marathon right you would train for it, you know all about that. Same thing here, you wouldn't be a sugar burner eating every two to three hours for 20 years and say I'm going to fast 18 hours tomorrow. You're going to hurt yourself, it's going to feel awful. You want to train for it. You want to achieve metabolic flexibility. So what happens for those who feel hypoglycemic an awful during the fast, they are 12 hours into a fast, let's say, and they're burning through their sugar reserves those glycogen stores, and it's getting low in the brain, the glucose, but the body doesn't have the metabolic flexibility to burn fat and produce ketones. So the brain will panic and send the body intense signals for cravings for sugar and carbs to get glucose up in the brain. And you're going to feel awful, and your energy levels are going to drop because you don't have the metabolic flexibility. The solution, do two weeks of a low carb high fat diet, it doesn't have to be keto it could just be low carb ish. But doing low carb for two weeks higher fat and protein will help your body achieve more metabolic flexibility. So then, when glucose drops during a fast, you switch to your body fat, your body fat or fatty acids are sent to your liver, ketones are produced and your brain has an alternate fuel source. So that's the solution. That's why I love doing keto before doing too much fasting.
Lisa: Absolutely. And I I'm actually a fan of exogenous ketones to help people transition through this phase. And this is giving your body some ketones because most of our bodies have never seen a ketone in this entire life because there's never been a deficit of calories or glucose. So it's always been fed. So it doesn't recognise this new fuel substrate, ketones. And so when you putting in exogenous ketones, which meaning exogenous just means once that you drink, as opposed to what your body is producing, you're helping transition and I liked. I've got a product from Keto Pro that I love, and it's exogenous ketones are bound to electrolytes because this is the other piece of the equation is that when you are going into a keto diet, you can lose your electrolytes because you lose a lot of water and you lose a lot of weight. But you can end up dehydrated and that adds to the Keto flu, the headaches of feeling like shit.
And so if you can have some ketones in the mix and electrolytes and if they're bound together even better, to just help you transition into that ketosis state, or when I'm working with someone with say, brain cancer or something like that, and they are on certain drugs. Certain drugs can push your blood sugar levels up like things like dexamethasone and steroids and things like this, they're not going to get into a ketosis state where the body's producing their own ketones for quite a while they're going to struggle. So by putting ketones into the mix, then we can help them. This is, I think, also beneficial for people who are in hospitals, and they're getting fed shit food. And you can't stop that happening, because they are. And I've experienced this because they're under the control of somebody else, bringing in exogenous ketones and having that, especially for people with strokes, or brain damage, or any aneurysms, concussions, and having some exogenous ketones, that brain can then go, ‘Ah, I've got some ketones to do some repair’ because as you see, that crosses that blood brain barrier. I wish I'd known that when my mum had their aneurysm. I wish that I'd known that there was something that I could have given you the feeder, which I found out later, but you know, we could have saved more damage. If we've got that in straightaway. I actually just had just as a complete aside, I just had Alan Cash on the show, who is a physicist, and he has oxaloacetate Have you researched oxaloacetate?
Ben: Yeah, I've used that in a product called benagene here.
Lisa: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So yeah, that's his product. So yeah. So he's the physicist behind it discovered, you know, this great research that was actually done in the 60s, I think, in Japan was 70s, or 80s. I can't remember. And oxaloacetate ended up being this great thing for diabetics. But it was never followed up because they couldn't patent it. And they couldn't make millions out of it. He's managed to patent it by making it stable, and so on. And so oxaloacetate is also another very interesting molecule that's worth doing more research on because I put it in the mix for mum's cancer. Because I had an advanced genetic test done, and it came back that she will respond to oxaloacetate. So I’m like, ‘What the hell is oxaloacetate?’. So I've got that in the mix now. But then in my research of oxaloacetate, I'm like, ‘Holy shit, this thing does a whole lot more than just for cancer.’ So that's a really interesting one. So yeah, go and do a bit of a deeper dive and maybe listen to Alan Cash’s podcast when it comes out. I think next week.
Ben: Well, yeah, that's fascinating. Yeah. So interesting. I will listen to it.
Lisa: And it's a different it is a ketone. It's a different type of ketone. And yeah, so it's very, very interesting. Okay, now let's, where do we go next, because there's just so much to the Keto. So there are variations in keto diets. And there are a lot of people who have just heard at their local gym about keto diets. And, you know, the bodybuilding community is really big on the keto diet, and so on and so forth. But there's sort of bastardised versions of keto. There's dirty keto and there's clean and then there's, you know, the modified Atkins diet, and then there's, there's different ratios. Can you clear up some of the confusion around that and where should people start? If they're going into a Keto, you know, wanting to have a go at keto?
Ben: You're right. A lot of people teach keto these days, and I believe most of them don't teach it the right way. So I love to kind of change the paradigm when it comes to keto. Teach people that keto is not a diet, keto is a metabolic process. There's nothing new about keto. It might be new to you or nuanced, but it's been around for as long as humans have existed. It's not a fad diet. This is a fact. If you want to talk about fad diets, you would talk about the standard American diet. That's the real fad diet. So keto is a metabolic process. It's natural. Babies that are breastfed are actually in ketosis. There are about five plus studies on PubMed that verify that because breast milk has saturated fat and cholesterol, which helps the development of the baby's brain. And the argument is, yeah, but there's also sugar in breast milk. You're right, but the baby is so efficient at burning the sugar, it actually goes in and out of ketosis babies are in ketosis. It's our natural fat burning state. But what happens next, the baby grows up it's weaned off of breast milk, given some formula with high sugar, and then snacking on carbs, and then eventually, that natural fat burner is now a sugar burner.
That's what happened to me and so many others So we want to go into keto looking at it as a metabolic state and one tool in the shed. It's not the only tool. don't be dogmatic about it. Don't put yourself in a box. That's something I learned from along the way, being a vegan and doing keto. We don't want to put ourselves in a box and say this is the only tool we want to use it to achieve metabolic flexibility. And keto flexing is the principle for going in and out of ketosis once you have achieved metabolic flexibility, just like our ancestors all did keto, they also when they had the opportunity because their environment flexed out of ketosis there's not one culture in the history of this world that stuck with the same diet long term. They changed their nutrition changed their diet, diet variation, Dr. Pompa it that, based off of their environment, so don't be dogmatic. Stay away from the bad fats, eat the clean fats, you gave a great suggestion about keeping your electrolytes up, especially in the beginning. Because you do get this electrolyte dumping. I wrote about that in my book as well. And then paired with intermittent fasting when you feel like you're ready, typically 14 days in. And there's a difference between being fat adapted, which takes about 14 days of doing keto versus keto adaption. That takes about 8 to 12 weeks keto adaptation means now your mitochondria are very efficient at using ketones, especially the mitochondria in the brain. So when you're in ketosis for 8 to 12 weeks straight, at that point, you should notice a significant increase in your results, like your brain just gets turned on. And you're now at this keto adaptation phase.
And then at that point, if you don't have insulin resistance, if you don't have type two diabetes, if you feel like you're metabolically flexible, you can start flexing, and that simply means having a day, per week or a day, every other week, where you intentionally eat higher, healthy carbs to bump at yourself out of ketosis, is make some hormonal conversions and then go back into ketosis. And that's what we want, metabolic flexibility and freedom. So that's what I would teach people out, do it, how to do it and view it from a lens of cellular health, not just losing weight, because you don't lose weight to get healthy, you get healthy to lose the weight.
Lisa: That's just man, I love that. That you get healthy to lose the weight. Because if you're unhealthy, you're going to hold on to your fat stores, you know, you've got a lot of toxins that are stuck in those fat stores is a reason sometimes that those fat sores are there, you got to be able to release the weight, if you haven't got the inflammation if you haven't got these other issues going on. And if you keep metabolically flexible within your body will go ‘I don't need this actually anymore, and I can start passing it out and getting getting rid of it.’ Wow. And that.
So the fat adaptation is different than the Keto adaptation. So just to reiterate, because that was actually a new concept for me in my head. So I always thought, Oh, you're fat adapted, you’re keto adapted, right? But no, so over eight week period, you're saying, then there's sort of another gear shift that comes along, if you've been in ketosis, because there is a sort of a raging argument, some are saying, oh, you know, you've got to be in ketosis all the time, all the time. Others are saying no cycling in and out, that's what we used to do, like our ancestors used to do, cycle in and out, I'm a big fan of cycling everything. I think cycling your supplements, cycling your exercise regime, it should be cycled your, you know, your mTOR and AMTK phases, you're in a growth versus a clean out phase. And we can talk about that briefly. All of these things should be cycled in and out, we shouldn't be like a whole year training for an ultra marathon, and you're training all the way through doing the same thing in it. And that's what I did for years, because I didn't know any better. That just leads to inflammation and problems with your performance and hormonal issues. And it's the same with the food. A little bit of variation. And this is what you know, in the bodybuilding community know that they need refeeding days and things like that. But we don't have that.
Ben: They were ahead of the game, they knew it before a lot of us do it right.
Lisa: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, they did. And I think you know, and also from a cultural and lifestyle, Freedom point of view, there are times when I want to go out with my family and just enjoy and have a party and eat stuff that I shouldn't eat. And that's okay. I'm metabolically flexible enough to now to, to cope with those times. Yeah. I don't need to be completely dogmatic. I am never eating in a restaurant again, ever, you know, like, they're just like, come on, I want to enjoy life. And I want to have a bit of fun. And they're, you know, one of the greatest joys in life is eating, but one of the most miseries in life is the cravings that you get, because you're not eating the right things. And these, you know, sugar cravings and things actually are reduced massively. And this is like I was totally sugar to peanuts. So as an athlete, I was, unfortunately, in my, in my professional career, if you like, I was completely carb based. And I was taught I had to keep eating all the way through it all the time, in order to fuel the training that I was doing, and that's what I believed. God, if I look back now, I mean how, what would I've been able to achieve if I was keto? If I was fat adapted?
Ben: You would have been like Zach Bitters. Have you heard of Zach Bitters? He’s like a fat adapted ultra marathon runner who uses both glucose and the keto ketogenic pathway, like dual engine, right?
Lisa: Yeah, because then you can during the race hop into glucose burning when you need it, but you're also metabolically flexible and stuff so yeah, and things like you know, training at altitude or you know, racing at altitude. Man. If I'd been on a Keto I would have been able to handle altitude a hell of a lot more better, and so on and so forth. Just really, and I just love experimenting, you know?
Ben: Yeah, me too. You said something very important about, I love the way you think about it. I agree about everything should be cyclical, I agree. I do supplement rotation, cyclical eating, diet variation, fast feasting, mTOR, autophagy, etc. But you're right, because everything in nature is cyclical. Women have their monthly cycle, seven days a week or so that's every month that's cyclical, you have the four seasons, that cyclical, everything is cyclical, and that should be viewed in terms of our nutrition, our exercise routine, and the supplements that we take. So I agree with you on that.
Lisa: Absolutely. And even the circadian rhythm things, you know, like getting the sunshine on the eyes early in the morning, getting your cortisol up. Learning to, you know, buy a heck your way into it just by having the right knowledge. You know, like now it's early in the morning, and I would like to be outside, you know, but I'm having this fantastic conversation with you. So I'm so here. So I'm sitting under a light that gives me that light early in the morning. And it's not as good as being out in the sunshine. But it's better than nothing. And then why do I do that, because I want my cortisol to come up my melatonin to go down, I want to wake up, I want to reset that super cosmetic nucleus in my brain that gives my 24 hour clock because at certain times of the day, my organs will be doing different things. My liver will be doing something, my pancreas will be doing something, all of these things need light.
Light is a signalling information. It's not just for vision. It's a signalling information. And it's very important for that circadian rhythm. And then that helps us optimise at the other end when we want to go to sleep. When we've seen a sunset, I know I'm a big fan. And I'm lucky I live down by the sea. So I go and I watch the sunset as many times as I can. And just see that dip below the horizon because that blue yellow light that happens at that time. And that orangey light or whatever it is that quality of light tells my brain up now it's time to see the end of the day. And we're going to slowly start to slow down and that parasympathetic nervous system comes on and so on and so forth. Easy hacks, and our ancestors did it right?
Ben: And it's free.
Lisa: Yeah. And it's free. And it didn't wasn't wasn't that hard. And it's actually lovely. You know, it's nice to actually have a start and a bit, you know, into your day. Ben, so is there, in keto flex, did you go into like you've all of these sorts of patterns? Are there any other sort of chapters, or headings that you think we haven't covered off that people would benefit from knowing, and I really want people to go and get the book, because when you listen to a podcast, sorry, I'm rambling. But when you listen to a podcast, you think now I've got all the information, I don't need to read the book. And I’m like, no! By reading your book, you're going to download years and years of long form content that you've studied and developed In one hour podcast, we can hit some real high points, we can get some real understanding going. But you need the book as well, because you need to understand the long form of what we've just said. So you can go a bit deeper. So was there anything else that you think we haven't covered?
Ben: You're right, you know, implementation is the name of the game. So the book outlines how to implement this, and I have a four pillar approach to keto flexing. So the first pillar is adapt. Getting fat adapted, and I give you the protocol in the book. Second pillar was called fast then we pair intermittent fasting. The third pillar is called phase, we actually phase out anti nutrients and plant toxins, and we do carnivore for 30 to 60 days. And then the fourth pillar is flex, going in and out of ketosis. The flex part is different for women versus men and also menstruating women versus postmenopausal women. So chapter 12, talks about how women should do keto and intermittent fasting differently than men. And they give you a week by week breakdown as well. So yeah, there's different areas. And it's important to understand that women should do it differently than men. A lot of couples, men and women, married couple, do the same protocol. And that's not a good idea. It needs to be unique to the individual, their health history, but also male versus female, because men and women have the same hormones, but we have different amounts of hormones, and different cyclical nature of those hormones. So we have to consider that which goes to your question earlier about the mistakes people make with keto and when they teach keto. They don't acknowledge this. So you have to make sure you do this the right way.
Lisa: Absolutely. Actually, can we just talk about briefly about thyroid hormone there? This was one of the things that are when we are insulin resistant. And you might know this or not, I'm not sure but when you are insulin resistant, does that blunt the receptor, the thyroid hormone receptor? Is that part of you know, why is thyroid issues epidemic at the moment. You know, is this apart? And then second part to that question. A lot of people think keto is going to destroy your thyroid or beat your thyroid.
Ben: Yeah, good question. Okay. So the first question was, does insulin resistance create thyroid dysfunction? It can. And I'm sure Dr. Ben Bikman has some specific research on that. I imagine. My, I don't know if any studying and top of my head, I'm sure there are studies out there. But my thought process on that is, when you're an insulin resistant, you create more cellular inflammation. Yeah. And that includes your membrane and receptor sites in the thyroid, which can make it more difficult for the thyroid to do its job. The second thing is when you are also doing the thyroid epidemic that we see a couple of reasons, you know, heavy metals is a big one, especially mercury, Mercury has an affinity for the thyroid gland, and it will attack it. So mercury, like in silver fillings, mercury. In the 80s, and 90s, they were put in contact lenses and different vaccinations and flu shots. So mercury is a big one. And then autoimmune disease with the gut, right? Sometimes the auto, the immune system will attack the thyroid gland, tissue and the thyroid gland, because it's overreacting from leaky gut and proteins leaking into your bloodstream. So there's a whole bunch of reasons why we see this thyroid epidemic. That answer your question before I move on?
Lisa: Yeah, no, go to the second part. Now, the third, keto and thyroid, is that an issue? Some people say, Oh, you're going to slow your metabolism down eventually, because you're on keto.
Ben: I actually agree with that with long term ketosis. And I wrote about that, in my book, I wrote about five reasons why long term ketosis is not a good idea. So just like having elevated insulin is not a good idea. It's also not a good idea to have chronically low levels of insulin. When you're current, when you're in ketosis for let's say, eight months to over a year, you're going to have chronically low levels of insulin, and what how does that impact your thyroid? Well, the thyroid produces the hormone T-4, as you know, but T-4 is not active, it's the inactive form that needs to be converted to T-3, which is the active form of thyroid, that T-3 hormone is so important for cellular energy, fat loss, and just feeling good that every cell in your body has a receptor site for the T-3 hormone would, that's amazing. What helps make that conversion from T-4, T-3 is insulin. So with chronically low levels of insulin, it will create a dysfunction in that conversion leading to a slower thyroid. That's why you hear people talk about keto messing up the thyroid