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- 02:44 From Astrophysics to the Perfect Health Diet
- 09:15 Fat, Carbs and Weight Loss
- 15:13 The Formula for Weight Loss
- 21:46 The Dreaded Carb
- 28:55 Carbs and the Thyroid
- 33:53 Low Carb / High Fat Diets
- 45:08 Why white rice is good for you
- 47:45 Reducing Food Glycemic Index
- 51:08 Other non-gluten grains
- 53:06 Fruits and Fructose Intake
- 56:44 Gut Issues
- 01:01:11 Today’s Most Pressing Health Issue
- 01:05:12 More about Paul, Shou-Chin and the Perfect Health Diet
Wendy Myers: Welcome to the Live to 110 Podcast. My name is Wendy Myers and I am your host. Today, we have on Dr. Paul Jaminet, author, with his wife of the Perfect Health Diet. Today, we’re going to be talking specifically about how to use the perfect health diet for weight loss because I’ve had a lot of clients and a lot of listeners that love the Perfect Health Diet, which is a Paleo- and Primal-inspired diet and want to know how they can tweak it for weight loss.
So today, we’re going to be talking about fats, carbs, fructose and all the little tweaks that you need to make to maximize the perfect health diet for weight loss. Basically, we are going to, first, do the disclaimer. Please keep in mind that this program is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or health condition and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. The Live to 110 Podcast is solely informational in nature, so please consult your healthcare practitioner before engaging in any treatment that we suggest on the show.
And if you want to go to the new myersdetox.com that recently got a facelift, you can download my Live to 110 by Weighting Less 35-page e-guide and you can also download my five free Modern Paleo Survival Guides, which are little charts about fats and proteins and a few other charts that will help you to navigate your modern paleo diet. And if you also want to learn about my program, Mineral Power, it’s a wonderful program using Hair Mineral Analysis to heal health conditions and to detox heavy metals and chemicals. You can press the Mineral Power button on my website, myersdetox.com.
Now, today we’re going to be talking with Dr. Paul Jaminet. He was an astrophysicist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and he became a software entrepreneur during the time the internet boom. He now provides strategic advice to entrepreneurial companies while pursuing research in economics. You can see PaulJaminet.com for more information on that.
Paul’s wife, Shou-Ching Jaminet who co-authored the The Perfect Health Diet is a molecular biologist and cancer researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jaminet and his wife have collaborated for many years on their book, The Perfect Health Diet, on what they think is the perfect diet for optimal health. It’s a Paleo or Ancestral-based diet, but tweaked based upon their extensive research and dietary knowledge.
So Paul, thank you so much for being on the show again.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Thank you. It’s great to be here.
Wendy Myers: So why don’t you first tell the listeners how you went from astrophysics to developing the Perfect Health Diet and how you and your wife managed to write what I think is really one of the best books on diet?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, it was a long journey. I would say in some ways, we were inspired by the early deaths of our parents. Shou-Ching lost her father to a stroke when she was 12 and I lost my mother to cancer when I was 10. That actually is what led Shou-Ching to go into a health career. I didn’t go into that originally, but you know, it definitely gave me some interest.
And then we both developed health problems in adulthood. They kept getting worse every year. We aren’t getting any help from doctors. Ultimately, we realized that diet was a key part of the solution for us, diet and lifestyle. We found the Paleo Diet, found that it had problems that we needed to fix. We spent a number of years of research fixing them and then decided we had to share what we learned as the perfect health diet.
And we have succeeded. About five years after discovering Paleo, we finally did fix our health problems. The Perfect Health Diet has helped thousands of people fix their health. And so we’re really excited by what we’ve learned and we’re trying to figure out how to spread it to the whole world.
Wendy Myers: Do you have another edition coming out at some point? I know you do ongoing research.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: No, not of the book. We’ve revised it. We have a Scribner edition that came out. So the most recent just came out six months ago, a paperback edition from Scribner. We don’t have any plans to revise that at the moment.
But what we are doing, we’re working hard on a cookbook…
Wendy Myers: Oh, great!
Dr. Paul Jaminet: So we expect to have that finished by the end of the year. That will also be an easy introduction on how to eat the perfect health diet. You won’t need to know much science. If you want to know the reasons for everything, you can go read the original book. But the cookbook, I think will really help people learn how to cook and learn how to be creative chefs and meal designers. So I think it’s going to be a really good book.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I love how you have pictures of every step that you do in the recipe. That’s really, really helpful. I mean, you have so many recipes on there. I think it’s really helpful to help people learn how to cook.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah. And then I’m also working on video products. I’m planning to do a series of video courses – one on diet, one on nutrition, one on lifestyle, one on exercise, one on cooking and one on health management. So those are my big projects.
And then we also have a health retreat. That means for two weeks in May, two weeks in October, you can come and have a luxury vacation on the beach with maybe the nicest property on the east coast of the U.S. Fantastic beach, fantastic water, hot tubs, pools, anything you could think of in a luxury vacation. We’ll have a great chef making PhD food. We’ll have cooking classes before every meal. I will give two science education classes a day. We have three physical training sessions where we teach not only fitness, but how to prepare yourself for sleep and how to heal yourself.
And so it’s a pretty comprehensive education – how to shape your environment, how to implement an ancestral lifestyle in the modern world. We’re excited about that because we also give health coaching in exchange for people to track their health outcomes. We’re hoping to really prove that ancestral diet and lifestyle can cure things.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. Where is your retreat located?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: It’s North Topsail Beach on Topsail Island of North Carolina. That’s one of the barrier islands. It’s south of [inaudible 00:07:08] and a little north of Wilmington. It’s a beautiful location. It’s a great idea.
You can go on our website. There’s a tab for Perfect Health Retreat and check out the photos over there.
Wendy Myers: Did you have one in Austin?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah. We did a pilot program in Austin, Texas. That had terrific health results, so we decided, “Alright, we need to make this a full-blown business.” But we wanted to give people a luxury vacation as well as a healthy retreat and so we thought being on the beach and a great location would be a bonus.
Wendy Myers: That’s great. So is it ongoing or do you just have it intermittently?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, at the moment, we’re doing two a year in May and October. It goes for two weeks, but you can come just for one week – either the first week or second week. So we have complete one week programs. Not all of the material repeats, so there’s fresh material for the people there for two weeks. And also, if the material does repeat, they can skip the session and get personal one-on-one work with the trainers or the chefs. So I think it’ll work really well whether you have one week or two weeks.
Wendy Myers: My girlfriend is dying to go.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Oh!
Wendy Myers: She loves your book. She worships it. She’s very, very knowledgeable about nutrition and she said your book is the go-to that she goes to every time because it’s so detailed and there’s so many studies. You have a thousand scientific studies to support what you’re saying. So it’s just really a phenomenal book. You just did a phenomenal job on it. I recommend it to all my clients as well.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Alright! Well, thank you very much and tell your friend I want to meet her. She should come.
Wendy Myers: She would love to talk to you. She gave me a list of all these questions she wanted me to ask you. So I’ll try to get to a few of those.
Wendy Myers: So first, why don’t we talk a little bit about weight loss? What, in your opinion, is the recipe for weight loss in regards to fat, carbs or both? Just a short answer, what is the formula that people need to work on?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, weight loss. Obesity, in many ways, it’s a simple thing because the best solution is really an ancestral diet and lifestyle, but there’s a lot of factors that go in and there’s a lot of mistakes you can make. The first thing I would say to people, if you want to lose weight, don’t focus on weight first, focus on health first and nearly everything that damages your health will inhibit weight loss. If you improve your health, your weight will tend to normalize. And that’s a clear benefit. If you’re fixing health, you’re really helping yourself.
And in fact, there had been studies showing that you can be quite obese, but have the same mortality risk as slender people just by engaging in a healthy diet and lifestyle. So it’s really only the combination of a bad diet or lifestyle with obesity that leads to the health risk that we associate with it.
So the first step is really tend to your health. And it’s curious – I’m going to be speaking about this at the ancestral health symposium this year, but a few of the factors that promote obesity are actually health-improving. And so for like a hundred years, from 1860 to 1960 or so, we saw obesity rates go up very slowly, but we also saw health increasing and stature increasing, life span increasing.
So providing yourself with a little more energy is not always a bad thing. Often, you get more nutrition with that and your health improves. We’ve also found over the years that people can really damage their health by going on diets – and a lot of people do that. And so you have to be careful about calorie restriction. Especially when people are eating bad diets, unhealthy diets and they just keep the same diet or try to reduce food intake, then they’re sure to damage their health.
Wendy Myers: [Inaudible 00:11:39]
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah. Their diet was malnourishing, it was damaging their health before and then they make it even more malnourishing by restricting food intake.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I have a lot of clients that have – I don’t want to say ‘permanently damaged’, but seriously damaged their metabolism by doing low calorie diets long-term. It destroys their thyroid and causes malnutrition, then they can’t lose weight no matter what they do.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah. And then people get scared, as soon as they normalize their food intake, their weight balloons up again. So it’s very frustrating for people. The way around that is focus on health first, don’t worry about weight first. And then after you fix your health, then you can do some tweaks for faster weight loss and weight normalization.
So that’s the first thing I would say. The first step toward weight loss is implement all of our advice – perfect health diet and perfect health lifestyle.
Wendy Myers: “Just do what I say.”
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah, that’s right. The reason we named it that is because we realized there’s really hundreds of things that you need to optimized. Most health problems today, they’re not things that have a single cause. In the early part of the 20th century when medicines sort of came in to its own, they were discovering germs and they discovered lots of diseases that had a single germ as a cause or they discovered the key nutrients and they found diseases like Beri Beri or Pellagra were caused by just a deficiency of one nutrient.
And so those diseases, they all had a magic bullet. If you treat syphilis with penicillin, then you can get rid of it – or tuberculosis. If you vaccinate against polio, then you can prevent it or if you give vitamin B1, you can prevent Beri Beri. But modern chronic diseases, they don’t have magic bullet solutions because they don’t have one cause; they’ve got dozen of causes that are conspiring together. Often, we don’t know all the causes. Obesity is like that. Most people who are obese, there are 30 causes. So in order to fix them, you really need to address all or most of the causes.
That means the mindset you need to have is, “I’m going to seek perfection. I’m going to fix all the little things.” That’s why we named our diet ‘Perfect Health Diet’ because we want people to come with that mind, “We’re going to try to optimize every aspect of their diet and nutrition and that’s what will bring me good health.” That’s also the secret for losing weight and fixing obesity. It’s to fix many different factors, which go in and together, they cause obesity.
So I think the first step is always instilling that mindset, that you need to seek health first, not any particular weight. You need to try to fix many little things. It’s not a magic bullet thing. You don’t go whatever the latest fad is, whether it’s amphetamines or raspberry keytones or whatever.
Wendy Myers: So what, in your opinion, is kind of the formula? I read in your book that if you’re trying to lose weight, you should probably reduce some carbs, but not all and some fat, but not all. What is your opinion on that? People get really picky about, “How much fat should I eat? How many carbs should I eat?”
Dr. Paul Jaminet: I think the place you want to start is with a balanced nutrition style and that’s what our diet aims to be. So a good rule of thumb is if you think about a plate, make a quarter of it what we call ‘sweet starches’, things like potatoes and rice, a quarter of it, a sweet plant that’s a natural whole food (so no added sugar or anything like that, but things like fruit, berries, beets), a quarter of it some kind of vegetable (green leafy vegetables, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, there’s all kind of vegetables you can use, broccoli, bok choy) and then a quarter of some kind of meat or fish.
Get what we call ‘supplemental foods’ that are rich in nourishment, so things like we recommend three egg yolks a day, stock made from bones and joints to provide collagen and mineral, seafood – a diversity of food types that bring a lot of benefits. Fermented vegetables are very good.
Flavor things to taste. Even though you’re trying to lose weight, your food should be delicious. So good flavorings are things like saturated fat-rich fats – butter, coconut milk are good ones, the typical cooking acids like vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice. Those are all great to use for a sour flavor. Umami flavors are good too, things like grated cheese, fish sauce, tamari sauce.
Flavor your food to make it delicious. Have those proportions. Get nutrient-dense, natural, whole foods. Don’t take any empty calories. So a lot of people want to use protein powders, which are just protein, non-nutrition. They want to use oils. Don’t use a lot of empty oils. When you’re flavoring things with fat. Use things like egg yolks or butter. So milk from a cow, it’s the nourishing food for babies. And so it has lots of nutrition in it. So if you’re using dairy fats, you’ve got lots of nutrition associated with the butter. Similarly, egg yolks are nourishing, the embryonic chickens, so they’re full of nutrition.
So get nutrient-dense, natural, whole foods. Don’t get empty calories. Don’t get sugar. Don’t eat anything that when you look at it in the store, the first ingredients are starch, sugar and oil in any combinations. Those are all going to be very bad if it’s for weight loss.
Wendy Myers: Yeah.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: And then once you’re eating a nutritious, balanced diet, then actually the key factors are lifestyle things. Really, the thing that has the most bang for the buck in terms of weight loss is intermittent fasting and circadian rhythm, those two.
So what you want to do is pick a feeding window that lies entirely in the daytime and is at most, eight hours long. So you have two meals, one at the beginning, one at the end. You can snack as much as you want in the middle, but you won’t eat any calories outside of that feeding window.
And so you have a 16-hour overnight fasting window. And in that, you eat things like black coffee, tea, water. You can flavor the water with acids like vinegar or vitamin C or powder or something like that to make it tastier. And if you have any stress in the fast, make a vegetable soup out of – I mentioned bone broth. That’s an important food. Just put a few vegetables in the bone broth, some salt. Make that little soup and eat that.
Wendy Myers: Do you like coconut oil during the fast?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: No, I don’t like any calories. Coconut milk is a really good fat source, but it’s good and you want it in the feeding window.
Wendy Myers: I’m actually amazed when I – say, for instance, I eat too late at night, I’m always so much more hungry in the morning. But if I eat – I usually stop eating about 6 p.m. (I eat dinner at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.) and then I don’t eat again until 11 or 12 the next day. When I eat at six or seven, I’m just not hungry in the morning. I’m amazed because I’ve flipped on that fad switch and I’m burning fat for fuel, so I’m not hungry.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah. Well, night eating is very bad for weight loss, so you really don’t want to eat at night. But you get to define your personal day. And in our home, we define it from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. That’s even a 12-hour day and all of your food intake has to be in the daytime. So we’ll eat as late as 8 p.m. We try to finish dinner by 7 p.m. Sometimes, we run a little late. And then we’ll have a desert at 8 p.m. Desert is usually a bowl of fruit or berries or it’s a glass of organic home milk with turmeric and maybe a little bit of honey. So it’s nice to get a little bit of sugar like from the fruit or berries or the milk. It helps prepare you for sleep and can improve sleep quality.
And then we don’t eat until noon the next day. We just have coffee in the morning.
Wendy Myers: That’s what I had this morning.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, coffee is quite good for you as long as you have it early in the day. It actually makes the fast more beneficial. It’ll actually encourage weight loss – at least if you have black coffee. If you put lots of cream on your coffee, then it won’t help weight loss.
Wendy Myers: So what about the dreaded carb? There’s a lot of controversy with your book because the typical Paleo community, people will say, “Avoid potatoes like the plague” just because cavemen didn’t eat them. But of course, we’re not looking for a reenactment of the Paleolithic era. You recommend eating one pound of potatoes a day in your book – or safe starches rather. But some people claim that even if they just look at a potato, they gain weight. So how do you recommend modifying the diet in that way if people don’t tolerate carbohydrates?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, first of all, any time yourself and then you end the starvation, then you’re going to gain weight temporarily. But actually, very low carb dieting is a form of starvation, carbohydrate starvation. It’s not particularly healthy. Lots of people get negative side effects. I think probably everyone does. It just takes longer in some people than in others to show up.
But that weight gain is only temporarily. If you introduce the potatoes, your weight will go up immediately. But once your body has the carbohydrates it needs, then your weight will stop going up and then it’ll start going down again. Lots of people have had this experience.
So what’s going on? Well, the optimal carbohydrate intake is around 30% of calories. If you eat less than that and you provide enough protein, then your body will start manufacturing carbohydrate from protein because it wants to get rid of the carbohydrate deficiency, that dietary deficiency. It wants more carbohydrate.
If you eat more carbohydrates, then it’ll start converting some of the carbohydrates to fat. So that starts happening when you get to about 40% carbs. Above that point, it converts about half of all the extra carbs to fat. The rest, it up-regulates metabolism in order to start burning more carbs for energy.
People who are diabetic or have other metabolic problems may not handle an excess of carbohydrates well. So definitely, diabetics always want to go below 30% carbs in their diet. That’s good advice for weight loss because with any nutrient, you do not want to give your body more than it wants and needs. So if your body is trying to get rid of carbs by converting to fat, that’s a sign. You’d improve your health by reducing carb intake.
And most Americans are around 50% carbs, so they’re eating too many carbs. The low carb idea, it is correct in the sense that 98% of Americans would improve their health by reducing their carb intake. But in biology, you can always take things too far. If you cut carbs too much, then you’re now starving yourself of carbohydrates. That’s one of those things that can aid weight loss temporarily, but it’s harming your health.
You don’t want to do it because that’s the kind of thing that leads to yoyo weight loss and then weight regain. Your body starts to get more and more impaired because of a chronic deficiency of a nutrient and your brain starts making you more and more hungry and you get these cravings for sugary things.
Sometimes, it’s reflected as a craving for alcohol and then when they find the carbohydrate like a potato and they try to satisfy that craving, then the brain recognizes, “Oh, we really need this” and it makes you binge on the potatoes. And then you say, “Oh, my weight is going up,” but that’s because you need it.
So what people really need, they really tend to health first. They need to give the body the nutrition it needs including the carbohydrate nutrition. And if they do that, then it’ll benefit their ultimate goal, weight loss in a number of ways.
So for instance, starches, they have a very healthy form of fiber called resistant starch, which supports a healthy gut flora. A healthy gut flora is very important for weight loss. Obese people tend to have a very non-diverse gut flora, a restricted gut flora. That’s often due to a history of low fiber diets that don’t support healthy gut microbiom. Carbohydrates are also important for building extracellular matrix, which maintains the integrity of our gut barrier and maintains immune function. If you’re not maintaining those things, you can get various inflammatory health problems, which lead to weight gain.
Adipose tissue is part of our immune system. It’s the main organ that releases inflammatory cytokines that orchestrate the immune response. When you have an unresolved inflammatory condition, then often the adipose cells multiply because they say, “Oh, we need to become bigger and stronger, so we can release more cytokines and make an even stronger immune response against this threat.”
And so, obesity is often accompanied by this systematic inflammation where the adipose cells are. The immune cells are going to adipose tissue and saying, “Alright, we need more support from you, multiply and release more cytokines.” And then, the immune cells are releasing more cytokines and so your immune system cause more inflammation. You can get into a bad state. It’s not very healthy to have all that systemic inflammation.
So you need to support healthy immune function, healthy barrier functions. That’s where things like the bone and joint stock and good carbohydrate intake could come in. It’s where getting a healthy microbiom comes in because the right gut flora will help support gut health rather than bad bones will tend to sabotage gut health.
So it’s like I said in the beginning, there are many factors in weight loss and you want to address all of them. But in the end, what we’re always led back to is that what turns out to work optimally is actually very close to the ancestral, natural whole foods diet, the ancestral lifestyle.
Wendy Myers: I like how you say in your book that you need about 600 calories of carbohydrates for your basic bodily functions. If you go below that, then you can have reduced thyroid function.
A lot of people that are trying to lose weight, as a result of low thyroid function try to reduce their carbohydrates when that actually impedes their own thyroid function even more. So can you tell us a little bit about that, about why you need to eat the 600 calories a day of starches or safe starches and carbohydrates in order to support healthy thyroid function?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Carbs are a nutrient. They’re not something you can just remove from your diet without consequences. Basically, our bodies, for every nutrient, they have a triage function. So when a nutrient is abundant, they use it for every beneficial purpose that the body can think of and that we evolved.
But once it becomes scarce, then they triage it. They only give it to the most important uses, the ones that keep us alive that are needed to do urgent things like hunting and gathering food. If we’re starving, then the most important thing is to get food. You need to support your brain, your muscles, the things you would use to discover food, figure out where food is and then go hunt it or gather it.
Things that aren’t immediately helping me get food like immune function, like wound repair, like DNA maintenance, detoxification of the body from toxins, those things will all be put off.
So for instance, if you under-eat protein, the first thing you lose is detoxification in the liver and kidneys. So all the proteins you need for detoxification will be stopped being made. You’ll lose all the ones you have because they’ll be catabolize for amino acids to use elsewhere. And so you become very vulnerable to any kind of toxicity.
Similarly, if you reduce carbohydrate, you’re going to lose immune function first. You’re going to lose production of mucus, of saliva, of tears. You’re going to lose maintenance of extracellular matrix, gut barrier and some other things. It’s no problem to lose that maintenance of joint tissue for a day or a week or maybe a month, but over time, over months and years, not maintaining your joints is going to lead to problems.
And so you want to provide enough. What gets prioritized when you go on a low carb diet is the brain. So your blood glucose levels will be high. It might even be increased over what they were when you were eating carbs regularly. That’s in order to provide the brain with carbohydrate.
You get all these hormonal changes, which tell other cell types, “Don’t utilize carbohydrate.” One of them is to lower thyroid hormone levels. There’s also various stress hormone levels that go up. There’s a whole symphony or orchestra of hormones that just cause utilization. That gets cells to stop using it.
It’s really to your advantage to continue supplying your body with the amount of carbohydrates that it wants in order to do all the beneficial functions that it needs and just avoid providing a carbohydrate excess. So if you give that 600 calories a day, then your body will be able to maintain all the important health functions, but you won’t have any of that excess that your body is dealing with that makes it convert some extra carbohydrate to fat. So that’s what you want to aim for – enough for nutrition, but not in excess.
It’s the same for every macronutrient. It’s okay to have an excess of micronutrients, but you don’t want to have an excess of macronutrients. So you basically want to get the optimal amount of each macronutrient that will allow your body to maintain all of its good functions, but not give an excess.
That’s actually how the Perfect Health Diet was designed. We wanted to find the optimal amount of every nutrient – macronutrients and micronutrients. So it turns out the design of the diet, which we were seeking to optimize health turns up to be optimal for weight loss too.
Wendy Myers: A lot of people in the ‘low carb/high fat’ arena noticeably have a lower metabolism because they boast that they only have to eat one meal a day. They’re usually not getting a lot of vegetables because [gasp] they have carbohydrates. So what is the problems, some of the intermittent problems with going low carb/high fat like that.
I noticed you mentioned in your website that the ketogenic diet, which is also called low carb/high fat promotes fungus and infection. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah. Well, you’ll tend to get immune deficits. So the immune system tends to use a lot of glucose. So if you go on a low carb diet, then you’re vulnerable to infections that will require a lot of reactive oxygen species to kill.
So many bacterial infections, going low carb is actually beneficial. But for some other types of infections like fungal infections, you can’t go too low carb or the immune system just won’t be able to address them. I think the general issues with the low carb/high fat diet, first of all, you’re starving yourself of carbohydrate. That tends to produce some hunger. It tends to have some negative health effects.
So your brain recognizes that you’re missing some nutrients that you need and so it tends to drive a little bit of hunger and cravings. And when people are forcing themselves to have a high ratio of fat in their diet, then actually, in many cases, these people end up eating energy-excess diets because they’re getting extra oil, more fat than their body needs.
Wendy Myers: And doesn’t that clog it up? Doesn’t actually too much fat slow your metabolism and clog it all over because it’s having to process so much fat?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, the biggest problem is – what your body does is it ramps up energy production in mitochondria. They try to get rid of the oil and the fat. And in that situation with an excess of energy and an excess of oil around – the mitochondria, it’s sort of a 2-way process. You’re going to put fats in on one end and you get ATP out through the other end.
But once you’ve burned a lot of fats and you filled yourselves up with ATP more than they need, then it creates a kind of back pressure in the mitochondria and it leads the mitochondria to produce reactive oxygen species. That’s kind of a signal, “Don’t give us any more energy.”
But if you’re eating an excess of fat, then your body is also driving things from the other end saying, “Mitochondria, destroy more energy for us. We’ve got extra fat that we need hanging around.”
And so what ends up happening is that the muscle tissue, which is the main place you dispose of excess energy is producing a lot of reactive oxygen species. That can lead to health problems especially if you’re deficient in antioxidants.
The place it will show up first is the heart often because the heart is a muscle, a muscle is full of mitochondria and so it’s generating lots of reactive oxygen species. The heart can really get damaged.
I rather suspect that maybe what happens when you have too few antioxidants and too much reactive oxygen species, you injure the neighboring cells. And in the heart, you get cardiomegaly, you get injured heart tissue, the heart overgrows in order to make up for the lost function. And then, you’re likely to have a heart attack.
That’s actually what Seth Roberts recently died of. I think part of it was he was eating this very high fat diet. He’d supplement with flax seed oil and butter. So he was eating a large amount of supplemental fat per day because he found it improves our biomarkers he was looking at, which were related to brain and neurological function. And the brain and the nerves, they’re very fat-rich. So if you had a fat-rich diet, you can see improvements in your brain and neurological functions, but you can also see problems because of the reactive oxygen species being produced in muscles.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, that’s the problem I have with a lot of medical testing or people that are kind of bio-hacking is that they’re looking at other markers and ignoring some. There’s a lot of things you can’t test. There has to be a balance. You can’t have too much of any nutrient.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yes. So that’s a fundamental problem with biohacking. People can’t wait and see, “Oh, it’s this going to kill me younger or older? You can’t do 10,000-person trials the last 70 years in order to get an answer on which approach is going to make people live the longest.
So instead, people picked little biomarkers and they say, “Oh, if this biomarker changes this way, it’s improving my health.” But biology is really complex. There’s no one biomarker that just predicts how long you’re going to live. If you make this biomarker become this number, then you’re going to live another 50 years. That’s not how it works. So you can “improve” a biomarker, but you’re actually harming – you may improving one aspect of your health, but you’re harming another aspect and you’re going to be sharpening your life span and not realize it.
In medicine, they talk about, “Don’t treat the numbers, treat the patient” in trying to have the clinician have a holistic mindset. You need the same kind of holistic mindset.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. I think people need to be very careful about having a myopia with their diet and with their health because say, for instance, a lot of my clients are testing their thyroid and they feel like if they eat a high fat diet and low carb diet (which is very popular), they’re not realizing that that slows down their metabolism and then they have less energy to detox or there’s not enough – their body is unable to detox as effectively. And then that, over decades, causes problems.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah. So really, the best course is to eat a nutrient-dense balanced natural whole food diets. Don’t go to one of these extreme diets. We’ve known for a long time that if you eat a high protein diet, that’ll lead to rapid weight loss. If you go low carb along with a high protein or low fat or both, then you can lose weight fairly rapidly.
For decades, these diets like Atkins or the Dukan Diet or others that just say, “Alright, eat lean meat and vegetables, so you’re getting lots of protein and not many fat or calories and you’ll lose weight.” People would lose weight very quickly [inaudible 00:41:30], but it didn’t work for long-term weight loss because it wasn’t nourishing the body properly. You’re missing all these things that come with carbs and with fat.
Wendy Myers: Do you think they’re okay short-term?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah, short-term, it’s kind of like a fast. Fasting is not a bad thing. There’s actually term in the literature, ‘protein sparing modified fast’, which is basically a fast where you eat protein. And if you add in vegetables and salt and water, then you’ll get electrolytes and fluids. Those are the things that stress people the first time they fast – they become dehydrated, they lose electrolytes, they lose protein.
So that’s basically a fast, but a fast is not a long-term diet. So it really should be called the ‘Atkins Temporary Fast’ or the ‘Dukan Temporary Fast’ rather than a diet. So if for some reason, if there’s like one event like Kate Middleton wanted to look slender for her wedding, then Dukan Diet is like a totally fast. That will be effective at making you look good on your wedding day.
But as far as a healthy diet and permanent weight normalization, that’s not a sustainable long-term approach and that’s not the best way to do it. And if you do that kind of diet too much, it can lead to health problems. So really, you should be doing something much more like the Perfect Health Diet (PHD) and then with some tweaks like intermittent fasting. Make the fast a little more strenuous. Make sure there are no calories in it.
If you don’t drink coffee, take up drinking coffee because it naturally helps with weight loss if it’s black. Extend the fast, make it a little longer, do some exercise during the fast. Get more exercise generally. Pay closer attention to lighting in your light environment. Get rid of all white light at night. Install orange/yellow lights around your home. Give yourself more time for sleep. Make sure you get more bright white light during the day. Get out in the sun more often.
There are all kinds of things you can do to make weight loss work better. Start making fermented vegetables like Kimchi and eat those regularly too to improve your gut microbiom. Eat liver if you’re not already doing it. That’s naturally quite good for weight loss.
So there’s a lot of things you can do that people should be doing. They should be taking a long-term approach that’s part of their health and that can lead to permanent weight normalization without hunger.
They shouldn’t be eating a diet that makes them hungry. They shouldn’t be eating a diet that gives them cravings or that leads them to binge. They shouldn’t eat a diet that drives them to drink alcohol in large quantities. They should be taking care of themselves, getting well-nourished.
Wendy Myers: So you recommend avoiding grains except for white rice on the Perfect Health Diet. All my clients basically gasp when I tell them that they can eat white rice. Can you tell us a little bit about why you recommend that? And is it okay to eat non-gluten grains like quinoa and other things like that?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: In general, you want to avoid grasses. So you want to avoid the seeds of grasses. That means things like wheat and barley and so on. Rice is in that category. The reason you want to avoid seeds of grasses is they all have compounds that sabotage our digestion. It can sabotage other cells sometimes as well if they get in our body. They’re basically toxic to us.
What’s special about rice is in normal cooking, you destroy most of the toxins. If you cook in a pressure cooker, you destroy all of them, so white rice becomes a very safe food. And so we have this category that we call ‘safe starches’ that are good starch sources for people to eat.
It’s very desirable to get some starches in your diet partly because one of the best carbohydrates sources or the best carbohydrate source and they’re also a good source of fiber. The only trick is you want to eat starches as part of a meal. You never want to eat starches as a snack.
So fruit makes a good snack. In general, sugary things are better snacks, sugary foods like fruit or berries. So if you want to snack, eating a banana or an apple is terrific. You shouldn’t eat a potato as a snack. You shouldn’t eat white rice as a snack.
And most people, their bodies sort of know that, so they don’t. But as part of a meal and combined with the meat, with vegetable, with fats and acids (like the flavorings that we talked about in the beginning), starch becomes very healthy. It has a low glycemic index as part of a meal. So even diabetics can have a good starchy meal without having big problems with their blood glucose.
Wendy Myers: And doesn’t putting vinegar on starches and other flavorings like that reduce the glycemic index?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yes, that’s right. So you can reduce the glycemic index in a variety of ways. One of them is to eat them with fiber. You get that through vegetables. One is to eat them with fats – so putting butter or sour cream on your potatoes is a good idea. One of them is to add acids, so things like vinegar and pickle juice or lemon lime juice. They’ll all reduce the glycemic index of your starches.
Wendy Myers: I have to try that. I’ll pick some pickle juice on my potato.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah. Yeah, it’s good.
Wendy Myers: So what about brown rice? Why do you not recommend brown rice? Can you eat it in the form of, say, puff rice cakes or organic puff rice cakes because there’s a few of these processed rice foods that a lot of my clients like to eat like rice cereal and things like that. Do you think that the processing reduces the toxins or should you just generally avoid all brown rice products?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, ideally, you would avoid them. So I mentioned all the toxins in grass seeds, the seeds of grass plants. They’re generally concentrated in the bran and that’s true with rice. So the bran is what gets milled off to get white rice. So white rice is lower in toxicity than brown rice. Generally, you should try to avoid brown rice if you can.
And also, industrial food preparation is generally harmful especially for starches. So starches tend to be pretty fragile. They don’t like being dried out and heated. Most industrial food producers, they want to move food through the factory very quickly. It’s messy to handle water, so they do dry heat. They produce toxins out of starches like acrylamide.
Acrylamide can form at temperatures only a little about the boiling point of water from dry starch, so you tend to get a lot of acrylamide. That’s like when you look at a potato chip, the little brown stains will have a lot of acrylamide in them. That’s a cancer-causing toxin. In general, industrial food products are not as healthy as any home cooked starches would be. And brown rice-containing foods are not as healthy as white rice-containing foods.
And so my general counsel would be to avoid it. Now if you have to get some kind of industrial produced snack out of the supermarket, then maybe a brown rice cake is better than a wheat product. We’ve eaten rice crackers from time to time purchased in a store. I just like to add cheese on rice crackers or something, but I don’t think it’s perfect. It would be better to cook white rice at home and have a natural whole food.
Wendy Myers: And so what about the non-gluten grains? Are you okay with those or do you feel like only white rice is okay?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, it’s similar. So white rice is the only one we approve of. But I’ll agree that oats are healthier than wheat. So if you wanted to include a wider selection of grains, then oats and oatmeal might be a good place to start.
Wendy Myers: Do you like quinoa or spelt?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Not that much. We don’t eat them ourselves at home. I think we gave guinoa a grade of C when we discussed. So we used this grading system – A, B, C, D, E, F. If it’s F, then it’s forbidden. So quinoa isn’t forbidden, but it’s not encouraged either.
So for comparison, buckwheat, I think we gave a B. I’d say buckwheat is better than quinoa, but white rice, white potatoes would be a grade A. So buckwheat, the next thing about that is buckwheat flour is really good for baking. So if you want to make baked products, which aren’t quite as healthy as non-flour cellular products, but they can make great treats.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, if you have to have a muffin.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah, we have some muffin recipes on our website and Brazilian cheese balls. We’ll probably have a pizza dough recipe in our cookbook. I think baked goods are okay from time to time.
Wendy Myers: And what about fruits? A lot of dieters think that eating a ton of fruit is a really good strategy for weight loss. I know at one point, way back in the day, I was trying to lose weight, I would eat a huge plate of fruit for breakfast thinking that I was doing great. I wasn’t really losing weight very effectively. But why is it important to watch your fructose when you’re trying to lose weight?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, fructose, if you eat it in excess, then it doesn’t get absorbed, then it’s available to gut bacteria. That can distort your gut microbiom or can even lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth because fructose is there and available to the bacteria. It gets consumed very quickly and the bacteria can migrate up to where the fructose is in your digestive tract.
When you get that, that’s not good for you. That tends to create that kind of leaky gut and inflammatory issues that lead to weight gain. So that’s one source of problem. The other source of problem is too much fructose on the liver can react with polyunsaturated fats to damage the liver and the liver is an important metabolic regulatory organ. That can lead to problems. It can promote metabolic syndrome and obesity.
So too much fructose is a bad idea. But generally speaking, it’s hard to get too much fructose by eating natural whole foods. You tend to get it when you start adding sugar to things or drinking Coca-Cola or whatever it is, getting high fructose corn syrup.
But if you’re just eating fruit, it’s probably okay. But a plateful of fruit for breakfast is not a balanced diet. You need a whole host of things, many of which comes from animal foods. You want to some fat-associated nutrients. You want protein-associated nutrients. You want relatively more glucose than fructose and you can achieve that by eating starch, which gives you resistance starch fiber and helps your gut microbiom.
So there’s a lot of ways in which you benefit by just keeping fruit intake relatively moderate. I probably eat three pieces of fruit a day. That’s probably about perfect. Nutritionally, you don’t need more than that.
Wendy Myers: So what is your maximum recommendation of fructose intake per day?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: We pretty much say the optimum is around 25 grams of fructose. So actually, a little bit of fructose is beneficial for you. That’s a 100 calories, which works out to about a pound of fruit a day. A pound of fruit is usually going to be around three pieces. So that’s what we would call optimal.
And then any optimum – if you’ve studied calculus, you know that the optimum is always kind of flat at the top. So you don’t really lose much by adding a little more beyond that. And then things start to fall off as you get further away. So it’s just within moderation. I would say don’t eat more than five or six pieces of fruit a day.
Wendy Myers: And what about people that have gut issues? They’ve got some intestinal issues, digestive issues, gut dysbiosis. Will eating fruit contribute to those or is there some recommendation about people reducing fruit in their diet while they’re trying to heal those issues?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, fruit is pretty benign, but you definitely want to get a diversity of fruits. So if you’re having gut problems, I’d aim for what we consider our optimum – so maybe two or three pieces of fruit a day and try to get additional fiber from vegetables instead, which have fewer calories. So you might eat spinach, you might eat onions, you might eat tomatoes, you might eat stock vegetables or just a diversity of vegetables, some seaweed.
I think the more diverse your food intake, the more unlikely you are to have that diverse gut flora. The more diverse your fiber intake, the more likely it is to be a healthy mix of fiber. So some people seem to have the idea that it’s good to – you know, like there’s the soylent movement. Every once in a while, someone writes me, “Can you comment on my soylent formula, my personal soylent formula? What’s wrong with it?” They’ll have these purified nutrients.
There’s usually many nutrients that are missing, but they don’t realize there’s many nutrients that fruit has that we don’t even know that we need to get. So those kinds of things are a problem. I think it can also be a problem to be supplementing with fiber. So in the Paleo movement right now, we have a lot of people who supplement with potato starch.
Wendy Myers: I don’t understand that.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah, it’s got to be better to eat the natural whole food. So you can eat potatoes. It’s good to cook them and cool them, which increases the fiber content. That’s a good approach, but you want to get a diversity of fiber from fruits, from vegetables, from starches, from a variety of sources.
Wendy Myers: And what about coconut sugar. Do you support its use since it’s only 3% fructose as opposed to cane sugar, which is 50% fructose?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, you could use one of the low fructose sugars if you’re going to add sugar to things. You can buy dextrose powder, which is purified glucose. Even if it originally came from corn starch, after they’ve purified it, it’s just as healthy as any other sources of glucose.
But we really don’t recommend adding sweeteners, adding sugar to things unless you’re making ice cream or something only for an occasional treat. Most of your sweetness should come from natural whole foods so you can chop up fruit or berries. You could puree them in a food processor and you use pureed raspberries as a sweetener. Most people will find they don’t really need a lot of sugar in order to make things taste great or taste sweet. So when you add sugar to things, you tend to over-add it as far as what you need for pleasure.
Wendy Myers: That’s me. No, I use a lot of Stevia. I just use lots and lots of Stevia in everything.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: We would recommend sticking to natural whole foods. I think if you puree berries or fruit, that would be a great sweetener in most contexts. If you had to use something, you could use honey or you could use dextrose powder or something like that.
Wendy Myers: Well, Paul, why don’t you tell the listeners about what you think is the most pressing health issue in the world today?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: I would say too, I would say it’s going away from natural health foods to industrial food products that are convenient for the consumer, but they’re really put together not with health in mind, but with low cost production – low cost of ingredients, so they’ll have soy bean oil instead of a healthier oil and low cost in terms of production. Some of them speed through the factory with these dry, high heat manufacturing methods that produce more food toxins. And so I think that’s a major problem.
Then I think the other major problem is lifestyle. People are really pursuing lifestyles that are disruptive to their circadian rhythms. They never fast, they don’t get enough sunlight or bright light during the day. They get too much light at night. Their sleep is too short. Their evenings are too stressful, too social. Their daytime is not active enough. They eat too much food at night – all kinds of these scheduling and lifestyle issues.
I mentioned our Perfect Health retreats. That’s one thing where we control the environment. We control the schedule. We show people how to live the healthy lifestyle and even extremely effective for weight loss. People often lose weight very rapidly. We’re not depriving them of food. They’re getting as much food as they want. They can have second’s. Nobody is hungry. We tell them, “Eat enough, so that you’re not hungry” at the end of your overnight fast.
Wendy Myers: Is it lights out at 10 p.m.?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Well, no. What we do is we install orange lighting all over the place, including the bedrooms. And so, as long as you stay up, you can have the lights on, but they’re orange lights. It’s only blue frequency light that disrupts your circadian rhythm. So you can go at as much red, yellow, orange lighting as you want at night. What we find is when people are seeing only orange light from 8 p.m. onward, they really don’t want to stay up until midnight or 1 p.m. They start getting sleepy.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I installed the Efflux program on my computer to give me the orange light as opposed to the blue so it won’t stimulate my brain and keep me awake.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah, yeah. And so white light tends to keep people awake and encourage them to stay up longer, but when you alter the environment properly, then people tend to go to sleep. They go to sleep early enough to get a full night sleep and they sleep well, they sleep better.
So really, apart from installing orange/yellow lighting in people’s bedrooms and switching to orange/yellow lighting in the common areas, we don’t need to control anything about people. They can do whatever they want in the bedroom and that’ll usually be very good for them.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I was joking. Well Paul, thank you so much for coming on the program. It’s so informative that I know that a lot of the listeners are going to get a lot out of how to do your diet and hopefully pick their interest, which I think is just incredible. I think you’ve really written a seminal book on diet. Thank you for your ideas on how to maybe tweak it just a little bit for weight loss.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah, thank you very much, Wendy. I do think it’s a terrific diet for weight loss.
Wendy Myers: And so if you want to tell the listeners a little bit about where they can find you and what you’re up to these days?
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Yeah, so our website is PerfectHealthDiet.com. I encourage anyone, if you want to learn how to be healthy, you can save yourself a lot of time by coming to our retreats to enjoy a luxury vacation.
Like I said, there’s really a hundred or more things most people are doing wrong that leads to weight gain. Even people who have read our book four or five times and then come to our retreats, they’d say, “Oh, I’ve learned a lot of new things.” It might still be in the book, but you can easily overlook some things. And so it really helps to see things in action and learn in person.
And so if you really want to lose weight effectively, normalize your weight and make yourself healthy for the rest of your life, then I strongly recommend coming to our retreats. You just get a luxury vacation as a bonus.
Wendy Myers: Well, thank you so much, Paul. Again, thank you for coming on the show.
Dr. Paul Jaminet: Alright! Thank you very much, Wendy.
Wendy Myers: And listeners, if you want to learn all about detoxification and the modern paleo diet or how to heal your health conditions naturally, you can come visit my site, myersdetox.com. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter, @iwillliveto110. You can view this video podcast on my YouTube channel, wendyliveto110. If you liked what you heard on the show, please go give the Live to 110 Podcast a review on iTunes. That would be wonderful if you took two minutes of your time to go do that. And again, thank you, guys for tuning in. Thank you so much for listening to the Live to 110 Podcast.