[00:00:30] The Solo Q&A for Thanksgiving
[00:04:16] Quick Preview
[00:05:06] Podcast Sponsors
[00:09:29] Follow Ben on Social Media
[00:10:15] Are eggs good or bad for you?
[00:26:02] “Taking Your Full Course of Antibiotics” Is Old, Inaccurate Advice
[00:31:37] Is cutting out salt healthy?
[00:35:33] Full Body Weight Training Vs. Body Part Split Routines
[00:37:25] What is the most fattening food?
[00:42:25] Sparkling water and non-calorie carbonated beverages nuke my appetite. How about you?
[00:47:03] A Single 4-Second Sprint Every Hour Can Offset Negative Effects of Sitting
[00:50:57] Increasing Ketones with Ketone Monoester
[00:55:08] Evidence of Keto Diets Promoting Weight Loss
[01:06:01] Calorie Restriction in Overweight and Normal Weight Men
[01:08:54] What’s the minimum amount of strength training you can do to stay hella strong?
[01:12:06] Why You May Be Having a Hard Time Putting on Muscle
[01:19:05] Cardio or Strength?
[01:21:54] Goldmine of Free College Education Classes
[01:23:51] Closing the Podcast
[01:24:46] Legal Disclaimer
In this episode of Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast: are eggs or salt good or bad for you? Antibiotics confusion, gluten-free diets, appetite control, the latest on testosterone, and much, much more.
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
You know I have to have some kind of pomp and circumstance or like drum roll leading into today’s show, because frankly I need to amp it up because it’s just me, just little old me here with you today. I have no podcast sidekick. I have no Clubhouse audience. All of that got shoved to the wayside. Well, frankly, because I had a technical issue with Clubhouse, namely I couldn’t log into it for today’s live Q&A, which we do a couple of times a month. And also, because I was brining a turkey. Yeah, I got up early this morning and ran out of time to do my official podcast Q&A. I knew it was going to be late as I hovered over the stovetop with peppercorns and rosemary and the zest of an orange pill and lemons, and what else did I put in there? Gosh, garlic, salt, brown sugar. And, you heat all that up. You heat all that up in a giant pot over the stove. And then, you take your turkey. And, once that brining liquid has cooled off, you put your turkey in it. And, you put your turkey in it for about 24 hours. That turkey just went in there about 20 minutes ago.
And then, tomorrow morning, 24 hours later, I’ll take it out. I’ll put it on the Traeger, I’ll smoke it for about four hours at about 175 degrees with pecan pellets. And then, I’ll finish it off with a final roast for a couple of hours. And, of course, the key here — I hope you’re tuning in if you’re a turkey person. The key is that, right before you put it into the smoker and right after you’ve taken out of the brine, which allows you to get this super crispy skin and tender-moist inner meat, you stuff all of the inside of the skin with pads of grass-fed, grass-finished butter, literally like a surgeon, a chef surgeon. You cut tiny little slits in the skin around the turkey. And, you stuff each of those slits with butter, just pure butter, or as Julia Child would say, “Butter.” And, man, oh man, it’s going to be a good turkey.
It’s pretty much exactly what I did last year. And, the general consensus among my Thanksgiving Day feast attendees was that it was a good turkey. It was a good turkey. Some said it was the best turkey. Either way, it’ll be good.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. This podcast is coming out a little bit after Thanksgiving. But, nonetheless, at the time that I’m recording this for you, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. And, I am not one of those guys who takes a whole bunch of time off over the holidays. And, I wanted to get a podcast out to you because, holy cow, there’s been a lot going on in the news in nutrition news and longevity news and exercise news. And so, I have a whole bunch of cool little things that I want to tackle with you today. This is going to be a giant news flash episode. And so, that is exactly what we’re going to dive into for today’s Q&A.
Now, just to give you a quick preview, we’re going to talk about eggs and whether eggs are good or bad for you, and the latest on that, the latest on antibiotics, the latest on salt, carbonated beverages, and whether they make you full or whether they make you hungry, full-body weight training versus body part split training, some really cool new research on ketones and ketosis and cognition and strength and power-related to ketosis. We’ll talk about the minimum amount of strength training you can do to stay hell of strong, why you might be having a hard time putting on muscle, the latest somewhere there combining aerobic cardio with strength is going to impair any type of muscle-building or strength gains, and even a bit of educational advice. So, a whole lot going on.
Now, right before we dive in, I of course want to make you aware of all the little goodies that are available to you from our fantastic sponsors of today’s show. So, here’s where we got going.
Alright, everybody. So, today’s podcast is brought to you by Kion, my playground for all things health and wellness. Kion is a company I created to scratch my own itch. We blend ancient wisdom with modern science to create these pure efficacious shotgun formulations of supplements and functional foods and coffees and everything you need to feel pretty much amazing. If you walk into my pantry, everything in my pantry is branded Kion. There’s a few things in there I suppose that aren’t Kion, like my chocolate or my sardines. But, supplements, full Kion lineup. I like to eat my own dogfood, except it’s better than dogfood.
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As I’m prone to do on Twitter, if you go to Twitter.com/BenGreenfield or my Facebook page or my Instagram page, all of which I’ll link to in the shownotes, which you can access at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437, that’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437, I spend a fair amount of time each day delving through research journals and articles. I read typically three to five books every week. I gather all this information and I put it out on the internet for you to digest and assimilate through the lens through which I view it. And, I, sometimes on this podcast, will delve into some of the takeaways that were the most interesting. And so, that’s what we’re about to do.
So, let’s begin with eggs. I’m not a huge fan of eggs. My sons and my wife seemed to have eggs just about every day. They’re traditional breakfast people: eggs, bacon, oatmeal, cereal, you name it. I’m more of a superfood smoothie guy. But, it’s probably good they’re into eggs because we have a lot of chickens. And, those things, they pop out eggs right and the left. Somebody’s got to eat them.
So, anyways, I probably have maybe two or three eggs a week, I’m not kidding. But, I would say my kids and my wife probably average one to three eggs a day. And, of course, if you’re sitting next to somebody on an airplane and you tell him that you’re into nutrition or diet or fitness or anything, they inevitably will get into something like this, “I try to follow that, but I get so confused about it. Ten years ago, they were saying eggs were good for you. And, now, eggs are bad for you. And, I don’t even know. So, I just don’t pay attention.” Well, it is true that it seems like, for some reason, nutrition research goes back and forth and back and forth on eggs. They’ve historically been demonized for their cholesterol content.
But, they’re actually a pretty complex food. There’s a lot of components and nutrients in eggs that will change, depending on how eggs are prepared, where the hen was raised, what the hen was fed. And, research shows that what you eat with eggs–bacon, toast, orange juice, you name it–actually could have more of an influence on your overall health than the actual eggs themselves. And so, I want to review a recent article that appeared actually on the website of our friends over at Levels who make a continuous blood glucose monitor that I use. And, they occasionally have some pretty good articles over there. But, I want to give you some key takeaways from this particular article.
So, first of all, eggs are good. Eggs are good. Why are eggs good? Regardless of what they’re consumed with, we’re going to shove that to the side for a second. Egg yolks have some of the highest dietary cholesterol contents of any food out there, about 186 milligrams in the average large egg. And, that, of course, will make many people say, “We probably shouldn’t be eating them. They’re high in cholesterol.” But, cholesterol is complicated. We’ve got our HDL or so-called good high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. That’s, in most cases, linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. There are a few studies where rampantly high chronically elevated levels of HDL actually appear to be correlated to high levels of inflammation and a potential increased risk of mortality. But, it is very few cases in which that would be the case. In most cases, higher HDL is generally, painted with a very broad brush, better.
In contrast, your elevated low-density lipoprotein, which is often associated with increased risk of mortality, particularly related cardiovascular conditions, that one is a little bit more complicated because it’s really the size of the LDL particles that matters more for cardiovascular risk than their absolute concentration in the blood. Smaller size LDL particles are more dangerous for cardiovascular disease in large particles. And, those, actually, are the type of particles that you would see elevated in a diet that is rich in refined and processed carbohydrates, not high-fat foods, refined and processed carbohydrates. Those are what you need to worry about more when it comes to LDL.
The other thing that you need to bear in mind is that when you’re looking at your cholesterol levels, you want to look at the ratio of triglyceride to HDL, the so-called atherogenic index. That, along with your blood sugar levels and your inflammation levels, is more indicative of whether or not elevated cholesterol is going to be problematic for you. On top of that, only about 25% of your blood cholesterol levels are tied to your diet. Your liver and your intestines synthesized the rest of the cholesterol that’s floating around in your body. And so, in many cases, sometimes, we focus too myopically on dietary sources of cholesterol when instead we should be focusing more on internal inflammation and whether or not any large fluctuations in cholesterol levels would be related to, say, inflammation or something going on from a metabolic level that would be causing that to happen.
And then, remember, even though cholesterol is often vilified, the body needs cholesterol to build cell membranes, to produce vitamin D, to produce testosterone and estrogen, to produce bioacids. And so, when we look at eggs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services updated the dietary guidelines for Americans back in 2015. And, it eliminated the previous recommendation to limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams per day and then included eggs as part of its recommended healthy eating patterns. And so, all of this put together, even though, of course, we could talk for hours about cholesterol until we’re all blue in the face, cholesterol is not a reason to avoid eggs.
Eggs are also a very diverse food. They’re incredibly rich in a wide variety of so-called micronutrients. They’re very rich in just about every vitamin, except vitamin C. Yolks, in particular, are something that contain a very, very dense amount of these vitamins. I tell people who are ordering egg white omelets not to fool themselves into thinking that that’s a healthy choice. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, that’s drinking pasteurized and homogenized milk versus a lovely local raw goat’s milk that’s just rich in nutrients and all the fats and proteins are bioavailable and a lot of the bacteria and the active enzymes are still available from a clean farm. I’m a much bigger fan of something like raw milk consumption. And, I consider egg whites and egg white omelets to basically be the equivalent of taking nature’s perfectly packaged protein and sucking half the goodness out of it, because yolks include vitamin A, D, E, K. Your entire B complex are also concentrated in both the egg whites and the egg yolks.
A couple eggs a day provides you up to 30% of your daily recommended amount of those vitamins. And, eggs also have phosphorus and calcium and potassium and these trace elements like copper and iron and magnesium and manganese and selenium and zinc. And so, especially, if a hen is fed a natural diet, not a bunch of grains and corn and stuff like that, man, oh man, eggs are super concentrated in nutrients. They’re a very good source of choline, which is not just a wonderful fuel for your brain. But, choline deficiency has actually been linked to muscle and liver damage and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Well, it turns out that the choline in eggs is one of the best ways to fight that. And, I even recommend to people, and this is good for you to know around this holiday season where you might be drinking just a little more alcohol than usual, choline is wonderful for managing the inflammatory or slightly toxic response to alcohol intake. So, eggs are a nice little thing to be having for breakfast after, say, a holiday party where you might have had a few too many glasses of wine. They have a nice anti-inflammatory benefit.
So, we’ve got choline, we’ve got all of our micronutrients. Eggs are very rich in protein. About 13% of an egg is protein. Even the egg yolk has very good bioavailable protein. And so, of course, you’re getting a wonderful release of satiety-based hormones, like GLP-1 and peptide YY, which helps you feel fuller for longer period of time when you eat a protein-rich foods like eggs for breakfast. So, eggs have a lot going for them in terms of what they contain.
Now, for years, based on what I was alluding to earlier, nutrition recommendations have flip-flopped on eggs and cardiovascular disease. And, that’s mainly because eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, and the story on cholesterol has gone back and forth. But, the most recent epidemiological research definitely favors the idea that eggs alone are not bad for heart health. There was one 2020 study of more than 37,000 Americans over a median of 7.8 years that looked at the health impact of egg consumption and total cholesterol intake. And, an earlier meta-analysis prior to that found that dietary cholesterol has only a modest association with LDL cholesterol and total blood cholesterol. But, in this new study, people who ate more dietary cholesterol tended to also eat more saturated fat and sodium. So, not only was the number of eggs a person consumed daily not links to high cholesterol, but the researchers also found that eating eggs was not associated with all cause in heart disease mortality. High total dietary cholesterol was associated with all-cause mortality, but eggs didn’t seem to play much of a role with that. And, remember, even when high total dietary cholesterol is associated with all cause of mortality. That’s usually in a case where triglycerides are really high, HDL is low, blood sugar is elevated, inflammation is elevated, etc.
And so, there’s been a whole bunch of meta-analyses that have been done on eggs. Several others, even as recently as 2020. But, what all these studies suggest that the older findings about eggs and heart health likely missed the point. Eggs alone don’t negatively affect heart health. But a Western diet high in processed foods and saturated fats that may also include eggs, which is often the case, does negatively affect heart health. So, if you’re consuming eggs, you want to look at the source and you want to look at what you’re consuming them along with.
There is, when it comes to obesity, not enough evidence to draw conclusion about eggs and obesity. The research seems to go back and forth. Some research has shown that people who ate more eggs have lower rates of obesity. Some have found that high egg consumption might actually increase abdominal obesity. But, again, they really didn’t look at the context of what these eggs were consumed with, whether it was Denny’s toast, waffles, grits and eggs, or whether it was somebody having a couple of pastured eggs for breakfast with, maybe, some nice, fermented vegetables on the side and a cup of coffee.
In terms of the metabolic risk of eggs–And so, when I say metabolic risk, what I mean by that is the interference that it might have on things like glucose metabolism and blood sugar. There’s been a lot of studies on this as well. And, the basic takeaway is that metabolic consequences are probably not a reason to avoid eggs. Eggs eaten in the context of a sedentary lifestyle, a Western diet high in processed foods, and smoking seems to have a deleterious effect on your metabolism. But, eggs eaten as part of a balanced diet and active non-smoking lifestyle seem to not be an issue at all when it comes to your metabolic rate, your glucose, etc.
Now, the source of the eggs is, of course, no doubt, important. So, a lot of research has shown that a hen’s diet influences the nutritional composition of the eggs. And so, what that means is that the amount of lipids and proteins in eggs of the same size more or less stays the same no matter what the hen eats. The fatty acid profile of the yolk and the egg’s mineral and micronutrient content varies considerably with the hen’s diet. There was one review of micronutrients in eggs that show that the selenium content in eggs can increase as much as six-fold with a selenium-rich diet is fed to a hen versus a hen that wasn’t fed that micronutrient enriched diet. If the hen’s diet is high in omega-6 fatty acids, then it may actually be a problem for cardiovascular health, meaning hens that are fed lots of grains and corn versus insects and grasses and things like that, those are actually going to be higher in omega-6s, and possibly more of an issue.
Now, compared to caged eggs, pasture-raised eggs have double the amount of vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and less than half of the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. So, if you’re going to get eggs, get your pasture-raised eggs. If you want a good book that really unpacks how to interpret which eggs are good and which eggs are bad, check out a book like Evgeny Trufkin’s “Factory Farm Shopping Guide,” or Liz–I think her last name is Wolfe, I believe. She has a book called “Eat the Yolk,” which is also a really, really good way to wrap your head around how to shop for eggs the right way.
The cooking method, in addition to what the hen was fed, is also important. Egg fried in butter or extra virgin olive oil, which is really high in polyphenols and flavonoids that protect the oil from getting oxidized at high temperatures, or an egg fried in ghee or coconut oil or macadamia oil or even lard is going to be far different than an egg that’s cooked in, say, vegetable oil. And, there are other things that seem to affect the egg, like hard-boiling eggs may actually decrease the amount of bioavailable fatty acids and selenium and vitamin A. Whereas, frying an egg in a really, really heat-stable oil doesn’t seem to do that same thing.
So, when we step back and we look at everything, though, the best way to cook eggs when we look at all the literature is poaching or soft boiling your eggs, that yields the best nutritional value, while leaving the yolk slightly raw. So, runny yolk, poaching or soft-boiling, if you’re going to consume an egg, that’s the best way to do it from pasture-raised hens, ideally.
So, the big takeaway on eggs is they’re not going to be problematic for cholesterol or metabolism when eaten in the context of a healthy diet. You want to get pasture-raised hens, a natural diet, that’s going to give you a higher quality more nutritional, nutrition-dense egg. And then, you want to preferably poach or soft boil your eggs rather than, say, hard-boiling them. Or, you could fry them, but you want to fry them in a heat-stable oil. But, poaching or soft boiling seems to be the best.
Although, I have to admit I did smoke an egg a couple of times on the Traeger, literally just took the egg and threw it on the smoker at 175 degrees for about 1/2 hour. And, the egg absorbs all this smoky flavor of the pellets. And, it’s a perfect soft-boiled egg. So, if anybody has a Traeger Grill, you should try it out with your egg. It’s pretty easy. You can smoke all sorts of stuff. You can smoke olives. You can smoke artichokes. You can smoke, gosh, romaine lettuce. It’s pretty crazy what you can do in a smoker. So, anyways, that’s the skinny on eggs.
Now, of course, kind of similar to eggs, we also find that antibiotics go back-and-forth as well. And, Jason Fung, a previous podcast guest of mine, recently visited this idea of whether you should actually finish your antibiotic regimen. It’s that whole antibiotic treatment regimen you hear from your doctor, “Don’t stop taking your antibiotic until the course is over or else you’re going to get super-duper sick, bro.” I don’t know if your doctor calls you “bro.” My doctor doesn’t call me “bro.” It just sounded appropriate.
So, the idea here is–Well, let me step back and just explain a little bit about antibiotics. So, let’s say you go to your doctor for bacterial infection. Viruses, like most common colds, are not affected by antibiotics. And, you’re never going to see him describe it, or prescribe, in that scenario, at least they shouldn’t be. But, many bacterial infections lead to the use of a prescription of antibiotics. And, sometimes, antibiotics even prescribed just in case, which leads to over prescription and overuse, but the exposure to antibiotics inevitably creates resistance. High persistent levels of antibiotics lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics will kill off most of the bacteria, but there’s always going to be a few that are resistant. And, since everybody else is dead, those resistant bacteria, which used to be very rare, are able to multiply and propagate and pass on their resistance to other bacteria. That’s a well-known proven phenomenon.
Now, resistance gets transmitted by these little things called plasmids inside your bacteria. These plasmids help the bacteria develop resistance. And, they get transmitted to other bacteria. Plasmid DNA can be incorporated into the basic bacterial DNA so that resistance becomes a permanent feature. Persistently high levels of antibiotic use leads to antibiotic resistance, just as high levels of, let’s say, insulin from a diet rich in processed carbohydrates would eventually lead to insulin resistance.
So, the key to this would be to use less antibiotics. That’s not a new or controversial thought. Antibiotic-resistant superbugs, in many hospitals in the U.S., have become a pretty big issue. And, the heavy-handed dosing of the latest antibiotics has led to some big problems with antibiotic resistance, like MRSA. The rates of MRSA doubled in hospitals between 2003 and 2008 in the US. There are tuberculosis strains now that are multi-drug resistant. And, there’s 10 new different antibiotics being approved currently.
Now, when we look at these antibiotics, it’s not the problem that we have antibiotics. The problem is that we use them too much. We use the antibiotics too much. And, it’s like giving insulin to a patient with high insulin levels over and over and over and over again. To me, that’s the equivalent of treating alcoholism with more alcohol or treating cocaine dependence with more cocaine. And, as Jason Fung notes in this article, which I’ll link to if you go to the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437, it’s pretty much the same with antibiotics.
When you go to your doctor for antibiotics, what do they say? Well, they’ll say take amoxicillin three times a day for 14 days. How does the doctor know how long you should take those antibiotics? Are they basing that off a bunch of studies that have compared short-duration and long-duration antibiotics? Well, they actually don’t. They’re following what’s called an eminence-based medicine standard. That is somebody made up a regimen of 14 days. And, that’s why they gave you 14 days. There’s no studies that guide the proper length of treatment. It’s literally just because we’re guessing how long it might be effective to stay on this antibiotic.
And so, if you’re feeling good, let’s say you’re supposed to take the antibiotic for 14 days, you’re feeling good by day two, well, supposedly, you’re supposed to take the next 13 days of antibiotics as well. And, that’s where you get the resistance. Thirteen days of useless antibiotics, when you’re already over the infection to prevent resistance when you know it will actually create resistance.
Now, a recent paper that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association makes the point that less is more. That paper reviewed all the clinical trials in which virtually every single time the shorter course of antibiotics was as effective as the longer ones. In almost all the cases, you could use 1/3 to 1/2 the dose of the antibiotic and get the same result, meaning about 1/2 to 2/3 less resistance, which is obvious. What Jason says in his article, he’s like, imagine you’re washing your car and you wash it for 10 minutes and it’s clean, should you continue to wash it for another 60 minutes and assume it will be more clean? Well, no, the bacteria are mostly dead. What’s the point of taking more medications?
And so, if you need three days of antibiotics, take three days. If you need two weeks, take two weeks. But, don’t take two weeks of antibiotics if you only need three days. I wish more doctors were aware of this and could prescribe more wisely the use of antibiotics and educate their patients more wisely because we’d see a lot less of this antibiotic resistance being developed if that were the case.
So, great article. I highly recommend you check it out.
And then, one last myth-based article is the salt one, cutting out salt. Even New York Times recently published an article about how cutting out even a little salt can have big health benefits. And, of course, they cite blood pressure as the main reason for this. And, it is true that, especially for those who are particularly sensitive to salt, your blood pressure can rise by 10 millimeters or more of mercury on a typical high-salt diet. And, there was one Stanford University study that found that reducing about 350 milligrams of sodium per day could lower your systolic blood pressure by about 1 1/2 millimeters of mercury and prevent about 1 million strokes and heart attacks annually.
And, they found another study, 20,000-plus people in China showed that, for people at a high risk of stroke, replacing regular table salt with reduced sodium salt significantly reduced the incidence of cardiovascular events and reduced all-cause risk of mortality. We see all these recommendations about lowering salt consumption being beneficial for blood pressure and mortality, but here’s what you need to know: those studies are done on table salt. Those studies are done on isolated sodium chloride. I’ve had my friend, Dr. James DiNicolantonio, on the show before who wrote the book, “The Salt Fix,” in which he spends several hundred pages detailing the idea that a salt, a natural salt that is rich in a wide variety, in full spectrum of minerals, is actually going to increase lifespan and healthspan and not decrease it.
The problem is that these studies don’t differentiate between, let’s say, Celtic salt or Fleur de sels or some other form of an amazing mineral-rich salt that is not simply isolated sodium chloride. And, they don’t differentiate that between just pure table salt. So, yeah, table salt ain’t that great. Cut it out. Stop using it. But, use a good salt.
I eat about 6 to 8 grams of salt a day, folks. I’ve been doing that for about 10 years. My blood pressure is fantastic. It’s rock-bottom low. My mineral levels look great. And, I attribute a great deal of that to the fact that I have a robust salt consumption habit.
Now, I’d be remiss not to give a quick shoutout to the salt that is probably my favorite salt. I use this salt called Colima salt. I’ll link to it in the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437. But, they hand-harvest this stuff from a dry salt lagoon in Mexico. They literally protect the area, the Mexican government does protect the wildlife. They protect the water. They protect the lagoon. And, as a result, this salt is free from microplastics. It doesn’t have added fluoride or iodine. It’s unrefined. It’s moist. It’s soft. It’s coarse. And, it tastes absolutely amazing. If you are ever out to dinner with me and you see me walking around or sitting down with my fanny pack, my fanny pack always has a little baggie in it of this wonderful Colima Sea salt.
They also, the same company that make it, they make a really good unrefined avocado oil, these amazing spice blends. They have caramelized cacao beans. They have Yucatan honey. And so, if you want honey salt, cacao beans, amazing spice blends, and avocado oil, check out these guys. I’ll link to them in the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437. But, they’re called Colima salt. So, check them out. And, I’ll link to those in the shownotes for you, if you want to pick up some salt for yourself.
So, we have tackled eggs, we’ve tackled antibiotics, and we’ve tackled salt. Now, the next thing that I want to get into is weight loss and appetite. So, the first thing is that there was a recent study that looked at the difference between full-body weight training and so-called body part split training. Now, I personally, when I was a bodybuilder way back in college. I’m a little bit of a lean-gainer. I’m a little bit of what you might call a hard-gainer. I have a hard time putting on muscle when I lift weights unless I do a full-body strength training protocol. So, when I was bodybuilding, I went from 175 pounds to 215 pounds during my senior year in college. And, I was doing three full-body heavy weight training sessions per week: squats, cleans, deadlifts, overhead push press, variations of all those heavy bench press. And then, I would have one day of the week where I was doing so-called vanity exercise, calf raises, bicep curls, stuff to fill in the gaps and make me look good on stage. But, really, the meat of my program was those three full-body weight training sessions per day.
Since that point, even though I don’t body-build anymore, I still don’t waste my time too much with these body part split type of programs where it’s biceps, triceps Monday, abs and core lower back Tuesday, and then, whatever, chest and shoulders on Wednesday and back on Thursday. There’s all sorts of different body part splits. The reason I don’t mess around with those is, A, you have to sufficiently exhaust those muscle groups to the point where body part split training is effective if you’re training for two to three hours a day in the gym, but if you want the most bang for your buck from an efficiency standpoint for your training —
Alright. So, the next thing related to the whole weight loss thing was a paper on my friend, Tucker Goodrich’s website. It was a paper that looked into what are the most fattening foods? They looked at fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole-fat dairy, low-fat dairy, whole grains, trans-fats, processed meats, unprocessed meats, etc. And, when you look at all the data, when you step back and look at all of the data of the four-year weight change associated with foods that were consumed over a four-year time span amongst about 121,000 U.S. men and women, the food that appeared to cause the greatest increase in weight gain were basically–well, the top three were potato chips, potatoes, and sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda. And so, obviously, the top two were potatoes. Potatoes are the most fattening food, boom, done.
Well, the problem is that if you actually delve in any access to paper and you look at the studies, what they did was when they said the potatoes are the most fattening food, if you look at it, they have both French fries and boiled baked or mashed potatoes lumped into the same group. And then, potato chips are grouped separately. Now, if you actually look at the French-fried potatoes and the potato chips versus the boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes, the graph is undeniably obvious that it’s the potato chips and the French-fried potatoes that caused potatoes to be rated as the most fattening food. And, of course, the reason for that is that, if you look at, whatever, the ingredient of the average, say, Lay’s potatoes, the ingredients are potatoes on, let’s say, McDonald’s, let’s say a McDonald’s French fry. McDonald’s French fries are potatoes, vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, wheat and milk-derived, natural beef flavor, dextrose, and then a bunch of preservatives like sodium acid pyrophosphate. And then, if you look at Lay’s potato chips, it’s potatoes, vegetable oil, like sunflower corn or canola oil, and salt.
Well, we absolutely know, and I’ve covered this on the podcast multiple times before with multiple guests, that oxidize seed oils and vegetable oils and the inflammatory response to them and the presence of what’s called dietary linoleic acid, which elevates things like anandamide, which causes you to have an addictive reaction that food, causes inflammation, induces obesity. Those are the reasons that potatoes are ranked as the most fattening food.
But, when you actually look at other data on potatoes, potatoes are also the most satiating food and happen to be pretty nutrient-dense, chock-full of minerals, and very affordable. And so, when you see articles like this that say, “Newsflash: potatoes are the most fattening food,” always step back and like the eggs, I was talking about earlier, ask yourself, well, what are you talking about? Where did the potatoes come from? How were they cooked? What were they cooked in? And, as a matter of fact, the weight gain response to boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes is actually pretty low.
It’s French-fried potatoes and potato chips. And, I just thought this was interesting to mention because, man, the media, it just ignores so much these, subtle nuances that are in fact quite important subtle nuances. So, I’ll link to that article. It’s on a Yelling Stop website, if you want to look at the data yourself. But, potatoes are not the most fattening food. It still stands that the most fattening food is, really, fried foods that contain carbohydrates and soda. Mix those from the diet, and it’s not just your weight that’s going to respond favorably. It’s pretty much every freaking metabolic risk factor on the face of the planet is going to respond accordingly.
Now, speaking of soda, carbonated beverages, I’m a huge fan. I have this thing where I have in my bag. Everywhere I go, I have Omica Organics. They make a stevia. This company makes a nice organic stevia. I have the vanilla flavor and the butterscotch toffee flavor of that stevia. And, whenever I’m traveling or whenever I’m on a restaurant or whatever, I order a Topo Chico or a Pellegrino or Gerolsteiner or any other fancy-foofy sparkling water. I put a dropper full of that stevia in it, and it makes it taste like a vanilla or a butterscotch toffee-flavored cream soda. I give this to people sometimes when I’m out to eat with them and they’re like, “Holy cow, this is a game-changer. I’m never going to drink a soda again,” because it literally just takes sparkling water and makes it into the most amazing and satiating, in my opinion, drink.
So, I drink sparkling water and chew gum a lot during the day as a way to keep my appetite satiated and keep me from mindless eating, which is also important because I have a home office. And, the refrigerator is always within 100 feet, always chock-full of amazing foods and dark chocolates and nut butters, etc. I could eat all day long if I want to. But, I don’t. I eat two or three times a day, typically space my meals four to six hours apart, and do a 12 to 16-hour daily intermittent fast. But, gum and sparkling water are two things that I consume in those in-between times.
But, a lot of people asked me, well, the soda water actually fill you up. And, a recent study threw a wrench into this equation because what they did was, in rodent models, they tested their levels of an appetite-stimulating hormone called ghrelin after ingestion of carbonated beverages versus regular degassed beverages or tap water. And, what they found was that, in the rodent models, then they went on to try this out in healthy human males, that levels of ghrelin actually increased, which could potentially increase appetite and induce weight gain.
But then, when you look at another study, what they find is that when the stomach expands in response to carbonated beverages, you get a release of what’s called cholecystokinin or CCK. And, CCK is actually something that makes you feel full. When I go and I look at these studies, what it appears to be is that, if you’re drinking enough sparkling water to where it actually expands your stomach, let’s say like the average bottle of Topo Chico or say a half bottle of those big old Pellegrinos you might find at Whole Foods or at the grocery store, it’s the volume of that sparkling water that matters. If you drink enough sparkling water to where it’s expanding your stomach, it appears that you get a release of cholecystokinin that would cause you to be more satiated. If you’re sipping on little bits of sparkling water here and there, though, it might actually cause ghrelin to be increased, which would increase your appetite cravings.
So, it’s really, really interesting nuance. It’s like, if you’re going to drink soda water to keep your appetite satiated, drink enough to where you feel like it’s–not bloating you, but it is at least making you feel full. Don’t just take tiny sips on it. Instead, it appears that just having a big bolus, like drinking a whole Topo Chico all at once is going to keep your appetite satiated for a longer period of time. And, not only that, but taking small sips of a sparkling beverage throughout the day may actually increase your appetite.
And, that’s good to know. So, if you’re going to drink sparkling water, drink a whole bunch, like half 16, 20 ounces, or whatever. And then, don’t drink it again for a little while, because you obviously don’t want to be peeing all day or get hypernatremic from too much water. And then, have another bottle. But, basically, it’s the volume of consumption that appears to matter the most.
So, a couple of interesting studies. And, again, I’ll link to those if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437.
Now, another one related to fat loss, this is a good little tip for you over the holidays, especially, new study shows that hourly four-second sprints prevent impairment of postprandial fat metabolism from inactivity. What this means is that a four-second sprint duration–In this case, they used a bicycle. You could use any type of ergometer. You could do burpees, jumping jacks, you name it, but once per hour of very short bout of four seconds in duration. That was done in subjects who were being interrupted during eight hours of prolonged sitting, they saw significant lowering of the next day’s response to high food intake and an increase in fat oxidation after a high-fat meal. So, that means that the benefits of getting up every hour and doing four seconds as hard as you can go is not only going to be good for you metabolically on that day but even into the next day reduce the propensity of a meal to, basically, increase your triglycerides, increase your glucose, or it would also increase your ability to be able to oxidize fat.
So, this is pretty cool. I have a treadmill workstation. I walk a lot when I’m working and doing calls and stuff during the day. And, many times, I’ll throw in little sprint on that treadmill. Now, my treadmill is I took one of these TrueForm treadmills which is a super nice running treadmill. It’s not one of those dinkie little three-miles-an-hour desk-based treadmills. It’s actually a full-on gym type of treadmill. I took the front dashboard off so my laptop and my computer could be in front of it. And, I’ll walk on that, and then sometimes run.
There’s another company that’s cool. It’s called Ergonomics. I’ll try and find a link and link to it in the shownotes. They literally make a stand-up desk. I actually have one. It’s out in my garage. I didn’t even set it up yet. It’s been sitting out there for a couple of weeks. And, it’s something I’m super excited about getting stuff. I think it’s called Ergonomics, I believe. I’ll hunt it down and see if I can get a link and a code for you guys in the shownotes. But, it’s one of those stand-up desks that has a built-in ergometer underneath the desk, meaning you could pedal and exercise while you’re working. And, that’s another perfect example, just like a kettlebell on the floor office or a pull-up bar in the door of your office of how you can easily weave in these four-second sprints every hour.
It’s a total no-brainer. Four seconds? It’s a shockingly short period of time. So, another example would be this latest artificially intelligent power. They call it the CAROL bike. That’s a nine-minute workout where you do two 20-second sprints during the workout. I actually have one of those, too. It’s on my gym. And, that’s another perfect example.
Sometimes, it’s pretty shocking how little you actually need to exercise if it’s a super high-intensity burst, like running from a lion or chasing down a gazelle, I suppose, because I know all of my listeners run down lions and chase down–or run away from lions and chase down gazelles. Perfect example of how simple this stuff can be, four-second sprint.
So, that’s what I have for you as far as the weight loss and appetite pieces. So, what I want to do is move on now to some cool new stuff related to nutrition.
This next study was on ketones. What they looked at was the effects of ketone consumption, not getting into ketosis or drinking MCT oil or CA oil or coconut oil or a high-fat diet, but literally drinking these new ketone supplements. They call them beta-hydroxybutyrate. So, they wanted to see what the consumption of beta-hydroxybutyrate would do from a cognitive standpoint, whether it would actually, as they hypothesized, elevate cerebral blood flow and BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is miracle grow for your brain, as well as improved cognition.
Now, these were in obese individuals that they did this study on. But, I have a strong hunch just looking at the physiology of ketones that this would apply to just about anybody. Now, what they found was that people who consumed these ketone supplements, they actually saw an increase in blood flow to the brain, through the blood flow, an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, protection against obesity-related cognitive dysfunction. And, all they were doing was they were supplementing with beta-hydroxybutyrate three times a day. So, maybe, you could do it right after you do your four-second sprint. Serving of about 12 grams, which is around 30 milliliters, which is an average size of beta-hydroxybutyrate, and then they had a group doing a placebo drink that probably tasted like rocket fuel, because all these beta-hydroxybutyrate supplements, they don’t taste fantastic. But, man, oh man, they’re like a shot in the arm for performance, for appetite satiation, and in this case, pretty significant impact on cognition when it’s micro-dosed throughout the day.
I have been experimenting with this new form of an exogenous ketone. It’s called R1, 3 butanediol or R1,3 BDO. So, it’s a very cost-effective way to increase blood beta-hydroxybutyrate levels and get you into an optimal ketone range for the performance or for the recovery or for, in this case, now that we know, the cognition keeps you in ketosis for a longer period of time.
And, this one I got from my friends over at HVMN. It’s called their HVMN Ketone 2.0. I’ll link to it in the shownotes, but it actually doesn’t taste half bad. And, it’s like this new form of ketones. It’s not the form that they tested in this study. I honestly think it’s even better. It’s probably the best ketone supplement I ever tried in terms of the actual results that I get from it. I got a big bottle in my fridge now. I’ve been hitting it a couple times a day, just a couple little sips. And, man, oh man, it’s a cool form of a ketone called R1, 3 butanediol.
Another good company that makes good ketones is called Ketone Aid. And then, finally, there’s one called Oxford Nutrition that does a really good ketone ester.
So, if you’re not yet on the ketone bandwagon or experimenting with these exogenous ketones, not just for cognition, but also for performance, for recovery, for appetite satiation, you could literally, not that you’d want to do this because turkey is great, but you could take a shot of this before your Thanksgiving dinner, and you’d be eating because you’re obligated to be with people, not because you want to. I can literally wake up fasted, do a shot of this stuff, and not be hungry till 3:00 in the afternoon. So, you almost have to be careful because you don’t want to get into a calorie-deprived state because you’re not hungry. But, it’s pretty interesting, these ketone monoesters, and how well they seem to actually work. And, I’ll link in the shownotes to that new HVMN Ketone and the Oxford Ketones and the Ketone Aid ketones. They’re all three a little bit different, but all three of them work. I have all three in my pantry. And, ketone esters, they’re amazing. They’re a true game-changer.
One other study on ketosis, though, because I get asked this question, well, what about if you’re an athlete competing in highly glycolytic events? Like, if you’re a CrossFit or you’re a triathlete and you need the carbohydrates, aren’t you going to see that ketones would impair things like resistance training-induced muscle hypertrophy? And, a lot of studies I’ve been down in ketones, general consensus is that if you’re engaged in a sport that requires you to be very glycolytic, meaning exercising at a hard pace for more than about 30 seconds for multiple efforts, then you’ll need a decent amount of carbohydrates to be able to fuel or recover from those efforts. But, if we’re talking about short explosive type of things where you’re primarily using creatine, you don’t need to focus as much on the carbohydrate consumption.
And, this latest study looked at what a ketogenic diet does for body composition and for strength. Well, this latest study basically found that you actually–well, it wasn’t a study. It was a review of nine different randomized control trials. And, what they found was that they looked at body composition, strength, and power in response to a ketogenic diet. So, with regards to body composition, they found that a ketogenic diet could reduce your body weight and your fat mass, but also reduce your fat-free mass compared to a non-ketogenic diet. Meaning, it’s a little bit harder to keep muscle on, it appears, with a ketogenic diet.
And so, what they found was that a ketogenic diet was a beneficial strategy for pruning fat loss. No big surprises there. But, it might not be the best-recommended option if your pure goals are to gain muscle mass and to gain strength, and to gain power. And, I see this over and over and over again. People come to me and they’ll be a hard-gainer or a skinny guy who’s trying to put on muscle. And, they’re doing the whole high-fat, low-carb thing. And, all that I’ll do is I’ll, a lot of times, not recommend a high carbohydrate diet to someone, but I’ll recommend these carb refeeds.
This is exactly what I do. I maintain pretty decent amounts of muscle and low amounts of body fat. I’m usually in ketosis all day long. And then, I’ll have anywhere from 100 to 200 grams of carbohydrates with dinner: sweet potato, yam, red wine, dark chocolate, you name it. And, what that does is it allows you to bump up and top off your glycogen levels, be in ketosis all day, be out of ketosis in the evening, and then jump back in the next day. That’s a really beautiful scenario, in my opinion.
And then, I also have one meal per week, typically a Saturday or Sunday, where I just don’t pay attention to carbs at all. Eat as many as I want. So, I might have a couple pieces of pie or an extra glass of wine or a whole bar of dark chocolate or a couple of sweet potatoes or whatever. And, that actually does a really, really good job staving off any type of long-term thyroid dysregulation in response to a long-term carbohydrate deprivation.
But, these two recent studies, basically, the takeaway is that sipping on a ketone ester during the day makes you smarter, or at least improves cognition and blood flow to the brain and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and a long-term hypocaloric ketogenic diet may actually cause an impairment in your muscle mass gains and your strength and your power performance-based metrics. So, just make sure you’re aware of that. And, my recommendation is to do more cyclic ketosis and a little bit of a carb refeed at some point during the day, and then a weekly carbohydrate refeed. And, I would recommend the carb refeed be done in the evening because that’s going to increase your serotonin levels, which will amplify your melatonin levels and result in a little bit better sleep. And, if you’re concerned about your blood sugar being elevated in response to that, do some cold thermogenesis or a strength training session prior to your carb feed in the evening, and you’ll see a really nice blood glucose response.
You could also use what’s called a blood glucose disposal agent. My company, Kion, we make a good one called, Lean. Berberine is an option. In a pinch, you could just use apple cider vinegar or Ceylon cinnamon, or if you’re out at a restaurant, a splash of house bitters from the bar on top of some sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon. So, there’s a lot of different ways to bump up your blood glucose disposal agent status. But, that’s what you’d want to do prior to that evening carbohydrate refeed.
Alright, next, let’s talk gluten. Who doesn’t like to talk about gluten-free diets? Three interesting studies on gluten-free diets. So, the first study actually looked at whether a gluten-free diet could result in nutrient and micronutrient deficiencies. It was called nutritional imbalances on a gluten-free diet. Well, it turns out that, even though this study was done in celiac patients following a gluten-free diet, a strict gluten-free diet did cause notable deficiencies in a variety of different micronutrients, like iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin E, some of the B vitamin groups. And, that’s not surprising because in many of these micronutrient-rich grains, quinoa, amaranth, millet, even wheat–I don’t vilify wheat. I’m not a fan of glyphosate and wheat that’s been bred for high-yield crop just because it’s a little bit more concentrated in the gluten protein. But, ultimately, I’m not against properly prepared: soaked, sprouted, fermented, etc., grains. But, if you’re cutting all of those out, you do increase your risk for micronutrient deficiencies. Now, that’s not to say you can’t properly comprise a gluten-free diet to be nutrient-dense, but you do need to be more careful if you’re eating a gluten-free diet.
Now, there was another study that looked into this in non-celiac-based patients. And, they found that the gluten-free diet actually worsened the quality of the diet and increase its inflammatory potential. And, this is probably because if you look at a whole bunch of these gluten-free foods out there, it’s usually high, high glycemic index carbohydrates, like made of breads and rice-based starches and all these things that are low nutrient-dense, low fiber alternatives to gluten-based carbohydrate sources.
This particular study found, like the other study, a reduction in a wide range of micronutrients in response to a gluten-free diet, and also, a reduction in the intake of fiber, vitamin B1, B6, B12, folate. And, that nutrient imbalance caused by a gluten-free diet in this study led to an increase in what’s called the Dietary Inflammatory Index suggesting that a gluten-free diet has high inflammatory potential. Again, potential. You could have a properly comprised gluten-free diet and be just fine. But, it turns out you need to be very, very careful with it, like veganism. You can have a properly comprised plant-based diet that gives you everything you need, but you got to be careful to soak and sprout and ferment and combine different plants to get your full protein profile. And, it appears to be the same with a gluten-free diet.
Now, the third thing that I want to mention to you, this is important because a lot of people have irritable bowel syndrome or stomach issues or gut issues, and that’s the reason that they choose to do a gluten-free diet. Now, this is kind of old news because it’s come up multiple times in previous studies, but it just popped up again in a recent 2021 study. When you look at the effect of a gluten-free diet on gut stability, in many cases, it’s the reduction in what are called FODMAPs, fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, things like apples and onions and garlic. Those are what caused the bloating in the IBS. And, in many cases, a low FODMAP or a FODMAP-free diet, you could just Google high FODMAP foods and cut those out of your diet if you have irritable bowel issues, those beat out a gluten-free diet. So, it appears that the benefits of a gluten-free diet, in many cases, when it comes to controlling things like irritable bowel syndrome, is not the reduction in gluten, per se, but the fact that you see a reduction in these fermentable foods, the FODMAPs.
So, I think that, in many people who are following gluten-free diet so that they get less bowel issues, I don’t think the issue for them is eliminating gluten, unless they actually have shown that they have celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance. Instead, the issue is that they’re eating these fermentable foods, like the FODMAPs. So, my recommendation is cut FODMAPs and try a low-FODMAP diet before you try a gluten-free diet. And, if you decide to go with a gluten-free diet, these other studies demonstrate that it’s a really good idea to take a multivitamin and to get your bases covered from a micronutrient standpoint.
And, again, the nutrition imbalances that were reported across multiple studies in adults and children from several countries who followed a gluten-free diet for varying lengths of time were a low fiber intake, low presence of vitamin D, E, the full B complex, low intake of iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. And so, you do want to be careful if you’re following a gluten-free diet, just to make sure that you properly comprise that diet. And, I highly recommend you try a low FODMAP diet first.
And then, one other thing related to diet, one last one related to diet. And, this was testosterone study. What they did was they looked at the effects of dieting on testosterone concentration in men, specifically, caloric restriction. And, it makes sense that if you’re sending your body a message that calories are not readily available and you might be in a time of, from an ancestral standpoint, starvation or famine, nature wouldn’t want you to bring babies into the world in a situation like that. And so, you’d see a decrease in your total testosterone or your free testosterone concentrations. If I’m looking at the lab results for myself or someone who I’m working with and I see very elevated levels of what’s called sex hormone-binding globulin, SHBG and low testosterone, in most cases, when I do some digging, that person is not eating enough food and/or not eating enough carbohydrate. And, when we adjust that and get more food into the diet, SHBG decreases, and testosterone increases.
And, this study actually showed a significant decrease in total testosterone concentrations in normal-weight healthy men who were calorically restricted. I would say maybe because you have more bioavailable fat stores to rely upon if you are overweight or obese. That might not be the issue. But, if you’re the average healthy lean guy, and you could probably extend this to a certain extent to the endocrine system in women, who’s calorically restricting and dieting and then complaining about your testosterone levels, eat more food. And, sometimes, eat more carbohydrates, for example, using that strategy that I talked about earlier. And, if you do a lab test and you see that you’ve got increased sex hormone-binding globulin and decreased or low testosterone, in most cases, it’s either not eating enough food, not eating enough carbohydrates. And then, if you look at those results and cortisol is very elevated, then in some cases, it can also be a stress issue, because similar to nature not wanting to bring new babies into the world during a time of famine or starvation, the same could be said for a time of excess stress. So, again, this latest study once again shows something we see over and over and over again. You want to amplify your drive, your testosterone, your sexual performance, etc., make sure that you’re not excessively calorically restricting, excessively restricting carbohydrates, or excessively fasting.
Alright. So, now, we’re going to move into a few takeaways for exercise. So, this first one looked into the minimum amount of strength training that you can do to stay strong, not necessarily to maintain muscle mass, but to stay strong or to even increase your 1RM strength? Now, due to their efficiency and their effectiveness in increasing total body muscular strength, multi-joint exercises like the ones I was talking about earlier, like the power lifts, like the squat and the bench press and the deadlift, those are widely used by active individuals, as well as athletes, in their pursuit of increasing strength. They’re just proven. They work really, really well.
But, what’s the minimum amount of those you would need to do to actually maintain or even increase strength? Well, this latest analysis looked into 2,629 studies, big systematic review. And, they found–drumroll, please–performing a single set, one set of 6 to 12 repetitions, two failure, two to three times a week, can produce significant increases in your 1RM strength even if you’re a trained individual. I’m going to say that again: one set-to-failure of 6 to 12 repetitions, two to three times a week, meaning literally. You could maintain decent strength levels by doing one set-to-failure of the squat, one set-to-failure of the bench press, and one set-to-failure of the deadlift on a Monday or Wednesday and a Friday. And, this was over an 8 to 12-week timespan, so a decent timespan. Didn’t see a drop-off in strength at all.
And so, it’s good to know, especially for people who are going through a period of time where they might be a little more time-hacked but don’t want to get weak, for example, that you can just drop in three different exercises, three sets-to-failure and maintain strength. So, it’s related to one form of exercise that I tend to program a lot. I have this whole fitness program in what’s called the Ladder app. That’s my app where I deliver workouts to you each week. And, I’ll link to it in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437.
But, as a key part of the workouts that I program within that app, I have a super slow resistance training protocol. It’s chest press, shoulder press, row, pull down leg press, one single set super slow, 30 seconds up, 30 seconds down for 5 to 10 reps to absolute failure. That’s a perfect example of a 15 to 18-minute workout you could do on a Monday and a Friday and stay very strong with just that workout. So, kind of cool, especially for those of us who like to hack time.
There was another really, really interesting paper I came across called “Anabolic Resistance of Muscle Protein Turnover,” new paper, relatively new, 2021. What they looked at were all the reasons that people might have a hard time putting on weights, technical anabolic resistance. That’s a term often used to describe a decrease in the quality or the quantity of a particular muscle protein pool, namely the myofibrillar proteins that are found within muscle. And, those myofibrillar protein synthesis rates are indicative of whether or not you’re going to be able to put on muscle or whether you might have this so-called anabolic resistance.
So, what they looked at was they looked at what might actually cause a decrease in muscle protein synthesis, what might cause a decrease in the ability of the body to be able to use amino acids to build muscle. Now, if you go and listen to my podcast with Angelo Keeley that I recently did and that I’ll link to in the shownotes, we talked about the amino acid composition of a variety of proteins and which ones tend to be better at anabolic signaling, like leucine for example, which we put into our Kion Aminos in higher amounts recently. That’s probably the most potent anabolic signaling molecule that exists. That’s an example of amino acid that you want to have in high levels in your bloodstream, especially during resistance training, if you wanted to stave off anabolic resistance.
But, there’s some other interesting things that could cause you to be able to put on less muscle. The first one is obvious. It’s age-related anabolic resistance. It’s been shown repeatedly that there’s a decreased response of muscle protein synthesis to protein ingestion in older adults when compared to their younger counterparts. And, older adults in most studies range anywhere from about 40 up to around 60 years old. That’s where you actually see a lot more effort being needed to put on or maintain muscle.
Now, dietary strategies that have allowed that to not occur or to occur more slowly include fortifying meals or supplementing with leucine, increasing the protein content of each meal, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, and even manipulating food texture, like using more blending, chewing for a longer period of time, pureeing, cooking, to increase the availability of the protein. But, that resistance to anabolic stimuli that is caused by increased aging of all the things that seem to work best for it, it would basically be higher protein ingestion, higher amino acid intake. And, that’s why I recommend for older individuals who want to maintain muscle, consume a really good protein-digesting enzyme with each meal that contains protein, like look at your digestive enzyme supplement, make sure it has large amounts of protease in it. In many cases, also adding hydrochloric acid can be good. There are good supplements out there. Thorne makes one called Bio-Gest. You could just pop three of those before each meal and get your protease digesting enzymes and some HCL-like digestive support. You could also stack HCL on top of that. But, basically, older adults who maintain their strength training and adhere to a high amino acid and high protein intake seemed to be able to stave off that amount of anabolic resistance.
People who are obese, it appears that the inflammation caused by excess fat tissue impairs muscle protein synthesis. So, in a way, simply losing weight, losing fat, even prior to going into a mass-gain or a muscle-building phase, would allow you to put on muscle more easily, like going through a phase where you’re doing fasting, cold thermogenesis, caloric restriction, all those things you can do to decrease fat. And then, from there, once you’ve burnt off some of that fat, the actual process of gaining muscle is going to be a little bit easier, which is nice, too, because it’s hard to eat the amount of protein and eat the amount of calories and do all the things necessary to put on muscle while simultaneously dieting and trying to lose fat. It’s difficult to combine the two. You could do it, but it’s more difficult.
So, my recommendation to people who just have, let’s say, a yearlong goal to get more muscle, to just redo themselves from an aesthetic standpoint, think about losing the fat first if you’re obese and then going into the strength training or the heavier amounts of strength training, and you’ll probably have a easier time putting on muscle.
The article also goes into some catabolic diseases that could cause an impairment in muscle protein synthesis or cause muscle wasting, things like renal disease, end-stage renal disease, or the health of your kidneys, is going to have a pretty big impact on your ability to be able to gain muscle. Cancer, obviously, would be another one. And, most people know, if they’ve got something like kidney failure or cancer, that’s probably at the top of the totem pole for anabolic resistance, it is actually kidney failure. In this study, it was shown to be kidney failure. But, the other ones are obesity, not exercising enough, the aging, and then low intake of protein and low intake of amino acid.
So, the overall takeaway, all said and done, is that, if you’re having a hard time putting on muscle, you may want to check out this article. But, really, it comes down to losing weight, getting your kidneys checked out, not engaging in sedentary behavior. If you’re aging, making sure your prioritize your protein intake, digestive enzymes, amino acids, collagen, and then just staying healthy and physically active.
And, for the people who aren’t trying to go from skinny guy in the beach to Arnold Schwarzenegger, those are usually the reasons, if you’re trying to go from skinny guy in the beach to Arnold Schwarzenegger, then the answer is probably you’re not taking enough testosterone and you’re not on the SARMs and the peptides in the crazy overpriced nutritional post-workout supplements. And, that’s a whole different story. It’s not to say it’s not something you pursue. But, for the average person, that’s the low-hanging fruit.
Alright. And, by the way, if my voice sounds different, it’s because I was about halfway through telling you about that study or almost done telling about that study. And, I somehow had this loss of my audio. So, I am trying to jump back in and keep rolling with you here. So, sorry if that was a little bit of an awkward transition.
But, I got another one to tell you about, just a little bit more here. There’s always been this thing in exercise science literature that has questioned whether or not we should train for cardio and train for strength at the same time, like the classic go to the gym, because I do this sometimes. I’ll go to the gym or go to my home gym and I’ll do a set of a chest press, shoulder press, a row, pull down, and some leg press or a squat, and then I’ll do two minutes of hard cardio, then go back to the beginning and do that again. Or, I’ll do that as a super slow strength training protocol where I’ll do one single set-to-failure, like we were talking about earlier. And, I’ll do the single set-to-failure chest press and then shoulder press and then row and pull down and leg press. But, I’ll sandwich that in between, say, a Tabata set, 20 seconds hard, 10 seconds easy, 8 times through for a super-hard four-minute set at the beginning and at the end of that strength training. Those are a few flavors of what people do when they combine cycling or running or elliptical or rowing machine or stair-stepper or anything like that, but sprinkle that in with the cardio, or even do their strength and then do cardio right after, or do all their cardio before and strength right after.
So, the question is does that compromise your ability to be able to put on or maintain muscle or even develop maximal strength? Well, the consensus for a long time has been it probably takes away from that. But, there was a recent meta-analysis, a systematic review and meta-analysis that looked at 43 different studies across exercise science literature. And, basically, the conclusion that it came to was that, for people who are even trained, which sometimes the difference between untrained and trained tends to be different sometimes in literature, but regardless of training status, it turns out that training aerobic and strength training at the same time doesn’t seem to compromise any of the efforts that you’re making for muscle hypertrophy or maximal strength development. The only thing that hurts is power. So, if you’re training for tennis or soccer or some super plyometric powerful activity, then it would behoove you to separate any cardio training from strength training. And, frankly, if you’re in one of those sports, you shouldn’t be doing much cardio training anyways, just because it converts some of that fast-twitch explosive muscle into slow-twitch muscle. But, for most people, doing aerobic and strength at the same time is not only a hyper-efficient strategy for your fitness, especially if you are only going to the gym or working out once per day, but it also turns out it’s not really going to hold you back that much in the strength or in the hypertrophy department.
So, lo and behold, there’s little time hack for you. Here’s a little time hack for you. And, I’ll link to that study in the shownotes.
Speaking of time hacks, we’re going to do a super quick, I don’t know if it’s called a 180 or a reverse, we’re just delving into a whole new category here, baby. I’m trying to segue, but I’m doing a bad job of it. I stumbled across an amazing website run by a pretty brilliant guy named Michael Saylor. Michael Saylor is a modern economist. And, I think he’s an author to a modern-day philosopher type of guy, Bitcoin investor. I think he had some 17,000 bitcoins, which is probably how he afforded to create this website because it is a host of amazing college-level classes. We’re talking economics, finances, English. There’s a whole course on Bitcoin that me and my sons are going to take this year. There are courses on business. There are courses on history, geography, mathematics, physics, political science, you name it. But, these are all college-level classes with amazing professors.
And, not only that, many of these classes are eligible to earn college credit by using the forms that they have on the website that allow you to submit those to accredited institutions to grant college credit back to you for this so-called Saylor Academy. It’s called the Saylor Academy at Sailor.org. Not only that, but you don’t got to pay for all this stuff, it’s free. It’s free to go take all these classes. It’s shocking. We live in a cool era. You’re going to have to pay tens of thousands of bucks to a university to get all this 10 years ago. It’s all free. And, for me, as a guy who’s–I’m writing a book on parenting and education right now. I’m unschooling my kids, even though I don’t like that word. Technically, it’s a self-directed education. This is a gold mine. So, check it out. It’s Saylor.org, S-A-Y-L-O-R.org. I’ll link to it in the shownotes, too, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437. I’ll link to it in the shownotes. But, it’s a pretty cool website if you’re into learning, which I think is great as a lifelong activity. So, check that one out. And, I think you’ll like it quite a bit.
Anyways, I think we’re getting long in the tooth, so I’m going to wrap things up. But, everything I talked about–the podcast, the books, all the studies, everything–I’ll put at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who are listening this close to Thanksgiving, even though I think it’s coming out long after the turkey has actually been digested. But, regardless, tuck away a few of my tips that I gave you for next Thanksgiving, especially some of that salt you can sprinkle on your food. And, we now know that you’re also just fine if you have some eggs along with your turkey dinner, if anybody actually does that. Sounds like something my sons would do. They have scrambled eggs with everything. It’s our joke when we go out to restaurants they take the leftovers in a box and say it’s going to be great with scrambled eggs in the morning. So, you have it.
Alright, folks, I’m going to wrap this thing up. All the shownotes are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/437. Have an amazing, amazing week.
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