The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #94 - Marty Kendall
Marty Kendall is an engineer who seeks to optimise nutrition using a data-driven approach. His interest in nutrition began eighteen years ago in an effort to help his wife Monica gain better control of her Type 1 Diabetes. But since then he has worked to develop a systematised approach to nutrition tailored for a wide range of goals. Over the past five years, Marty has been sharing his learnings at OptimisingNutrition.com and has developed Nutrient Optimiser and Data-Driven Fasting to guide thousands of people on their journey of nutritional optimisation and improving their metabolic health.
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Big Fat Keto Lies Book (Marty Kendall)
2:30 - IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life: Join Melanie's Facebook Group For A Weekly Episode GIVEAWAY, And To Discuss And Learn About All Things Biohacking! All Conversations Welcome!
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5:10 - FOOD SENSE GUIDE: Get Melanie's App To Tackle Your Food Sensitivities! Food Sense Includes A Searchable Catalogue of 300+ Foods, Revealing Their Gluten, FODMAP, Lectin, histamine, Amine, glutamate, oxalate, salicylate, sulfite, and thiol Status. Food Sense Also Includes Compound Overviews, reactions To Look For, lists of foods high and low in them, the ability to create your own personal lists, And More!
8:00 - Marty's Personal Story
9:55 - Misconceptions Around Controlling Diabetes
11:55 - Insulin's Role In Each Type of Diabetes
13:45 - Understanding The Lack of Insulin: T1D Vs. T2D
14:30 - Diabulemia
15:44 - Basal Insulin
16:25 - insulin in fat storage and Release
17:15 - insulin is anti-catabolic
18:30 - non insulin mediated glucose uptake
19:00 - The role of insulin in fat storage
19:40 - oxidative priority
20:55 - does fat illicit a fat response?
22:05 - can you take in too much fat?
23:50 - more fat over the long term leads to more insulin
24:50 - burning the energy in your body
26:55 - consuming Bulletproof coffee and mCT oil, etc
28:40 - experiments with c8 MCT
31:05 - factors that effect fatty acid esterification
32:00 - the idea of burning fat exclusively in the Absence of carbs
34:00 - burning fat in the krebs cycle
33:30 - energy toxicity and ketone levels
37:20 - DRY FARM WINES: Low Sugar, Low Alcohol, Toxin-Free, Mold- Free, Pesticide-Free , Hang-Over Free Natural Wine! Use The Link dryfarmwines.com/melanieavalon To Get A Bottle For A Penny!
39:00 - is burning ketones "cleaner"?
39:40 - the different types of ketones
45:50 - low glucose and high breath ketones
47:00 - Nutritional Ketosis
51:20 - the real goal of low carb diets
52:25 - charts of energy distribution
54:20 - long term fasting
55:10 - what has caused the obesity epidemic?
57:00 - lack of nutrient density in our food system
59:00 - the bliss point of fake foods
1:00:45 - satiety
1:02:00 - mUFA, PUFA, and Saturated Fat Satiety
1:03:40 - omega 3 satiety
1:06:45 - Micronutrient and macronutrient satiety index
1:08:25 - the triage theory
1:09:15 - is it possible to get all nutrients from the diet?
1:25:35 - taking concentrated supplements
1:13:05 - are animal products less depleted of nutrients?
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1:16:10 - regenerative agriculture
1:17:20 - vegan vs. carnivore
1:18:50 - carnivore as an Elimination diet
1:21:35 - high blood sugar in keto and carnivore
1:22:35 - Gluconeogenesis driving insulin resistance
1:26:40 - elevated glucose due to gluconeogenesis
1:27:45 - chicken or then egg? is insulin resistance or obesity first?
1:28:15 - insulin resistance in thin people vs obese people
1:30:10 - insulin response from food
1:31:45 - Seasonal eating
1:34:45 - checking glucose before eating
1:37:40 - blood sugar set point
1:38:40 - eating with high blood glucose; a hack
1:39:40 - using berberine
1:39:55 - alcohol
1:41:50 - biggest lesson
1:43:20 - data driven fasting
1:45:20 - macros, calories, and nutrients
Big Fat Keto Lies Book (Marty Kendall)
Melanie Avalon: Hi friends, welcome back to the show. Oh my goodness, I am so incredibly excited about the conversation that I am about to have. This is with a person who-- friends, this man's work is absolutely mind blowing. If you're not familiar with his work, or even if you are, prepared to completely reevaluate possibly most, if not everything, you think you know about diet, weight gain, weight loss, insulin, keto, all of these things. I am here with Marty Kendall. We were talking about this before how we're kind of similar and that neither Marty nor I are doctors or biochemists or anything like that. Marty Kendall is actually an engineer, but he has done really incredible work in something he calls his data-driven approach. He runs the website, optimisingnutrition.com. That's actually what how I first came to Marty's work. When did you start that blog, Marty?
Marty Kendall: Oh, wow, about six years ago.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah, because I've definitely been reading it probably about four or five years ago that I first stumbled upon it. The amount of information contained in this blog is just absolutely incredible. It's the way I feel like I approach everything as far as reading the studies, looking at data, figuring out what is actually happening in our bodies, and what is truth if I use that word and what is lies, which is appropriate because Marty recently released a book called Big Fat Keto Lies, which, friends, get this book now, do not pass go, [laughs] do not collect $100. Oh, my goodness, reading it, I think I was just in a perpetual state of excitement and smiling because you tackle all of these questions that have haunted me for so, so long. That was kind of an all over the place intro, but I am just so excited. Marty, thank you so much for being here.
Marty Kendall: Thank you, great to chat, Melanie.
Melanie Avalon: To get things started, would you like to tell listeners for those who are not familiar with you a little bit about your personal story? Engineer, what brought you to the interest that you have today with everything that you're doing?
Marty Kendall: Engineer by day, 18 years ago, married Monica, who happened to be a type 1 diabetic. Neither of us really understood what that meant at the time. I remember asking her, “Hey, what's a good blood sugar?” “I don’t know, maybe 6, I don't know.” Since then, it's been a bit of a deep dive into trying to understand at first work how to have a healthy pregnancy and help her control her blood sugars and insulin. Since then, just continuing to learn and dive into the research and try to-- I've got this full-time lab rat of seeing her blood sugars and insulin 24/7 with continuous glucose monitor and a closed loop insulin system, so I can see how her insulin responds to the food she eats, her meal, when she doesn't eat, when she's stressed. It's just such a fascinating learning experience. I've tried to then dig into the data, all the data I can get hold of to understand more about that initially, to help her control her blood sugar and insulin. Then, I realized that low carb and keto wasn't the only way for most people, and they also needed nutrients and satiety and a whole bunch of other things that we might dig into.
Yeah, I started the blog six years ago, and just met a bunch of amazing people that I have learned a ton from, and just tried to put the pieces together in an integrated system that can optimize nutrition for different goals, different contexts, which I think is something that's really missing a lot of the time we go, “This is the best diet for anybody anywhere for the rest of eternity,” but you need a little bit more nuanced than that.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, starting with that, looking at Monica’s blood sugar levels and having type 1 diabetes, listeners are probably pretty familiar with the difference between type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, but could you talk a little bit about that, because one of the things that you talk about in the beginning of Big Fat Keto Lies, is sort of the misconceptions surrounding both how modalities to treat diabetes might not necessarily apply to somebody without diabetes, and also how modalities for type 1 might not apply to type 2 diabetes.
Marty Kendall: Type 1 is where due to an autoimmune condition and we don't fully understand why but your pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin. It just can't produce enough to hold your energy in storage, and if they don't inject insulin, people with type 1 diabetes basically disintegrate. All this stored energy flows into the bloodstream, they get diabetic ketoacidosis with really high blood sugars, ketones, and free fatty acids, and in a matter of weeks, they end up dying. It's really wonderful that in 100 years ago, they worked out how to invent or synthesize injected insulin so these people can live. Now, it's just a matter of fine tuning the diet and the insulin dosage to live a fairly normal healthy life.
Type 2 diabetes is really talked about insulin being the hormone secreted by the pancreas that enables your body to hold energy in storage. Really, what happens with type 2 diabetes is fundamentally you exceed your personal fat threshold, which is the amount your body can comfortably hold in storage, and that excess energy ends up flowing into the bloodstream, and the vital organs and your body then works up, ramps up the insulin production to work overtime to try and pack that energy back into storage because it doesn't really belong in really high levels in the bloodstream.
Melanie Avalon: In type 1, if you're not taking insulin, you don't have insulin, so no insulin to the cells. Type 2 diabetes, usually too much insulin, but are the cells not clearing the insulin? In which case is it similar to type 1, and that insulin is not reaching the cells in a way?
Marty Kendall: Both conditions are really a condition of insulin insufficiency, so you don't have enough insulin. In type 1 diabetes, you don't have any. In type 2, you don't have enough to keep it all jammed in storage in in your fat, in your adipose tissue, and visceral fat, and everywhere else. I think it's just because like a sponge, you can fit so much water into a sponge, you only fit so much energy into those fat cells and all the other cells in your body and they just become full, so you can't keep pushing more in, but that differentiation between exogenous insulin and endogenous insulin, which is produced by the body is really, really, really important. Something was a bit of an aha moment for me that we're all banging on about insulin is a fat storage hormone, but if you're not injecting it, your body doesn't produce more of it than it needs to hold back energy and storage while you're still eating food through your mouth. As long as you're overeating food, you're overconsuming food, because it's low satiety, hyper-palatable, nutrient poor, you're going to need more and more insulin to hold that energy in storage. So really, the solution for type 2 diabetes is to find a way to eat in a sustainable manner that you can then release your stored body fat and then your insulin levels drop.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, I think I just had the aha moment because the reason I was asking that first question is, I was thinking if they're both not enough insulin, why do type 1s manifest, like they would be too thin? But type 2, you become overweight? Why does it go two completely different ways?
Marty Kendall: I spent the first couple of years in this trying to understand how I could basically turn off my pancreas and stop it producing insulin, like my wife, by eating less carbs, less protein, more fat and switching them out. Then, I realized that, “Wait, I can't turn off my own pancreas. My pancreas works. I can't do it. I can't be a type 1 diabetic.” You don't want to be a type 1 diabetic. In type 1 diabetes, there’s a situation called diabulimia, where people actually choose to underdose their insulin to run their blood sugar's high to lose that weight, but it's really, really dangerous and all your muscle mass disintegrates, and you have elevated blood glucose, ketones, and fatty acids in your blood. It's really ill advisable. I think a lot of people in keto will think that they can turn off the pancreas by eating more fat and less carbs and proteins. That's the fundamental essence of this, is that you can't turn off your pancreas.
If I run around and jab with an insulin needle, your blood sugar will plummet, energy would be stored in-- it would be retained in your storage, and you'd get hungry because there wouldn't be enough glucose in your bloodstream, and you'd want to eat all the time until you got out of this low. But no one's jamming you with an insulin pen 24/7, and they would put you in jail if they did. Unless you're injecting excess and exogenous insulin, it's all about controlling the amount of body fat you're storing but changing your diet to maximize satiety and nutrient density.
Melanie Avalon: That might be a big lightbulb moment for a lot of listeners. Insulin, it sounds like is-- what's the word, constitutive? It's constantly on, right? It's not on and off. It's always happening.
Marty Kendall: Yeah, and 80% of Moni’s insulin that she requires every day is just the basal insulin that holds her energy in storage. It's only about 20% of her insulin is a response to the food she eats. You really need to think of insulin not as a fat storage hormone, but energy regulation hormone that holds energy in storage while you're eating.
Melanie Avalon: I've thought about this a lot. I don't know if there's an importance in the tiny difference and the implications of it. When it's keeping fat in cells, is it doing that by literally putting the brakes on the cells or is it just taking the foot off the accelerator? It's stopping the hormones that would burn fat like HSL? Do you know if it's actually stopping fat from burning?
Marty Kendall: I think it's more just stopping the release of it through the liver, so the liver can virtually store energy into glucose and fat in your bloodstream so it can be used for energy, so it’s still that that break, your liver that stops it being released into the bloodstream.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, I don't know why I think about this so much, but I feel like there must be some importance there. I also wonder-- I think you talk about this in the book about how insulin is actually more anticatabolic rather than anabolic. Would you like to expand on that?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, if you're a bodybuilder and inject insulin, you can grow more bigger muscles and those mass monster bodybuilders amped up on insulin and growth hormone and testosterone and steroids to get really, really, really big. It can be an anabolic hormone in that way if you're injecting it, but yeah, the anticatabolic, catabolic just means you break everything down in your body. Most of us want that, to become leaner and potentially healthier, but if you're losing all your muscle and all your fat and everything else, you don't want that. So, you have to find the balance between giving enough protein to build your muscle and resistance training, so you build your muscle while you're releasing body fat. Yeah, insulin is primarily an anticatabolic hormone. It's only once you get to really, really high levels of blood sugar that it then starts stuffing the energy into your fat cells. Really, historically, in hunter-gatherer times, it was really not a thing to be an anabolic hormone, and yourself can take up energy through non-insulin-mediated glucose uptake, without the use of insulin if you're active. Insulin is really typically not a dominantly anabolic hormone most of the time, unless you get to that really, really high level where your pancreas has to pump out more and more insulin to try and drive it in but that healthy level insulin really just regulating the release of energy like a dam wall, like you lower the dam wall and the energy flows out.
Melanie Avalon: I think is just so fascinating, because you're just talking about how we can take up glucose without insulin if we have the right situation. Then as far as fat goes, one of your Big Fat Keto Lies involves this, there's this idea in the keto world that fat doesn't release insulin, or that it's this free food. What role does insulin play in fat storage? Can we store fat without insulin? What's going on there, do you think?
Marty Kendall: You need a little bit of insulin, but really, the amount of insulin your body releases is proportional to the amount it can store and how volatile that fuel is. When you talk about oxidative priority, you have to burn off your glucose ketones and then excess protein, which is generally not a thing. Then, your fat last in line, so your body can really easily stop that fat, and that doesn't need a lot of insulin to hold in storage, so your body doesn't release a lot of insulin in response to that fat because it says, “Hey, welcome home. We love you and you can stay here forever, and we've got heaps of room for you, you can hang around.” When it comes to glucose, ketones, alcohol, it’s a little bit interesting, and then protein, your body has limited storage capacity for that, so it's got to shut off the release of energy from your liver until it uses that up, so you'll see a fairly sharp spike of insulin for fast acting carbohydrates and a slower response, maybe over 8 to 10 hours, for protein. But then fat, you still have an insulin response, but it's lower, A, because it's over a longer period of time because fat metabolizes more slowly, but, B, because your body just says, “Hey, I can take that in, I've still got room in my sponge to take up all that fat energy and store it in the body.”
Melanie Avalon: I had a major lightbulb moment reading your book and thinking about this concept. Then, I was actually-- do you know James Clement, who wrote The Switch?
Marty Kendall: No, I don't.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, you would love him. I've got to connect you guys. He did the supercentenarian study where they tested the labs of supercentenarians. He has a Longevity lab. He's amazing. I was talking to him about this concept. Because people often think, “Oh, fat doesn't seem to elicit an insulin response, so I'm not going to gain weight from it. I'm not going to store it.” But I was talking with James about it, and he was saying, the reason it doesn't really elicit an insulin response is because it doesn't require insulin to be stored, which is the complete opposite of the takeaway that people usually take from that because they think, “Oh, okay, fat doesn't have a lot of insulin, so I don't have to worry about storing it.” Yeah, it doesn't have a lot of insulin, because you can easily just store it. Does that manifest you think in people who are following like high fat, low carb diets, can they fall into a trap where they're overconsuming fat?
Marty Kendall: Totally. That's where I started out, Dave Asprey, need more ketones, take the bulletproof coffee, read Keto Clarity, chase ketones, need high ketones, just add more butter and [unintelligible [00:16:33] with the butter and MCT oil and peanut butter and trying to measure my ketones and just eat more of it to get my ketones higher, so I was losing weight. Then, after a year or so, I was looking in the mirror and going, “Wow, you don't look like this is helping with your health journey, mate.” [laughs] I then was more open to listen to other people like Ted Naiman, and a good friend, Mike Julian, who runs the Optimising Nutrition Facebook group with me. A lot of those things just dawned on me, so that was part of the journey of me, understanding that chasing high ketones if they were generated by the fat I was eating was not going to lead me to optimal body composition or lower insulin, because really just when you're holding more energy and storage, more body fat, your body needs to ramp up more and more and more insulin.
Interestingly, when you switch to-- a thing with Monica's diet, once she's switched from a fairly standard Western diet with fat and carbs to a lower carb diet, her overall total daily insulin dose does drop down to much healthier levels. A combination of body fat loss and I think overall fat requires less insulin than carbohydrate if you're on a lower carbohydrate diet. As you said, that doesn't really matter that much, because fats are really easy to store, so it doesn't require a lot of insulin to hold in storage, because you've got so much capacity to store that fat.
Melanie Avalon: When you say that more fat over the long term likely leads to more insulin, is that from the actual dietary composition or the weight gain, and then the weight gain leading to more insulin?
Marty Kendall: The low satiety dietary composition, which leads to weight gain, so if you're holding more body fat in storage, you need more insulin to hold it in storage. There's charts of BMI versus basal insulin or waking insulin, and they're just directly proportional. The bigger you are, the more insulin you need to hold that in storage.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, gotcha. For listeners, two quick plugs, because you mentioned your Facebook groups. Marty has amazing Facebook groups with amazing resources. In the show notes, I'll put links to all of those groups, definitely check it out. Also, this is another plug to get Big Fat Keto Lies, because I wish we could show the charts because you have really great charts in the book. What I loved about the fuel tank-- because you have this chart of the different fuel tanks and how we have carbs and fat and body fat, and the importance of you don't have to empty-- the level of where they have to be emptied is different for each tank. I don't know if I'm explaining this correctly, what's the order of-- so blood glucose, and then-- you and I talked about this offline, and then muscle and liver glycogen, free fatty acids, am I getting this in the right order, body fat?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, so you've got different storage tanks in your body, and your body really can't hold much alcohol or ketones, so they're really largely irrelevant. You’ve got the glucose in your blood, which you can maybe hold about 5 grams of glucose, which is what 20 calories or so. It's really tightly regulated. That's a really tiny amount of energy you're holding in your blood, and then you've got your liver and your muscles which can hold about 2000 calories worth of stored energy. Then, you've got your fat in your blood and then your fat in your body, and the fat in your body can be 200,000 calories, so proportionally it's a massive difference but due to oxidative priority, you have to deplete your glucose first in your blood, and then the stored energy in your liver can then flow back into your bloodstream once you've depleted that from your blood.
You pointed out rightly that your muscles, the glucose sort of goes off to be stored as glycogen in your muscles, and that really doesn't flow back into your bloodstream, it just needs to be used. Once you've depleted your glucose in your blood and the glycogen in your liver, you can then start to tap into the fat in your blood and then your fat in your body, so you really need to start to focus on depleting the upstream fuels first, but once you've done that, it's not just a matter of going low carb to get no glucose in your system, if you're still loading in all the exogenous fat from wherever else, so you can't just have really low glucose, if you're drinking butter and MCT oil all day and all night.
Melanie Avalon: Which a lot of people do. We were talking about this offline as well. I recently interviewed Dave Asprey. We did talk a lot about bulletproof coffee and C8 and everything. I think it works for some people, but I think I aired that episode, and then I got so much feedback in the group. So many people saying, “Oh, I'm going to start trying MCT bulletproof coffee.” I was like, “Oh, no.” [laughs] It might work for some people.
Marty Kendall: Yeah, I really think switching to a-- if you tell someone need to go low carb, and they just drop all the carbohydrate, it's a really hard transition. I think adding bulletproof coffee or not fearing fat, and adding even more fat than they normally would is a good thing, because it helps them make the transition. But once you've dropped to carbs and increased your fat, if you want to lose body fat, you need to start to drop back to dietary fat. It's just a transition period once you've made that transition, but you still have more body fat to lose, you need to dial back the dietary fat. Then, once you've reached a more optimal body composition, you can then dial back in the carbs and fat to provide the energy you need to operate this without going insane because you can't yield enough energy from protein alone to be a CrossFit athlete or whatever you want to be if you're really, really active. You need to just find that balance. I suppose that’s my thing, optimal is never really found at either extreme of anything in nature, you need to find that balance somewhere in the middle.
Melanie Avalon: I'm really glad we just had that. Now, I'm going to refer listeners to this conversation for what I think will likely be a beneficial approach to if they want to use MCTs, that conversation that we just had, it's very helpful. Also, this is something that we've also talked about offline. I do wonder, have you done an experiment where you do low carb, but you only have fats from C8 MCT oil?
Marty Kendall: I have still got about two-thirds of a bottle of Asprey’s MCT oil in my cupboard that I didn't get through it all because I probably ended up with disaster pants more often than I could tolerate to continue. I haven't delved into that in a lot of detail.
Melanie Avalon: I did an experiment where I did low carb, high fat, but the fats were only from C8, not C8, C10, like C8 MCT. I was doing lean, lean, lean, lean meats, like cucumbers and C8. I think I was adding, oh goodness, probably 2000 or 3000 calories of C8 every day and I lost weight. I did not gain weight from it. I thought it was just me, but there's this girl on Instagram, and she was on a podcast and she talked about how she did it, and her friends did it and they all lost weight. This was all from just adding C8 to the diet. I'm really fascinated by it. This is something I was saying before. I researched this so much, I don't know if C8, if it is the exception, if it just does not get stored as fat, like just the body just preferentially burns it off.
Marty Kendall: Yeah, I wonder if it's got such a high dietary induced thermogenesis that uses so much energy in the oxidation that you can't store like protein, you can't really yield a lot of ATP from the protein because there's so much energy in the conversion. I'm not sure, but there's also another-- what was it? The Drinking Man's Diet, where they just ate steak and half a bottle of wine a day and they lose weight too. Probably a similar sort of approach. You've tried that too-- oh, you wrote a book on it. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: [laughs] Yeah, like the first sort of crazy dietary approach I tried was, I realized, I was thinking about the different macros and I was like, “What macros don't really become fat?” Well, protein, and alcohol. I was like, “I'm just going to eat chicken and drink wine.” I'm not recommending that, but it works. [laughs] I just had an epiphany right before this, because I was reading this really, really detailed study on insulin that it's so over my head, I'm going to have to read it 20 times. It was talking about all the factors that affect fatty acid esterification in the cells. It was saying that insulin is not the only factor, there are a lot of other factors. I'm just thinking about this right now, this is literally very fresh, a thought I just had. It was saying that dietary fat content, like meal frequency, but then one was like, well, protein, the involvement of that. I'm just wondering since C8s are shuttled directly to the liver, and they don't go through the lymph system and they don't use that chylomicron transport system. I wonder if that also might have something to do with it, of them not being stored. I'm on rabbit hole tangents.
Marty Kendall: You're going further down the rabbit hole with me on that one.
Melanie Avalon: Coming back to something else that you discuss in Big Fat Keto Lies, and we've touched on it. There's this idea that to burn fat that we have to deplete our carb stores that we can't have carbs to burn fat. I am so grateful to your book, because reading your book, I am ashamed to admit I hadn't really looked deep into the Krebs cycle and tried to understand it. Then, the book just kind of throws it in your face, and you explain it so well, and the charts that have all these big words on them actually make sense. Again, listeners, get this book, but the Krebs cycle. What is the mind-blowing moment about the Krebs cycle for people who think that you can't burn fat with carbs?
Marty Kendall: You're always burning fat in the Krebs cycle, and that's the default place where your body oxidizes energy, but part of that energy flow, part of the cyclical nature of the citric acid cycle, and I wish I was a biochemist, because I'm completely fascinated by people who understand it, but I have learned enough from my smart friends to understand that part of that one input is oxaloacetate, which your body makes from protein or carbohydrates. If you don't have enough oxaloacetate from your diet, your body doesn't starve, it doesn't shut down. It goes into ketosis, which is where your body can then produce ketosis. Ketones, which are a substitute for glucose in the brain and other vital organs but can't use fat for fuel. So, most of the tissues in our body, we can use fat or carbs, but yet the brain, the heart, I think the liver, can't as easily use fat for fuel. It's sort of just a fallback mechanism in times of starvation, the body says, “Hey, I don't need carbs all the time. If I'm starving, I've got heaps of fat in my body, I can just default to ketosis and use the body fat until the famine’s over.”
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, in case you missed it there. I want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly. When we're not in ketosis, we have the Krebs cycle, so that's our go-to energy generation process. To burn fat in the Krebs cycle, it requires oxaloacetate, which is made from carbs or protein. So, we can burn fat with carbs. Do you know because something you say in the book that I wanted to ask you about was, you were saying that when people-- I don't remember the exact quote or what you said exactly, but it was an idea that when people are entering a low carb state, that they could either do the ketosis route or that the body might just become more efficient in the actual citric acid cycle and the Krebs cycle, is it an individual responder thing where some people just stay in the Krebs cycle, and the body makes changes to continue generating that energy that way?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, I suppose after everybody was testing their ketones five years ago, after a couple of years, a lot of people noticed that the healthiest people had the lowest ketone levels, even though they were on a fairly strict ketogenic diet. Luis Villaseñor, who is a good friend of mine who runs Ketogains, is testing at 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, and at that point, you go, “Why the hell am I testing ketones because they don't actually tell me anything useful to guide my dietary choices?” Then we saw it in the Virta study after two years like after six weeks, ketones rose from about 0.3 to 0.6, and then drop back down to fairly negligible levels, 0.2, 0.3, I think was 0.27 at one year and then two years. It just seems as people decreased the level of energy toxicity in their system, they don't have glucose, ketones, or free fatty acids as much floating around in the bloodstream. You don't see high blood ketone levels anymore. Then, when you look at the Inuit, you see that over generations and generations, they seem to have developed genetic adaptation so that they no longer have high ketone levels, because the body says, “Hey, ketosis is less efficient process for using energy,” and we adapt to become more and more efficient, all about survival and efficiencies. So, it just seems that the body over time adapts to say, “Let's get back to the Krebs cycle.” Whether that's fat adaptation, or whatever you want to call it, but it seems that we want to go back to using the Krebs cycle as a default energy production system. If we keep on going on, my ketones are dropped, I need more butter or more exogenous ketones, you’re not actually helping reduce energy toxicity in doing that by chasing high ketones.
I think that's where the whole low carb movement probably went a little bit off the rails when they said ketones are good, more must be better, let's do whatever we can chase high ketones as the end goal.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Using the Krebs cycle, because there's always this idea, they say that burning ketones is cleaner. Do you know if there's more oxidative stress in the different systems?
Marty Kendall: Yes, definitely. I talk about high reactive [unintelligible [00:31:51] etc. Yeah, I'm not sure on the detail on that. I think anytime you have just too much energy in the system, you get inflammation, so you need to find a way to dial back the excess energy, which often comes from the combo of fat and carbs together.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's a big one. Another question you tapped on, and you talk about in the book as well. That is the different types of ketones. I think BHB in the blood, acetone in the breath, acetoacetate, the actual energy currency of ketones of itself. I think for my listeners, it can be really confusing, like measuring blood ketones, what does that mean? Measuring breath ketones, what does that mean? You just spoke about how nutritional ketosis might be a little bit misleading or the idea of it. Could you elaborate a little bit on the different types of ketones and what they might indicate?
Marty Kendall: The liver will produce acetoacetate, which goes into the system, but it can't really be stored, so your body then converts it to BHB or beta-hydroxybutyrate, which you can think of it as the storage or transport form of ketones, but it can move around the body. Then, when it needs it again, it converts it back to acetoacetate, which can then be oxidized and used for energy, and then you get acetone as a byproduct of that oxidation. Yeah, I think it's important to understand that really, when you see high BHB ketones, which are the easy ones to measure, so everybody got the ketone monitor and started, “I'm in ketosis, this is great,” all you’re measuring is the fuel that's stored in your bloodstream. You don't really want high glucose, you don't really want high free fatty acids in your bloodstream, and neither do you want really high BHB, someone's good, someone's healthy, especially when you're in an energy deficit, or you're on a low carb diet. More is not necessarily better and just chasing higher and higher levels is not ideal.
I've definitely seen my healthiest friends who test ketones are having low BHB levels of 0.3, 0.4, 0.2, and if they’re blowing through Ketonix, they're off the chart red, indicating that they're oxidizing the BHB as acetoacetate and blowing off acetone, which means they're actually using the ketones really efficiently. Peter Attia talks about a fat flux, sort of the amount stored in your system is the balance of what's coming in versus going out. If you're metabolically healthy, and don't have energy toxicity, you don't have a whole lot of energy building up in your bloodstream, because you don't need a lot, you can function really efficiently, really fuel efficient, like a little hybrid, high performance car, and therefore you don't see massive levels building up in your bloodstream, but you may be burning a whole lot of them at the same time. So, measuring the BHB in the bloodstream is really hard to tell and usually the largest people who are insulin resistant, just starting out on a keto journey are the ones that's your highest blood ketone level. It's not necessarily good--
If you're in an energy deficit, you starting to lose weight, it may be a good sign that you're improving your metabolic health. But if you're already suffering energy toxicity, and you're achieving that through exogenous ketones or more added dietary fat, then that may not be a good thing and may actually be sending you backwards.
Melanie Avalon: This was another moment with your book where you explain all of this. I felt it was the first time that I finally got a grasp on the different ketone levels, so again--
Marty Kendall: I'm just a dumb engineer trying to explain it the way I understand it. If I write it down, I can understand it, and then I'll share it, and here we are.
Melanie Avalon: Let me see if I understand it. I'm going to recap what you just said for listeners, and let me know if this is correct or if I got off somewhere. Creating ketones, this umbrella of ketones. Acetoacetate is one type, so that's the actual energy current--
Marty Kendall: The one you actually use for energy, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: When people first start a ketogenic diet, for example, isn't that what we measure in our urine, the acetoacetate?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, and the body says, “I can't burn this. I'm not used to burning this. I'm going to shed it out in acetone in the urine.” It's like nail polish remover in the breath, same smell fruity sort of tastes, but after a while, the acetone in the urine sort of decreases as your body goes on and off to do with these ketones, and eventually it goes, “I don't really want to use ketosis, I'll go back to the Krebs cycle.”
Melanie Avalon: Acetoacetate is the energy that's expelled in the urine, because that's literally the energy that the cells could use for energy, but because they don't “know how to” or not accustomed to it, we release it in the urine.
Marty Kendall: It gets excreted because we can't use it yet.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, so that's what people are measuring with urine sticks. At the beginning of a keto diet, because their body does not know how to use the energy of acetoacetate, they probably will see high levels in their urine.
Marty Kendall: Otherwise known as pee-tones.
Melanie Avalon: [laughs] Oh, my goodness. Especially if people are just measuring urinary ketones, they might get upset when urinary ketones go away. But really, it could be that it's because they're now using the acetoacetate.
Marty Kendall: Definitely. Overall, a longer period, we see the same thing with BHB.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, so BHB, the blood one that people are measuring, I did not realize until I read your book, or I might have realized but I didn't grasp it, that's a storage form of ketone, like it has to be converted back into acetoacetate to be used. When people are measuring that, it's sort of measuring a stored form of energy waiting to be used, not energy being used. Then, the acetone, which is what we can measure in our breath, for listeners who have a Biosense device and might be measuring their breath ketones, I think, since that is a byproduct, don't we create that when we burn acetoacetate, it's like the byproduct?
Marty Kendall: It's like the off gas from the oxidation of acetoacetate. They have high breath ketones and low glucose at the same time as a really healthy place to be, it means you're oxidizing fuel really well, so that's where the glucose ketone index comes in to have low glucose and high acetone is actually a more useful measure of metabolic health than the traditional glucose ketone index, which is usually low glucose and high BHB, and you can hack that by just adding more dietary fat, which again, is nutrient poor, low satiety and may not lead to optimal metabolic health over the long term.
Melanie Avalon: I had heard that on Peter Attia interviewing somebody.
Marty Kendall: I think Dom said that recently that acetoacetate is a much better measure of metabolic health in epileptic kids.
Melanie Avalon: That was the interview. Yeah, it was Peter, Dom, and somebody else. Yeah, that's what he said, was that measuring breath ketones was probably the best indicator of actually burning fat because it's a byproduct. Something else you talk about in your book, and Gin and I have talked about this on The Intermittent Fasting Podcast so much.
Marty Kendall: I sort of blush when I listen to those. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Listeners, if you listen to my other show, I go on so many Marty Kendall fan girl-- I'm like, “I just learned.” [laughs] I'm really so happy to be having this conversation now with you. You completely dismantle the nutritional ketosis thought out there that we need higher ketones. When did the nutritional ketosis idea come about?
Marty Kendall: I think the term ‘nutritional ketosis’ was coined by Steve Phinney trying to differentiate between diabetic ketoacidosis because everybody, what people know about ketones, in type 1 diabetics, when they've got a lack of insulin, and they're disintegrating, they get diabetic ketoacidosis, which is like ketones of 10, 20, and they're really in a bad place and need insulin in a hurry, and all the biochemistry goes out of whack, and they're in a lot of trouble. What they wanted to do was differentiate between diabetic ketoacidosis and a healthy ketosis that happens in our low carb state to say, don't be afraid and sort of defined a nutritional ketosis as a lower level of sort of 0.36 to 1.5 millimoles. Then optimal ketosis of like between 1.5 and 3 millimoles in the blood BHB. That was sort of defined-- I actually had Steve Phinney stay with me for a couple of days when he was in Brisbane here. I sat him down and went through my whole system on the computer and said, “Check this out. What do you think, Steve?” It was really cool to be able to deep dive into it all, but the whole idea of that optimal ketones and nutritional ketosis came about from studies that he did back in the 80s with people adapting to weight loss on a low carb diet, and another one in cyclists, who had recently adapted to a ketogenic diet. That's what they're calibrated it based on and the ketones are based around those people who had recently adapted to a ketogenic diet.
So, as we talked about, initially, your body doesn't quite know what to do with all that ketones, but over time, even in the Virta studies, we see that your body adapts and goes back to a much lower level of ketones. I think that's what we've all realized over the last five years of chasing ketones, is they disappear and it's like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If you keep on chasing it, you may not get to where you want to go.
Melanie Avalon: It's very freeing, honestly, because I think so many people are just haunted by this nutritional ketosis idea, and they think they have to be a certain point., they need to be-- what do people think it needs to be, 0.3?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, over 0.5 is nutritional ketosis, and you're not doing it right if you're not getting more than 0.5 and greater than 1.5 is even better, and therefore need exogenous ketones and more butter. Then, you see a lot of the people, the diehard true believer keto people, after practicing that for years and years and not thriving, and they've got really high fasting insulin levels, even though they're on technically a ketogenic diet. Then, if ketones aren't the end goal, then what does ketosis mean? What is keto if it's not chasing a BHB of greater than 0.6? What does keto mean, tell me? I don't know. Somebody tell me.
Melanie Avalon: It's like a philosophical question.
Marty Kendall: Unless you're epileptic, have Alzheimer's dementia, or Parkinson's, where high ketone levels can be really helpful because you've got insulin resistance in the brain where you need ketones to feed in the place of glucose when you can't use it. Why are we chasing keto? What does keto mean? I don't know if that was my question. I got to the point of going, “What the hell's all this about? Everybody's going down the wrong rabbit hole, chasing the wrong marker. Can we all please stop?”
Melanie Avalon: It's very tragic.
Marty Kendall: Yeah. Keto, over the last couple of years has been diminishing. I think there's an opportunity to say, I think there's something really useful in the low carb movement, and that's really something helpful about a low carb diet that if you dial it into your goals, you can stabilize blood sugars and have massive, massive benefits. My wife has life changing benefit of reducing carbohydrates and prioritizing nutrient density but if you're end goal is ketosis, then you're in trouble. I've seen people with type 1 diabetes chasing ketones, and they double the daily insulin dose and develop massive insulin resistance and obesity. Once they go back to chasing satiety with enough protein nutrient density, intermittent fasting, they're having their total daily insulin dose. You can measure how much insulin these people are injecting across the day, not just after meals, but they have the insulin. The way to reverse insulin toxicity is to attack the energy toxicity with a diet that leads to satiety.
Melanie Avalon: I definitely want to dive into the satiety.
Marty Kendall: That was a bit of a rant.
Melanie Avalon: No, I love it. I definitely want to dive into satiety. I have a few last quick questions while we're still on the ketones. This is something I fail to mention that is really important information for listeners not familiar with your work. Marty does not just research all of this and write about it. He does extensive data collection from people and actually looks at the numbers and makes these really epic charts and graphs that you're just like, “Wow, [laughs] this is incredible.”
For example, you have a chart in your book of 3000 people, and it shows the levels of ketones and blood glucose and the correlations. I was going to ask you, because at the high end of the chart, there are people with really high ketones, but it seems like all the people with really high ketones also had high glucose.
Marty Kendall: High glucose at the same time. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Does anybody ever have high ketones and low glucose?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, if you're fasting for a very long period of time. Like I did a seven-day fast and your blood sugar starts to drop as your ketones go up. But if you're in sort of weight maintenance, eating fairly regularly, the glucose and ketones are somewhat related, and based on your energy toxicity, that if you've got high levels of glucose, you're probably more likely to have high levels of ketones as well. Healthier people with the lower energy levels had 0.3 to 0.6 BHB in their blood and low glucose at the same time. So, if you want to actually start drawing down your body fat, you need to reduce your blood glucose, which correlates with lower ketones and don't continually chase ketones, because you might just drive yourself to energy toxicity.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, for listeners, we'll put a link in the show notes to that chart, because you have it on your blog as well. I think it's Gin’s favorite chart in the whole world. I think she's mentioned it on 10 of our episodes.
Marty Kendall: They’re almost unicorns.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, the unicorn. [laughs] This chart is well known on The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. When did you do that seven-day fast?
Marty Kendall: Maybe four years ago.
Melanie Avalon: Is that the only time you've done one that long?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, I did lot of like two- or three-day fast, but I got to seven days. I think I was taking an electrolyte mix that was sort of helping me make it through, and I ran out of that. Then, I started feeling pretty crummy and went, “Okay, enough.”
Melanie Avalon: I'm in awe. I actually haven't done really, barely anything. I think the most I've done is like 50 hours, maybe? I wish I could in theory, I just fail epically.
Marty Kendall: Yeah. You might disappear, it’s probably not recommended.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, well, that's good. Coming back to a broader topic, moving a little bit away from insulin and ketosis and all of that. Coming back to the diet composition, quality, satiety, all of these things. One of the biggest debates in the entirety of the nutritional worlds, I believe, is what has led to the obesity epidemic, if is indeed something in our diet? The low carb people say it's the carbs. The low fat people say it's the fat. Some people say it's the specific types of fat, like the polyunsaturated fats. What are your thoughts? What have you found making the data points of the obesity epidemic? Oh, and some people say it's just calories. Calories, fats, carbs, PUFAs.
Marty Kendall: Can I go with all the above?
Melanie Avalon: Sure. [laughs] All of the above.
Marty Kendall: Robb Wolf and his Wired to Eat had this bonus chapter that I didn't let him put in the book that I downloaded is really fascinating. That told the story of how a food has changed over the last 100 years. Then, when you look at Rob talking about the paleo diet, 10,000 years ago, we managed to domesticate grain as a really reliable source energy, that was really cool, and things changed. We went from being hunt together as to more domesticated agriculturists, but I think a lot of things have happened in the last 100 years that are completely fascinating. If you look at Haber-Bosch process, they worked at how to create ammonia, fossil fuel fertilizers from methane, which is natural gas back about 100 years ago, in 1910, and initially was used for explosives in World War 1. Then in the 30s, they started to start dumping all this fossil fuel fertilizer with a couple of nutrients to maximize growth, but not actually nutrient density in the 1930s. Since then, we've been able to produce more energy more quickly. Procter & Gamble worked out how to create vegetable oils from seeds in 1911 and substitute that for lard. Since last 100 years, the amount of fat in our diet per person has risen by about 600 calories per day.
Then, in the 1950s, you see-- after the Vietnam War, and Robb tells this really well that, that they worked out there was a food scarcity shortage, not enough calories available. The USDA, from a political perspective, tried to make food cheaper, so people would have enough energy. They basically said get out to the farmers, started using the same plots of land over and over again, there's no crop rotation, there's no animals involved. It's just fertilizers, tractors in the same plots of land over and over again, with just empty energy dumped into the soil. So, you see, over the last 50 years, you've got both carbs have come up, and then you've had fat coming up over the last 100 years. When you look at more carbs from refined grains, and more fat from seed oils, without much of an increase in protein, you've just got this increase in calorie availability that correlates perfectly with the obesity epidemic. That's my smoking gun. You can get into the nuances of PUFAs versus saturated fats, but I think that’s fairly ancillary to the main issue that which just created these amazing hyper-palatable food products from cheap energy that are really hard to not eat when they're available.
Melanie Avalon: We are eating more.
Marty Kendall: Yes, and same with the food availability has gone up from over the last 50 years by about 1000 calories per person per day. They just had to create more and more creative ways to use all that cheap energy that they're able to create. All the food manufacturers have worked out how to dial in to perfect the bliss point to understand how to give us a double dopamine, hit from fat carbs and these artificial flavors and colorings that make it look like a food is actually nutritious. Everybody goes, “Yay, these foods must be amazing, because they're nothing like those boring foods that are found in nature.” Just continue to eat more and more and more of them until we reach energy toxicity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and every other metabolic-related disease you want to name.
Melanie Avalon: I was thinking about this when I was walking through the grocery store yesterday. You're in Australia, right?
Marty Kendall: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Do they have Little Debbie’s?
Marty Kendall: Not as much but they're pretty perfectly designed to hit every dopamine-producing bliss point.
Melanie Avalon: I was looking through, because I am always super drawn to the brightly colored, like Funfetti cake, which is multicolored sprinkles, when it's a Little Debbie's, and they're like bright pink or bright blue, I'm just like, “Oh, I want it.” I was thinking about I was like, this is because I don't perceive it as this. It's probably because my brain thinks nutrients, when it sees bright.
Marty Kendall: You see bright tomato, bright orange, bright vegetables, they contain nutrients because they're full of flavor and your body goes, yeah, it's all the senses coming together to seek out the nutrients you need from food, but artificial colorings and flavorings to trick our body into thinking that they contain something we need, and, yeah, they don't.
Melanie Avalon: It's all lies, the theme of today's show. [laughs]
Marty Kendall: Big fat artificial flavoring lies.
Melanie Avalon: Big fat lies about everything.
Marty Kendall: Your food is lying to you.
Melanie Avalon: I know it is. You keep mentioning this word ‘satiety.’ I am really, really fascinated by satiety. One of the things I find really interesting is, with the different macros and satiety, I feel it's pretty well accepted that protein., it's the most satiety-promoting food. But then I feel I see things on both sides of the camps with both carbs and fat. When it comes to carbs, there's this idea that carbs increase satiety, but then on the flip side, people will say no, they just make you hungrier. Then with fat, a lot of people say that fat it increases satiety, but most of the studies I've shown on fat, don't see-- I don't know, I feel like that's a little bit nebulous.
Marty Kendall: Yeah, fat feels really satiating because you just ingested 1000 calories worth of food in one bite and it feels really satiating, but calorie-for-calorie fat is not more satiating than carbohydrate.
Melanie Avalon: Because if you ate 1000 calories of especially whole foods carbohydrates, the amount of food of 1000 calories compared to 1000 calories of fat-
Marty Kendall: Is a massive amount, yeah, energy density becomes a factor at that point.
Melanie Avalon: I actually had a question because in your book, you talk about how they've looked at PUFAs, polyunsaturated fats, MUFAs, monounsaturated fats, and saturated fats, and there's a chart of satiety. You talk about how with PUFAs, up to 10%, after that something happens, then for MUFAs, up to 25% and then saturated fat was up to 30%. I wasn't actually quite understanding what that meant.
Marty Kendall: We've got this program called Nutrient Optimiser that [unintelligible [00:55:05] Cronometer data, so I sat down and analyzed 40,000 days of data to understand not just the macronutrient, but the micronutrient profile with respect to how much we eat versus the proportion of energy coming from each of those micronutrients and the micronutrients they contain. Yeah, what we saw was that saturated fat seems to tap out, so when you're eating more than 30% energy from saturated fat, you don't see a ramping up continually but that could be just because if you're eating-
Melanie Avalon: Of satiety?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, high saturated fat foods also tend to contain a lot of protein at the same time, and maybe not a lot of the people were drinking a lot of bulletproof coffee and MCT. I don't know, I'm not quite sure there, but definitely when you get the polyunsaturated fat, the more you eat of them, the more you eat basically, so there's no sort of satiety limit that kicks in and says, “I've had enough of that.” Your body just says, “This is great fuel. Just keep eating and store for winter. Give me more, give me more, give me more,” so it doesn't tap out the point that you reach a satiety point.
Interestingly, Omega 3, the more you eat of it, the more satisfied you get, and it taps out and you go, “Oh, I've had enough salmon. I don't want to eat any more salmon.” Similar with cholesterol, seems to have a positive effect on satiety. Meanwhile, saturated fat has a negative effect, but not as much as mono and poly foods, which is probably just because our whole food system is full of industrial seed oils that are combined with artificial flavors and colorings to make them look like healthy nutritious foods.
Melanie Avalon: Basically, it's hard to know if it's the actual fatty acid chain that's creating that satiety compared to the nutrients or the other macros that are typically combined with it?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, it's hard to pull apart the individual components, but Tommy Wood pointed me out a study where they looked at high fat keto, high saturated fat, versus polyunsaturated fat, and it seems that saturated fats will make you insulin resistance sooner, but that just means body says, “I'm full. I can't keep eating these saturated fats.” Meanwhile, polyunsaturated fats, you'll keep eating more of them, you'll grow more before you reach a personal fat threshold. Your body says, “I can't eat any more of these polyunsaturated fats,” and you get insulin resistance later. It just means you're much fatter before you become diabetic, which I'm not sure is a good thing.
Melanie Avalon: Have you read Cyrus and Robbie's Mastering Diabetes?
Marty Kendall: I haven't read it, but I've listened to a bunch of their podcasts. I’m really fascinated by it. They're simply fairly open minded. I definitely agree that if you go really low fat, really high carb, it's really hard to overeat rice, potato by itself, sometimes I'll take a bunch of potatoes to work inspired by them and the satiety study back from the 1990s that found that cooked and cooled potatoes are the most satiating food, and it's really hard to overeat.
Melanie Avalon: I've had them on the show. For listeners, I'll put a link in the show notes to that episode. Like you said, I really like them, because I've had a number of vegans on the show, and everybody has been absolutely wonderful, but they are really wonderful in the fact that I feel like I can really freely engage in conversations with them. They do talk about how saturated fat literally creates insulin resistance automatically at the level of the cell. I don't know if you have any thoughts about that.
Marty Kendall: Yeah, but if you're also in an energy deficit, I don't think that's as big of a deal.
Melanie Avalon: I asked them that. Yeah.
Marty Kendall: Like I said, if you're eating the polyunsaturated fats that enable you to eat a whole lot more of them before you come insulin resistant, I'm not sure that's a good thing either. I just think nutrient poor, low satiety foods, full stop, are not a great idea. If you have fat on your body that you want to burn, then it's not a matter of going zero fat, but just dialing it back progressively, from where you are at the moment.
Melanie Avalon: Also, in the satiety realm, what have you seen as far as the different actual nutrients like micronutrients and vitamins and minerals and how they affect satiety?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, so you may have heard of the protein leverage hypothesis. A couple of researchers from Sydney did amazing work looking at the fact that everybody, all insects, gorillas, every living organism eats until they get enough protein for their specific requirements. If you've got protein dilution, which Ted bangs on about, ad nauseam, loving to death. If you've got protein-diluted foods, then you just have to keep eating more energy until you get the protein you need. But I think there's definitely a nutrient leverage action happening at the same time. It's not just amino acids, we definitely see the strongest satiety response to amino acids, which make up protein. Similarly, if you get foods that contain more potassium per calorie, like less than if you eat foods that contain more magnesium per calorie, you eat less of them, you just can't consume as many calories of these nutrient-dense foods.
We've used our data to analyze to understand not just the minimum nutrients to prevent diseases of deficiency and really who’s listening to this podcast wants to just prevent deficiency, we've looked at what intakes tend to align with optimal satiety that will tend to reverse energy toxicity and probably power your mitochondria and all your biochemical pathways better to enable you to perform optimally. Bruce Ames, have you heard of the triage theory?
Melanie Avalon: I have.
Marty Kendall: Yeah, completely fascinated by that. He says that basically, if you get a limited amount of nutrients, your body will say, “I'm just going to prioritize short-term survival. I need to get by today. I don't care about dying in 10 years or 20 years.” But if you give your body adequate nutrients across the board, it can say, “I can survive today, but I can also look after my body, so it can survive the long-term because we have plenty of food here, we're going to live forever. I don’t need to not just look after my short-term needs, but also my long-term needs.” That's like a massive mind blow for me. He just says chasing nutrient density is the most important thing you can do to optimize longevity, and it's the lowest hanging fruit, and nobody's going for it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think it's so, so important. This was a question I had for you. I had the Caltons on the show. They wrote a book called Rebuild Your Bones. They're all about nutrients. But they say and they referenced a study in their book showing that no formulated diet-- I have to find the exact study, but it was like keto--
Marty Kendall: I think they said, “No popular diet provides all the nutrients at the same time.”
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. None of them could provide all the nutrients that you need it and it looked at like four different ones.
Marty Kendall: So, you needed to buy their supplements.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. [laughs] I think a lot of listeners did get confused by that conversation, wondering if it's possible to get all your nutrients from diet. What are your thoughts on that?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, we’ve got heaps of people doing it. We don't just aim for the minimum nutrients to prevent diseases of deficiency. We've defined that optimal nutrient intake, which is two or three times typically, that nutrient intake that aligns with satiety, and I've created this optimal nutrient intake score. To get 100, you need to get the optimal nutrient intakes across the board, across all 34, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids. We've got, in the last masterclass, we had five people score 100, lots of other people doing really well at the leaderboard. We actually designed a system that enables you to chase the foods and meals that contain the nutrients you're currently not getting enough of. You don't need to know maybe vitamin A and B12 are easy to get for you because you're on an omnivorous diet and maybe getting plenty of protein, but you're not getting enough. Vitamin D, vitamin E, or magnesium, potassium tend to be harder ones to get, so you chase out those foods with real whole foods, which your body knows what to do with the nutrients in those foods, throw in the right ratios and forms that your body goes, “Yeah, I get this.”
Whereas if you're taking a whole lot of supplements in an intense bolus, your body doesn't quite know what to do with that, it's probably just going to go, “I have to dump that because I can't digest that.” When I take a lot of magnesium or potassium or sodium in a supplemental form, you're off in the toilet, just my gut goes, “I can't handle all that excess minerals all at once.” Not only does the supplements go down the toilet, it's all the food I just ate as well, which also contain the nutrients.
I'm definitely food first and definitely believe you can get the nutrients you need from whole food, you just have to choose them more wisely. I don't know why nobody's started looking at which foods and meals contain the nutrients you need. It's very individual, depending on what you're currently eating and you can say these are more nutrient-dense foods, but to really dial it in, you can look at, let's track your diet for a few weeks and identify which foods and meals you actually need to fill those micronutrient gaps in your diet, which is going to be different depending on whether you're on the vegan or the plant based, or carnivore or keto end of the spectrum.
Melanie Avalon: I just know, for me personally, I don't feel like I have the knowledge or I don't know who has the knowledge about taking concentrated supplements, the competition, and what to take when, and it seems like a lot of trying to control something that I think should be more intuitive, with the caveat that as we talked about modern food today is often nutrient depleted. Although I do wonder, are animal products, less likely to experience that nutrient depletion that has happened from modern farming practices compared to vegetables and fruits?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, relatively, yes, I think. But if you've got animals eating, refined grains, 100% of the diet for the 100% of their life, I think you'd be in the same similar situation. Most cows are on green grass most of their lives, and therefore, they're going to be in a better situation, but I mean the optimal situation alliance with a vibrant, alive ecosystem. Have you seen The Biggest Little Farm?
Melanie Avalon: No.
Marty Kendall: It's a movie about regenerative agriculture, it just tells the story about this couple that created a farm, got their little earthworm thing going and just got a really vibrant, healthy, alive ecosystem that created the most amazing tasting food. When animals and plants come together and using them in your back in in the system, and that's going to be the optimal nutrient density food as well. I think from an environmental point of view, if we can change that, we've created a vibrant, alive ecosystem that's going to be much more resilient for the long term, when these large single mono crop things that are just reliant on a whole lot of fossil fuels and fertilizers and single-- throw it up potassium and nitrogen in there and maximize yield. Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent, but it's completely fascinating. I think it is potentially the nutrient density chasing nutrient density is potentially the solution to not just our health but the planet's health if we do it right.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so passionate about this. For listeners, I really recommend if you're interested in this reading Robb Wolf’s Sacred Cow. Have you read Sacred Cow?
Marty Kendall: Oh, definitely.
Melanie Avalon: So good. I'm so happy he wrote it, because it paints a very, very clear future about what practically is sustainability and what actually does serve the planet? Is it a completely plant-based society? Or is it inclusive of animals? What does that actually look like? What role does methane and carbon and all these things play? For listeners, I’ll put a link in the show notes, I did an interview with Robb as well. Although he does talk about in the book, the thing that he gets a lot of backlash for his nutrient profiles of conventional versus grass-fed beef and how there's not that much of a difference.
Marty Kendall: I just don’t think we've got a lot of data on that quite yet.
Melanie Avalon: I'm really interested by it. I mean, it would make sense like you already mentioned that most cattle are on pasture for a large portion of their life. I'm personally a little bit concerned about the potential toxins and then the omega ratios, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on. Speaking of you just mentioned, vegan and carnivore, what are your thoughts on approaches like that? Do you think both of them can provide all of the nutrients we need? Are they sustainable long term?
Marty Kendall: Hmm. The best diet tends to come from a intelligently created omnivorous diet where you can select from any food that you want to. Definitely some people have ethical issues with eating animals, and you need to be more intentional to get B12 and omega-3. Some people have autoimmune digestive issues with eating plants. Therefore, they need to be more intentional to get some other micronutrients, potentially potassium, magnesium, and bunch of other minerals in their diet.
The thing that triggers me the most is the whole plant-based movement, and plant based sounds like a bunch of fruit and veggies on a plate and that's all you're eating, but in reality, most people can't eat a whole lot of spinach or asparagus and there's a limit and they need the energy, so end up defaulting to plant-based foods, which are just fat and carbs with artificial colors and flavorings added together. Not definitely optimal, it's the anti-optimal diet, so you can have a plant-based diet, which I think is all people are thinking of but if it's got no nutrients, it's probably the worst thing you can be eating.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I feel people get so confused and torn. It's confusing because there are people who are seemingly thriving on both sides of the spectrum that are complete opposites, carnivore versus plant based, but like you just said, I think there's a lot of factors involved in why an individual might gravitate towards any certain diet. The way I see it is, humans are omnivores, last time I checked. [laughs] I don't know, because a lot of people make the argument that on the carnivores’ side, that we're not supposed to eat plants, and then the vegan will make the argument that we're not made to eat animals. But when I look at the human digestive system, it looks like an omnivore. Maybe that's too simplistic. [laughs]
Marty Kendall: I agree. From the pro-carnivore perspective, and I encourage my wife just to eat a steak every day, and that just makes the blood sugar and insulin incredible. A lot of people do really well when they go on an elimination carnivore diet, and their autoimmune and digestive issues improve because they've been eating plant-based refined crap for far too long. With gut bacterial overgrowth and a whole bunch of things, we don't really understand it all. I'll just use that fancy word. When you're ready, you probably need to start thinking, “Okay, I'm getting beef only, I'm getting muscle meat. What nutrients doesn't that contain? What foods can I add to my diet that will help me get those nutrients and move up in terms of nutrient density?” Because you don't want to become so fragile and potentially nutrient depleted. Over the long term, we want to be somewhat resilient, but you don't want to be eating things that completely give you gut distress and inflammatory reactions and histamines or whatever but that’s a whole new rabbit hole.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, no. 100%. I think people can experience massive benefits, even if it is really restrictive, something like carnivore, just to do a reset, remove the things that might be bothering them. When you said a steak a day, you mean in an omnivore situation, or she does carnivores sometimes, or has done?
Marty Kendall: Basically, carnivore lunch. We eat really well and get a hold of fruit and veggies and feed it all to the kids and we eat as much vegetables as we can. I think for her, she needs to eat enough protein and a steak for lunch does really wonderfully and treats it really well. She also has autoimmune digestive issues, so that really helps calm those down. She doesn't do really well with egg, and histamine, so to eliminate those foods really help.
Melanie Avalon: What do you think about people who do low carb or even carnivore and experience high blood sugar levels?
Marty Kendall: Protein can turn to glucose, so that's okay. But I think the issue is energy toxicity. If you're low carb diet is leading to low satiety, which drives energy toxicity, you just get all due to oxidative priority, you get all the fuels backing up in your system. If you've got too much fat, then any carbohydrate you've got will just be backing up at the top of the fuel tank overall. So, you'll see high blood glucose, especially in the morning, so people go, yeah, it's physiological insulin resistance, and it's not a problem. But if you're waking up with high blood sugars, then you probably do have some issues, and you probably need to back off the dietary fat to allow all the fuels in your system to be depleted, so you don't have high blood glucose.
Melanie Avalon: Speaking of that on gluconeogenesis or de novo gluconeogenesis. There's this whole debate if it's demand driven or if it just happens. If you do a huge bolus of protein, will that automatically convert or is it only demand driven? I feel like I've listened to interviews with Luis-- I don't know if it was him. It was somebody like him, saying that it was demand driven. I don't know if you have thoughts on that.
Marty Kendall: Yeah. If you're insulin resistant and you've got too much energy in your system, you don't have enough insulin to balance the glucagon that is produced when you eat protein. When you eat protein, you have a balanced insulin and glucagon response, so your blood sugar's stay flatline, which is a healthy thing. A lot of people when they eat a high protein meal, their blood sugars will fall if they’re insulin sensitive, so that one of the hacks is to-- your blood sugar’s a little bit elevated and you feel hungry, just have some really lean protein, and a couple of hours later, you'll see your blood sugars drop. If insulin resistant, then there's not enough insulin to balance the glucagon production in your liver, and excess glucose will be released and you'll see your blood sugars drift up after high protein meal. If Moni doesn't inject enough insulin, her blood sugars will start to drift up after a steak. It's fairly easy to control with the right amount of insulin, but if someone who's really ragingly type 2 diabetic and insulin resistant, eats a lot of protein, they don't have enough insulin to maintain stable blood sugars.
But the solution is not to cut back on the protein, it's really to cut back on the dietary fat, so you become more insulin sensitive. Then, the insulin and glucagon response are more balanced and you don't see elevated blood sugars after a meal. If you're leaching your protein into the bloodstream as glucose, that means you don't have enough to use muscle protein synthesis. You're actually going to be losing lean mass, so the worst thing you can do is to go, “Okay, my blood sugars rise after high protein meal. I need to eat less protein.” You're just going to lose lean mass, which burns all your energy and your metabolic rates going to slow. That’s something a lot of people have done, protein bad, gluconeogenesis, avoid protein at all costs because of insulin and gluconeogenesis. It's the absolute worst thing you can do. It's been one of my pet peeves that I keep screaming on my blog posts.
Luckily, that sentiment has gone down in keto world lately, but it's been a while. I think a lot of people have suffered negatively by fearing protein due to gluconeogenesis, which is probably driving more insulin resistance and loss of lean mass, which means you're going to be old and frail and fall and break your hip and longevity is not going to be good after that.
Melanie Avalon: Clarifying question about something you just said. You're saying the solution if you're in a situation where you have protein but are insulin resistant so you don't have enough insulin to deal appropriately. You said the answer is to reduce the fat to become more insulin sensitive, is it to reduce the fat to lose weight to become more insulin sensitive, is that automatically lumped in as the next step?
Marty Kendall: If you've got body fat that you want to burn, and you need to become more insulin sensitive, then you need to progressively dial back the dietary fat to allow your body fat to be used. At that point, you become more insulin sensitive, and your body can hold on to the protein that you use to build muscle and preserve muscle, which is really hard to build and hard to preserve as you get older, it's really valuable energy currency. Anything you've got at 30 is an investment for when you’re 90.
Melanie Avalon: A huge mind-blowing moment I had recently was the idea that-- so when our blood sugars are elevated, that the majority of that is actually from gluconeogenesis. Have you heard this?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, wouldn't disagree. If you've got very low carb, then--
Melanie Avalon: On any diet, I think.
Marty Kendall: Yeah, most of your glucose is coming from the glycogen stored in your liver that's being released into your blood, not the glucose or protein you just ate, and sort of coming out of storage and being released. Is that what you mean?
Melanie Avalon: I think it was that and also just gluconeogenesis creating it. I think a lot of people think that it's all the carbs that we just ate, but it actually is likely from the liver downstream.
Marty Kendall: Your body just puts it into storage and then releases it as usual. A lot of people go, “Oh, I didn't eat, why are my blood sugars rising?” It's the stored energy that's being released, and that's not a bad thing if you're not eating, you're not hungry, and you see your blood sugars are rising, this means your insulin is dropping and your body's releasing stored energy.
Melanie Avalon: It's a chicken or egg situation, but especially because I'm prepping to interview Gary Taubes for his new book. Do you think when insulin versus body fat or obesity, do we become overweight and then insulin resistant or do we become insulin resistant and then overweight, or both?
Marty Kendall: We become obese. We need more insulin to hold that energy in storage and we become insulin resistant. It's that order, it's not the reverse.
Melanie Avalon: What about people who are thin but insulin resistant?
Marty Kendall: It just means they have a lower personal fat threshold, whether they be South Asians, different populations are able to store different amounts of body fat before it overflows into the bloodstream, but before their fat storage tanks tap out and it flows back, so you become insulin resistant at a lower body fat level. But it's always the stored energy from the food you're eating that leads to insulin resistance. Gary talks about people who fatten easily and it's a great, elusive, attractive thing for those people who like to feel they're a victim of obese because I'm insulin resistant, but if you're insulin resistant-- Conversely, let's say you're a bodybuilder, who just got down to 5% body fat for a show, they are extremely insulin sensitive, and anything they eat will be stored as fat because your body wants to survive the next winter, it gets thrown out because you just smashed it, and the appetite goes through the roof and they’ll just keep eating, and often they'll become sometimes obese very quickly after the bodybuilding show, because they got so hungry and so starve themselves, and that's not to go to that extreme. It's not necessarily healthy if you can't maintain it.
At the other end, if you're obese and insulin resistant, as soon as you find a way of eating, that will enable you to have satiety and not be eating all the time, which is adequate protein and nutrients. Your body will just start to offload their energy, and it just wants to offload the excess energy as soon as you stop eating. Being obese and insulin resistant, your body's not trying to store more energy, it's actually can't store more energy because the energy stores are so full.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, wow. A thin person who is insulin resistant, it's not that they don't look fat, but their fat cells have hit the point where the fat cells are “fat.”
Marty Kendall: Personal fat threshold.
Melanie Avalon: It's so interesting. Like I said, prepping for Gary, did you read his book The Case for Keto?
Marty Kendall: Most of it. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: He gets very granular with it. He thinks there's an actual number, like an insulin number for every individual. If you're below it, you can burn and store. Well, you could easily burn and store fat, but if you're above it, then you can't.
Marty Kendall: Yeah. Gary only sees the insulin response from food directly after, so he thinks that carbs raise insulin, because of the carbs you just ate, but doesn't see that the 80% of the insulin is being produced to hold your body fat in storage. So, the way to reduce insulin is to be less fat, and to be holding less energy in storage. It's not just the little blips that happen after you eat.
Melanie Avalon: This is so helpful, because like I said, I'm prepping to interview him. I'm so nervous about interviewing him. I'm just being really vulnerable right now. I get nervous interviewing journalists, because what they do is ask questions, because normally I'm the person asking the questions, but this is what they do. He's going to know if I'm asking really stupid questions. I'm really looking forward to the interview.
Marty Kendall: Gary just likes to tell stories.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, good. It will be a story time.
Marty Kendall: He's a great storyteller.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so excited for that interview. One other thing I heard you say and this ties into what we're talking about with the environment and the world and food. The idea of seasonal eating, I was listening to your interview, I messaged you about it on Facebook, you were recently on the ATP Project, I love them. I've been listening to them for years. That was a really great interview that you did. You were talking about seasonal eating and how different seasons, we wouldn’t actually eat certain macros. It had never occurred to me that spring, for example, is a PSMF, protein-sparing modified fast.
Marty Kendall: You just got lean animals and new fiber shoots and it's basically a low carb high protein, protein-sparing modified fast.
Melanie Avalon: Are you a proponent of people varying their macros according to the seasons?
Marty Kendall: Yeah. I’ve got a friend, Cian Foley, who wrote Don't Eat for Winter. It's a fascinating look at how just basically unnatural environment is cyclical. I think we're just stuck in perpetual autumn with foods that breast milk, acorns, nuts are generally just available in autumn to help you get fat, or breast milk is available for little things to make them grow into big things that contain fat and carbs together. A food system that we talked about before is just a combo of fat and carbs that drives us to overeat. I think if your body thinks it's in autumn, you need to maybe you can move it through the winter, which is the low carb keto sort of drop back but carbohydrate. Then, I suppose the next step is the PSMF, where you try drop back the fat and the carbohydrate and get enough protein and ideally fiber at the same time, and it'll just drop weight. You look at the bears that cycle massively around the year, they just gain massive, massive weight for winter and drop it all in spring, and they look like two different animals. We basically function the same way that if we provide our body with foods that are the combo of fat and carbs together, we just go nuts for those foods, we can't stop eating them because everybody thinks winter is coming.
Melanie Avalon: No pun intended.
Marty Kendall: [laughs] I did not. Oh, look at that. I didn’t mean that.
Melanie Avalon: I never realized that, it's true. Pretty much nuts are-- people ask me how to lose weight? Everything's just not working. I'm like, if you're looking at actual food--
Marty Kendall: Nuts and dairy.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Because if we think about dairy, I mean, its hormonal purpose is to make you gain weight. I feel like one of the only food categories where it's very hormonal in that sense. Then that's our-- I mean, it's the perfect combination of fats and carbs.
Marty Kendall: Yep, with a bit of salt, taste great.
Melanie Avalon: I know. Something we haven't touched on that much is actually fasting, which is a huge part of what you talk about, because you have your data-driven fasting. You talk about the importance of actually testing blood sugars before meals rather than after, and, Marty, this is something that I've been doing for years. I don't know if it's because I'm scared to test my blood sugars after eating, but I always would test my blood sugar right before eating and use that as an indicator of my metabolic health. Why might that be beneficial to test before eating rather than after?
Marty Kendall: It can be useful to-- you don't want to see your blood sugars go up a lot and then stay elevated for a long time. What we really want to manage is not just for the spike, but the area under the curve, a total area under the curve if your blood sugar goes to 0 to 7 or 140 milligrams per deciliter, whatever you have across the whole day. It's just basically a fuel tank. It's not correct to have a big spike, but to maintain flatline blood sugars by swapping carbs and protein for refined fat. You may have stable blood sugars, but you've got low satiety nutrient poor foods, you're going to be overeating, say you just got these low carb conferences, you have all these people walking around with their CGMs on and going, “I'm trying to keep my insulin low, but I'm just drinking refined fats.” You look at them and go, “Ah, I don't think that's working for you. Maybe there's something wrong with this theory.”
What you really want to do is once fuel tank is depleted, and you actually need to refuel, you don't want to wait for it to be through the floor, because you'd be really, really hungry and just eat everything in anything you can, donut, cheesecake. I love peanut butter, and yogurt is my favorite go-to, to just smash the energy back in when I'm really hungry. You don't want to let it go too low, but you want it to be depleted below your normal blood sugar where you start to feel hungry. Yeah, that's a really handy metric to say, “Am I really hungry? Do I really need to refuel? Or am I just dreaming of last night's leftovers that were really yummy, or I'm just bored or I'm lonely or some other reason that I'm eating.” You can validate your hunger with the current blood sugar. You don't need to get 60 milligrams per deciliter before you eat. Let's get it a little bit lower than what you used to. I'm really fascinated by the idea of tiny habits and progressive overload from my bodybuilding/lifting experience. You just progressively dial things up, you don't go, “I want to lose weight, so I'm going fast for two weeks.” Or, “I'm going to fast for 392 days like Angus Barbieri. It worked for him, it can work for me.”
Most people don't actually end up with a better body composition, the end of that approach. But by just progressively dialing things back and learning to understand your actual hunger and dial down your energy levels in your blood. You dial back the energy in your fat stores and just works really well.
Melanie Avalon: Do you find that people tend to have a blood sugar setpoint where they naturally tend to be a certain level and it might be higher for other people or lower?
Marty Kendall: Yeah. I just mentioned with bodybuilding, not that I'm a bodybuilder by any means, but I have listened to people like Ted and Luis and understand that lifting heavy is important. Over time, I've started with an empty bar, and now I'm getting to the point where I just can't keep on increasing the weight. I can lift, you find your limit. In a similar way your blood sugars find their own lower limit that tell sort of once they drop to a lower healthier level, your body will then start to tap into your fat stores more and more, so once glucose is depleted, your body will use your body fat. Generally, 90 to 100 milligrams per deciliter waking blood sugars is really healthy optimum place to be but it varies from person to person based on their diet, when they eat, how much lean mass, how much weight they're carrying, it can vary.
Melanie Avalon: What about a situation because you just spoke to how, if you test your blood sugar and it's high and you think you're hungry, maybe you actually don't need to eat?
Marty Kendall: Yeah. You don't need fuel, you just need protein and nutrients.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, protein and-- Okay, that actually answers my question, because I was thinking, I was wondering, because you had said earlier that for example, if a person has high blood sugar and then they eat protein, and that actually lowers it. Okay, that's a big clarification for me.
Marty Kendall: That’s our secret hack of data-driven fasting. If you're hungry and you have to eat, prioritize protein and nutrients, and the body will use the energy from your body, while you get the nutrients you need. So, it's a win-win.
Melanie Avalon: Let's say that you're fasted, and you test your blood sugar, and it's high-- or some people will drink wine before meal, and it might lower their blood sugar, or what if you took berberine in to lower it? Is that a method that's even worth going?
Marty Kendall: If you're taking berberine and doing data-driven fasting, then keep on doing it, but I don't think it's one way or the other. Don't really feel passionate. Alcohol’s really fascinating. I know it's a passion topic of yours, but it tends to actually drop your blood sugar, I suppose it's empty calories, in a way, but it's got a high oxidative priority, and probably a high diet induced thermogenesis. Theoretically, alcohol by itself would be more satiating calorie per calorie if you're still making good choices and then feel good. Personally, I don't tend to feel good the next day after much alcohol, but the wife is fine with alcohol. So, it's fascinating how different people deal with alcohol in different ways.
Melanie Avalon: You have seen it correlate with satiety, alcohol?
Marty Kendall: I think, potentially, theoretically, it could. Like we talked about The Drinking Men's Diet. It's just half a bottle of wine and steak and people lost a ton of weight pre-Atkins. I think alcohol by itself can promote satiety, as long as you're making good food choices. I think what people drink if they're drinking beer and cocktails that contain a whole lot of other stuff, and then they get the munchies and go for the kebabs, unlimited donuts, and whatever the next day, then probably a negative impact. That's not a key part of our system.
Melanie Avalon: It actually it ties in well to how we opened this whole conversation, because people will often say or think that drinking made them gain weight, but the alcohol itself, it did not become the body fat. It was whatever you ate while drinking. Kind of like fat in the context of carbs. I feel the actual carbs, some of them are converted to fat, but probably I think the majority of the fat gain was from the fact that you ate with the carbs.
Marty Kendall: Yeah. Anybody's going to burn off the carbs and the alcohol and exogenous ketones and MCT oil before it can burn the fat, so any fat that you eat then get stored.
Melanie Avalon: What do you think you were most surprised about-- what did you do the biggest 180 on as far as thinking things were a certain way with macros and diet and all of that to where you are now?
Marty Kendall: Yeah. Well, I think I always heard the adage that eat fat to satiety, eat fat to satiety, so, eating more fat would make you more satiated, calorie for calorie. Then, once I looked at the data from half of million days of MyFitnessPal and 40,000 days of people using Nutrient Optimiser and the satiety studies from University of Sydney, you see the same trend, that fat calorie for calorie is not more satiating, and the dietary-induced thermogenesis of fat is very low as well. So, it's not like your alcohol protein that you're going to use a lot of the energy to before you store it, it just gets stored, or is used really easily in your body. It doesn't get to very efficient form of fuel. It's not a bad thing if you need energy, but if you've got excess stored energy, then dialing it back is helpful.
Melanie Avalon: I as well definitely had that huge 180, because I first came to everything with Atkins, and I had this idea that all the fat, unlimited fat, and I won't store it as fat because there's no carbs present and just might not quite be that case. One sort of last question. When people are following your approach and doing data-driven fasting and are in your community, do you have different types of diets that people can follow, different types of macros? Because now people might have listened to all this and they're probably wondering, “Okay, so what should my macros actually look like?” What are the different options for people and what would be the resource for listeners to learn more about all of that?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, it just depends on where you're at and what your goals are. If you want to stabilize your blood sugars, because they're really erratic, then dialing back insulin load is really helpful. If you need therapeutic ketosis for whatever reason, then we can design a diet. We have designed recipe books for therapeutic ketosis. If you've got body fat to lose, then you want to dial back your dietary fat and prioritize protein and nutrients. I've got a high protein to energy ratio book. We've got a bunch of recipe books and food lists on the blog. If you go to the top and look at personalized food lists and recipes, you can look at all the different types of approaches. We get caught in this extreme debate, low carb versus high carb or low fat versus high fat or low protein percentage versus high protein percentage, but you just need to say, “Where am I at now and how do I--”
We generally dial in our diet, intuitively, to maintain what we're doing. If you want to make a change, you just need to move a little bit-- move the needle a little bit from where you are now to make progress, and then when you start making progress, you move the needle a little bit more. If you're doing 20% protein now and try 25, you don't need to get 50 like Ted Naiman overnight. You probably go insane doing that and go, “Protein’s not so satiating.” You just need to make a small progressive change and keep on moving towards your goal.
Melanie Avalon: It's ironic, because speaking about how making that little change in the macros can have such a big effect. I think people often think that that's the case with calories, like, “Oh, if I just reduce my calories by 200 calories every day, I'll lose weight,” and it just doesn't work for a lot of people.
Marty Kendall: If you keep eating donuts and try to eat a little less donuts, eventually your body will go, “Oh, I need the fuel, I'm going to just binge and find a way to get the energy back or downregulate.” If you get protein and nutrients and dial back your fuel, your body will go, “Hey, this is what I need. I've got fuel to burn in my body, so I'm happy,” and your lizard brain chills out. It's a whole lot easier and smoother once you actually nurture and nourish your body with what it actually needs. You think you're in control with your brain all the time, but your amygdala, your lizard brain, is really what's in control. If you don't give your lizard brain what it wants, it doesn't end well.
Melanie Avalon: I know. [laughs] No kidding. Well, this has been amazing. Were there any other topics or anything that you wanted to touch on? I feel like I hit you with a lot.
Marty Kendall: [laughs] It's been so much fun. I'm really, really chuffed that you've dived into my work. Really, it's been a great conversation, really, really, really enjoyed it. I love talking about this stuff. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share it with your listeners.
Melanie Avalon: 100%. I have been so excited about this. You're just doing wonderful things. For listeners, I know I feel like this conversation, we went really deep into everything, but when you read Big Fat Keto Lies, it's so approachable. It's so easy to read. You will just walk away feeling like you understand so many things. Marty has been so kind, he's actually offering it to my audience for 30% off, which is amazing. If you go to melanieavalon.com/bigfatketolies, you can get the book there for 30% off. Don't even hesitate, get it now. Stop listening right now and download it, because it's absolutely incredible. Your Data-Driven Fasting book, it's free at datadrivenfasting?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, free download the manual from datadrivenfasting.com. We've got so many questions about data-driven fasting, we threw them into this massive manual with all the FAQs, which is literally another book of how to optimize your blood sugars with diet and intermittent fasting dialed in for your goal. Yeah, people are loving it. We spent five years trying to teach people how to eat, now they just want to know how not to eat. Eventually, they realized that what you eat is important as how often you eat. It works really well with what's more important than what you eat, and when you eat, and they were intertwined together, and we've tried to unpack that into a cohesive system.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I love it. It's so, so incredible. I'm so grateful for your work. That brings me to the last question that I ask every single guest on this show and you might have heard it before because I know you've listened to my shows before, and it's just because I realize more and more each day how important mindset is. What is something that you're grateful for?
Marty Kendall: Yeah, I've just been really grateful for people in the community that I interact with who have taken this up and put it into practice and developing a movement around nutritional optimization, and just people are helping each other and supporting each other, and going this work for me, I want to help you on the path. I'd love to see that. I love to the community, because technology and knowledge is only one little part of the puzzle piece. If we build a community around it, we can create a movement that can hopefully build on what we learned from low carb and keto, and I can keep on moving people forward into getting the results they want from their diet and not falling prey to people who just want to sell you cheap crap and tell you it's great stuff.
Melanie Avalon: I cannot agree more. I was just thinking, the fact that you have this amazing, engaged community, seeing all these results, communities don't just happen. You can't just pull a community [laughs] out of thin air. There's got to be something actually working there. I think it really speaks to just the massive, wonderful information and knowledge and insight that you're providing so many people. I cannot thank you enough for your work. I'm such a fan. I'm really looking forward to all of your future work, and we're just going to have to stay in touch and be friends, and you’ve got to come back on hopefully in the future.
Marty Kendall: [laughs] This should be enough for two episodes, so we'll do a third sometime.
Melanie Avalon: Perfect. All right. Well, thank you so much, Marty. This has been amazing.
Marty Kendall: Thanks so much, Melanie.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.