The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #197 - Thomas DeLauer
Thomas DeLauer is an expert in diet, nutrition, and mindset. He is motivated by a guiding ethos of integrated optimization: if you perform better, so does the world.
Thomas reaches more than 15 million viewers monthly (on average) through his Youtube channel, where he translates experience and learning from his own health transformation into actionable steps for his dedicated community of 2.85 million subscribers. The strength of Thomas’ platform is communication, distilling complex subject matter -- i.e. the biochemistry of the ketogenic diet, fasting, metabolic health, and more -- into digestible insights for the viewer.
Thomas has built a name for himself by helping busy people across the world find time to make small, easy changes to not only become healthier, but to become top performers in life, whether career, fitness, family, or hobbies. He has built upon his experience as a young, successful athlete and later, successful businessman, identifying that his singular focus prevented him from reaching potential. These experiences allowed him to develop the belief that we all possess the ability to tap into the best versions of ourselves by optimizing our understanding and application of fitness, nutrition, and mindset. He is supported by a remarkable research team that backs his platform with science and evidence to validate the work, and his expertise is shared in fitness and lifestyle publications worldwide.
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Intermittent Fasting Made Easy: Next-level Hacks to Supercharge Fat Loss, Boost Energy, and Build Muscle
Thomas' Personal Story
Is There A Type Of Fasting That Works For Everyone?
Interesting New Fasting Studies
Do We Have To Eat Fat To Burn Fat?
High Carb Vs High Fat
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Rapid Weight Loss In The Beginning Of A Diet Change
Muscle Loss With Fasting
Blue Zones And The Plant Based Agenda
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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #38 - Connie Zack
The Science Of Sauna: Heat Shock Proteins, Heart Health, Chronic Pain, Detox, Weight Loss, Immunity, Traditional Vs. Infrared, And More!
Autophagy And Recycling Proteins
Men Vs. Women In Fat Burning
Cortisol In The Fed Vs. Fasted State
Out-Training Your Bad Diet
Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends. Welcome back to the show. I am so incredibly excited about the conversation that I am about to have. It is with a legend in this whole sphere, the intermittent fasting world, the keto world, the diet world. Everybody I think knows this guest, but I am here with Thomas DeLauer. The backstory on today's conversation, especially as the host of The Intermittent Fasting podcast, we get questions, Thomas, by the way, we get questions all the time about people who see videos or some of your work and they have questions about specific things that you've said. So, this is a really exciting moment to actually be connecting with you now. I've been following your work for years at this point. And our mutual friend, Bill Tancer at Signos actually offered to connect us, which was really, really incredible and I was so excited. So, I jumped at that opportunity.
After that that's when I read your book which is called Intermittent Fasting Made Easy: Next-Level Hacks to Supercharge Fat Loss, Boost Energy, and Build Muscle. I will say I learned so much in that book. It is a deep, deep dive into intermittent fasting and it touched on a lot of things I personally wasn't aware of. I just want to say before starting, what I really appreciate about your content in general is you've done something that I think is little bit difficult to do in the whole health and wellness sphere, which is A, create a platform that reaches a very broad audience, and is intriguing and people want to listen and it's approachable, but then also, you dive really deep into the science. So, I really applaud you for blending together those two worlds, and I am really excited for this conversation and thank you so much for being here.
Thomas DeLauer: Oh, thanks for having me. This is going to be cool. I love going deep.
Melanie Avalon: To start things off, like I said, we were connected through Bill Tancer. Well, I want to hear about your personal story, but before that, I'm just curious. Do you wear CGMs regularly?
Thomas DeLauer: I do. I would say I usually do like six weeks on, six weeks off. I try to not get so lost in the data that I drive myself nuts, because I will do that. I have an Eight Sleep that I sleep on. I wear a WHOOP, I wear an Oura ring, I wear a CGM. I'm like a bionic. Sometimes, I will drive myself nuts, if I just look at data all day long and eventually end up with analysis paralysis. So, yeah, I wear one for about six weeks at a time and then I take it off for four or six weeks, let my body reset, because I like looking at contrasting data, like, what changes in my life and then-- that way it's a surprise when I throw it back on and different things, different stimulus.
Melanie Avalon: We are so similar. So, I've got the Oura ring. Actually, I have the Eight Sleep. It's on my bed, but I haven't used it yet, because I'm waiting for them to have an airplane mode for the Wi-Fi. So, I've just been using my OOLER. No, I'm the same way. And with the CGM, I'm curious, when you first put one on for the first time, were you shocked by anything that you saw?
Thomas DeLauer: To be honest, not really. I've always gotten super regular blood work anyway. I went through a phase where every two weeks or so I was getting different panels done, just because that's kind of how my channel is. I'm always my own N of 1. So, if I'm going to talk about something, I'm going to experiment or explore it myself. So, I wasn't that shocked to see my fasting glucose being higher than I would have expected or what normal people would have expected, like they say, “Okay, I'm intermittent fasting. Why is my fasting glucose in the 90s or whatever? Shouldn't it be in the 80s because I'm so healthy?” So, I already had an understanding of peripheral insulin resistance and how that was working. I'd say the biggest shock to me was something that I had seen, talked about, but didn't really register until I was wearing a CGM that was just the impact of sleep, and how different foods just respond completely different in my body if I'm sleep deprived or if I'm well rested. It actually gave me some sleep anxiety because I was like, "Now I know, if I don't sleep good, how metabolically damaging it can be," and I can see it with my own eyes. And then I finally got over that anxiety and now I'm sleeping again. That was a big shock for me.
Melanie Avalon: I'm like a little bit sleep neurotic. I am all about the sleep, and I think it is so, so important. Maybe we can actually circle back to that. But before that, for listeners who are not familiar with your work, although like I said, many of them probably are, could you tell us a little bit about your personal story? Did you anticipate becoming the YouTube sensation that you are? I mean, you have millions of followers and viewers.
Thomas DeLauer: No, definitely not. In fact, it's funny, it's the overnight success, 10 years in the making sort of cliche, but it was definitely not. I'm such an introverted, pretty shy person that if I had it my way, I was always just kind of a lone wolf in the gym, lone wolf in the office. I've been with my wife since high school, so I probably don't even know how to talk to girls. [laughs] I'm such a dork. The fact it's still shocking to me that people even want to listen to what I have to say because that's just how I was brought up. I was such a nerd growing up, I was such a kind of a loser of a kid. I don't want to call myself a literal loser because I was quite good at things. In the eyes of my peers, I was just I marched to the beat of a different drum. So, I always was kind of a little bit outcasted. So, it's still just unbelievable to me, but I guess, that's what it takes sometimes. It's like that contrast of standing out and being different.
No, I started my channel just because I realized somewhat accidentally that I was good at articulating complex subject matter. For years working in the healthcare industry and as a physician recruiter and then having part in ancillary lab services company, my job really was selling to physicians. That's basically what I was doing. I was selling lab services. I was in biotech and biomed sales. So, even though, I don't have a formal education in biochem, like I was a psychology major, I knew how to talk to physicians in a way that would help them understand.
Physicians aren't the easiest people to talk to. They're usually fairly myopic in their ways of thinking. So, in order to be able to get them to open their brains a little bit, you have to be able to explain it in a way that makes fiduciary sense, financial sense for them, but also like, what's in it for the doctor, what's in it for them. Then I realized like, “Wow, okay, this is actually really unique,” because I can spin this in a way that gets people excited about their health, and people get excited about and passionate about their health, because that's what's missing. It's like anyone can go read a script, or read from a teleprompter, or something, but if they're not truly living it and being passionate about it and not instilling passion with their viewership, it's never going to go anywhere. I think that's what my gift is is the ability to articulate that subject matter.
So, after I went through my transformation, which most people that know me know that I was very overweight for a short period of time in my early 20s, my life got turned around really quick fortunately, because I pulled my head out of my, you know what. When I did discover intermittent fasting and keto and how that worked for me so well, I had launched an initial e-book and that was on Facebook, I think it was. It was back in the Wild West of Facebook where you could actually post something and people would see it. I just remember like, “Oh my gosh, here I am.” I took a sabbatical, I exited the company that was in and I vowed to take a couple of years off, because I was so stressed and I was going to wind up divorced. I was just so stressed out all the time. So, I am going to take a couple of years off. I had little bit of financial exit to say, “Okay, this despise me of time before I figure out what I want to do next.”
So, I wrote this e-book and it was like that. It's called the Adaptive Body Boost. It was kind of cheesy, but it was very straightforward and it just flew. It was selling like crazy. I realized that like, "Wow, this is converting. It's actually generating sales, because people are resonating with my story. For once in my life, people want to hear my story." So, I just started putting some of the clips on YouTube and it was, like, boom. I'm like, "Okay, well, there's something here." Honestly, as they say, the rest is history. It just took off and then I'm like, “Well, I don't want to be selling e-books. That's not my goal. My goal is I really like production. I like making videos." So, I invested really early on in a robust video team and equipment, and I took almost all of my savings from my exit from my company and put it into hiring staff and getting video production and being like-- I told my wife, I was like, "We're either going to make this work or we're going to die trying. I'm going to go back to commission only work, because it's fine." And here we are.
Melanie Avalon: Wow, that is so incredible and so inspiring. I'm a fellow introvert, by the way, so I completely identify there. It's interesting, when I was asking my audience for questions for you, and I anticipated getting a lot of fasting and health related questions, which I did. I also got a lot of questions about your wife and your kids. Everybody wants to know. They all want to know why she's not posting as much anymore.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, she's definitely not. She and I talk about that. To be totally frank, she got super burnt out with the fact that every time she would post something, it would get like 500 views. She's like, "It's not worth me taking the time away from the kid." This is her talking, "Not worth me taking the time away from my kids and doing this when it doesn't go anywhere." It's not like really the algorithm just tanked. I think she got really, really disheartened with-- Everything just became so politicized over the last couple of years and so dark, and she's just like, “I just don't want to do it.” The funny thing is, she's in the best shape now that she's probably ever been in. I always tell her, I was like, “You should be showing how awesome you look and what you do.”
She will occasionally, like, she'll post some stories and stuff like that, but also just how Instagram turned over to reels being the thing that was just never been her thing. My wife has always been a tremendous writer. So, if you remember her posts from a long time ago or shouldn't you say a long time ago, but two, three years ago, it was always like a picture and then a very long, really well worded post that really would hit people. That was her thing. Then the reels came along and it was like, “Ah, I don't really want to do this. I like to write.” That's the real reason why-- There's nothing crazy. Whereas for me, Instagram, it was the opposite. I never posted on Instagram and now that reels are around, it actually works quite well for me, because video is my main medium.
Melanie Avalon: Well, that totally makes sense. Well, you can tell her that I know she was disheartened by it, but apparently people love her, because all the questions I got, “Where's his wife?” [laughs]
Thomas DeLauer: No, I will make sure I say something to her, because if I know my wife been together for 18 years, her love language is definitely words of affirmation. Hearing that is going to help her a lot.
Melanie Avalon: I'm just laughing, because I'm the same way. I do the same thing with posts. I like to do a picture and I like to do lots of words. I'm not about the reels and the videos. So, I understand why she got burnt out with all of that. So, a general question, just because-- So, you've been doing this for so long, and the fasting world and the keto world, there are so many different perspectives, and thoughts, and ways to do all of this. So, what has been your experience with fasting, for example. Is there like one type of fasting you think works for most people or is there a lot of flexibility there? Do people have to find what works for them? Just what do you do being inundated with so many different opinions and thoughts about all of it and more, more research?
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, and sometimes, it sounds so conflicting. It's like, you can be hot one idea and then something else comes out and you're like, “Okay, well, maybe we're hot on this idea.” The bottom line is, I always say, "Should always just be a tool in your toolbox." With fasting, no matter what, whatever is getting you the result is what's going to work. That's it. Period. It's like with ketosis. It's like, “Don't chase ketones, chase results.” The reason I say that is 16:8 traditional intermittent fasting works so well for people, and then eventually, it doesn't. That doesn't mean that 16:8 doesn't work. That doesn't mean that you're doing anything wrong. It just means you need to do something different. The body adjusts, the body finds a nice homeostasis. There's nothing wrong with doing a 16:8 for the rest of your life, if that's just your lifestyle. It's not going to hurt you. As a matter of fact, it's probably only going to help you. But if you're still trying to lose weight and it's not working for you anymore, it might be time to shift it up.
I think we're heading to a place probably in the near future where specific genes are going to be playing a role too. Melanie, you might have a different genome than I do, and that's going to lead to maybe you get more benefit out of a specific kind of fasting, fasting through different periods than I do. I think that's where it's headed, because when you look at all the data, it's like, “Okay, here's some success with eTRF. Here's some success with 16:8. Here's some success with alternate day fasting." Me, by my very nature, I'll do videos on all of them, A, because I need to create the content, but also B, I get excited about it. Every time I read a new paper. I'm like, “Ah, I got to make a video on this,” which can be paralyzing because you're like, “Yeah, wait, I thought alternate day fasting had all these great results." No, early time restricted feeding has all these great results. Well, they both have great results, and it doesn't mean you have to do both. It means, “Hey, now you have more to choose from.” But I think we're going to get to a point where, "Wait a minute, maybe this one works well for me right now. Maybe this other one's going to work for me tomorrow."
At first, it leads with frustration, but once you adjust and you realize, “Wow, this isn't a problem. This is actually abundance. This is great. I have a lot of things to choose from.” This sort of my direction over the next year or two is to help people understand when they should be doing each specific kind of fast, not in very nuanced situations, but in general themes of their lifestyle, "I'm going through a stressful period of time right now. The next few months are going to be stressful. I need to focus on this. Maybe I'm going through a divorce or maybe I'm going through this relationship issue and I need to focus on this." So, I want to help people understand that, “Hey, you've got all these different kinds of fasting.” No one is particularly better than the other. Maybe on paper, we could poke holes, but realistically they're all great. But let's get really good and let's give you something to pull out of your tool bag when you're feeling amazing and feeling great, and let's give you something to pull out of your toolbox when you're feeling not so great. I think that's where we're headed and that's what I'm really trying to-- that's how I handle all the different information that comes in.
Melanie Avalon: Like you said, I just think it's so individual. Then I think it's so individual even with whether or not you shift it up. You mentioned this with people doing 16:8 for years. Some people, I think, do need to switch it up, and that's what is going to suit their body, and then others do really well. For me, I've been doing the same thing for a decade. Every time I do something different, it just doesn't really pan out well for me. So, yeah, I just think it's so individual. I thought of so many questions from that. Just out of curiosity, what's the most recent interesting or shocking study you've read about fasting or just anything really interesting that you've read recently?
Thomas DeLauer: Well, shocking is not necessarily a good one, but shocking was that recent-- You probably saw my video on it. It was that study that just came out that they tried saying that "Intermittent fasting doesn't work." Did you see that one?
Melanie Avalon: There's been a few of those recently.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, this one just came out. CNN and Bloomberg reposted it. It was out of Johns Hopkins. I won't spend a lot of detail on that, because I don't want to dwell on a negative, [laughs] but it was hilarious because they said that they basically had people log their food via an app with three different options, like, “Hey, I ate 500 calories at this meal, 1,000 calories at this meal, or 1,500 calories at this meal,” assuming that most people, A, know how to count calories, but B, assuming that they're going to actually appropriately account for how much food they ate. The real kicker was, the fasting length was 12.5 hours. So, they found that people that were fasting for 12.5 hours ended up eating more. Therefore, fasting doesn't work. They created this massive campaign around it. CNN pushed it out, Bloomberg pushed it out. I had multiple people send it to me and be like, “I can't believe you've been promoting this, and now it just came out of Johns Hopkins.” I'm just like, “Oh, guys, come on.” So, that was the most shocking. In terms of ground-breaking cool stuff, I think it continues to be the circadian gene, eTRF stuff with sleep. I think that's where it's getting really, really interesting.
There was one study, like, a year and a half ago, it was a rodent model study, but it's still the most interesting to me. You have a nuanced audience, so they understand, like, a rodent model, you don't throw it out the window. If you're trying to live in the past all the time, then sure, epidemiological data is great, but that's going to be 30 years lagging. I look at a rodent model study and I say, “Hey, that's awesome. I hope that can be replicated in humans. I'm going to get excited about it. I'm going to get people excited about it, because that's the idea behind biohacking too is that you're looking at what's coming, not what's already been proven." Or, should I say demonstrated, because you really never say proven, but the rodent model thing was this whole-- I always talk about PPAR-alpha, the nuclear receptor protein.
Melanie Avalon: That's where I was going. I'm so excited. We're talking about this.
Thomas DeLauer: Basically, they found in mice that when PPAR was activated in the brain, it promoted wakefulness. So, essentially, rats, I can't remember if it's rats or mice, but rats or mice, that were basically restricted sleep had just as much wakefulness if PPAR-alpha was activated as mice that did not have PPAR-alpha activated that were getting 10 hours of sleep. So, essentially, the reason that I looked into this so much was, because oh, my God, when I go through really strict periods of keto or fasting, like many, I don't sleep as much, but I never really feel tired. I don't feel fatigued, I don't feel run down, I don't feel my recovery is garbage, but I simply wake up at 03:00 AM, just ready to go. Oftentimes, I'll sit there frustrated, trying to get back to sleep, until really-- If that happens, I just get up and start the day.
Well, come to find out, well, this could very well be what's going on is for whatever reason, which we really don't know, but it's promoting wakefulness. So, having this fat adaptation is making it so you're essentially able to get by with less sleep. Now, what's happening with restorative, slow wave sleep, what's happening with REM, all this, obviously, we need to do more research on that. But I just find it intriguing, because it's like, “Okay, well, that means that something is happening that's allowing us to get by with less sleep.” I start thinking of it from an evolutionary standpoint, hunter-gatherer type standpoint, that actually makes sense. If you're fasting, you're fat adapted. The more fat adapted you get, the more PPAR-alpha is activated, the more wakefulness you're going to have because you need to be awake, hunting, trying to find food, I'm like, "That just makes perfect logical sense."
Melanie Avalon: That is so interesting. I'm so glad you brought up PPAR-alpha, because I was going to talk to you about it, because in your book, you talk about how it could arguably be called the key to fasting. I wasn't even familiar with it before reading that. So, basically, it's purpose with fasting. It's activated when we release stored fatty acids, and then it's turning genes on and off, and then correlates to a lot of the benefits of fasting?
Thomas DeLauer: That's correct. Yeah, it's not just stored lipids that are released. It can happen with-- If you think of your cells marinating in fats, the more you marinate them in fats, the more they develop an affinity for them and start using them more. It does seem to happen more with stored lipids. So, when you break down free fatty acids out of your adipose tissue or break down triglycerides into free fatty acids out of your adipose tissue, that seems to activate PPAR-alpha more. What PPAR-alpha is, it's called a transcription factor. So, it travels essentially to the nucleus of a cell, which is in this case, it's called a nuclear receptor protein. So, it travels to the nucleus of a cell, attaches itself to the DNA and tells the DNA what to do. The way that I explain this--
Now this is somewhat incorrect. So, no one hold me to this as a literal fact, but it's a great illustration. Envision your cells as being just out for themselves. It's definitely the case for bacteria. Bacteria don't give two craps about what happens to you, like, they are in it for themselves. Bacteria are very selfish, but cells. You could make the argument that they are in harmony to try to make us survive. But at the same time, an individual cell just think of it as just out for itself. Left to its own devices, it's going to just consume and use whatever's available, it's going to do whatever it wants, but the DNA programs and corrals it and says, “Hey, no, you need to do this.” So, it's like the parents in a way.
So, when PPAR-alpha is activated, it travels to DNA and it tells the DNA as a transcription factor. It says, “Hey, we got lots of fats floating around. You need to tell your kids, everyone out there, start utilizing fats because that's how you're going to survive.” Now it's like the government has come in and casted this big message over the body. It says, “Hey, news flash, like, red alert. Everyone needs to use fats.” So, the cells start shifting. They start changing their carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A or CPT1. They start changing fatty acid transporters, coenzyme Q10, proton gradients, all this stuff changes in an effort to utilize fats better. It's just kind of a cool analogy. That's just what happens.
Then when you start marinating with glucose again, whether that's good, bad, or ugly, indifferent in some ways, the body will shift the other way. You start developing more glucose tolerance, and you start soaking up glucose better, and you can vacillate back and forth, back and forth. Obviously, what's great about fasting is the fact that you condition yourself to be fat adapted. But if you fast properly and with the proper utilization of carbohydrates, you can make yourself very metabolically flexible to use both.
Melanie Avalon: Just to comment on the selfish bit. It reminds me of I had Dr. Jason Fung on the show from his book, The Cancer Code. It's a little bit ironic, because I've been wanting to interview him for years, because he's like the fasting legend, but we actually just talked about cancer. But he talks about how in cancer, it is cells doing their inherent natural selfish nature where they have to go rogue because of their environmental situation. They just basically go rogue. They don't play nice. So, it's a really nice analogy, actually. So, question about that. The fat that is signaling the PPAR-alpha, can that happen from dietary fat as well? What I mean by that is people will say, "You need to eat fat to teach your body to burn fat." Is that actually what is happening in that situation?
Thomas DeLauer: To a certain degree, yes, but not nearly as much as stored lipids. You know, Dr. Ted Naiman, right?
Melanie Avalon: Yes, he's been on the show. I love him.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, he's awesome. This is where things can get difficult when I have a channel as big as mine is. On one hand, I wish I could just talk very narrow all the time, but the channel would never grow, I have to cast a net. If people that have been on watching my channel forever and ever and ever know that that's what I do. But Ted is so good at explaining how periodically taking away dietary fat is actually a very good thing. I'm the same way. What's difficult is you've got the intermittent fasting community, you've got the keto community, and then you've got a pretty massive overlap of the two. I am in a gray area where, I'm keto, then I'll also keto and fast, then I'll also fast without keto, and I do this whole hybrid of all of it. When I do intermittent fast with carbohydrates, I'm usually very, very low fat, and I usually have the most fat loss during those periods of time. So, that's where the keto community of mine gets really upset. I'm like, “I thought you were keto.” I don't define myself as keto, but yes, I do periodic keto a lot.
I also find that I put more muscle on with keto. Why? Because it's a lot easier for me to get appropriate calories in with keto. So, it's the caloric density is just so much more like I find that it's not the magic of the ketones or the magic of the carbs that are making me build muscle when I'm in ketosis or whatever. It's the fact that I'm simply eating more. I don't want to go down a simple thermodynamic rabbit hole, because those that know me know that I think there's much more than just calories in, calories out, although I still believe in it. So, I guess my point with that is when you restrict dietary fat, you give your body an opportunity to utilize your stored fat, and that is when the magic really does happen. So, does that mean that everyone needs to go on a low-fat diet? No, that's not what I want people to take away from this. I feel periodic surging of high fat and low fat is a really good strategy.
Dietary fat can certainly influence PPAR, but not nearly to the degree that dietary fat, or excuse me, to the stored lipids that are being released can. It just has to do with carbon chain length, it has to do with the type of fatty acid, it has to do with serum palmitate levels, which can go pretty, pretty deep, much even beyond my pay grade. But the bottom line is, yeah, if you want to lose fat, like, surge, I call it fat surging, go high fat and then go very low fat, and do it for short periods of time where you can go really aggressive with it and then pull back. I haven't seen a single person outside of people that have serious, serious metabolic dysfunction or pituitary issues that it has not worked for.
Melanie Avalon: I'm loving this conversation so much. I can't even tell you how many times we get listener questions about people who've been doing fasting and keto for so long and it's just not working. We suggest, you might want to try a high carb, low fat approach paired with the fasting and see what happens. So many people come back to me and say that it was what they needed to see change again. Again, I'm not saying that that is what they should be on for life either, but I think people get really locked into this. It's got to be all low carb, high fat keto all the time. I just think that doesn't always work for everybody all the time. People get terrified of carbs, like, terrified. So, for me personally, I do a one meal a day situation, eating in the evening, and I always do either high carb, low fat or low carb, higher fat, and just whichever one I want, but normally I'm on the high carb run.
So, I'm glad you mentioned about the short-term or going aggressive and going fast, because that's something else I feel is a little bit controversial. You were talking about a study about this recently, about how they were looking at people who either lost the weight fast or lost the weight over a longer amount of time and the effects on the eventual weight regain. And so, maybe we can talk a little bit about that. I had also read a study that it was a while ago though, so I'd have to find it. But It was looking at people who either lost a lot of weight really fast in the beginning and then did a slower approach or spread it out over a longer time. The people who lost more in the beginning were actually more successful. So, all of that to say, what are your thoughts on losing a lot of weight fast in the beginning. I actually think it can actually beneficial for some people, if that's controversial, but what are your thoughts?
Thomas DeLauer: I did a little short video on it, but then I did a full breakdown on my channel a couple of days ago. It was a 14-minute video, looking at a lot of different bodies of research on this. I think the very colloquial point that I made is, "Okay, if you lose 100 pounds in a year or if you lose 100 pounds in five years, it actually is pretty negligible difference on the amount of weight regain." The only difference is that if you lose weight 100 pounds in a year-- Okay, let me phrase this differently. Let's say, I lose 100 pounds in a year, let's say you lose 100 pounds in five years. If we both die in six years, who's going to have the better quality of life at the end of life? It's probably like, "Okay, losing the weight fast as long as you didn't regain it." You're having four more years of positive feedback loops. Amazing things happening as a result of being at a lower weight. The bottom line was that people that regain weight back, it might very well just be in the brain and it might very well be somewhat genetic. So, the bottom line with that is, it's the same risk of gaining weight back, whether you lose it fast or you lose it slow. That is probably happening at the brain, which we don't know. Also probably happening at a genetic level.
So, I say personally, you don't have to take this to the bank if you don't want to, feed the stallion and starve the pony. If it's working, keep on going. If it's working, keep doing it. If you're aggressively cutting calories and it's working and you're actually dropping weight and you don't feel your metabolism crashing and very important point, you're not wasting a bunch of muscle, by all means, keep doing it. With great power comes great responsibility, as always say, or Spiderman says. But that's going to be the very big thing. It's like, okay, when you increase protein significantly-- I can't remember the exact study, but I just talked about it in the video the other day was I can explain the study. They had people go on a very, very low-calorie diet for four weeks, and then they had them go on a three-month maintenance. One group ate 48 more grams of protein, 20% more protein than the other group. The group that had more protein only gained back 50% of the weight that the other group gained back, even when calories were matched.
So, essentially, if you lose weight fast or you lose weight slow, the most important thing is, after the weight is lost, you need to start replacing some calories with protein. That's just what it comes down to. But I don't want to beat a dead horse and talk about-- Everyone online is talking about protein, protein, protein. It's just trendy to talk about protein. I get it. Protein is important, but there's also a lot more to it than that. Like, muscle stimulus is probably even more important than protein keeping the body moving. What happens is, people restrict calories, they go too far, they don't move their bodies, they don't resistance train, they lose muscle too, then their metabolic rate crashes. So, that's the biggest risk and it's the biggest caveat too. It's like, if you take Bob that loses 100 pounds in a year and Jim that loses 100 pounds in two years, but Bob was lifting weights and Jim wasn't. Bob's probably going to have the better chance of maintaining his weight loss than Jim, even though Jim lost weight slower. So, it's like you have to just go with what works.
Plus, the positive metabolic impact on rapid weight loss is actually quite good like AMPK activation. AMPK is not a light switch. It's a dimmer switch. What that means is that the benefits that you get downstream of caloric restriction are attenuated by a smaller caloric restriction or they're turned up by more caloric restriction, so you get more benefits. That's why fasting is so great. You're cranking that dimmer switch all the way to freaking 12. So, you're getting all these benefits that wouldn't have happened if you had a fraction of a calorie. So, it's the same thing. There was a lot of interesting feedback on that, because there's comments like, “Oh, you're going to give people eating disorders by telling them this?” No, no one is saying you need to go out and starve yourself and binge. No one is saying that. The point is that, if you are having success losing weight fast and someone tells you, “Hey, you need to pump the brakes,” tell them to shove it, keep losing weight, and then just be responsible once the weight is lost.
Melanie Avalon: That is the nuanced answer we need to this question. It's really a shame that-- I think people see things so binary or so clickbaity and work. So, people just think like crash diet and then everything's out the window. When really, like you said, for the given individual, it might be that a measured, sensible approach of fast. It's not crash dieting, it's fast dieting with ample protein might be the more effective thing in the long run for lots of reasons that you just discussed. So, that is a great answer.
Speaking of muscle, we get questions all the time about muscle and intermittent fasting. So, do people need to be concerned about muscle loss on intermittent fasting? Do people need to be having more consistent muscle protein synthesis and taking in protein multiple times in order to adequately maintain or even gain muscle? I read things on both sides all the time. So, what are your thoughts?
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, I'm with you in that. There's two different sides to the equation. There's the, okay, restrict protein for longevity, and then there's the, okay, make sure you get adequate protein for muscle, because muscle is important for longevity. So, it's like, "Where do you balance." Actually, that's where I think you've got something good is with the OMAD. I'm not the biggest fan of OMAD, personally. You probably see my content on them. If you're going to do OMAD, try to do one and a half OMAD or two OMAD, where you're just have that one little meal first and then give yourself a little break. But I think, and I say this with all due respect to people that OMAD, you're probably one of the people that does OMAD that makes a very conscientious effort to get adequate food in and adequate nutrition in. That's my biggest concern with people that do OMAD is they just end up just, “Okay, well, I'm just going to eat one meal a day, and I'm so hungry, I'm going to just eat whatever I want to eat,” and then eventually you end up down this path.
That being said, people that do it right, I think it's amazing, but it's sometimes dangerous because people can take it too far. But I think that OMAD is so tremendous when it comes down to a longevity piece, because you're getting massive mTOR suppression during a longer fast. You're getting great autophagy, you're getting great AMPK elevation, you're getting all these huge benefits. And then you're getting a nice rapid surge of anabolism during your eating period, which is fairly confined. Actually, how long is your eating period, would you say, for you doing OMAD?
Melanie Avalon: So, it probably ends up being around four or five hours. Sometimes, a little bit longer. You are so correct. I eat pounds of meat and seafood every night over four or five hours.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, exactly, right? That's just like the responsibility that has to come with it. It's like, if you're going to eat a bird, it's not going to work, or it'll work for a while and then you're going to be disappointed. Okay, so, yeah, so then you've got this high heightened anabolism for a short period of time where you're getting massive insulin sensitivity. So, you do take this protein in, you're getting a nice big insulinogenic response, and mTOR activation in a confined period, and then you go right back to suppressing it. You couldn't ask for anything better. It's like, “Hey, you get what you need to maintain your muscle.”
Okay, now let's jump over to the muscle question, because I wanted to tackle the longevity piece, because it needs to be addressed first. The muscle piece, I had an interesting conversation with Dr. Tommy Wood on my channel, a little bit of a sensationalized title a while back, like, this burns or this generates three times more autophagy than fasting, but it's actually true.
Melanie Avalon: You got to do what you got to do. [laughs]
Thomas DeLauer: Well, no, and it's very true though. It's like it's exercise. Exercise is the biggest inducer of autophagy, much more than fasting. However, different forms of autophagy for one. Another however, that just means exercise during fasting is even better, because you're not just having the same kinds of autophagy. You've got lipophagy, you've got macroautophagy, you've got microautophagy, there's six different kinds. The other thing we talked about was muscle stimulus is the most important thing. We have to think about from a fasting perspective. If you were starving and sitting on the couch or not moving, your body's going to say, "Oh, well, this person's starving and they're not utilizing their body. Let's go ahead and break down their muscle tissue, because clearly they're not using it and it doesn't matter." On the other hand, you're fasted for 20 hours and you're lifting weights. Common notion would say, "That's going to break down your muscle tissue. That's not how the body works." You're not going in there and putting your arm in a meat grinder, literally breaking it down. You're having a metabolic stimulus. I think people need to stop thinking of resistance training as mechanical and start thinking of it as metabolic. You are triggering an effect on the cells, you're triggering an effect on the tissue, not just damaging it via trauma.
So, what happens is, when you're fasted and that happens, the body says, “Oh, this guy's hungry, but clearly these muscles are being used. So, those must be necessary for survival. So, let's make sure we do what we can to preserve those and let's go ahead and use this fat instead.” So, when the protein equation comes, you don't want to be having protein while you're fasting. Protein is one of the most insulinogenic things that you could have, which would absolutely, positively negate the effects of a fast. So, you want to save that for later. Also wrote in that equation, branched chain amino acids, EAAs to preserve muscle. Yeah, I suppose you could have them, but it's definitely going to negate the metabolic effects of a fast. You're still going to lose weight, probably. You might preserve a little more muscle, but you're not getting as much of the other benefits. You're definitely turning off autophagy, you're definitely turning off some of the cell senescence that's happening. These sirtuin activations, all these positive things, nicotinamide, adenine dinucleotide, just all that you're limiting. So, with that I wouldn't really recommend it.
EAAs, post fast, I think those are great. I think that can definitely increase leucine availability and increase the mTOR spikes. You're getting more out of it, but it's such a crapshoot. It all depends on what your goal is, but I still think that regardless whether you're an 85-year-old grandma or you are a 20-year-old trying to get jacked. Fasting works as long as there is a muscle stimulus happening.
Melanie Avalon: When you say EAAs post fast, do you mean in the context of food as well, or breaking your fast with EAAs and then waiting a bit and then eating?
Thomas DeLauer: EAAs, in the absence of additional protein are fairly worthless, in my opinion. I think what makes EAAs unique is that they increase the availability of protein. There's a 3X to 4X increase in the protein uptake when you take EAAs with a meal. So, having EAAs upon breaking a fast for someone that's doing OMAD or someone that's doing a short feeding window, it works tremendously well, because you're essentially allowing yourself to, for lack of a better term, assimilate more protein from that meal.
Melanie Avalon: Because you're not rate limited anymore?
Thomas DeLauer: Exactly.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, got you. You know my cohost, right, Cynthia Thurlow?
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, it's funny, because she, as well, talks about what you were talking about with concerns about getting enough protein, if people are doing a one meal a day situation. We talk about this all the time. She calls me the unicorn and how most people probably need to have a longer eating window or more of a two meal a day type situation. So, I agree with that. It's also interesting, because I am haunted. I'm haunted by the protein longevity question. Actually, I've had Dr. Valter Longo on the show twice. Last time I interviewed him, I asked him literally, what, you just posited. I asked him, if I'm doing what I'm doing, where I'm having a massive protein influx and then fasting every day, am I getting the best of both worlds with the intense mTOR stimulation and then the fasted period of the AMPK and the autophagy? Because he's not a fan of high protein intake or especially not high animal protein. He basically was just like, “Possibly, but we don't know that. So, why risk it, basically?” I don't know. I'm going to keep on doing it. It makes sense to me.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, it's tough. I try to really look at things from as many angles as I possibly can, because I spent a lot of years living in an echo chamber. I really try, I really try, and I just don't see a lot of ways around how protein is good for you. So, I try but I do also understand that some of these guys, like Valter, yeah, they firmly believe that protein is an issue, but it's like no one has lived long enough with that for us to really see. No one's been like, “Hey, I'm 140 years old and I limited protein intake.” Even if you look at the Blue Zones, Blue Zones are interesting, but there's just-- First of all, I'll back up and say I love the Blue Zone concepts.
Melanie Avalon: Concept, yeah.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, I don't like that there's a seemingly plant based agenda behind it or-- Actually, okay, I got to back up again. There's a seemingly plant based agenda on the articulation and the interpretation of the Blue Zones. I don't think the Blue Zones are actively saying, “We're not going to eat meat.” I think that's just the way that their lifestyle is. I did a video a while back where I took a look at every single Blue Zone, and I took the positive attributes of each Blue Zone and tried to compile what I would think would be the perfect longevity diet. I'm like, "Okay, if Blue Zones are good, we need to stop looking at just the common denominators and we need to look at actually the outliers of each." So, let's look at Costa Rica. There's more fruit. There's actually tropical fruit. There's actually fairly high amount of carbohydrates. So, those people are living long. Is it the carbohydrates or is it also the fact that it's a low stress lifestyle near the equator that could be it too? Okay, well, let's look at Sardinia. Okay, let's look at Greece. Let's look at these things. We look at shellfish consumption and minerals. It came with like, "Okay, there are some common denominators, but the common denominators are not necessarily the plant-based part. The common denominators seem to be walking around a lot, moving a lot, good relationships." [laughs] That's the common denominators.
When you start looking at the diets, they're quite radically different between all of the groups. Okinawans eat a lot of soy. They eat a lot of fermented soy. They eat a lot of purple sweet potatoes, like things that they don't think people in Japan would eat. Granted, it's become more industrialized in Okinawan now. There's more rice and more refined stuff. So, that's probably going to change. But for me, that's a lot like my diet, I don't have a fermented soy. I will occasionally. I'm not opposed to [unintelligible [00:41:37] and stuff. I don't subscribe to the notion that all soy is bad just because our glyphosate ridden garbage in the United States is bad. You know what I mean? I also don't subscribe to the whole phytoestrogen thing entirely, because estrogens are exceptionally important. I had Dr. Kyle Gillett on my channel, videos released later this week, but we were talking about this. Phytoestrogens are different from xenoestrogens, and phytoestrogens that are overdone could be a problem. But in the right context, they could actually beneficial and actually occupy estrogen receptors that stop more toxic estrogens that are being formed from other things in our body from ever binding, thereby potentially reducing male breast cancer risk and things like that.
You actually have to look at the other end of a rope a little bit before you pull on it, if you know what I mean. You look at Japan, they're consuming 3 to 8 ounces of that stuff a day, and ridiculously low instances of male and female breast cancer. Nice. Even estrogen levels, how come it's not having that effect on them? So, we have to look at, well, what's happening in the United States. Well, okay, I can't point fingers. I don't know for certain, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say, it's probably the fact that 99% of our soy is adulterated crap. Anyway, that's a different tangent. The point is, I eat a lot of purple sweet potatoes. I eat a fair bit of fruit when I'm having carbs. I'm like, "Hmm, you know what's weird. I also eat a crap lot of shellfish. I love my scallops. I love things like that."
Melanie Avalon: Me too. I eat so many scallops. They're so expensive. It's so bad. [laughs]
Thomas DeLauer: It's an expensive habit. I also eat smoked oysters a lot. It's hard to get them. A lot of them are farmed in China, and you don't know what's in them, but you got to be be careful with that. I guess, my point is that, when I analyzed my diet, I eat almost everything from of these Blue Zones, and I was doing so with a moderate protein intake without really trying hard to add a lot of protein. I was just like, "Well, let's just eat how I would eat." I still ended up at 150-ish grams of protein per day. I'm 180 pounds. So, it was right around where I would want to be. It didn't feel like I was forcing protein. It was just happening naturally. I didn't just count protein from meat. I counted protein from complete protein plant sources as well. So, I don't think that I didn't need to make a concerted effort to restrict protein. I was still eating, consuming a diet that was optimal for muscle integrity and probably optimal for longevity too.
Melanie Avalon: First of all, I love all the tangents. The soy piece, it's interesting. Like you, I really just try to be as open minded as I can be with everything, because it's really hard to see past your own biases. I've changed my perspective on soy when I had Dr. Neal Barnard on the show. Literally, he wanted to come on for his study he had done on soy. While I think he goes extreme in his perspective, it made me sit down and actually look through the research, and I was like, “Oh, okay, maybe I have been inappropriately demonizing soy when really it's possibly other issues" like ones you mentioned. Also, I think what's important with the Japanese population, I think a lot of it has to do with the equol, the isoflavone-- like, the metabolite of estrogen, but the production of it is from our gut bacteria.
Some people just don't have the gut bacteria that create that, and I think that might have to do a lot with the health effects. So, the Japanese population has the bacteria that creates that. I'm really intrigued by all of that. Just to comment really quickly on the Blue Zones. Well, first of all, if you step back, it's a little bit problematic from the beginning, because I feel those were arbitrarily picked, like, the seven. There were a lot of other countries that could have been picked as well, and we could have had a different conclusion. But what I find really interesting too is just very basic. So, looking at the seven Blue Zones, six out of seven all include meat. I don't know why the conclusion would be no meat. If you were just to be completely objective, you would think the conclusion would be a little bit of meat or moderate meat. So, I don't know, it's just really interesting how people interpret study. It goes back to what you're talking about earlier with the sensationalized fasting studies about fasting being bad for you. So, I just really encourage people to dive deep, like, you were doing and really do their research.
Question about autophagy. This is something I've wondered, and then a listener asked as well to us, and I got really excited to think somebody else was thinking about this. So, I tried to find studies on this and I could not find a single study on this. Do you know from the autophagy process, does it actually create a measurable amount of protein? So, if we're getting a lot of autophagy from fasting and exercise and all these things, can we measure? Can that equal a certain amount of grams of protein and then we would need less protein because of the autophagy? I tried to find studies on this and I couldn't find any.
Thomas DeLauer: Measurable, I don't know. In theory, it would be measured in your nitrogen content.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's what I should be googling. That might help.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, it would be your nitrogen. That's essentially your blood urea nitrogen, but also just overall, like, what you're secreting in your nitrogen balance, because that's how you look. There's, unfortunately, not over the counter nitrogen urine strips, which would be awesome. I just don't think it can really be done, because that tells you what's happening.
Melanie Avalon: That'd be nice.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, I wish. Trust me, it's so cool, because they can test that stuff in clinic, but they can't test it. It must just have something to do with-- You probably actually need to test it. You can't just put it on a ketone strip. It would be so badass. But yeah, that's the only way. I know Peter Attia talked about it a while back, not in a measurable sense. And then I found some data backing it up. I can't remember exactly what the study was. I put it in a video or 2 or 10, but it was essentially, like, if you break down, if you have autophagy occurring from X, Y, Z cell, it could actually provide amino acids into the labor pool to help you with bicep formation. That's totally random and hypothetical. But the point is that the amino acids, like, things that are deaminated and broken down, that can help you with protein synthesis. So, it's like, if you're breaking down via autophagy and then you're working out, yes, you are up regulating autophagy, but you're also potentially using that protein that is broken down from other components to rebuild other components. So, it's like, "I could break down proteins from my calf to support my bicep again." Totally hypothetical, but just to illustrate a point.
But what really does matter, and I know Peter Attia mentioned this too, and it was my conclusion is that, what really does matter is that's all just borrowing from Peter into PayPal and it doesn't really matter. It does matter in the moment, but what matters is that afterwards you're replenishing to bring yourself up the balance, because otherwise, you will still be in muscle protein imbalance and a deficit there, and that is going to be detrimental to your muscle. But I would imagine that it could probably be measured via nitrogen, but you're probably not forming complete proteins just out of the blue. You're breaking down whatever you need to break down into peptide chains and aminos, and then your body's just going to do what it needs to do from there. So, I don't think it's ever forming into something that would show up as nitrogen, but if it did, that's probably where it would be.
Melanie Avalon: I feel like you're reading my mind. I was literally going to ask you, because Peter Attia talks-- I've heard him say too that he doesn't think the amount of autophagy you get from fasting is anything substantial. So, that's haunted me a little bit.
Thomas DeLauer: Well, I don't know. Yeah, it's hard to tell. I feel like Peter Attia got so called out on so much stuff a couple of years ago that he definitely 180-ed on a lot of things. But I also respect when people 180, because sometimes, they just have to break themselves out of the echo chamber. So, you never know. You never know, because he used to be all about it, but then-- [crosstalk]
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, same with the fasting in general.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, and same with keto in general. Things change, people change and yeah, who knows. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: That's one of the problems with this whole world. When you do have a fan base and everything, you can't win, because if you do change your mind, then, “Oh, you were wrong, you changed your mind.” But if you don't change your mind, then you're-- [crosstalk]
Thomas DeLauer: [unintelligible [00:50:15]
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, absolutely. You just can't win. That's why I preface everything with like, “I don't know, I reserve the right to be wrong. I might change my mind on this.” So, yeah. So, just a few other quick things that you touched on in your book that I really liked that you provided a different, more nuanced perspective on. One was, men versus women fat burning and fasting. I don't even like using the word conclusion, because that makes it sound like it's settled, but this is what I had found as well in researching men and women and fat burning was that women, they seem to better fat burners, and better with exercise and burning fat and all of that. But then some people will say the complete opposite that women, fat burning is that men do it better. What are your thoughts on men versus women and fat burning and fasting?
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, I was trying to pull up the study if I could find it, but essentially, women seem to do better utilizing fats. Basically, the action of adrenaline and hormone sensitive lipase seem to utilize fat better through that simple pathway, which is really, like, one of the only pathways. They seem to do marginally better than men, which would imply that if adrenaline is higher and the percentage of fat burned in that situation is better, then yeah, women would actually do better with fasting, and do better with high intensity work, and do better with things like keto where there is a higher catecholamine output. Yeah, I'm going to see if I can find it really quick, because that's pretty interesting.
Melanie Avalon: I've definitely read that one or one really similar to it.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, Journal of Applied Physiology, “Adrenaline burns more fat in women than men, since women have a higher fat percentage of men of the same weight not only in their bodies, but also within their muscles. It would also make sense as the primary energy source. So, they're more sensitive to the lipolytic action of epinephrine compared with men while maintaining similar glucoregulatory effects. So, women burn more fat, less carbohydrates and less protein than men at the same exercise intensity.”
Melanie Avalon: It's really interesting, because that's what I've seen and I've seen it in multiple studies, but then I'll just see very simple sentences that just say, “Women are not as adapted to burning fat as men.” Do you think that's because and if so, why. It seems like when it comes to “problems” with keto and fasting, women seem to have more “problems.” It becomes too stressful, or what do you think is the nuance there?
Thomas DeLauer: I think that it's probably just the fact that women have a lot of complicated things going on. It's probably not apples to apples all the time. It's definitely not apples to apples, but it's not apples to apples each and every day. Men have relatively homeostatic sex hormones. Oh, I shouldn't say that. They fluctuate a lot too, but nothing like ladies would. So, there's a lot of complicated things, and there's a lot of rebound, and there's a lot of homeostatic feedback loops. That's probably what makes it more complicated is who knows. Perhaps, one day, women would burn fat more and the next day they wouldn't. But I also think that when you look at a large cohort of women, like, just the stress of child rearing and all that comes with that. Who knows? There could be a heightened cortisol response. It also could be, this is purely speculative, but maybe there's more of an evolutionary role where they utilize fat better than men, because they are probably more stressed out than men.
Again, I'm not anthropologist. It would be really fun to interview some anthropologists and bring them into our world, because I feel like that's what needs to be done, because there's a lot of just misinformation about people, like, total BS about, "This is how our ancestors age." Is it really? Do you really know? I don't know, if you've seen that show on Netflix, that anthropology show with that guy. He's been on Rogan before. I can't remember his name.
Melanie Avalon: I think I just listened to his interview on Rogan.
Thomas DeLauer: He's awesome. He gave me so much hope, because I'm not a scientist, right? People call me a pseudoscientist and I'm like, “I'm not even pretending to be a scientist. I don't even want to be a scientist. I'm just good at articulating this stuff.” He's like, “I am no more a pseudoscientist than a dolphin is a pseudo-fish.” And I was like, “I love that.” It's perfect, because he's like, "I'm not trying to be a scientist, just like a dolphin is not trying to be a fish. It just is what it freaking is. Here I am. Look--" It's the same with me. But the reason that I mentioned that is maybe women have the more stressful role. Think about it. Men, [chuckles] it seems as though, they would go out and hunt and then they'd probably just come back and sit on their asses all day.
Most of the research, we have seen with that and Dr. Tommy Wood had talked about this is that there are relatively sedentary beings. An athletic individual today, an athlete today is estimated to be six times more active than the most active hunter-gatherer. So, it's like, we think like, “I want to be a caveman.” Do you really? Because the cavemen's probably weren't jacked and the cavemen probably were skinny fat, and probably just hunted for short bursts, and then sat around and gathered nuts most of the time. Is that what you want to do? Whereas the women probably had the tough job of actually wrangling children and actually had chronic stress, whereas the men might have acute stress, and then they go sit on their ass. So, that's probably what it was. But again, I'm not anthropologist and that would just make sense, like, "Okay, well, maybe women were designed to be a little bit more stressed out and utilize fuel accordingly, whereas men were not as good at utilizing fat because they were less active." [chuckles]
Melanie Avalon: I've got to do an interview now with anthropologist, for sure. That's amazing. I'm glad you mentioned cortisol though. That was my other thing that I wanted touch on really quickly, which was, people often say that, we release cortisol and then we don't burn fat. So, what are your thoughts on that? Because you talk in the book about the nuance of cortisol and the fed versus the fasted state.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, cortisol is interesting, because cortisol is actually our friend in many ways. The problem is that, with cortisol, you want it to be elevated when there's not insulin present. When you have insulin present and cortisol, that's when you start running into these problems. I don't know, unfortunately, this problem with demonizing cortisol all the time when it's really only a problem when it's present with insulin. It's like, let cortisol do its job while you're fasting. Sure, it's anti, sure, it's catabolic, sure, it's not the best, but at the same time, it's also what drives fat loss. So, very, very difficult to figure out there. So, unfortunately, I don't really have a solid answer for you on that like, is it good, is it bad?
Melanie Avalon: Well, it's similar to, I think, the insulin glucagon relationship, because I think a lot of people have high insulin and high glucagon at the same time, which creates problems. I'm just thinking about it, because I've been getting so many questions about semaglutide recently, and it does increase insulin. So, I get questions about it is increasing insulin, how is that helpful? But it's also decreasing glucagon at the same time, which I think is an important piece of the puzzle. So, I think it's just people take very not nuanced perspectives of these hormones.
Thomas DeLauer: Yes, I totally agree. Yeah, semaglutide is such an interesting one. That was where I had Dr. Gillett. He's a real big expert in semaglutide. Yeah, it's just so wild. Everyone just wants to hop on the stuff and I'm like, “Don't be so quick to do that. If it's too good to be true, it probably is. It's being used somewhat off-label in some ways, because it's really much more for glucose management, but some of the side effects are just makes you not that hungry, and can make you nauseous, and all this and that. But it's intriguing stuff and the mechanism of action is quite interesting, but it can stop gluconeogenesis, which might not be good for people that are fasting, because then you're stopping down the formation of the glucose that is keeping you alive when you fast and also supporting muscle tissue and all this.
Yeah, with regards to cortisol, and I don't know the mechanism with semaglutide and cortisol and how that all works, but we just have to remember that the one thing you don't want to do is have a bunch of stress and high cortisol right when you break your fast, when you're going to have a high spike insulin. Those two things in tandem are what the data clearly shows that you run a high risk of visceral fat accumulation. So, with that, I always say, okay, I'm not going to break my fast if I'm frantic. If I'm out on the road and it's like, “Oh, my gosh, it's 03:00, it's time to break my fast.” “Ah, it's 03:00, it's time to break my fast. Oh, my gosh, I got to find something. I got to find--” You know what? Just let the fast go another hour and wait until I'm not frantic, and I'm calm and I'm not dealing with something crazy.
It's just a better solution. It may seem so negligible. You're like, "Oh, you got all the people on the probably the calories in, calories out community that are going to have a fit and be like, 'Oh, come on, it's so negligible. It doesn't matter.”' No, it's actually pretty profound. If you're crazy stressed out-- Okay, let's just say you're fasting and you're about to break your fast and then you get a phone call that says, "Your dog died or something," you're not going to be happy. You're going to be stressed out. You should not break your fast then and there. You should probably just either let it ride a little bit until you simmer down. If you do run into a situation where you have to eat when you're stressed, definitely don't eat things that are going to spike your insulin heavily. Keep your protein moderate, keep your fats moderately high, keep your carbs very low.
Melanie Avalon: I could not agree more. I just have no interest. I have to have my really intense wine down routine every night when I'm eating and everything, and I just have no interest in eating if I'm not in that state. It's nice to know that it's not just, all in your head, that there's actually hormonal reasons behind that. So, that's amazing. If you could conduct one study and you had unlimited resources, what would you like to test, like a trial, clinical trial?
Thomas DeLauer: A really good question. I'd love to test something in healthy cohorts, because I think the problem, we face right now is it's very hard to find a healthy cohort to see, like, "Okay--". So, I'd really like to see the effects of fasting on true healthy people and athletes as far as muscle goes. I don't have anything in particular with that. That's the one thing that's been missing is really finding healthy cohorts. You can find six resistance trained males. That's not going to help you. You need to find 200 or 300 metabolically healthy people, people that are universally healthy with endurance and anaerobic and really start pulling some data there, because you know who the biggest people that combat us in the fasting community are. It's generally the fitness community. It's the loud fitness community that is just like they are training so hard that they're out training their diet, which is doable for a period of time, but you can only do that for so long. You know what I mean?
You can only out train your bad diet for so long in your life before you either get old or you just can't train that hard anymore. So, I'm not denying that it's doable. But then you get this like, "Okay, well, what about the people that are metabolically healthy that are still trying to find this balance?" So, it would be very interesting to see sort of the effects on muscle protein synthesis in healthy people, like, can it actually make a bigger impact? Can it more so than people that are unhealthy, because people can stimulate a lot of muscle growth if they're unhealthy, because it's those newbie gains, but more data in general with already healthy people.
Melanie Avalon: It would just be so exciting if you could conduct these trials. Something I would love to do, it would be a placebo effect type thing where people wouldn't know that it was testing fasting, but the prescription would be, you have to take this pill every day. The way the instructions would be, it would force people into a fasting window, because it'd be like, you can't take within this amount of time of eating. So, it would force people into a fasting window and then we'd really be testing fasting with people not realizing they're fasting.
Thomas DeLauer: Yeah, that's a good idea. That's a really good point. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: So, yes, but in any case, this has been absolutely so amazing. I really cannot thank you enough for all of the work that you're doing. Like I said in the beginning, I think now, especially listeners, after hearing this episode, you're just so incredible. You know your stuff, you dive deep into the science, you're not biased, and you're making it all approachable and nuanced and getting the information out there. So, I cannot thank you enough. And the last question that I ask every single guest on this show and it's just because I realize more and more each day how important mindset is. So, what is something that you're grateful for?
Thomas DeLauer: I am grateful for my family. 100% grateful for being able to be home so much with my kids and watch them grow, especially through these super crucial years. They're three and five. I know that not every parent gets the opportunity to be home so much with their kids. I'm just grateful for that. I'm also grateful for my mistakes that led me to where I am today to be able to have that opportunity. I'm grateful for the bad decisions that I made that ultimately led to better outcomes in my life. I'm grateful for the sun. I don't think we say that enough.
Melanie Avalon: I love that. One last random question to your kids. Are they pretty open to everything that you do? Do you anticipate having challenges with the whole diet cultural world with them?
Thomas DeLauer: Try to teach our kids that-- They don't know me as eating a specific way at all. They know that sometimes dad doesn't eat dinner-- I said this on the Lewis Howes podcast too. I just say, “Daddy's not hungry,” and I teach them to listen to their body. Sometimes, it backfires, because they'll just decide they're not hungry, because daddy said he's not hungry and they just want to go play with their toys. Kids do need to eat a little bit more than we do, and it's like then they get hangry and stuff like that. The point is, I'm trying to instill upon them that you just need to listen to your body. Food is fuel. I really try to teach that mantra, because I can't stop them from eating certain things, especially once they get a little bit older, they're going to be hanging out with other kids that things are going to happen. It's just going to be life. But what they do need to understand is the transactional effect of food in their body, "When I eat this, I feel X." So, I try to ask them how they feel after they eat something. If they have of sugar or something like that, I ask them, "How they feel." And usually, they say, “I feel good,” because they're energized. And I'm like, “Hey, that's cool. You know what's happening right now? You have energy being created in your body and you need to use it, because you need to listen to your body.”
One hand, it's not like I give my kids a bunch of sugar, but I also let them live life a little bit. So, it's like, “Hey, if you're going to have sugar, recognize how it makes you feel. It gave you all this energy, albeit good energy, bad energy, whatever. Okay, go and use it. Go run outside. Go, go, go.” I want to create that Pavlovian stimulus response where they eat something that makes them feel bad, they don't want it. They eat something that gives them energy, they know to use it, and it's working. It's like they're understanding this intuitive relationship with food and that's the best groundwork I think you can lay.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. That is so helpful. I think people really, really struggle with that. So, thank you so, so much. This has been amazing. We'll put links to all of your content in the show notes. I look forward to everything else that you're doing in the future. You're really doing amazing things. So, thank you.
Thomas DeLauer: You bet. Thanks for having me.
Melanie Avalon: Bye, Thomas.
Thomas DeLauer: Bye-bye.
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