Introduction: In this podcast, what happens when you exercise too much? Also, the ketogenic diet vs. the metabolic typing diet, are e-cigarettes a healthy alternative, which is better ground turkey or beef, what is mugicha, should you take a hot or cold bath post exercise, a list of healthy oils, bonking hours after a workout, does protein influence fat loss, and do beets cause cancer?
Brock: Hello everybody. Welcome to another episode of the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast. I’m Brock. And as always Ben Greenfield is in the house as they say.
Ben: Howdy ho! I’m actually a little bit nervous. I’m going to go the dentist tomorrow.
Brock: What? You haven’t been to the dentist in 35 years.
Ben: Almost. It’s well over a decade since I’ve been to the dentist. But I decided that I want to go to the dentist. I had a tooth that got chipped off when I was playing sports when I was a kid. And it’s getting a little bit discolored. And so, I’m going to go see a holistic dentist or what might also be called an alternative dentist or biologic dentist.
Brock: That’s awesome. I had no idea that that existed.
Ben: Oh yeah. It’s big. I think Hal Huggins I believe is the name of the fellow who’s headed up that movement. But it’s a huge part of the alternative health movement. It’s a non-surgical approach to gum disease. It’s really big on reducing bacteria in the mouth. It’s really big on replacing mercury or other potentially toxic materials in dental fillings with alternatives. And it’s basically a holistic approach to gum disease and dental fixes. And I have no clue if there is a holistic option to make my tooth look better that wouldn’t put a lot of toxins into my mouth. But that’s what I’m going to this guy to find out.
Brock: It’s worth a try.
Ben: That’s right. So, I’ll be headed to the dentist. And that’s what’s big on the Ben Greenfield calendar this week.
Brock: That’s pretty big. Well, let’s jump right in to the news flashes then.
Brock: And I wish the URL wasn’t ridiculously long otherwise we could tell you. But Google+ really hasn’t got that down yet. They haven’t figured that out.
Brock: Yeah. Don’t punch that in though because he’s just making that up.
Ben: Yeah. It’s probably someone’s social security number. An article on the New York Times came about whether or not exercise makes you over eat. And I thought it was really interesting because they took these folks. And they had them, one group vigorously rode a stationary bike and the other group just sat. And this was for a full hour. And in the people who had been sitting for an hour when they were exposed to some high fat sugary items like glistening cheese burgers and ice cream sundaes and cookies. The food reward system in their brain just lit up like Christmas. And that really didn’t happen to anywhere near as a greater extent to the folks who had been riding for an hour. And so, it turns out that exercise may have an appetite suppressing effect. But these effects have not really been noticed in shorter exercise sessions. And so, the fact that you may actually need to be working out for a long period of time to suppress the appetite is something to note. Especially when it goes hand in hand with another study that was in the Journal of Sports Medicine this month in April 2012. And it was about exercise and appetite and weight management and understanding the compensatory response to exercise. And there certainly is a propensity for folks who exercise to compensate by increasing their energy intake later on in the day by eating more and so, putting these two resources together. Basically, what it comes down to is that if you’re exercising for an hour or more at a fairly intense pace, it’s likely that it’s going to have an appetite suppressive effect. And it could help you out with something like weight loss. If you’re well aware that you need to be careful about compensating for calories later on in the day and not over eating later on because you exercised. And then if you’re exercising for less than an hour which I know is a real life situation for most folks. Just realize that that’s not going to have this magical appetite suppressing effect that a lot of folks say it’s going to have. But at the same time, you’re probably going to be less likely to engage in compensatory eating later on. When you put all of the studies together, for the most part though, exercise is not a futile method for controlling weight and certainly can improve body composition. And that does actually fly in the face of some talknits out there that says that you don’t have to exercise at all to lose weight. And that exercise is not necessary. I would say that we’re pretty much programmed for some form of physical activity whether it’d be exercise or just moving a lot. That’s always a good idea. Also, on the Google+ page, I looked at a study that investigated people who were using a phone app called eatery. And these folks from over 50 countries and they looked at them over five months. And they found that based on the data they collected from this app that a breakfast eaters tend to eat significantly help throughout the day when they had breakfast. And that the “healthyness” of that food or their propensity to avoid junk food or processed high sugar foods was lower. And they also found that when those people were at home eating they were likely to, specifically about 12.7 percent, eat healthier. It’s some interesting effects from just eating breakfast and eating at home and prioritizing the healthy breakfast. And one thing that I wanted to note about that was that a big part of breakfast. And I think a lot of people may not be aware of is that when you eat breakfast, it is part of your sarcadian rhythm. We’re wired up to eat in the morning. And that stimulates gastric acid secretion the rest of the day. And so, what it can do is it can improve your digestive capabilities and improve the health of your gut throughout the rest of the day if you can grab breakfast at some point in the morning. And one of the things that can help out with this is to not get up and do a really hard workout and wait a long time and eat breakfast. And I think that some people misunderstand what I’ve talked about in intermittent fasting or working out in the morning and done something like that. The problem with that is that when you wake up in the morning and light hits your eyes, cortisol gets released by your body. And that’s what wakes you up and makes you active. You got an exercise on top of that, that’s stimulating even more cortisol production. You skip breakfast, you’re getting even more cortisol production. And essentially you’re starting your day off by stressing your body out and throwing it off its sarcadian rhythm. So, my recommendation for breakfast is that if you are already at your goal body weight, don’t stress yourself out by using a lot of fasting and hard workouts and stuff in the morning. Get up, have breakfast, and include some protein with it preferably, and that’s a great way to start the day. If you’re trying to lose weight, tap into some of your body’s storage fat that type of thing. It’s okay to do some intermittent fasting and wake up in the morning and do some exercise before you have breakfast but when I say exercise, I mean like a backyard yoga session or a walk with a dog not anything really stressful. So, these are just a few thoughts about starting your day there.
Brock: And when you’re talking about intermittent fasting, you’re actually talking like 12 to 15 hours of not eating, not having a snack at 9pm. And you eat breakfast at 8am. That’s not considered a fast at all even if you throw in a workout before that.
Ben: If you want to use fasting to lose weight and burn fat, stack more of the fast in the evening than you do in the morning. Meaning that have dinner over by seven and then just don’t eat after that. And then you can get up in the morning and go for a walk with the dog, come back and have breakfast at eight or nine or whatever. So, don’t eat a bunch at 9pm, get up, destroy your body with an exercise session, wait three hours to eat and then have breakfast.
Ben: So that’s one of the opposite scenarios.
Ben: And then the last thing I wanted to mention real quick is that I noticed this study that came out. And it looked at something we’ve talked about on the show before about using a mouthpiece when you’re out there exercising and do hard stuff. That action of chomping down can actually improve your ability to handle stress. And it turns out in this study that recently came out in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It improves your neuromuscular force and power production if you have one of these mouthpieces in or a mouthguard in when you are doing this type of high power high force production type of work. So, I’ll put a link in the show notes to the mouthpiece I recommended before on the show. It’s the one that I use. You fortunately don’t have to get custom-fitted for that you’re dentist sending over. So, it turns into a five hundred dollar expense into a forty or fifty dollar mouthpiece.
Ben: You can put it in during your weight training sessions. And it does help. If you’ve got some heavy squats, deadlifts, cleans, tough power gym session planned, throw on your tunes. Put in your mouthpiece and go to work.
Brock: I like putting a leather belt between my teeth. That just makes me feel more manly.
Ben: But you also wear your Viking hat at the gym too?
Brock: Oh yeah! Sure. So, I keep my long flowing locks out of my eyes.
Ben: It’s a good look.
Brock: Okay. There is a lot of stuff going on at BenGreenfieldFitness.com as usual. And I have to ask you though one thing. You did that grizzly triathlon on the weekend. And I saw the videos that you posted on your website with Dave Erickson. And at the end you’re eating a banana with butter on it.
Ben: That’s not a special magical post race recovery food. That’s because of heat. I raced the men’s proheat. And our race started at three o’clock in the afternoon. And by that time, everything that was left at the post race food table was gone except banana and butter because they had some beagles there earlier in the day. So, it’s butter and banana.
Brock: That’s terrible. I actually had no idea why you were doing it. That’s why I had to ask.
Ben: That literally was all that was left.
Brock: Fair enough then.
Ben: So, as far as special announcements go, there’s an article over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com a couple of days ago. It’s about everything you need to know about why you get cellulite and how to get rid of cellulite. So, go check that article out if you’ve got a cottage cheese issues on your thighs and anywhere else.
Brock: And a warning to guys out there, do not send that link to your girlfriends or to your mom. They will take offense.
Ben: Just reference some other article on the website and keep your fingers crossed that they somehow discover that one there.
Ben: Then as far as a few other announcements. A new bio feedback device that I’ve been messing around with for training and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. But it’s called the PEAR bio feedback device. And what it does is you can take your mp3 player, let’s say you’ve got an iPod shuffle, you can plug it into this PEAR device. And it’ll play your music or it’ll play your podcast. But at the same time, the PEAR will take feedback from a heart rate monitor or from a foot pod or anything like that. And it will tell you your heart rate at specific intervals during the workout. And that’ll just get over lay. So, if you’re listening to the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast, at some point maybe five minutes or ten minutes, depending on the workout you’re doing, it’ll come in and say whatever like you’re in zone two. Let’s go ahead and work a little harder and get you up at your target zone. Or it’ll tell you that you’re currently striking at 90 beats per minute while you’re out running. That type of thing. But the really cool thing about this is that when you get the PEAR, it comes with a bunch of workouts that it will literally walk you through. And there are running workouts, biking workouts, weight training workouts, etc. So, what you can do is you download a workout onto this thing. And it’ll walk you through the workout. But you can still be listening to your podcast and your other music as it’s walking in into your workout because all it’s doing is at specific intervals during the workout. Like it’ll tell you that here’s the part where you go hard, here’s your target heart rate zone. And then while you’re doing that interval, it’ll interrupt that once in a while to let you know if you’re in the right zone or not. And for somebody like me who likes to just tune out or zone out and just have something in my ears when I’m working out. And I won’t be looking too much at my watch or at some dashboard panel on a treadmill or something like that. It’s a cool way to just have it all come in through your ears. And it allows you to do things like pay attention to the road if you’re on a bike. Or not constantly be looking at a watch or something like that while you’re weight training.
Brock: How is that spelled? Is it p-a-i-r? or p-a-r-e?
Ben: It’s p-e-a-r like that fruit.
Ben: PEAR bio feedback.
Brock: And so, it obviously comes with a heart rate monitor foot pod cadence.
Ben: Yeah. It comes with all the stuff that you need. So, it’s pretty cool. I dig it. So, check that out. And it’s small too which is nice. It’s not much bigger than a little Ipod shuffle. A few other special announcements for this week would be the super human coach at Superhumancoach.com. My mentorship program for fitness coaches, triathlon coaches, trainers, people of that nature. You can check that out. You can watch a video and the first workshop that we did over there. And that is still open for new members to come in. So, over at Superhumancoach.com you can get into that. And we’ll be having our first workshop which is going to be devoted to a real big overview of optimizing human performance. Hacking the body for optimizing performance from a supplement food standpoint is taken place here in about two weeks. So, check that out if you’re a fitness coach or a trainer. And then I’ll also be presenting a lot of these concepts over at my upcoming workshop in Dubai on May 11th and May 12th. So, if you’re over in theMiddle East nearDubai, follow the link in the show notes that we’ll put in there to check that out. I think those are most of the announcements. Did I miss anything Brock?
Brock: I don’t think so. Did you want to talk at all about the podcast that came out on Friday?
Ben: Oh yeah, body language. If you’re interested in body language, a really cool guy Kirk Duncan. I interviewed him last Friday. If you didn’t get a chance, check out that podcast. And if you like body language, check that out along with the info graphic that I put along with that podcast over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. It’s about little tips and tricks for altering your body language to make you look more attractive or more powerful. And it’s cool stuff. And this Friday I will be releasing also a special episode interview. And again, I’m going to surprise folks because I’ve got about six interviews in queue right now. And they’re all really good. All on a variety of topics from how you can use sounds to hack your ability to perform better to how to use a combination of compression and ice during an exercise session to maximize lactic acid production and get you fit a lot more quickly. There are a ton of interviews I’ve got. So, I’m going to be putting out something good this Friday. So, stay tuned.
Brock: So, you’ve got to tune in to find out.
Listener Q and A:
Brock: Okay. As usual, awesome questions everybody. Keep them coming. These are very interesting topics that everybody’s asking about. And once again if you have a question for the podcast, you can just go to the very bottom of any of the pages on the website. There’s a little form to fill out. You can also call 18772099439 or Skype to Pacificfit. And if you do Skype-in, you’ll sound like this guy.
Brandon says: Hi Ben. I have a question regarding the information that Peter Attia brought to the podcast about two weeks ago and how it relates to the metabolic testing that you recommend from Bioletics. I was wondering because Dr. Attia said that ketosis is either on or off. Whether someone like a protein type with 40 percent protein, 40 percent fat, 20 percent carbohydrate ratio that’s recommended for me can benefit from ketosis or can operate optimally with ketosis and lower my protein content or whether I should avoid ketosis because it’s not condusive to my metabolic type. Thanks Ben. Bye.
Brock: Okay. Brandon listened to the podcast two Fridays ago. And I guess he’s got some questions about it.
Ben: Okay. So of course, go back and listen to that podcast with Peter Attia if you want to know exactly what a ketogenic diet is. We’ve talked about it a few times on the show before. And back in podcast number 187 which I’ll link to. I talked a little bit about metabolic typing and how I’ve become a little bit disenchanted with it. And the main reason is that the more and more research that I did looking into metabolic typing. The more I found that it’s got a real background in combination of quackery. And a lot of really pretty subjective observations in terms of the way that certain people’s bodies respond to higher protein vs. higher carbohydrates or the way that certain people’s bodies are fast oxidizers vs. slow oxidizers. And so, the whole idea behind the metabolic typing is that you’ve got your slow oxidizer. And the slow oxidizer, it tends to be described as someone who has a low appetite, who really low but steady energy levels that are typically recommended to eat low fat. It’s what would be called low purine amino acid containing foods like certain fish and chicken and turkey and eggs and low fat dairy and stuff like that. And they tend to be allowed to eat a little bit more carbohydrate than the other metabolic type, the fast oxidizer. And the fast oxidizer tends to be described as somebody who has a bigger appetite, who craves protein and fatty foods. And that person is typically recommended to have higher fat and higher protein intake. Higher of what would be called high purine containing foods, fatty red meats and stuff like that. And then you’ve got your mixed metabolic type which is a mix of the two. And just like any diet, exercise program that is spelled out with really specific recommendations like this. It’s easy to quickly become convinced that it’s steeped in science. But when you really go and look at metabolic typing, there’s not a lot of really great science behind it. It was invented by a dentist back in the 60’s. And while it is true that certain foods are certainly going to have a significant effect on an individual. Metabolic typing just doesn’t have enough research behind it for me to really believe in it as the end-all for choosing what diet is going to work for you. And in reality, I think that a lot of these metabolic types that seem to be able to be identified by taking a comprehensive metabolic typing questionnaire. A lot of them really seem like issues that arise with people based off of conditions that we tend to see in society. Like when you look at slow oxidizers and the way that they’re described, these people that tend to feel better when they eat a higher amount of carbs. For example, for the people that doesn’t do quite so well when they eat fatty meats and stuff like that. These types of folks tend to fall into the same category as people who would tend to be insulin resistant or leptin resistant or basically like prediabetic or prone to diabetes type two. And there maybe more of an underlying issue behind being a slow oxidizer that predisposes someone to do well or feel good on certain foods and feel bad on certain foods. That’s more related to a disease state or health state more than it is a metabolic type and the same thing that the fast oxidizer when you look at the way that a fast oxidizer is described, someone who’s really thrown-off by carbohydrates, who has a higher appetite, that type of thing. A lot of the same ways that a fast oxidizer is described is the way that you describe someone who has hypothyroidism or food insensitivity or someone who has an auto-immune reaction to a food. And so, the more that I look at metabolic typing, the more I’m convinced that the way the you respond to a food is a lot times related to an underlying condition in your body. It could probably be addressed in terms of anything from leaky gut to insulin resistance to leptin resistance to a lot of other biochemical issues. So, getting down to answer the actual question here about how a ketogenic diet relates to what works with a metabolic typing diet. If you’ve found that like in Brandon’s case, he’s describes that he’s really well on the higher protein-higher fat type of diet. And he would be described as a fast oxidizer according to the ketogenic or according the metabolic typing diet. If he’s already found that he does really good on higher protein-higher fat intake, what he may want to do if he’s already following this metabolic typing diet and he wants to see how his body does with the ketogenic diet. He would just back up the protein a little bit and step up the fat a little bit and see how you look, feel, and perform. And I would not worry too much that you’re going to break some rule and destroy your body by straying from your metabolic typing diet and going into a much lower carbohydrate intake. Maybe 40 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day and seeing how you’re body does with that. And the last thing I should mention on this before I shut up and we move on to the next question is that I’m not necessarily a proponent of a ketogenic diet per say. And I always approach this on an individualized basis. If I’m working with an Ironman triathlete, I really don’t think that that individual should be on a ketogenic diet. It is because a ketogenic diet simply doesn’t really provide as many carbohydrates as you need to support your immune system and support your incredibly high levels of activity when you’re on something like an Ironman training program. So, it really depends. If you are someone who’s sitting in an office and working out 30 to 60 minutes a few times a week, you can actually do pretty well on a higher fat intake and burning fatty acids primarily as a fuel. And there could be a lot of really great health implications from doing something like that. But it really depends on what you’re going after and how you’re living and what your goals are.
Brock: Even Dr. Attia, it sounds like he’s a huge advocate of trying it out. That’s sort of what he’s done many times now is just tested it out in a test subject of one to see how it works.
Ben: Yeah. And I think I mentioned this. When I am in the off season, I try to go ketogenic. I higher fat. I really limit my carb intake. And I’m willing to accept the slight performance deficit that could come along with that just because I’m not gracing and doing really intense training sessions. And it allows me to set up my year. So, there is a period of the year where I’m really basically a fat burning animal. But during a race season, late spring, early summer, kind of rolling around the time that we are in right now, my carb intake certainly goes up. And Brock, I coach you. So, you’ve got access to my private diet and exercise log. And you may have noticed if you look at it, you’re seeing more sweet potatoes, yams, chocolate, yogurt, and stuff like that just because I’m exercising more. And I’m racing more.
Brock: Yeah. And they’re strategically put in to the day to. It’s not spread out all over the place. That’s part of the key.
Ben: Yes, exactly.
Brock: Alright. So, our next audio question comes from Joe.
Joe says: Hi Ben and Brock. I have a question for you for the podcast. This is Joe again. This time Brock, I give you some love. I feel like you’re left out a lot of the times only because Ben is kind of a genius. Here we go. I was a smoker for a better part of the decade. I quit about four years ago. I started taking cycling and running again. And then, I have a pretty good age group right now when it comes to triathlon. However, I do feel the occasional need for some kind of nicotine express I guess when I get highly stress which is very rarely or if I’ve really nice clothes on, having a couple of drinks here and there which happens quite regularly. With all these new e-cigarettes coming out, are any of these viable when it comes to having one for that quick fix every now and again or prevent myself from calling a cigarette off somebody else at the bar. Only that. Thank you very much. This is a great podcast. I hope you guys are having a good time and hope you have a nice day. Bye!
Brock: Joe, thank you very much for the love. I appreciate it. And you’re right. Ben is kind of a genius. It’s hard living in this shadow.
Ben: It depends on how many cups of cold pressed coffee I’ve had before. I actually did have a nice cup. My wife’s been making coffee in the evening and putting it in the refrigerator and the fresh press. So, we tap that in the morning. And I still stick pretty close to limiting myself to only eight to 12 ounces of coffee per day but that cold pressed coffee on a nice summer morning is pretty good stuff to wake up to. So, speaking of chemical addictions, when we’re talking about e-cigarettes and whether or not they’re actually safe or harmful for you. There is some research on them. And the research tends to go back and forth. And of course, there are definitely political ramifications and political interest when it comes to the research on this stuff. So, the first thing that I should mention about the e-cigarettes or explain about the e-cigarettes for people who don’t really understands what happens here is they simulate tobacco smoking by producing this vapor. And the vapor basically produces a lot of the same physical sensations as smoking a cigarette and a lot of similar flavors of inhaled tobacco smoke. But it doesn’t actually contain a lot of the potentially carcinogenic compounds that a tobacco containing cigarette would have. Now, the device uses typically some kind of heat to vaporize a liquid solution. And the liquid solution is basically glycerine-based or what called glycol-based. And it’s the same way that if you think about a humidifier vaporizing water and you inhaling that. It’s a similar situation as to what we are looking at here except it’s a different kind of liquid. And you can get them in different flavors. You can get them in different nicotine concentrations including nicotine-free versions. And so, you could technically use an e-cigarette or varying concentrations of nicotine in e-cigaretes to wean yourself off of smoking tobacco based cigarettes. It’s in the same way that you might use gum or a patch and from the research that I’ve seen. I would certainly say that there’s a compelling evidence that there are going to be lower levels of potentially carcinogenic compounds or known carcigenic compounds in an e-cigarette vs. in a tobacco containing traditional cigarette. As far as how much your risk of getting cancer goes down, I can’t say for sure. There are some things in an e-cigarette that could still be potentially carcinogenic like that liquid that’s actually getting vaporized coming from glycol. The diethylene glycol is a compound that can be found in some of these e-cigarettes that could be a little bit carcinogenic. But the risk is a lot lower than a tobacco containing cigarette. There is some risk that it may still have some of the same airway constrictive effects as a regular cigarette and still cause some inflammation in the airway. There was one study that was done in the journal called Chest. That’s not a porn magazine. It’s a journal. And basically, it was research on the e-cigarette and whether or not it actually caused that bronchoconstriction. And it did show that users of e-cigarettes show signs of airway constriction. But I did notice that the participants in the use of that study were smokers. So, it could possibly be that their bodies were responding with bronchoconstriction to the use of an e-cigarette just as a response to cigarettes in general because they’ve been conditioned to have that response to regular cigarette. That study, I’m not totally convinced by. And it was fairly small as well. So, the main thing that I want to look at though and talk about for Joseph is just smoking in general. It’s just because any time you’re addicted to or need to get your buzz from or have a craving for anything from carbohydrates to cigarettes. Typically, it’s indicating an underlying neurotransmitter issue. And neurotransmitters are just the way that your brain communicates with your body and with other sections of your brain. And the main one that you hear about and that you read about are serotonin. That’s a big one. Acetylcholine is another. There’s one called GABA and another called dopamine. And those are your four main neurotransmitters. And deficits or imbalances in any of these neurotransmitters can cause significant amounts of craving and even some personality issues and in some cases, some fairly serious psychological or psychiatric issues. If you look at something like serotonin for example, serotonin is made from an amino acid called tryptophan. And tryptophan is something you find in fish and poultry and dairy. And even if you’re eating enough tryptophan or taking a tryptophan supplement to increase you’re serotonin levels which is going to be one of the feel good chemicals for your brain. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to increase your serotonin levels if you’re using tryptophan. And the main reason for that is that there are other foods and other compounds that basically can keep tryptophan from getting absorbed in the gut and getting converted to serotonin. And a big part of that scenario could be whether or not you’ve got a healthy gut or whether or not you’ve got enough probiotics in your gut or whether or not you’ve got a leaky gut that maybe has been damaged by something like wheat germ gluten from high gluten intake. And this comes down to what’s known as the brain-gut access or basically how the health of your gut can affect the ability of your brain to produce neurotransmitters properly when you eat foods that are supposed to help with production of those neurotransmitters. And that’s just one example with something like serotonin. Dopamine is similar. But dopamine is made from a different amino acid called tyrosine instead of tryptophan. And technically, eating a higher tyrosine containing foods could help with dopamine production. But again if you’re gut is unhealthy and the brain-gut access is thrown off, then that’s really not going to help with that. Other issues in terms of neurotransmitters are high stress and high cortisol. That’s going to deplete neurotransmitters. And it’s going to cause them to turn over more quickly. So, you run out of them more quickly. The sleep or the quality of your sleep can have a pretty significant effect in terms of how your brain actually responds to neurotransmitters. Anytime you’re taking any type of pharmaceuticals that can affect neurotransmitter production. Any type of toxins in the environment and I went into this in an article at BenGreenfieldFitness.com about how personal care products and cleaning solvents and BPA in water. And stuff like that can affect your body. And it can have a neurotoxic effect. One of the main areas that neurotoxins are going to affect is your production of neurotransmitters. One other really important thing is that hormones and any type of hormonal imbalance can be a pretty serious issue when it comes to your ability to produce neurotransmitters. And for example like in women, if you’ve got an estrogen deficiency or an excess of xenoestrogens from the environment or from exposure to chemicals that can really significantly affect serotonin production. High cortisol levels, I mentioned earlier, that’s another issue. Stress from excessive exercise that can affect neurotransmitters as well and increase cravings. So, when it comes down to something like craving a cigarette or even having an addictive personality. Going out and drinking, feeling like you got to get buzzed. You’re grabbing an e-cigarette or a regular cigarette, smoking that. All of that indicates that there’s probably some type of neurotransmitter deficit going on on a deeper level. So, if I personally started to get a lot of cravings for something or I started to find myself going off the deepend interms of anything from nicotine to caffeine to excessive exercise to excessive carb intake. First thing that I would look at would be the health of my gut. And I would look into healing the gut basically. We’ve talked about the Gap’s diet. When I’m going over to Dubai in a couple of weeks, two hours of my presentation over there is simply devoted to fixing your gut and healing your gut. And so, I don’t have two hours to go into it now. But that’s super important. And doing something like the Gap’s diet for example, that’s a perfect example of a way that you can heal your gut and have a significant effect on your neurotransmitter production. In addition to the gut, I would make sure I’m getting adequate sleep. I would make sure that I’m controlling stress in other areas of my life. And especially addressing any amount of high cortisol, I would be looking at any amount of neurotoxins that could be coming in from an environmental standpoint. And I’d start using natural cleaning chemicals. I’ll make sure I’m not using a lot of personal care products that are stacked with chemicals and neurotoxins. And then address any type of potential hormonal imbalances and that maybe something as simple as going to Directlabs.com and ordering a salivary hormonal panel. So that you can see if you’re deficient in testosterone or deficient in growth hormone or you’ve got DHEA deficiency or your cortisol is too high. And once you see if you do have hormonal deficits, then you can start to work on those based on the information that I’ve given in this podcast. So, wrapping it all up, e-cigarettes are probably a better choice than tobacco containing cigarettes. But any time you’re craving anything like that, it indicates a neurotransmitter deficit or imbalance that can be corrected through lifestyle modifications.
Brock: Awesome. Well, let’s kick those craving everybody. I know I’m certainly guilty of the caffeine cravings.
Ben: Yes. That and dressing up like a Viking at the gym.
Brock: Oh, really? I have to kick that too?
Ben: I don’t know if that’s classified as a craving as much as maybe a mental disease.
Brock: It’s a compulsion.
Brock: Anyway, onto Dave’s questions.
Dave says: There is a lot of old health trends being busted in the last ten years, can you bust this one? Is ground turkey really healthier than ground beef? I need to know. Beef is sure tastier.
Ben: There are probably 1000 websites out there and articles and books that tell you that ground turkey is better than ground beef. And if you look at all of them, they’re based off of the idea that turkey and chicken and poultry are lower in fat than beef. And I think that we have successfully debunked the idea on this show that just because a food is lower in fat than another food that the lower fat food is better. And in many cases, that lower fat food may indeed be worse and in its less natural form. So, when you look at lean ground turkey vs. ground beef, the chicken and turkey are sometimes lower in fat than beef but not always. Like legs and thighs and wings in chicken or turkey, those can actually be fairly high in fat. And poultry is high in fat if you leave the skin on too. So, if you’re just coming at this from a fat and calorie standpoint, it depends on the section of the animal that you’re talking about. However, when you look at something like Conjugated Linoleic Acid which is the type of fat that puts your body into fat burning mode. And we’ve talked about it on the show before. But that’s really high in beef. It’s much higher in beef than it’s going to be in turkey. Beef not only has higher levels of the Conjugated Linoleic Acid but it’s also got about twice as much iron. It’s got a ton more zinc. So, you’re going to have a lot more success with increasing testosterone when you’re using something like beef vs. turkey. Vitamin b12 is huge in beef compared to turkey. And that’s another very important vitamin when it comes to metabolism. And you’re going to find that folks have or that are eating red meat a lot of times just better with things like recovery from exercise and exercise performance because of the added zinc and iron and b12 that they’re getting. And they’ll have a lot of times better appetite control and better metabolic efficiency from the higher amounts of Conjugated Linoleic Acid. So, I have no issue with eating poultry. I have no issue with turkey or with chicken. But beef is going to be better in most cases from a pure nutritional standpoint. One other thing to think about is that it’s a lot easier to find a good grass-fed beef with a really high anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid content compared to a chicken and turkey. Those are a lot of times tougher to give as many calories as they need to get from grass. And most of the time, you’re going to find chicken and turkey have max about 25 percent grass fed intake. And their omega 3 content just tends to be lower than beef.
Brock: Yeah. So, here’s a question for you. When you go to the grocery store and you’re looking on the shelves, it’s really easy to find lean and extra lean ground beef. But it’s really hard to just find normal ground beef. Is there really that big of a difference? Should we all be concerned with actually looking for regular ground beef as opposed to lean or extra lean?
Ben: If you’re looking to get a lot of those cholesterol and hormone supporting saturated fats, then I would certainly be potentially be grabbing a different form of beef. Or at least supplementing the lean ground beef that you’re able to find so easily at the grocery store with maybe some fattier cuts of prime rib. Or some other type of cut that you can get from a different section of the butcher. So, we personally don’t do a lot of ground turkey or a lot of ground beef just because it is lower in fat. And we find that our bodies do a lot better when we’re just getting, we’ll typically just grab a grass fed beef. Occasionally, some bison or buffalo just from the local health food store. Or depending on the year, sometimes we’ll actually have a cow that we’ve purchased in the freezer.
Brock: Okay. Let’s move on to the next question. It’s actually from Keith. Keith’s got two questions. You want to tackle on them at the same time? Or should we do one at a time here?
Ben: Are they markedly different?
Ben: Let’s just do them one at a time.
Keith says: First one. I know you like kombucha. What do you think about Mugicha or barley tea? It was in every kid’s thermos all summer long. Actually, everyone drinks it from housewives to office workers.
Ben: Is this Keith in Japan?
Ben: Oh, hey Keith. I’m going to see Keith when I go to over to Japan 70.3. Mugicha is like a barely tea. It’s got some really good properties. It’s kind of similar to beer. Beer has really good lufinol properties and really good anti-oxidants in it. So, it is a probiotic containing food similar to kombucha. So, it can help with your gut flora. It’s got a lot of good anti-oxidants in it. And it can do a decent job fighting free radicals like many teas and coffees actually do. And I guess the only issue that I would have with something like a barley based tea would be that if you’re trying to eat a gluten free diet or limit the amount of gluten, barley’s not gluten free. However if you’ve got a healthy gut, you should be able to handle this just fine. If you’ve got leaky gut or damaged gut, celiac disease, and you have some severe reactions to bread and wheat and stuff like that, Mugicha tea may not be the cat’s meow for you. But if you have a healthy gut, good gut flora, and you’re not walking around with leaky gut syndrome or anything like that, this really wouldn’t really be that big of a deal.
Brock: Awesome. Okay. So, Keith’s second question is.
Keith says: Ice baths after exercise are all I hear about these days on the podcast and in magazines. But here inJapanalmost every house has a high tech bath tub and 40 degrees Celsius plus soaks are a nightly family ritual. My wife prefers 40 but her dad likes 42. But I can only stand 39. Is it hot bath after a normal exercise session for an uninjured runner a no? After a recent half marathon, the nearest hot spring is packed with racers. I confess I have taken a hot bath before my winter long run on occasion as well.
Ben: It’s a good question. There was one study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine that looked into this. And it compared cold water immersion with basically a contrast therapy where you alternate between cool water and hot water. And they had four different methods that they used in that study. So, in one group, they were actually cyclists who were actually doing some pretty hard workouts, multiday intense daily training routine. They had one group do cold water immersion. It’s like 15 degrees Celsius which is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They had them soak for about 15 minutes in a cold pool. And they had another group soak in about close to 40 degrees Celsius, a little over 100 degrees. But it was in hot water for 15 minutes. They had one group alternate between cold water and hot water for 15 minutes. And they had one group do nothing at all. And that group had to sit and stare longingly at the water that the other groups were getting. The folks who did the cold water immersion and the people who did contrast water, so alternating between hot and cold, they performed better in their cycling efforts. And they also felt better mentally meaning that they reported that they felt as though they were more recovered after these sessions. The people who did the hot water baths and also the people who did no baths at all comparatively found that their performance slightly declined. That’s not to say that every study that’s out there has found a benefit from ice baths. Most have found at least a mental benefit. Some of the research goes back and forth in terms of the actual physical benefit. But the idea behind the ice is that it can limit some of the inflammation. And basically what it does is it constricts your blood vessels. It helps to flush waste products out of the exercised tissues. And it can also decrease metabolic activity and slow down the physiological process of inflammation. So, it can reduce some of the swelling and tissue breakdown. That’s the idea behind the cold water bath. And if you look at hot water, it’s basically doing the opposite of all those things. It’s dilating blood vessels. It’s potentially allowing for more swelling, more metabolic activity, potentially increase inflammation in the area. And so, post marathon, post hard bike ride, that type of thing, if you’ve actually done some serious muscle damage enough to cause some potential inflammation, then a hot bath after a hard exercise could decrease your recovery time. And it’s probably not the most effective way to recovery.
Brock: Wait. Decrease or increase your recovery time?
Ben: I’m sorry. You’re right. It can increase your recovery time and decrease your recovery or decrease the effectiveness of your recovery.
Brock: There you go.
Ben: So, I would do, if you’re going to use a hot bath, I would use contrast therapy and go back and forth from the hot bath to the cold bath. As there is some evidence that that can help out. Or do just the cold bath. But I wouldn’t do the hot bath after a hard workout. On a normal easy training day where you’re not doing a lot of damage or you’ve only exercised aerobically, the hot bath probably is not as big of a deal.
Brock: If you go back two or three in the show notes, you see and there’s actually a news flash that Ben talk about. The cold bath actually speeds up the recovery but actually makes the healing sort of wonky though. Remember that one?
Ben: Yeah. I do. And there is some evidence that because it’s slows down the physiological process. It may actually slightly slow down the time that it takes the muscle to heal. But if we’re talking about delayed onset muscle soreness and how you feel after a workout, if you’ve got a hard workout the next day especially, the benefits probably outweigh the risks of using a cold water bath. If you don’t have any other exercise sessions planned for a long time it maybe that a cold water bath is not going to be all that great. So, I know that this can be confusing. And a big part of that is because the research does go back and forth on it.
Ben: And so, part of this is that you may just want to go try it out for yourself. I’ve personally found that if I go up to my neck in the Spokane River after a day of hard training, I feel wonderful that evening and the next day. Compared to the next day when I don’t have a chance to get some cold water immersion.
Brock: Alright, Keith. Let’s go onto Osa.
Osa says: Your food pyramid and consideration to eat more fat is working for me. I can go long without eating and I’m slimming down effortlessly. My question is that you recommend Avocado oil as healthy fatty oil that was not listed. What other healthy fatty oils would you recommend to use that you did not list? Also, what do you think about Almond oil?
Ben: Well, I know I have Avocadoes listed on my superhuman pyramid. And for those of you listening in, you can get that one in two ways. You can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com. On the right side of the page you can just click and grab it. Or you can text the word fitness to 411247. And if you text the word fitness to 411247, you’ll just get it send to your phone if you’re in the US. But basically what it comes down to your common cooking fats and how to choose which ones to use. Basically, the more saturated the fat is, the more stable it’s going to be at higher temperatures in most cases. And so, you’re looking at fats like Coconut oil and Palm oil as fats that are relatively safe for hot uses. Other really good oils and fats that I like in terms of their nutrient content and also their stability and their lack of propensity to get rancid or to produce a lot of free radicals would be butter. Gi is good. Lard is good. Anytime you can get fat from an animal like chicken fat or duck fat, anything like that would be fine. Tallow would be another option in terms of saturated fat. Anything that tends to get solid at room temperature is generally in most cases going to have a higher smoke point and be more stable with use in hot conditions compared to oils that are going to be liquid at room temperature. And I know that a lot of people know this. But Coconut oil, Palm oil, Butter, Gi, Lard, those types of things would be my favorite saturated fats. Unsaturated fats, fats that you would use in dressings or for cold uses, Olive oil are good. Sesame oil is good. Flax seed oil is okay for moderate use. It’s just slightly higher in some of the omega six potentially inflammatory fatty acids. So, you just want to be careful with flaxseed oil use. I mentioned Avocado oil. That’s basically unsaturated oil that would also be slightly better for cold use. And then the ones that you would want to avoid would of course be margarine, any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. And then a lot of the completely unsaturated oils and unsaturated means that they don’t have any of the hydrogen’s on them. And so, they tend to basically degrade really quickly with exposure to light or heat or even air. And so, that would be Canola oil, Corn oil, Soybean oil, Sunflower oil, and Safflower oil. Those would be some of the ones to avoid. I do know that there are just a few oils that do have slightly high smoke points even if they’re liquid at room temperature. For example Olive oil. Not extra virgin Olive oil but regular Olive oil. That’s actually okay to cook with. It’s got a pretty high smoke point. They’re slightly higher in many cases than Coconut oil depending on the type of Coconut oil that you use. The ones that you’d also be just fine to cook with like I mentioned Butter, Tallow, Lard Coconut Oil. Avocado oil actually has a really high smoke point too. Just avoid Corn oil, Soybean oil, Sunflower oil. I’ll put a little chart for you. I found a good chart. I’ll put it in the show notes for you over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. What episode number is this one? 192?
Brock: 192, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. So, it’s nice little easy chart. You could even print off and toss in your refrigerator. It just shows you which one is going to be the best in terms of ranking, good cooking oils, cooking fat. Those are some of the main ones that we use around here. So, hopefully that helps you out.
Brock: I put some delicious Sesame oil all over my Kinwa yesterday for dinner. It was delicious. That sounds pretty good. I love Sesame oil. Alright, onto Mike’s question.
Mike says: About two hours after every workout I bonk hard. I could crawl into bed and go to sleep. The worst part about it is that I then get very edgy and my temper gets very short. I generally workout in the mornings with minimal food in my stomach and I eat generally within two hours after the workout, more often than not it is within one hour. What type of testing can/should I do to see what’s going on?
Ben: I guess I have three things that I’d look into primarily when I hear about this. The first two maybe are not quite so obvious. The last one would be I’ll be mr. obvious on that one. But with folks who post workout tend to crash later on in the day. One thing that could cause that is hormonal imbalance. And typically in guys, it’s low testosterone. So, earlier I mentioned that you could use something like Directlabs.com to get a full male salivary hormone panel. And I would consider doing something like that. Another issue with crashing, with brain fog, with low energy, is food intolerance or some type of issue with the gut. Like H Pylori or Candida albicans, yeast, or a fungus issue in the gut. And you can get that tested in something like a stool test. So, you can do an expanded GI panel. I’ll put a link to one that I use in the show notes. And that’s literally poop in a tray, bottle it up, send it out. And you’ll get the results back a couple of weeks later. And so, food intolerances or hormonal imbalances can certainly be an issue when you’re exercising and just crashing later on in the day. But more often than not, I find that it’s an issue of inadequate caloric replenishment, post workout, and sharp intake or breathe probably ketogenic low carbers out there or not eating enough carbohydrates after you workout. Mike says he basically works out in the morning with minimal food in his stomach. And let’s just say that Mike’s working out for an hour. And he is easily depleting all of his liver’s carbohydrate stores and tapping into his muscle glycogen stores during that workout. Then it’s possible that he is simply not giving his body enough post workout carbohydrate just to top off the storage glycogen a little bit in post workout. I find that folks tend to crash pretty easily if they’re constantly in a carbohydrate depleted state. So, it really depends on I don’t know how my stride is set up, etc. But it could be that his activity levels just don’t really match to the substrates that he’s putting into his body to be able to use as a fuel. So, a lot of times I find that that is the case. That people are not eating enough or not eating enough carbohydrate post workout especially if they’re on a low carbohydrate-higher fat diet. And then on the complete flip side of that, if someone is not on a lower carbohydrate-higher fat diet, if they’re not metabolically efficient, if they’re used to eating higher carbohydrate intake constantly fluctuating blood sugar levels, fairly insensitive to insulin. Then what can happen is that you’re really going to have these types of energy fluctuations no matter what in many cases whether you’re exercising or not. And in a case like that it maybe a case where you simply need to switch to eating lower carbohydrate intake, switch to the ketogenic diet that we talked to Dr. Peter Attia about. And go through those first ten to 14 days of having fairly low energy levels and feeling a little bit blood during the day as your body becomes more metabolically efficient. And then that a lot of times can fix something like this as learn to burn fats as a fuel easily. And for me, that was the case. I used to crash a lot when I was post workout later on in the day. And then when switched to higher fat diet, I got myself more metabolically efficient. I’m just able to go for a longer period of time without crashing even if I’m not eating anything at all. So, it’s very multi-factorial. It depends where you’re coming from. But those are some of the things that I would think about.
Brock: Okay. So, let’s go onto our next question from Keerthi.
Keerthi says: I’m a 28-year old and weigh 171 pounds with 20 percent body fat. I have a pretty active lifestyle which includes lifting weights three times a week and two to three times a week of good 45 minutes cardio with intervals, etc. My goal is to lose some fat and build lean mass. And I’m on a 2000 calorie diet with carbohydrates/protein/fat in the ratio of 40/30/30. But I sometimes go a bit high on protein and might add 200 more calories. Does this excess protein convert into fat or does it just tax the kidneys a little more and get flushed out? Do you have any more suggestions on changing the ratio carbohydrates/protein/fat intake and still create some calorie deficit?
Ben: Yeah. I’ll put a link to the article that I wrote about how much protein you need and how much protein an average person actually needs in the show notes. But basically, the approximate numbers would be that if you’re trying to maintain what’s called nitrogen balance which I’ll explain in a second. But if you’re trying to just maintain nitrogen balance and then you need right around 0.5 to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight. And if you want to be putting on muscle significantly, then you can exceed that. And you can get up to right around 0.7 grams per pound. Those are just some approximate numbers. Nitrogen balance, all that means is that when you consume protein from food or you take even an amino acid supplement, you get nitrogen that enters your body. And that nitrogen is going to eventually exit your body in your urine, a little bit in your sweat as ammonia and urea and uric acid which are all the breakdown products of protein. And when the amount of protein that you eat matches the amount of protein that your using, that’s nitrogen balance. So, if you don’t eat enough protein, you can be a negative nitrogen balance, not have enough amino acids to be able to repair muscle. And that’s a catabolic state. And you tend to start to cannibalize your own lean muscle mass. And if you eat too much nitrogen and too much protein, you’ll have everything that you need for muscle repair. But you have some health issues that arise because when you get in to positive states of nitrogen balance, you start create a bunch of ammonia, urea and uric acid. And your body actually has to filter all of that. And it can be stressful on your organs and, especially as Keerthi eluded to, on the kidneys. Now, the other issue with excess protein intake would be that there’s a gene in your body that’s directly correlated to accelerated aging. And it’s called the MTOR gene or the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin gene. And if there is decreased activity in the MTOR gene, then you can basically increase your lifespan. And decreased activity in the MTOR gene is directly correlated to restricting calories and restricting excessive protein intake. And so, that’s another reason that you want to be careful that you’re not always putting your body into too great of state of nitrogen balance. Now, if you are eating too much protein, what Keerthi has asked is whether or not that excess protein gets converted into fat. And your body does certainly have mechanisms where it can take protein. And it can turn it into glucose. It’s a process called gluconeogenesis. You can take protein. You can convert it into sugars. And you can burn those sugars and potentially small amounts of those sugars could even get repacked as triglycerides in the liver and store it as fat. But the only time that your body is really going to start using protein significantly for fuel like that is going to be a.) if you’re starved, b.) If you’re completely empty of your liver glycogen and muscle glycogen, so you don’t have enough storage glycogen. So, you got to start turning protein into carbohydrates or if you’re exercising for longer than about three hours and at that point, you can generate about ten to 15 percent of your glucose energy from the formation of glucose from proteins. But in any case where you have chloric excess, it is not something that you need to worry about protein getting converted into fats. It’s more that you need to worry about the ammonia build up and the potential on your lifespan and the genetic switch that can get flipped. So ultimately, to answer Keerthi’s question about ideas to create calorie deficits on a 40/30/30 diet what I would personally do is to get off the 40/30/30 diet, step up fat intake, and increase the 30 percent fat up to 50 to 60 percent fat. And that should allow you to reduce calories a little bit because your appetite is going to be more satiated. And at that point you maybe able to get away with 1800 calories, 1900 calories. Eat fewer calories and shed a little bit more body fat. So, eat more fat to eat fewer calories to basically lower the body fat a little bit more if that’s what you’re trying to do.
Brock: It’s time to bust out those old t-shirts that you used to have that said my personal trainer told me to eat more fat.
Ben: I’ve still got a few of them in my closet, somewhere here in my office. But those t-shirts went out of production. Maybe I’ll bring them back at some point. But it was just a matter of, I’ll admit I got lazy. And I got tired of mailing out t-shirts. And so, I outsourced t-shirt production. And when I did that, I changed the design of the t-shirt. But leave a comment in the show notes if you want to bring back the eat more fat t-shirt and maybe I will. So, got to BenGreenfieldFitness.com, go to the show notes for 192 and let me know your t-shirt thoughts.
Brock: Alright. Let’s go onto Megan’s question.
Megan says: I got blood tests at the end of December. And my TSH was pretty high 4.6. But there were not too concerned because my T4 and T3 were normal. But I wanted to get tested again just in case. I just got tested on Friday about 1 ½ from the last test. And it is now 8.45. And the T4 is still normal. So, they want put me on Synthroid. I know from listening to the Roby Mitchell podcast interview that he thinks for some Synthroid is good but Armor Thyroid might be better. So, I have two questions. Is Synthroid okay? Or should I definitely be taking Armor Thyroid? Should I be getting another test or can a jump from 4.6 to 8.45 happen that quickly? Could the cause be over-training? The only thing that has in my life since the December test is going from about ten to 12 hours a week of training to double workout days and more like 18 to 25 hours a week of training. I already take iodine 150mcg and magnesium 500mg along with topical on my legs every night. Should I be taking selenium too? I have eliminated virtually all wheat and soy from my diet. And I upped my protein, vegetables and fat.
Brock: Ben, what’s TSH?
Ben: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.
Ben: A lot of the doctors will tell you if that gets too high, it indicates that you have hypothyroid because you’re body is trying to make a bunch of thyroid with the high TSH. I’m actually looking at this question right now. There are a couple of other things here. She says she went from ten to 12 hours of training a week and is now training more like 18 to 25 hours a week.
Ben: So, when she said she eliminated virtually all wheat and soy, she puts in parenthesis. She had 1/3 cup edamame for dinner and two whole wheat graham crackers with banana for a snack. So, there are a lot of places that we could start here. But what I want to explain especially when were talking to somebody who’s training 18 to 25 hours a week is that hypothyroidism can be basically something that it is primary. Meaning, that it literally is due to you not producing adequate T3 getting converted into T4 and etc. or it can be secondary meaning, that your thyroid is not broken. But something else is malfunctioning. Some other organ system is malfunctioning. And one of the most frequently over looked causes of something like hypothyroidism is what’s called adrenal fatigue. We’ve talked about adrenal fatigue on the show before. But basically what happens is that when you have low adrenal function that could lead to lower thyroid function. And it can cause really low levels of what’s called thyroid binding globulin. It can cause low T4. It can cause low T3. It can cause high TSH. And basically cause a lot of the issues that hypothyroidism causes. The way that this actually works is that when your adrenals are exhausted producing way too much cortisol, everything else is necessary when you’re exercising a bunch or when you’re just an easily stressed out person which I’m guessing. And no offense to you Megan, but just like by the way that you’ve written the question saying that you’re going to ask two questions and actually asking four. And you’re sounding really desperate in writing help in caps lock. I don’t want to sound too woowoo here. But a lot of times you can tell how easily stressed out someone are just by the way that they write a question. And that alone suggest that you’re probably easily stressed out. Maybe you’re a type a person who exercises a lot. That’s just your personality. But when your adrenals are exhausted from this stress, the ability of your adrenals to handle stress is a lot of times compromised. And your adrenals go into survival mode. You start to down regulate our energy production. And when you down regulate your energy production, what you’re essentially doing is your body is being metabolically down regulated to slow down, to conserve energy, to try to get you to rest. And when that happens, one of the main ways that you metabolically down regulate yourself is to down regulate thyroid production. The production of thyroid hormones like T4 or specifically T3 and that would result in a lower T4. And that down regulation also means that you’re going to increase your thyroid binding globulin. And so, that means that more of the thyroid hormones that you’re producing are bound and less able to act on the body cells where they would normally act. And so, everything basically starts to shutdown in order for you to enhance survival. And in many cases when you’re looking at something like secondary hypothyroidism and adrenal exhaustion, you may find like you did in your case that T4 and T3 are normal. But you still have a lot of classic symptoms of hypothyroidism specifically you intend to have low body temperature and low muscle reflexes and stuff like that. And basically when you’re looking at an issue like this even if you get thyroid medication, it’s only going to give you a temporary relief symptoms and whether or not you do synthroid or Armor Thyroid or whatever because ultimately a thyroid medication in a case of secondary hypothyroidism is just a band aid. When in reality, your body is really crying for help. It’s crying for rest. And stabilizing T4 and T3 and TSH levels without resolving the underlying symptoms is only going to drag this problem on. So, as far as your question about synthroid vs. Armor thyroid, you could go listen to episode number 103 that we did with Roby Mitchell. It’s about why something like Armor Thyroid is a better choice because it contains the full complement of thyroid hormones including T3 whereas synthroid basically just contains primarily the T3 version. And by the way, Dr. Roby Mitchell also has another supplement that’s similar to Armor Thyroid called Echo Thyroid or Eco thyro that is pretty decent. But again, I’m not a doctor. I wouldn’t consider this medical advice. But if it was me and I was seeing some of the symptoms that you’re having, I would be coming at this from an adrenal fatigue standpoint. Now, what do you do with adrenal fatigue? What do you do when your body’s crying out for help? Well, generally about four weeks and up to over a year of really good recovery can help out. That means you’re not doing any aerobic exercise. And you’re preferably limiting yourself to a maximum of four to six hours of exercise per week primarily from really controlled weight training and a few high intensity intervals. No fasted workouts. No intermittent fasting. None of that stuff. Instead as you mentioned earlier in the show, you get up and you have a big breakfast. Take of your body. Take lots of protein, lots of fats with breakfast. Eating all of the foods that are on my Superhuman food pyramid because those are going to keep you from getting any more damage to your body including auto-immune damage to your thyroid tissue from soy and wheat and something like that which you should be completely avoiding if you’ve got any type of thyroid issues or adrenal issues. You totally limit caffeine. I would get dark chocolate. I would get energy drinks, energy powders, coffee, tea with caffeine, anything like that. I would really significantly limit it in the diet. I would make sure that you are naturally stimulating your adrenals with high dose vitamin d and getting lots of morning sun exposure if you can. We’ve talked about this a little bit last week about how it can stable your cortisol levels. Sleep is going to be huge for you. You need to be going for eight hours of sleep per night. Sometimes with adrenal exhaustion, closer to nine or ten hours is necessary. Be in bed by 10:30 at the latest as it’s going to throw off your sarcadian rhythms if you’re not. No TV, no phone, no computer before you go to bed. Preferably, I would be using some blue light blocking glasses which is going to help stabilize your cortisol levels more. Gun-R is the brand that I use. I’m wearing them right now. But especially later on in the day, those become even more important to get some blue light blocking glasses. Make sure that you’re also using a little bit of magnesium before you go to bed. Gamma aminobutyric acid is also really good in a case like this to really give you really good sleep. There’s one product I like out there called Somnidren GH that works really well. Adrenal exhaustion tends to really imbalance your mineral status. So, I’d be using trace minerals. I mentioned magnesium already. But I also use liquid trace minerals. You can even use some coconut water as well. And that can really help with your potassium-sodium ratios. Get on Chinese adaptogenic herbs like tea and chi. Get on something like a macaroot like energy 28. Those are some of the ones I like. Take those on an empty stomach during the day. And then basically just exercise a lot less than you’re doing right now. So, that’s where I would start with something like this. And this answer needs to go on for another hour. But that just scratches the surface of where I would start with a question like this.
Brock: And Megan and probably some other people out there too listening to this, I want you to rewind right now just a couple of minutes to when Ben started on that list of things that you need to do. And probably the first time he was going through it would probably send you into a panic. And you sounded like you can’t do that, that this is ridiculous. And it’s totally changing your lifestyle. But if you listen to it again and really write down what he said and break it down, it’s not unreasonable. All of the things that he mentioned are pretty much what probably 85 to 90 percent of the population wish they would do.
Brock: Like doing 18 to 25 hours a week of training is really unusual. Doing even ten hours a week is really unusual. Most people strive for a four to six hour workout week and will really do well at it. So, don’t let it freak you out because it is different than what you’re doing. It’s very reasonable, all of these suggestions.
Ben: Yes. Just get into it. I’ve seen other people string themselves along and don’t stop. And at some point your body will stop you. And it gets really unpleasant at that point.
Ben: I had a body builder friend who was bed-ridden for nine months. And I’m not totally getting bed-ridden. I can’t get out of bed. And you’ll get to that point.
Brock: And that is absolutely obviously way worse than doing all of these suggestions here. Okay. Let’s move on to the next question from Renee.
Renee says: I’m a 32-year old female runner and rower. I stay very active, working out daily, and mix it up with a combination of running, rowing, spin classes, boot camps, and lifting. I like to compete in running and rowing races. About a year ago, I saw a sports medicine doctor who discovered that my cortisol levels were sky high. She suggested I try going off birth control pills, which I’d been on for over a decade. I did, and immediately, cortisol plunged to normal levels. However, I have yet to get a period. My regular doctor suggested that I needed to dramatically cut back on exercise in order to start menstruating again. The sports doctor believes the continued exercise is okay, and thinks it’s a matter of getting the nutrition right around the exercising. I’ve already added much more food intake before and after each workout. Even though I’m taking in many more calories, I still haven’t gotten my period back. Any suggestions? I want to start trying to get pregnant later this year, so I need to figure this out.
Ben: This is fairly related to other question. And basically what you’ll need to familiarize yourself with is something called a pregnenolone steal. And that’s a name that’s given to an issue that occurs when the stress hormones cotrisol and cortisone are over produced. So, all of the hormones that you produce in your body come from cholesterol and one of the very first steps that happen when your body make hormones is it converts cholesterol into something called pregnenolone. And then the pregnenolone can go on to produce a lot of other hormones like estrogens and testosterone and progesterone and a lot of the same hormones that are involved in your sexual cycle. And if your body is demanding more cortisol because you’re stressed out from exercise or from lifestyle, your body is going to convert more of that pregnenolone to cortisol. And it does so preferentially at the expense of the other hormones. With the only exception really being progesterone to some extent can actually get produced. But mostly the rest of them are screwed. So, that lowers testosterone. It lowers estrogen. And that’s called the pregnenolone steal. And the best way to stop something like that from happening is to go back and listen to my response to Megan in terms of limiting cortisol and hitting the reboot button on your body. And the reason that I say that is because you’re doing running and rowing, spin classes, boot camps and lifting. And I’m totally not blowing off your question. But I did answer it when I addressed Megan’s question. If you want to increase your fertility, you need to make sure that you got adequate levels of pregnenolone. And the way that you do that is you keep your body from making cortisol. So, that in a nutshell is my short answer. But I gave the longer to the last listener.
Brock: Okay. Let’s move on to our final question. And this question comes from Ed.
Ed says: I have been hearing that Beetroot juice is beneficial to endurance athletes. Beets contain a lot of nitrates. Nitrates are suspected carcinogens in processed meats. Are beets carcinogenic?
Brock: I like the train of thought there.
Ben: So do I. And I certainly had been caught up before on the whole nitrate, nitrite, and nitroso compounds being carcinogenic. And that certainly is something that is fairly prevalent that you’re going to find talked about a lot in the whole meat discussion. The fact is that not only that you produce a ton of nitrites in your own body. Like saliva contains more nitrites than pretty much most of the foods that are considered to be high nitrate or high nitrite carcinogenic food. But you’ve also got just basically a ton of this stuff circulating around in your body. And it just doesn’t seem to make biochemical sense that nitrate and nitrites would be carcinogenic if your body is already producing this stuff in huge amounts. And some folks will wonder if it’s biochemically different in hotdogs or in bacon that it is in your body. And it’s not. It’s this identical chemical structure and even if you look at something like hotdogs and bacon like the example that I used. The USDA will allow about 120 parts per million of something like nitrite in hotdogs and in bacon. And most of them if you actually test them, they’ve only got ten parts per million in them. So, they’re not even close. And that’s much lower that what your body is already making naturally on its own. And so, I’m not really convinced that nitrites and nitrates are carcinogenic. I think that the reason that perhaps hotdogs and bacon and a lot of these meats that do contain nitrites and nitrates have been suggested to be carcinogenic. It is that because when they’re cooked at high temperatures, it can create a lot of what are called heterocyclic amines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. And those are potentially carcinogenic. And so, I think that the issue is the cooking methods in a lot of foods that contain nitrates and nitrites more than it is the actual nitrates and nitrites themselves. So, that being said, again just the fact that beets are not a meat means that even if you do cook them at a high temperature, you’re not creating a lot of these hydrocarbons anyways. It also means that you don’t need to worry about beets being carcinogenic as nitrites and nitrates are completely natural chemical compounds that your body makes a ton of on its own.
Brock: Cool. Well, that’s really good to know because I’d love beets. And I’m a big believer in using them before races too. My personal best for a marathon was done after consuming a lot of beet juice for two days.
Ben: My kids also love beets mostly because they like the fact that they can change the color of something simple as their food. And they think that that’s pretty cool. And I have to admit that deep down inside, I think it’s pretty cool too.
Brock: It is pretty cool. Well, everybody that wraps it up thankfully for this week. Keep sending us your questions. And do remember we have a huge back log of questions. So, if you don’t hear your question the next couple of weeks, be patient. It is coming.
Ben: And of course we’ll put a link to everything over in the show notes. Stay tuned this Friday because I promise I’ll release a great interview for you. And if you guys have questions, comments, and feedbacks, go to BenGreenfieldFHYPERLINK “https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/”itness.com. Leave your thoughts over there. Leave the podcast a donation. Your donations are what keep this thing going. And also if you get a chance, go over to itunes and leave a rating or a ranking. And thanks for listening. Have a great week. And we’ll be in touch next week.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net
In this Apr 25, 2012 free audio podcast: What Happens When You Exercise Too MuchAlso: the ketogenic diet vs. the metabolic typing diet, are e-cigarettes a healthy alternative, which is better ground turkey or beef, what is mugicha, should you take a hot or cold bath post exercise, a list of healthy oils, bonking hours after a workout, does protein influence fat loss, and do beets cause cancer?
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As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
Audio Question from Brandon:
How does a ketogenic diet relate to or work with the metabolic typing diet?
~ In my response to Brandon, I mention episode #187.
Audio Question from Joe:
Smoker for almost 10 years who quit cold turkey 2 years ago. Is an age grouper in great shape. The only issue is when he's stressed or has a good “buzz-on” he wants a cigarette. Are e-cigarettes a viable option to have in a pinch?
~ In my response to Joseph, I mention Dietary Supplements That Can Massively Control Your Most Intense Carb Cravings.
There is a lot of old health trends being busted in the last 10 years, can you bust this one? Is ground turkey really more healthier than ground beef? I need to know… beef is sure more tastier!
I know you like kombucha. What do you think about Mugi cha (barley tea)? It was in every kids thermos all summer long. Actually everyone drinks it from housewives to office workers.
Ice baths after exercise are all I hear about these days on podcasts and in magazines but here in Japan almost every house has a high tech bathtub and 40 deg C plus soaks are a nightly family ritual (my wife prefers 40 but her dad likes 42, I can only stand 39). Is a hot bath after a normal exercise session for an uninjured runner a no no? After a recent 1/2 marathon the nearest hot spring was packed with racers. I confess I have taken a hot bath before my winter long run on occasion.
Your food pyramid and consideration to eat more fat is working for me. I can go long without eating and am slimming down effortlessly. My question is that you recommend Avocado oil as healthy fatty oil that was not listed. What other healthy fatty oils would you recommend to use that you did not list? Also what do you think about Almond oil?
About 2 hours after every workout I bonk hard. I could crawl into bed and go to sleep. The worst part about it is that I then get very edgy and my temper gets very short. I generally workout in the mornings with minimal food in my stomach and I eat generally within 2 hours after the workout, more often than not it is within 1 hour. What type of testing can/should I do to see what is going on?
I'm a 28 yr old and weigh 171 lbs with 20% body fat. I have a pretty active lifestyle which includes lifting weights 3 times a week and 2-3 times a week of good 45 mins cardio with intervals etc. My goal is to lose some fat and build lean mass and I'm on a 2000 calorie diet with carb/protein/fat in ratio of 40/30/30 but I sometimes go a bit high on protein and might add 200 more calories. Does this excess protein convert into fat or does it just tax the kidneys a little more and get flushed out? Do you have any more suggestions on changing the ratio of carb/protein/fat intake and still create some calorie deficit.
~ In my response, I mention my article “How Much Protein Do You Need“.
I got blood tests at the end of December and my TSH was pretty high 4.6 but they were not too concerned because my T4 and T3 were normal but I wanted to get tested again just in case. I just got tested on Friday (about 1 1/2 months from the last test) and it is now 8.45! And the T4 is still normal. So they want to put me on Sythyroid. I know from listening to the Roby Mitchell podcast interview that he thinks for some Synthyroid is good but Armor Thyroid might be better. So, two questions:
1) Is Synthyroid OK? Or should I definitely be taking Armor Thyroid?
2) Should I be getting another test or can a jump from 4.6 to 8.45 happen that quickly?
3) Could the cause be over-training? The only thing that has changed in my life since the December test is going from about 10-12ish hours a week of training to double workout days and more like 18-25 hours a week of training?
4) I already take iodine 150mcg and magnesium 500mg (along with topical on my legs every night)….should I be taking selenium too?
P.S Have eliminated virtually all wheat and soy (1/3 cup of edamame with veggies for dinner, and 2 whole wheat graham crackers with banana for snack) from diet and upped the protein, veggies, and fat….
I'm a 32-year-old female runner and rower. I stay very active, working out daily, and mix it up with a combination of running, rowing, spin classes, boot camps, and lifting. I like to compete in running and rowing races.
About a year ago, I saw a sports medicine doctor who discovered that my cortisol levels were sky high. She suggested I try going off birth control pills, which I'd been on for over a decade. I did, and immediately, cortisol plunged to normal levels. However, I have yet to get a period. My regular doctor suggested that I need to dramatically cut back on exercise in order to start menstruating again. The sports doctor believes the continued exercise is okay, and thinks it's a matter of getting the nutrition right around the exercising. I've already added much more food intake before and after each workout. Even though I'm taking in many more calories, I still haven't gotten my period back. Any suggestions? I want to start trying to get pregnant later this year, so I need to figure this out.
I have been hearing that Beetroot juice is beneficial to endurance athletes. Beets contain a lot of nitrates. Nitrates are suspected carcinogens in processed meats. Are beets carcinogenic?