Why The Media & Supplement Companies Lie To You About Diets & Supplements (& What You Can Do About It).

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Podcast, Supplements

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

I'm a voracious consumer of knowledge.

On an average week, I read 3-5 books, listen to 15-20 podcasts, and read several dozen research articles.

And one of my secrets to this hyperproductive digestion of information is through the use of services, websites, journals, newsletters and, well, “digests” that disseminate information into readily accessible bite-size pieces that allow me to cut through the clutter and quickly get to the main summaries, takeaways and actionable items from all the content.

For example, I'm a huge fan of the book reviews produced by gentleman such as Derek Sivers and James Clear.

In addition, I stay up to date with health, medical and science news via the Stone Hearth Newsletters, exercise and nutrition research via the website Suppversity, and, for general life knowledge, I'm a recent subscriber to the Farnham Street blog for staying up-to-date with the best recently published books and articles from around the web.

And – for one of the most comprehensive exercise, diet, supplement resources I have ever accessed – I am a frequent visitor to the website Examine and their monthly publication The Examine Research Digest, which is produced by today's podcast guest: Kamal Patel.

Kamal is the director of Examine.com, an independent and unbiased encyclopedia on supplementation and nutrition. He is a nutrition researcher with an MPH and MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and is on hiatus from a PhD in nutrition, in which he researched the link between diet and chronic pain. He has published peer-reviewed articles on vitamin D and calcium as well as a variety of clinical research topics, and in today's episode, you'll discover:

-How supplement companies and the media manipulate science for their own benefits…[11:38 & 16:30]

-Why Kamal thinks the “elimination diet” for nightshades is a hoax…[18:55]

-The best way to know if a diet or supplement website is delivering you fake information…[29:35]

-The truth about what they really feed lab rats and mice in high-fat diet studies…[31:35]

-Why an extremely high percentage of the research released in medical journals is flawed or biased…[35:00]

-The best way to quickly review an abstract without reading a full article, and red flags to look out for when reading an abstract…[44:50 & 48:30]

-The top three most proven and researched supplements that just about everyone could benefit from…[54:56]

-The surprising benefits of daily creatine intake…[61:50]

-Why Kamal   doesn't take fish oil, but Ben does, and how genetics should influence supplement intake…[65:35 & 68:35]

-The two supplements most people most infatuated with that Kamal thinks have very low credibility…[72:15]

-The most beneficial one-two combo stack you can take for daily mental performance…[77:45]

-Why you should spread your vegetable intake throughout the day to maximize your nitrate exposure…[80:48]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Supplement Goals Reference Guide

Supplement Stack Guide

The Examine Research Digest

The SuperMemo sleep website Ben mentions

Ben's article about whether or not weed causes heart disease

The CreaPure Creatine that Ben recommends

The SuperEssentials fish oil that Ben recommends

IFOS website for testing fish oils

WellnessFX blood and biomarker testing

A 3 day gut panel for testing your bacterial balance

NaturalStacks “SmartCaffeine” caffeine/theanine blend

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Kamal or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!


Also published on Medium.

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24 thoughts on “Why The Media & Supplement Companies Lie To You About Diets & Supplements (& What You Can Do About It).

  1. Wendy says:

    Vit. D just from the sun is not workable for us older folks. Around age 60 we only make about 20 percent of the D we need from the sun. Around age 80 we only make around 5 percent of the D we need from the sun. So after age 60 we need to supplement routinely. I do just to be on the safe side. I do about 5,000 to 6,000 IU per day.

  2. Mike says:

    Hey Ben! Great show on sups, visited some of the sites mentioned and nothing but good info. Quick question…what supplement reference guide do you recommend for coaches/athletes? You mentioned you have one on your desk for reference and I’ve been looking for one to use for client questions as well. Thanks!

    1. The one I link to in the shownotes above!

  3. Darin Rohatinsky says:

    Ben what was the green powder you recommended?

    1. Was it Organifi? Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/FitLife. Coupon Code ‘BEN’ will get you 25% off through January 1!

      1. Darin Rohatinsky says:

        THANK YOU! Yeah I think so. Sorry I didn’t mean to leave two comments. I will check that out. Can you speak to this stuff I use? It’s supposed to be well rounded: http://thegoodinside.com/introducing-super-green-…

        1. I can't vouch for the source of the raw ingredients…but it doesn't look too bad.

  4. Darin Rohatinsky says:

    Okay this is my bad, but in this podcast Ben recommended a yummy green powder. What was it called? Also, I take a super green juice by Touchstone Essentials; it’s supposed to be the best. Is it? ;-)

    1. Was it Organifi? I can't speak to the one you mentioned, but I can tell you I only recommend the best!Also, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/FitLife and use Coupon Code ‘BEN’ you'll get you 25% off through January 1!

      1. Keenan says:

        Magnesium Supplement? I started getting panic attacks from sauna over-use. It went away after adding magnesium in. It is involved in an estimated 700 enzyme processes in the body and almost everyone is deficient.

  5. Todd says:

    Ben, great podcast — I very much enjoyed listening to Kamal and you did a very fine job on the interview. I eat a wholefoods based ketogenic diet largely following the Wahls Protocol and it’s massively improved basically everything from hair/nail quality, energy levels, memory, weight loss (although not a huge amount), lean muscle gains, better skin quality, etc. I can’t tell how much of this has come about from other changes (yoga, more exercise, etc.) but I attribute a lot of this to the diet.

    The most noticeable change is my nails, which used to be dry, brittle, dull and used to break at least a few times each week. Now they are hard, sharp, solid, shiny and basically unbreakable.

    Although I believe that ideally I wouldn’t supplement much beyond desiccated, liver and perhaps magnesium/K2, I plan to continue using the more extensive grouping of supplements for at least the next 6 months. In addition to the above, I’m now using the following:

    Creatine

    Resveratrol

    Krill Oil and high quality Fish Oil (alternate each day)

    Alpha lipoic acid

    Ubiquinol

    Expensive Fermented Probiotic

    Digestive Enzymes (for evening meal only)

    Acetyl L Carnitine

    Minerals Mix with wholefoods based Vitamin C

    Vitamin B complex

    Vitamin D supplement (I get most of this directly from sunlight) with vitamin K2

    Colostrum

    Pau D’Arco

    Ashwagandha

    Astaxanthin (rarely)

    MAP and BCAA power

    Biosil (low silicone on my blood tests)

    D-Ribose (used prior to exercise)

    Bitter Melon

    Apple Cider Vinegar

  6. Ben. I listen to them all but I am typically so busy I don’t go back and look up show notes. Not with this one. I HAD to find this show and look up all these links. As a local health practitioner in the midwest and an FDN student, I knew I had to look all this up. You are the best of the best. Thank you for being the top of your game! And behind every great man is a great woman! Your wife is amazing!

    1. Keenan says:

      Magnesium Supplement? I started getting panic attacks from sauna over-use. It went away after adding magnesium in. It is involved in an estimated 700 enzyme processes in the body and almost everyone is deficient.

  7. Cam says:

    Ben another great podcast! I was wondering what your recommended stack of supplements was for someone making the transition from body builder to a preformence athlete a.k.a. triathlons and training for a spartan race?

    1. If it were me (and you can find these at https://GreenfieldFitnessSystems.com) I'd go for fish oil, creatine, amino acids, ketones and a multivitamin…but it's best to test blood/biomarkers/saliva before making a full decision…

      1. Eddie Chan says:

        Hi Ben and Kamal, great podcast! I was wondering if either of you have read Dr. Brian Peskin’s PEO Solution book? And if so what are your thoughts on plant based PEO’s vs fish oil? My last question is about the efficacy of Master Amino Acid Pattern. Does this product actually do what the company claims regarding the high absorbaility? I’m having difficulty finding reliable research on MAP. Thank you for your time. I really appreciate your work Ben and Kamal. Eddie

        1. Here is a response from Kamal: I don't have anything against Brian Peskin (although he certainly didn't originate the idea of omega-6 and omega-3 sourcing from plants versus animals, or analysis of 6:3 ratios), but you should read a bit about his retracted papers:
          http://retractionwatch.com/2014/11/11/undeclared-…

          It's highly unlikely that fish oil is "bad" or "good", or that ALA is better or worse. There are so many trials with mixed results for different intermediate and end outcomes, that blanket statements like the ones he makes aren't a great idea.

          Due to our policy at Examine.com, we don't comment on any specific products.

        2. And I have seen Dr. Peskin's thoughts, and really think it comes down to the *quality* of the fish oil. A rancid, oxidized fish oil is indeed a bad idea.

        3. Here's a response from Dr Minkoff on MAP: The amino acids are L form 99% pure pharmaceutical grade. If you measure amino avid blood levels they show up withing 33 minutes of oral ingestion with water on an empty stomach.

  8. Niall says:

    Ben, your podcasts are great, but how many times do you have to mention ‘bengreenfieldfitness.com’ during the podcasts… it gets repetitive after a while!

  9. Jason says:

    Hey Ben, any thoughts on Creatine HCL?

  10. Rob says:

    Hi Ben, at one point Kamal was talking about the genetic make up that make Indian & Souther Asian people better at converting shorter chain fatty acids from plant source into longer ones. My understanding is that now this is counter productive only if you consume high amount of vegetable oils (ones high in omega-6) and not other fat sources higher in SFAs like cocnut oil, butter, grassfed beef fat, etc. correct? I’ve heard about this more than a couple of times now but never really quite understand it, thanks!

    1. Kamal Patel says:

      Hey Rob,

      Good question!

      And you’re pretty much correct, although the picture is bit hazy because of gaps in researchers’ of individual fatty acids.

      The genetic profile that I mentioned (which was present in 70% of Indians, ~50% of Africans, and ~20% of Europeans, at least in the populations that were studied) causes both more long-chain omega-6 AND omega-3 to be produced.

      Research still isn’t conclusive about how different ranges of long-chain omega-3 impact health, especially since there are many different disease processes they can effect.

      Not only that, but omega-6s are categorically bad. So the authors of that genetic study couldn’t conclude if the different genes were harmful or helpful.

      But back to your overall point — if you eat a balance of fats from natural sources, replete with both SFA and MFA (plus some PUFA), the gene wouldn’t likely be as impactful as if you ate a ton of processed foods high in shorter chain PUFA. Research is still very much in its infancy though — the above study supports the theory that ancient cultures eating a lot of plants and not many animals would have had higher conversion to long-chain PUFA, but it’s also theoretically possible that those cultures eating a ton of animals and less plants also have some differences elsewhere in the genome … on average that is. We shall see!

      1. Kamal Patel says:

        Whoops, left out two important letters:

        “Not only that, but omega-6s aren’t categorically bad”

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