Transcript – 11 ‘Unhealthy’ Foods Nutritionists Eat – BioTrust Radio #49
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Transcript – 11 Unhealthy Foods Nutritionists Eat
Shawn: Hey BioTrust Nation, we are back. This is Shawn Wells and I’m here with my amazing co-host, Tim Skwiat.
Tim: Greetings friends.
Shawn: [laughs] It sounded like very like Vulcan, Spock. “Live long and prosper, my human friends.”
Shawn: So, we are here with a fun topic. We’re gonna riff off this article from Business Insider, 11 Food with a Bad Reputation, that you can feel good about eating, including coffee, butter, and cheese. Which obviously resonated with me because I’m keto, but it gets into even carbs that may have a bad reputation that shouldn’t.
But, before we get into that, we are now in the habit of reviewing one question from the VIP Facebook group, which is BioTrust.com/VIP. And if we do read your question that you contribute on there, on the podcast, you’ll get a free product. Also, we are reading one review from iTunes every podcast. And again, if we read your review, you get a free product. So, we’re going to start doing that on a regular basis, and we’re deeply appreciative to you, the BioTrust faithful, the BioTrust Community for contributing, and we want to make this show as good as possible and give back to you and have a good rapport with you, and choose the subjects that resonate with you. So we love your feedback, no matter what it is. So, we’re appreciative of that. So Tim, fill us in.
Tim: Yeah guys, thanks for leaving those reviews, 5-star reviews on iTunes. They help the show out. And today’s 5-star review comes from 7Palms. So, 7Palms, if you send me an email at [email protected], I’ll hook you up with a free BioTrust product. And the review goes as such, “Not only great product, but now we get to hear and learn. Keep up the great work and doing podcasts. Love it.” Thank you so much, 7Palms.
Tim: We appreciate that. I know it takes a little bit of time to do those kinds of things, so we appreciate you and we’ll give you that free product, whenever you send that email to me.
So, Shawn, you had mentioned we’re going to be talking about carbs. Kind of the tide has turned and carbs aren’t so good. It leads to some confusion. That actually leads me into a question from VIP member Pam Stahl. And Pam said, “I am confused about fruit. Can I have it? It has carbs, but I know it is also good for you. I like it in my shakes, but quit when I realized the carb count.” I love this question.
Tim: I love it because the obesity epidemic is clearly the result of eating too much fruit, too much vegetables which contain carbs. So, that’s obviously a very satirical way of addressing the question. But I think definitely fruit has naturally-occurring sugar in it, so it kind of gets lumped into this conversation about excess sugar intake and things like that. I think, yes, there can be problems when too much sugar is consumed. And my point is that I don’t think that people are consuming too much sugar in the form of fruit, but I also think we have to consider the type of package in which sugar comes. And sugar in a can that comes in the form of soda is very different. The package is very different than the sugar that comes in a piece of fruit, like a banana or an apple, which is also loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can have antioxidant benefits, but also anti-inflammatory benefits and may also have prebiotic effects.
Not to say that you should go out and eat an entire fruit diet, but I do think some fruit in moderation is very healthy. And I would encourage it for most people as part of an overall healthy diet, unless you are ketogenic and specifically restricting carbohydrate for a metabolic reason. But I also want to make the distinction between eating a couple of pieces of whole fruit and consuming fruit juice.
Tim: That would be my relatively long-winded answer to that.
Shawn: Now I’ve got some pieces to add to that, for sure. So, I agree with you. I’ve always said we should start with whole food and move on from there. And whether you’re vegan, ketogenic, Mediterranean, on and on and on, we should all agree that whole food is a place to start and whole foods should never be demonized. I think processed food, ultra-processed food, artificial sugars, artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, rBGH, rBST, GMOs, antibiotics, glyphosate. You know, just on and on and on. All these things are things that we should be concerned with. These processed oils, vegetable oils. All this stuff that’s new to our food supply is stuff that we should be questioning. The stuff that’s been around for tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of years, not so much. It has never caused a problem for all these animals, including us, back to Neanderthal on to present day. That’s never been the issue.
I would say that along the lines of engineered foods, there are engineered fruits. And our fruits are being engineered to be sweeter and more palatable, just like all of our foods. And there used to be like 120 varieties of bananas and now there’s essentially one. And our bananas, we never eat in the more green state, which is more of a resistant starch state. And we always eat them ripe. Would that have been realistic a thousand years ago? No. We would have just came up on food and said, “I want to eat it, I’m hungry, [chuckles] I’m going to eat this food. I don’t care whether it’s perfectly ripe or not.”
So, there’s a lot of complexity to that. I’d certainly agree with the fruit juice thing. Basically, that’s been shown to be equivalent to your body as Coca-Cola. I mean, there’s almost no difference to you and your insulin response, to having sodas. There is fruit juice. So fruit juice, especially when we’re talking about apple and pear, orange juice. I mean, those are essentially just sugar. It’s just sugar. And if you’re craving those things then that would be no different to me than you craving the Coca-Cola or what have you. It’s you craving sugar. And I don’t see a ton of health benefit from those.
I will say, you’re right about the ketogenic diet. That that’s not something that would work that well on a ketogenic diet. You can have berries to some degree, like somewhat sparingly on the ketogenic diet. They’re low glycemic, they’re pretty high fiber, but they also tend to be some of the healthiest fruits that you can have. So, berries do have a place, potentially, on the ketogenic diet.
I will also say that, yes, the fruits contain antioxidants. And, yes, they have fiber and prebiotic benefits. But on the ketogenic diet you are not in the oxidative state that you’re in on a glucogenic diet and you produce less oxidation, and you need less anti‑oxidation to combat that. That may be kind of complex, but I’m essentially saying you don’t need as much antioxidants if you’re in a true ketogenic state, consistently, like certain animals might be. Or like a true ketogenic dieter might be that doesn’t do a lot of cyclical and targeted and whatever ketogenic dieting.
And also, if you’re in a deep ketogenic state, you can produce butyrate, which is a short chain fatty acid, directly and feed the gut that way. And there’s actually an interactivity between butyrate, the short chain fatty acid that feeds the gut, that’s the product of what fermentable fibers produce. And butyrate can interconvert to beta hydroxybutyrate, which is the key ketone. So, I guess my point is there that a true ketogenic carnivore doesn’t need fiber. That’s why an animal doesn’t eat fiber.
So, there’s a little complexity there. And I’m not saying to get rid of fruit. I love fruit. I have fruit at various occasions. Again, as a ketogenic dieter, I do have berries regularly. And then when I’m playing volleyball or certain sports, I’ll have carbs. I’ll have a targeted ketogenic diet where I have things like bananas and oranges, and watermelon, and good stuff like that because I enjoy them. And the lifestyle is all about enjoying it. Whether we need it or not, you need to enjoy life, live life. And I tend to look at fruits more like a dessert. I don’t like the idea of, “Fruits and vegetables. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables,” if you’re someone that’s eating healthy, whole food.
The next step would be to stress vegetables more than fruits, because it’s a whole lot easier to eat a ton of watermelon, oranges, berries, than it is to eat broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus. [chuckles]
Shawn: So, I don’t find fruits and vegetables to be equivalent, like that statement tends to sound. I like the idea of if you can get rid of ice creams and pies and whatever every meal, like where you have a dessert every dinner or some people after every lunch and dinner. Then you can move to having some fruit at the end of your meal. That’s pretty cool. Like that’s a good thing to do, and that’s like a nice trade-off for me.
Shawn those are just some thoughts. So, getting into the article, it is 11 Foods with a Bad Reputation that you could feel good about eating, including coffee butter and cheese. Of course that resonated with me as a keto guy. And this just came out from Business Insider, and the author is Kevin Loria. And we will link it in the show notes on BioTrustRadio.com. And it’s a good list that Tim and I both have thoughts on. And Tim and I are both fitness and nutritional professionals, and we have similar thoughts on most things. But like a good intelligent discussion should have, we have different thoughts on various things.
Tim: Complimentary thoughts.
Shawn: Yeah, which is healthy for discussion, and which I actually really relish. That’s one of the reasons I love doing the show with Tim. So, let’s get to the good stuff. “Cheese can be a healthy part of the diet.” It says, “Sure, cheese is often packed with saturated fat [Oh no!] It can be full of sodium too.”
Tim & Shawn: Oh no! [laughs]
Shawn: “And it shouldn’t make up the majority of your plate.” I am already now like diverting a little bit from the article, if that’s the way they’re starting off. I totally disagree right off the bat with sodium and saturated fat being bad. That’s, I think, been erroneously demonized. You can go back to having your coconut oil and butter, and other things.
Shawn: And salt. “But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat one of the most delightful foods on the planet. Cheese is nutrient-packed, it’s a good source of protein, calcium, b12, healthy fatty acids that may lower diabetes risk. As a fermented food, it may help boost levels of good gut bacteria,” which Tim was talking about, “that are essential for health. Studies also indicate that cheese intake seems to be associated with a lower risk for heart disease and it may even lower levels of bad cholesterol,” which is another aside that I get frustrated with. LDL isn’t necessarily bad cholesterol. You’ve been lied to about all that. But that’s probably another show. I think we have done that in another show. We’ll link that in the show notes. [chuckles]
But how do you feel about cheese, Tim? I know I’m a ketogenic dieter. I’m all for full fat cheese. We avoid the skim milk cheeses, which are very low fat cheese. They tend to be highly-processed.
Shawn: Also, with these skim milk cheeses, a lot of times they add starch to make the cheese, like especially with the shredded cheese so it doesn’t stick together. So, it always goes back to this like. The less processed, the better, which means full fat, which means a lot of times aged, hard, whole cheeses that you cut. Imagine the craziness that you actually have to cut your cheese yourself. And no pun intended with “cutting the cheese.”
Tim: [laughs] Jokester.
Shawn: But some of these sliced and shredded cheeses, especially the highly-processed sliced cheeses like the American cheese that’s a weird color and has all these weird oils and artificial colors, and whatever in it. Probably not the best cheese. And certainly if your cheese has a Z in it, it’s probably not the best cheese, [chuckles] but your thoughts, Tim?
Tim: No, I think you summed it up perfectly. I mean, I think that cheese is pretty darn tasty too. And it’s one of those foods that actually is kind pretty close to that natural bliss point. So I think just kind of being careful with consumption of it, because it can just add up pretty quickly. But I think just I love that you mentioned the full fat cheese that they talk about. Studies indicate that cheese seems to be lower risk. It’s not really cheese. It’s actually full fat dairy that seems to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease and cardio metabolic disease. And we may get into this little bit more because I think they talk about whole milk in here also.
But really, I mean, that pendulum swung to skim, fat-free dairy, and really now we’re seeing that the health benefits seem to be associated with the full fat dairy. And actually, what it seems to come back to is the saturated fat components in milk fat and milk fat globules. I think that’s the terminology. But it’s actually the fat in milk that seems to be associated with these health benefits.
Shawn: So, in its less-processed state, it’s more healthy?
Tim: Imagine that.
Tim: Shawn’s been telling you that.
Shawn: [laughs] I mean God’s been telling us that since the beginning. “Eggs are excellent sources of protein and won’t raise your cholesterol.” Hey, I like the article. [laughs] So, it says, “Eggs are fantastic sources of protein. They’re full of other nutrients including choline, a nutrient that’s essential for brain development.” And an aside there, there’s new data that shows unless you’re eating eggs regularly or taking a choline supplement, you cannot get enough choline in your diet. So please note that vegans, you’re not getting enough choline unless you’re supplementing with choline, and I guess you’re not eating eggs, so you need to supplement with choline.
“But eggs are also full of cholesterol, which many years [chuckles] wanted researchers to encourage people to limit egg intake. Fortunately, that dietary recommendation has changed.” Thank God. “It turns out that for the vast majority of people, dietary cholesterol from foods you eat doesn’t really have much of an impact on blood cholesterol.” This is true. It only affects about 10% and it’s very transient. But I will take that a step further and higher personal cholesterol, your endogenous plasma cholesterol, doesn’t have that much of an impact on your health either.
Shawn: There’s so many good things about cholesterol in terms of it makes up the outer cell layer of every cell. So much of your brain is phospholipids. You know, that’s why eggs make great brain food because of the cholesterol, because of the fat, because of the choline. And the cholesterol is important for all of your sex hormones, the steroid hormones. So that would be like testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, pregnenolone. All those things are cholesterol-based. That’s why people talk about cholesterol almost being like the mother of all hormones, because it’s kind of the basis, chemically, for a lot of hormones.
Shawn, going super low on cholesterol or going super low on fat, which thank God is gone, caused a lot of people to actually be at more risk for heart attacks because they lowered HDL and total cholesterol. And because they were decreasing cell integrity and they were decreasing their key hormone levels, and this is just not logical. And that’s why we see the healthiest diets, even if you don’t go all the way to where I’m at with ketogenic diet which needs more research in terms of long-term study, but Mediterranean diet is very compelling in terms of health. Syndrome X diet. You have seen things like the South Beach diet, Atkins diet. All these different diets that are higher in fat like the Zone diet, all have better cardiovascular outcomes. So, we’re seeing higher fat equals longer life, better outcomes. So, don’t be afraid of the fat. Any other additional thoughts, Tim? [chuckles]
Tim: No, no you got it. [Shawn laughs] This is your bread and butter, no pun intended.
Shawn: [laughs] Okay, well this is yours because I’m just a mild coffee drinker, and I drink decaffeinated coffee when I usually drink it. I don’t do great with caffeine. I’m not a great metabolizer of caffeine. “But coffee, and caffeine in general, may provide significant health benefits and reduce cancer and liver disease risk. You’ll often hear people saying they’re trying to limit themselves to one cup of coffee a day or cut it out entirely, but when you look at the health benefits associated with coffee consumption, you might wonder why. A significant body of research shows that drinking coffee is associated with a longer life. People who drink more coffee tend to have lower risk for heart disease, various cancers, liver conditions, and degenerative brain diseases. It’s possible to overdo it with caffeine, as too much at once can trigger anxiety or even be deadly. People usually need to consume it in a concentrated form to get that much into their bodies. But caffeine itself, even from non-coffee sources, is associated with good health.”
So, one question I’ll ask you, Tim, because I know you’re an avid coffee drinker, is how much of this data with coffee is related to the coffee bean and polyphenols and the chlorogenic acid and all those kinds of things; these antioxidants.
Shawn: And compounds that are in coffee. And how much of it is the caffeine? Meaning if you were to have a decaffeinated coffee, do you still get as much health benefit? I know there’s some benefits to caffeine itself. Certainly ergogenic benefits, in terms of performance for an athlete. But what are your thoughts on coffee versus caffeine and the purported health benefit.
Tim: Yeah, you raised a number of important points there. First and foremost, yes, I am an avid coffee drinker. I’m just actually drinking some now as we’re doing this. And as much of a fan of coffee as I am, I just don’t think that there’s any blanket statements that we can throw out there, and you have to be mindful of your body’s own tolerance of caffeine. So like you said, you can nullify any of the potential benefits of coffee if you don’t metabolize caffeine very quickly.
Tim: So that’s a genetic thing, and we can find that out by doing a little genetic testing to see where your CYP genes.
Tim: So, if you’re a slow metabolizer, probably not a great idea to be drinking a whole bunch of caffeinated coffee, at least. To your point, I mean caffeine itself is actually an antioxidant, so there is some benefit to caffeine from that standpoint. And I think that when you look at the data, that caffeinated coffee is actually associated with greater health benefits.
Now, most of this data that’s being cited is associative, right? So it’s not saying that drinking coffee causes these things, but there’s good solid data. Like these big systemic reviews with meta-analysis, they’re very critical of the studies that are out there, show that the trends, the ratios are very high in favorite of it. So, I do think that the majority of the benefits come with caffeinated coffee. But that’s not to say that decaffeinated coffee isn’t also of benefit, it just may not be as profound. That’s what I’ve seen.
Shawn: Okay, fair enough. “High fat foods have long been demonized, but there’s more and more recognition that they are essential.” I would agree with this. [chuckles] “More and more research shows that eating fat, the nutrient, that doesn’t necessarily cause body fat to increase.” Complete aside before I finish this. I really wish that fat, dietary fat didn’t have the same word.
Tim: Same name, yeah.
Shawn: As body fat. I find that that connection is annoying and people connect the two too much, and I wish that they were just two separate things that we talked about; adipose tissue.
Shawn: And dietary fat, or something like that. Anyway, he says, “We need fat to survive, especially healthy fats like those found in eggs, olive oil, and avocados. High-fat diets are not necessarily associated with heart disease, according to large reviews of research. And eating enough fat can help fuel activity and keeps you full for longer, leading to healthier food consumption overall.” Totally agree with this. I just went through this that all those diets have shown improved cardiovascular outcomes, like it or not. And there was a time when Atkins was attacked, there was time when South Beach diet was attacked, there’s still a time where ketogenic diet is attacked. But you look [chuckle] at the body of data, and all these people are losing weight, are improving their cardiovascular outcomes by reducing systemic inflammation. You look at CRP. They have improved hemoglobin A1c from the weight loss. Everything is showing that they are improving their health by eating higher amounts of fat.
Now, the problem that comes in where high fat diets has been demonized is if you look at data—this is where it gets confusing, especially with the animal models that they’ve shown. They say high-fat diet kills you. That there’s higher mortality risk. Those are essentially Western diets, where they’re having high fat, which let’s say it’s 40% or something like that, in these studies, even with mouse models. But it also includes high fructose corn syrup and high carb. And we know that the combination of high fat, high carb is not a good combination.
And essentially what is happening is when you have high carb, your insulin is up and you are promoting lipogenesis, which means the creation or storage of fat. And then you’re inhibiting lipolysis, the breakdown of fat, and you’re taking in a lot of fat. And this isn’t the best combination. This is like eating cakes and cookies and things like that, that really don’t occur that much in nature when you have high fat/high carb. And this is where we get into those bliss point-engineered type foods that make us overeat.
But it’s never been high fat. Again, when we eat whole foods, it’s never been a problem. That heavy whipping cream, not a problem. That whole milk, not a problem. Full fat cheese, not a problem. The avocado, the nuts, all this stuff, not a problem. None of the whole foods has ever been a problem. It’s these engineered foods. And it wasn’t high fat. It’s the combination of high fat, high glycemic carbohydrate being combined together in these engineered foods that make you overeat. It was never sodium. When you teased out of the data sodium from processed foods, sodium’s correlated with longer life, not shorter life. But here again, it’s a question of ultra‑processed foods. It’s always the case. This is what just frustrates me. It’s just always the case. There’s no food that’s in our food supply I feel like the whole food that needs to be demonized. It’s silly. So, anyway.
Tim: Nailed it. [laughs]
Shawn: [laughs] I’ll let you start off on this one, but “Pasta and other carbs shouldn’t necessarily be discarded either. As the pendulum is swung away from demonizing fat, people have started to consider carbs the enemy. But carbs, especially whole grain carbs, have long been a part of the healthy human diet. As with most foods, the key is moderation. A recent long-term study found that people who got around 50% of their calories from carbs tended to live the longest. Eating too many or too few carbohydrates were both associated with higher risk of death.” Those are associations and that’s a whole other discussion. “But there is some concern that particularly processed carbs, like those in candy or cookies, [didn’t we just talk about that?] that are absorbed quickly and may raise blood sugar in a dangerous way. But whole grain carbs and carbs from plants are essential sources of energy.” That’s not necessarily true, about essential. “But just don’t forget to eat your vegetables with your pasta.”
Shawn: That’s a weird statement. Okay. I agree with some of this and I’m not anti-carb. So, what are your thoughts, Tim?
Tim: Yeah, I mean, I think you summed it up really well in the last point, where you just talked about how the combination of added fats along with these highly-refined processed carbohydrates are the most problematic. They drive overeating. It’s been shown time and again.
So, a good example would be like, if we’re talking about carbohydrate, is just like potato, okay? If we take boiled potatoes. Just a pot of boiled potatoes. Potatoes have a very high satiety index, which means they make you feel very full, very quickly. Like if I told you to 2,000 calories worth of boiled potatoes, I’m not sure that you would be able to do that. That’s a lot of potatoes. You’d feel very full. Now, if we got a baked potato from a restaurant that’s loaded up with cheese and butter and sour cream, that would be much easier to eat 2,000 calories.
You have all of these sensory experiences going on that drive overeating. You have this nice combination of added fat with the starches that are broken down a bit more, you know, sugary. And then you have the added sodium and things that this bliss point, as you’ve talked about before, all these things going on. And that is where carbs become a problem. Same thing with pasta. You load on this nice creamy Alfredo sauce onto this pasta. Much easier to consume than just bland pasta that’s just cooked al dente, by itself. So, the point is the combination of those things seems to be more problematic.
Now, I do think that if the pendulum does tend to swing, and I think that’s okay though, to some degree, because if you increase your fat intake, you’d have to reduce something else. And that would be your carbohydrate intake. But I don’t think we can throw the baby out with the bathwater and just say that all carbs are bad. If you can tolerate them, then that these whole minimally‑processed carbohydrates are probably not to blame either.
Shawn: Agreed. And I will say that our pasta here in the United States—again, going back to ultra-processing—the type of wheat and the way it’s processed, that they use for pasta, it’s so different. I cannot tell you how different it is than the pasta I had in Sardinia, Italy. I would eat a piece of bread or I would have a small amount of pasta there and I would feel so full. It was so hearty, it was so dense. Not just the way they do it. They do it certainly more al dente, but it was just denser and just filling. And I’ve read articles about how our pasta here is very different. And it’s ultra‑processing and it’s also to make us over-consume.
Shawn: No surprise, again.
Tim: Here’s something interesting on that that I’ve heard. Dr. Steven Gundry talks about a low lectin diet. And when he talks about things like pasta and rice, those cultures, traditional cultures, actually they process it in the sense that they remove the bran. They just use the germ, which would be the starchy part.
Tim: And we’ve been kind of conditioned to go with whole wheat pasta, whole wheat products, and brown rice, brown rice type of products. But he said those traditional cultures actually remove the brown from the rice. They remove the whole from the wheat. And by doing that, they remove the lectins, and he thinks [chuckled] that’s one reason why they may be healthier and may not experience some of the issues that we do. It’s just an interesting thought.
Shawn: Yeah. That creates a little confusion there.
Tim: Yes. [laughs]
Shawn: [laughs] So, agreed. That’s like so many of the messages that we’ve been told most of our lives are wrong. But luckily, I feel like we’re getting to a point, thanks to the discussion becoming so much broader. People experimenting, people discussing these things online in the community, really being interactive. And not just driven by scientists that are paid for by big cereal, big agriculture, big dairy, big whatever, that are driving these messages of what’s healthy and what’s not healthy. Now we’re getting to real discussion; anecdotal, maybe. Like maybe it’s driven by personal stories, but that’s now driving, the anecdotal stories, is now driving real research, which I love.
Shawn: So I feel like we’re getting to a better point in science now with nutrition advice. The next one is, “During the years of fat avoidance, skim milk took off, but there are good reasons to opt for whole milk.” I totally agree. It says, “Whole milk is a fantastic source of calcium, protein, fat, vitamin D and other nutrients. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that dairy fat doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on cardiovascular disease or death rates.” [mocking tone] But it’s saturated. I don’t get it.
Shawn: “Plus, research indicates that high-fat dairy consumption tends to be connected to a lower risk of obesity.” What? Obesity and diabetes, I believe, and it’s not just doesn’t have a negative impact on cardiovascular disease rates or death rates, I thought it actually has an improved outcome. So, here again, we’re seeing that higher fat is healthier for us. Lower fat is less healthy for us. We’re seeing that saturated fat is healthy.
Tim: So, yeah absolutely, Shawn. So this goes back to what we were talking about earlier, is that full-fat dairy is related to these better health outcomes. It comes back to, at least in part, to milk fat globule membrane that stays intact when you’re getting that full fat dairy. There may be some components in the saturated fat. I will say, we have a two-year-old daughter and she drinks whole milk. She’s was breastfed up until she was a one-year-old and then we transitioned into whole milk. And we only use whole milk. It’s actually fortified with DHA from algae.
Tim: I will say this, that with all full-fat dairy, I would recommend getting it from organic grass-fed cows, whenever possible. There’s a few reasons for that. Number one and most importantly, when we’re talking about full-fat dairy is because the fatty acid profile will be better because those cows have eaten grass as opposed to eating seeds like soybean and corn, which influences the fatty acid profile tremendously.
Shawn: I’m sorry, they’re also not exposed to antibiotics and growth hormones, and steroids.
Tim: Right. So those would be some big reasons, but we’re talking about eating more fat, so we want that fat to be healthier fat. And when you choose grass-fed, pasture‑raised, it’s going to be higher in omega-3s, higher in CLA, which can help reduce body fat and increase lean mass. Another nice advantage of the grass-fed, the full fat for the meat, the dairy from grass-fed animals, is it’s higher in carotenoids. They can convert, basically, the green in grass to these antioxidants that our bodies can use. And so that would be my recommendation there.
Shawn: That was great information, Tim. “Fatty oils can be healthy and it’s not limited to olive oil. People tend to recognize that olive oil is healthy at this point. Despite having a high fat content, it’s healthy fat after all. But other oils that are similarly high in monounsaturated fat that can also be good choices for cooking include peanut and sesame oil.” Yeah, I agree.
So, one issue with something like olive oil. A lot of people cook with it, even fry with it, thinking it’s healthy, and they’re oxidizing it because they’re exposing it to high heat. And it’s not a saturated fat that holds up well to high heat/has a higher smoke point. And they’re actually consuming a potentially carcinogenic oil that they’ve basically destroyed in the process of frying. So that would be one thing I would throw out there.
The other thing that I would throw out that I think most oils are healthy. Again, I think it’s a question of getting enough fat in your diet. The problem is, I think you and I agree on, is that these processed vegetable oils; the corn oil, the canola oils, these ones that are just processed and rancid. And then they’re deodorized and bleached and they’re not healthy at all. Like if you can get virgin something, then that’s a good source. If you can get your virgin coconut oil, if you can get your grass-fed organic butter, if you can get extra virgin olive oil, then that’s always a good thing. When it’s exposed to less light, exposed to less heat, less processed, you’re going to get more of the antioxidants, you’re going to get less of the rancidity, the damage to the oil.
And I would say that olive oil, I feel, is best served on things cold, like your salads. And maybe if it’s on vegetables or cooked food, then it’s just after it’s on the plate, add some olive oil. But if you’re cooking. I like to use something that has a higher smoke point, which I think butter, coconut oil, and some of those things are really good for. But even like grapeseed and some other oils have like a higher smoke point; avocado oil, maybe. There’s some others that might be a better choice than olive oil. So, what are your thoughts on that?
Tim: Yeah. I think those are great take-home points. I think you can cook with olive oil at a lower temperature is fine, too.
Tim: But I think just in general, to your point about cooking, it’s really important to point out that we probably would be better off cooking at lower temperatures, in general. Like these higher temperatures can not only damage the fats, but they can damage the meat that we’re cooking, or the vegetables. The charring and things like that is coming up may taste okay, but it’s not really a healthy thing, in general.
Shawn: Agreed. Dang it. [chuckles] And we all love smoky stuff, but oh well.
Tim: So slow and low is a good rule-of-thumb for cooking or pressure cooking. There’s another good option, too.
Shawn: Yes, pressure cooking is amazing. And that makes me think of that Beastie Boys song. [laughs]
Shawn: [mimics singing] “Slow and low. That is the tempo.” All right, “Potatoes aren’t always thought of as a health food, but they are full of nutrients.” And I think Tim just alluded to all this. “Potatoes fall under the healthy carb category and they are packed with healthy components. They’re great sources of potassium and vitamin C. And if you keep the skin on them, they can be good sources of fiber as well.”
One thing I used to do when I was a professional chef was that I would like to get the potatoes that had the thicker skin, the russet potatoes. And then I would wash them and poke holes in them with a fork. That’s common. But then I would cover them in olive oil and then use some garlic salts on the skin. And then you wrap them in foil and you cook them in the oven, and it makes the skin [chuckles] delicious, basically. And so everyone eats the skin. They love the skin. They actually look forward to the skin almost more than the actual starch in the potato. So that’s kind of a cool thing to do.
Shawn: And it’s a cool thing also, we’ve talked about resistant starches, to know that a raw potato is actually purely resistant starch. And there’s some interesting science on if you let a potato cool, it goes back to a resistant starch state. Not quite to the degree of a raw potato, but markedly different than when you have a highly-processed mashed potato that’s heated. That’s basically a sugary starch. It’s very high glycemic when you mashed potatoes.
Shawn: It’s basically doing what your body is supposed to do, by breaking it down, but that’s why it’s almost like having table sugar. They say mashed potatoes is basically equivalent. Interesting thing here, too, is sweet potatoes, but I’m curious to know your thoughts on potatoes, which you said have a high satiety index.
Shawn: And then what you think about the sweet potato variant, which so many bodybuilders and fitness people obsess over, that somehow sweet potatoes are so much better than regular potatoes.
Tim: Right. I think I wrote an article on our blog that I’ll link to that kind of debunks the myth on potatoes. Because they’ve just gotten this bad rap. But I think like I was kind of alluding to before with the baked potato example, or even mashed potatoes, like you were talking about. Maybe that’s why. Because those can be vehicles for much greater caloric density and maybe some unhealthy additives; I’m not sure. But a potato by itself is actually quite nutrient-dense, quite filling. And like you talked about, it’s one of the few sources of resistant starch, whether you eat it raw or whatnot. Too many people are eating raw. Like when we’re making potatoes at home, I’ll slice it into small chips and sprinkle some salt on that and sometimes I’ll snack on those.
Shawn: Yeah, it’s crunchy.
Tim: I don’t know if we haven’t described resistance starch on this episode, I know we mentioned it. But it’s basically a type of carbohydrate that we can’t digest in our small intestine, so it travels on to the large intestine and serves as food for healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, in the gut. Which then can result in butyrate, like you’ve talked about, and have all these health benefits.
Shawn: Yeah, it basically has no glycemic impact.
Shawn: And it’s potentially keto-friendly. If you are going to have potatoes and you’re on keto, you could eat it raw. And I’d say that you could eat those all day long, if you want. And I know people that have and they stay in keto. But if you’re going to have something, like if you want to eat potatoes, something like potato salad. Which is, let’s say it’s like the red skin-on potatoes, and they’re cut in halves, or whatever, and then it’s in that salad and it’s cold, then that’s still pretty keto. Like as long as you don’t like go nuts on it, you could actually have that.
Shawn: So that’s an interesting thing. Again, it just goes back to when you have high glycemic carbohydrates. And then especially if you’re combining it with high fat, like the sour cream and the butter, and all great things; sour cream and butter are all fine. But it’s when you’re combining it with that highly-processed mashed potato that it gets a little crazy.
Tim: And probably drives overeating at that point.
Shawn: Exactly, yeah. And it’s bliss point kind of stuff.
Tim: I think sweet potatoes are also a “healthy carb” that you can include. Are they nutritionally superior to a red potato or russet potato? No. In fact, they probably aren’t as nutrient-dense as a white potato, per se. But they do contain beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid antioxidant too. So, I think they both could be included. But I think that if you weighed the nutrient density, white potatoes also have a higher satiety.
Shawn: Yes. There’s an interesting compound that’s in there that I believe is a protein, a certain amino acid, but I don’t remember. But that Slendesta, that ingredient that’s been patented.
Shawn: Is a protein that’s from white potatoes, and it helps with satiety. There’s data on satiety.
Shawn: So that’s maybe one of the big reasons potato has satiety.
Shawn: “Butter’s vindication is part of rethinking of full-fat dairy.” Yeah!
Tim: Is this article written by the Dairy Association, or what?
Shawn: [laughs] Yeah, exactly. “To get away from butter decades ago, people started opting for artificial alternatives full of trans-fat,” again, processed, “which have turned out to be awful for your health.” Surprise. [laughs] “As fats, including dairy fats have been vindicated, it’s become more and more clear that butter isn’t necessarily bad for you. Again, moderation is key.” I don’t think moderation is even key here.
Shawn: And I think it’s a question of processed foods that drive overconsumption, that are made to be highly profitable. They’re cheap. They process them by making things like trans-fat. What’s the cheapest way we can get something to be solid at room temperature? We’ll destroy it with this trans-fat process. And surprise, it’s awful for your health. That’s why it doesn’t occur in nature. So again, just eat whole food. No one’s going to be like, “Hey, whole food turned out to be bad for you. You should have been eating margarine and Oreos this whole time.” [laughs] But that news isn’t going to come out. I promise. [laughs] So just eat whole food. [signs]
Tim: One thing I did want to mention about butter is that the churning process of butter actually does remove that milk fat globule membrane that I talked about. So, maybe not as many health benefits associated with butter as maybe your full-fat milk or something like that. But definitely not the problem. Butter is not a problem, especially compared to margarine, which is a huge problem. I hate margarine. It upsets me when I see when, [chuckles] when I see that in people’s refrigerators.
Shawn: I know.
Tim: It literally feels like it’s my responsibility to take it and throw it out when I’m there.
Tim: And there’s studies that have shown that kind of long-standing advice to replace saturated fats with these omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which is basically margarine, is completely false. In fact, it’s increased rates of mortality and cardiovascular disease, and things like that.
Shawn: Ah, frustrating. Where are these messages coming from? Someone’s profiting. “Even salt isn’t as bad as anti-sodium proponents might have you believe.” I totally agree with this. “Salt makes everything taste better, and it turns out the evidence against seasoning food is far less conclusive than dietary recommendations would have you believe. The growing body of research indicates that for people who don’t already have high blood pressure, salt consumption doesn’t really seem to have much of an impact on health.
There’s even evidence that getting too little sodium might be connected to higher blood pressure, but more data is needed. Perhaps the most useful thing is to be aware of how much salt we’re eating in the first place. Processed foods that are packed with sodium aren’t healthy for a variety of reasons. And those foods and restaurant foods make up 70% of the average person’s sodium intake. Salt added to food being cooked at home and added at the table are only about 10% of average salt intake.” That’s interesting. “Avoid too much processed food, but don’t feel bad about a sprinkle of salt on your home-cooked potatoes.”
Here again, I totally agree. When you take the salt out of these ultra-processed foods that adds to that bliss point, that helps you overeat, then fine. I agree with that. Again, don’t eat as much processed food. But salt itself, not unhealthy. You can have salt on everything you want. I feel like you can have a ton of salt, even 6 grams a day. If you’re on a ketogenic diet, you can eat more salt. You should have more salt. A lot of times when people on a keto and they have brain fog, one of the reasons besides their fat not being high enough and then probably messing with net carbs and things like that, is another reason is that sometimes their sodium’s too low.
Shawn: And sometimes you just tell like someone on keto to up their sodium and they’re like, “Oh my god, I feel like a million dollars.” And we’re just in this salt-phobic world right now, and you know, for athletes, I don’t think that after water that there is a more profound ergogenic aid and performance enhancer than sodium.
Shawn: It’s amazing how much sodium is correlated to performance. And sodium, for thousands of years, has been associated with great health.
Shawn: It was like one of the first currencies.
Tim: The salt of the earth.
Shawn: Yeah, Romans used it as a currency. We sent our soldiers out in World War I and II with salt tablets. Then all the sudden, salt’s bad.
Tim: Come on. And that’s based on a theory, mind you. It’s not even sound science. There’s a great book that just been recently published. Dr. James DiNicolantonio wrote a book called, The Salt Fix, and we’ll link to that show notes. You should definitely check that out. I wrote an article on the blog that’s about sodium. And yeah, this is another one of those. It’s kind of like cholesterol type of thing. It’s a bad theory that just has become pervasive. I would say, most people probably within the 3 to 4 gram range of sodium per day is probably a healthier target, which is 2-3 times more than what’s commonly recommended.
Like this is saying, is that the average person’s three-quarters of their salt intake, their sodium intake, is coming from processed foods. And when you remove those processed foods, you actually need to start adding sodium to your diet.
Tim: And you start to remove processed foods and you start to become more physically active, where you’re losing sodium, you really need to be mindful of increasing your sodium intake by actively salting your food. I actually add sodium or salt to my water.
Shawn: Right. I do too, especially when I’m playing sports.
Shawn: Especially in the heat, I actually do, because I play sports and because I’m a ketogenic dieter. I do get sometimes upwards of 6 grams a day, but it’s not from processed foods.
Shawn: And I’ve never had any health issues, and I get labs done all the time. So, discard that crap.
Tim: I have one salt recommendation that I found is Redmond is the brand. It is Redmond sea salt. It comes from Utah. And it’s just great-tasting.
Shawn: Interesting thing on sea salt. Someone told me this the other day, that there’s actually been an uptick in thyroid issues because people aren’t getting iodized salt anymore.
Tim: That’s right.
Shawn: And iodine isn’t in the diet as much anymore because people don’t eat seaweed, typically, unless you’re a big sushi eater. And they’re eating sea salt now instead of iodized salt. So, thoughts on that?
Tim: That’s why I chose Redmond, because it actually has iodine.
Shawn: Nice. Okay, perfect.
Tim: But I would say that that’s something to consider, for sure.
Shawn: Okay, so we’ll link that in the show notes, as well. The last one, and it’s a controversial one, but I love finishing on a controversy. “For the vast majority of people, gluten is fine. In recent years, gluten-free has become a marketing term attached to all kinds of foods with gluten-free diets often cited by celebrities and other trend makers. But gluten simply refers to a mixture of proteins found in wheat, something humanity has eaten for thousands of years. For the approximately 1% of the world with celiac disease, it can cause serious problems. A tiny percentage of other people may have some sort of non‑celiac sensitivity, where gluten makes them feel uncomfortable. But for the vast majority of us, gluten is totally fine.” I know, Tim, you’re kind of the expert on this, so I’ll let you roll with it.
Tim: Yeah, we have touched on this before. I think this article really does a nice job of talking about that, that many people unnecessarily remove gluten or restrict gluten‑containing foods from their diet. I think the last time we talked about this that maybe 5% of the population has gluten sensitivity. And when you can compare that to self-diagnosis or self-reported, it’s much, much lower.
When you go on a gluten-free diet, you are restricting a lot of those processed carbohydrates or fine carbohydrates, naturally, because you’re removing refined flour from your diet. So, in that sense, it’s probably a good restriction to have, for some people. However, if you unnecessarily restrict gluten, then maybe you’re missing out on having a slice of pizza with your friends or eating a sandwich every once in a while, and things like that, maybe. So, I think that unnecessary restriction can cause this phobia and stress about eating for a lot of people.
Shawn: Yeah, yeah.
Tim: And that’s where I would be concerned with it. It’s definitely not the first line of defense for me. And you have other issues with gluten-containing foods, like FODMAPs or trypsin inhibitors that could be causing problems. So, to pinpoint or to point the finger at gluten is erroneous, in my opinion, and unnecessarily restrictive and can cause some problems, psychologically.
Shawn: Nice. Well that was a good list. That was fun to go through, and hopefully you appreciated it. And we will be back on another episode soon. We really appreciate you listening. And if you can, go to Google Play, Stitcher, iTunes, Spotify, and listen to us and subscribe. Or you can go to BioTrustRadio.com and listen to us there. And you’ll see all the show notes, the transcript of the show, all the links of stuff we’ve talked about. All that fun stuff.
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Tim: Take care, gang.