Reverse Dieting, Chemo Recovery, Low Carb Muscle Gain | THRR028
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News topic du jour:
Coronavirus is driving down global carbon dioxide emissions to levels last seen 10 years ago, agency says
1. LPIR vs Craft Test [11:39]
Robb and Nicki,Can you discuss the relationship between the craft test and the LP-IR test? Are they equivalent, ie does having a low LP-IR score mean you will be category one on the craft test or do they measure different things? If they are different what are the differences.
2. Chemo recovery [16:44]
Brief: My 69 year old mother has just finished her 6 month chemo ‘medication’ for Follicular Lymphoma. She is due her scan to assess progress, but by all other accounts seem to be responding very well. I’m planning to put her on a mostly red meat diet to help her recover.
I’m not an expert by any stretch, but have been learning a bit about paleo / carnivore way of eating and have been 90% carnivore myself for 6 month with lovely results. Weight -25kg and great bloods etc.
In any case, my questions is –
besides eating beef, lamb (steak + mince + liver aiming for 1.6g/lean kg mass), eggs, fish, pork, chicken, butter, cheese (weekly) and some fruit, nuts (avoid peanuts, almonds, cashew) and veg sprinkled in there – is there anything else like certain supplements that you would recommend she perhaps take generally for a while to help build up what the treatment may have destroyed. One article explained that some B vitamins especially can be depleted after chemo.
Or should the above diet be fine in replenishing her body over months?
ps. I’m also keen on getting her to gently do some exercise.
Any guidance or points would be very welcome.
Love your work
3. Can Low Carb Work for Hard Gainers? [22:16]
Hey Robb and Nicki! Long time listener, first time caller. Love the renewed mission and content – it is critical! Here’s my question:
Have you seen a low carb template work for people that have a hard time putting on muscle? For context, I’m 6’0″, 155#, 11% BF, and 30 years old (though this problem isn’t new). I split my training between CrossFit and lifting heavy compound/functional movements. I’ve always been a “sugar/carb burner” and since my training has been biased towards strength and CrossFit, I have always eaten high carb (i.e. 350g a day) still in the paleo/whole foods world, but still have a lot of difficulty adding muscle even at a caloric surplus. I continuously experiment with my calories and macros but have never tried low carb as I thought it would be too hard to get enough calories and it didn’t make sense to me with my training. Am I missing out on gains not trying low carb? My standard labs are all in good shape – are there other tests I should be doing to see where I’m lacking (i.e. Nutritional DNA tests)? (There are obviously important factors outside of nutrition – I’m constantly trying to optimize my sleep and recovery so let’s focus on nutrition for the sake of this question.)
4. Reverse Dieting [29:48]
Hey Robb, I’ve been a long-time fan of your work, have all of your books and see you largely as a voice of reason in the sea of ever-growing health and wellness opinion. So, thank you!
First, a little about me for context. I’m a 63 yr old woman, 5’5″ and currently weigh 244 pounds. I have hypothyroidism, and until I adopted a keto diet struggled with high blood pressure and borderline insulin resistance. My blood pressure and blood glucose both stay nice and steady now (115/70 and 89 respectively), thanks to keto.
Here’s my question. Back about 3 years ago I participated in a group that operated on the reverse dieting concept to restore metabolic rate, and they did it via a decent amount of protein, pretty low fat and massive carbs. My personal macros were 140g protein, 50g fat and 180g carbs. In 4 weeks, I gained 8 pounds and quickly determined that I was going in the wrong direction. After that I became a part of the ketogains community, participated in several bootcamps, and while I made some progress there, it was extremely slow, lost about 10# total, and undoubtedly gained some muscle.
My slow progress with ketogains macros/bootcamp has led me to wonder once again if my metabolic rate has somehow been damaged over the years of desperate attempts to drop my excess body weight, and if so want to understand how to restore it. I’ve run into yet another group that espouses the reverse dieting concept, but they do it the keto way…..I’ve given it a go, just finished 3 weeks, and I am a little surprised at the results. My macros have been set at 60g protein, 20g carbs (total), and 145-200g fat (fat cycling throughout the week). At any average of 600-700 calories higher than any ketogains macros I had, i have somehow managed to drop 3#.
Can you help me understand what’s happening here? Assuming I have some metabolic damage going on, is there anything to this reverse dieting concept or what would you recommend instead?
Thanks in advance for your help.
5. Estrogen in fermented soybeans vs improvements in gut health [41:19]
On a recent podcast, you discussed soy and how estrogenic it is. My question is a follow-up to that: does fermentation remove some of these estrogen-signaling isoflavones, and does it make soy less allergenic in general? I currently live in Japan, and I’m wondering whether it would detract from my mostly carnivore diet to incorporate natto in my eating regimen (for the admittedly vague goal of improving gut health). While I’m not terribly worried about my testosterone or estrogen levels, I’m still a young man and would like the most testosterone and least estrogen as I can manage. Is there a trade off here, and if there is, is it worth it?
Gage C in Okinawa.
Nicki: It’s time to make your health an act of rebellion. We’re tackling personalized nutrition, metabolic flexibility, resilient aging, and answering your diet and lifestyle questions. This is the only show with the bold aim to help one million people liberate themselves from the sick care system. You’re listening to The Healthy Rebellion Radio.
Nicki: The contents of this show are for entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast should be considered medical advice. Please consult your licensed and credentialed functional medicine practitioner before embarking on any health, dietary, or fitness change.
Nicki: Warning: when Robb gets passionate, he’s been known to use the occasional expletive. If foul language is not your thing, if it gets your britches in a bunch, well, there’s always Disney+.
Robb: Howdy, wife.
Nicki: Howdy, hubs.
Robb: What’s going on?
Nicki: Good morning.
Robb: Good morning.
Nicki: It’s early in the wee hours. We’re trying a new experiment. We’re trying to record while the kids are still sleeping.
Robb: Yeah. I’m sure it will end disastrously, but-
Nicki: So, if we get interrupted this go-around, that’s why.
Nicki: What else is new, hubs?
Robb: We have sighted land in the coronavirus-
Robb: … ocean and paddling towards shore. So, very excited about that.
Nicki: Yep, yep. This is good. This is good. Oh, I wanted to do a shout out to a listener, JB Reynolds. He sent us an email after our little rant about Wunderlist getting bought out by Microsoft and going to shit. He sent us an email suggesting an app called OurGroceries and, oh my gosh, it is perfect. It is exactly what we wanted. You can have multiple lists for grocery stores.
Robb: It syncs. It’s easy.
Nicki: It syncs. It’s easy. It actually even has a super cool feature where you can put all of the ingredients for different recipes that you make, and then if you … Let’s say you want to make a thing. You can tap and populate your shopping list at any store. You get to choose which store you want to populate it at with all the ingredients in that recipe, all at once, or you can selectively say, “Oh, I’m going to need to get ginger from HEB and this thing from the co-op or whatever.” So, you can selectively add things from your recipes as well. Anyway, JB, thank you so much.
Robb: Yeah. Thank you. Lifesaver.
Nicki: That literally is as close of a thing to Wunderlist as we found and actually has even more features.
Robb: It’s kind of better in some ways.
Nicki: Yeah. Thank you.
Robb: And just as a quick digression around that … Oh, well, two digressions. One is the pronunciation. The other one, it is kind of funny. I remember when we ran the gym. If we changed anything, people freaked out. I mean, it was like there was a piece of artwork on the wall and you moved it.
Nicki: People don’t like change.
Robb: Yeah, people don’t like change. I like to think of myself as being reasonably adaptable, and being an entrepreneur for 15 plus years forces some degree of adaptability. But I think with corona and moving and all this other stuff-
Robb: … and then fucking Wunderlist gets shut down. I wanted to murder someone. I’m like, “You motherfuckers.” God, just leave it alone!
Nicki: You needed to add in an extra meditation there, babe.
Robb: Yeah. I did.
Nicki: Didn’t help.
Robb: That’s the only thing that kept me from going crazy. It’s funny how you can keep your life kind of buttoned up and keep the straps kind of keeping your load tied down, and then one thing like that, and it’s ba-twing.
Nicki: Yeah, definitely.
Robb: You had a digression around this.
Nicki: Well, I was sitting here this morning thinking about the OurGroceries app, and I was like, “Groceries,” because we’re homeschooling the girls, and they know the rule that, when C comes before an E, I, or Y, the C says, “Ss.” I was like, “Groceries. Groceries. It should be groceries, but I say groceries.” If the girls pronounced it phonetically, they would spell it with an sh. So, I went in to the bathroom where Robb was, and I said, “Robb, you know when you go shopping for food? What do you call that?”
Robb: I was like, “Foraging? Provisioning?”
Nicki: It took a while. If we were playing a game or a game show, we would have … The buzzer would have rang.
Robb: I was playing the game of “Am I going to hang myself in the bathroom? I guess not today.”
Nicki: So, finally he was like, “Groceries?” I’m like, “Oh, okay.” So, I don’t know if it’s a West Coast thing or … I don’t know. Maybe we’ve been saying it wrong all along.
Robb: I don’t know. I have no deep insights into that, but-
Nicki: Anyway. That’s a total tangent, but it was some of the early morning musings, and we’re recording this early.
Robb: That’s a sign of getting up too early. Yes, yes.
Nicki: All right. Let’s tackle our news topic today. Hubs, what do you got for us?
Robb: If you scroll up a little bit here … I’m letting Nicki drive the bus on this. Really interesting, kind of unfortunate that we can’t get this directly into the forthcoming Sacred Cow book and film. Nicki is insistent that we’re going to try.
Nicki: I don’t see why we can’t get the publisher to put a single page before. It could even be right at the beginning.
Robb: Think about when you’re rolling out a major logistical thing, and then somebody drops it on you.
Nicki: It’s one page. I know. So, we’re going to ask.
Robb: One page.
Nicki: Squeaky wheel.
Robb: Anyway, anyway, a Washington Post piece, coronavirus is driving down global carbon dioxide emissions to levels last seen 10 years ago, and this-
Nicki: So, it’s not cow farts or burps.
Robb: Well, that’s kind of the rub. Yes. This is sponsored by the International Energy Agency. If people are, they’re like, “Well, of course they would say that,” well, they come back with saying we shouldn’t even open the economy unless we open it as a, quote, green economy. Sorry. This isn’t Salty Talk, so I won’t go too crazy on this one. Nobody really delineates what that means. I’ll just say it generally, particularly from news outlets like this, never means nuclear energy or anything that actually kind of sort of makes sense in this context.
Robb: So, if you’re going to poo-poo this and say, “Well, of course the International Energy Agency is going to make this claim,” this is third-party validated. It is broadly seen that carbon dioxide levels are decreasing, and we can actually make this case. I’m hesitant to use the word proof, but we can make the case that this is real. They are using this as kind of a social-political skinny end of the wedge to suggest that we need more renewables and green energy and all that stuff.
Robb: That’s a great conversation to have, particularly on the heels of the driver of anthropogenic climate change is not animal husbandry, period, hard stop. Go fuck yourself, vegans. It’s not. And I’ve tried to be nice people over the course of time, the whole honey attracts more than vinegar, something like that, but at some point it’s just willful ignorance to continue to promulgate these statements that raising cattle accounts for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and the United States. And that is just bullshit. It is orders of magnitude off the mark.
Robb: So, if you’re insisting that that’s the problem, then all of your solutions will be oriented towards that, and that means none of your solutions are going to work, because it’s oriented in the wrong direction. Yeah, maybe I should do a Salty Talk on this one-
Nicki: You might should.
Robb: … so I can just freak out and have my moment. But, anyway, read this. Think about it. If you have some pushback on it, let’s have a discussion. But, again, let’s start having a conversation around things like this. If you really want to tackle a whole host of issues, it’s really valuable to have an accurate depiction of reality before you start that. It’s like, if you wanted to go into brain surgery, and you’re like, “I’m just going to keep my eyes closed and just kind of feel it out.” It’s like, that’s not going to work very well. You don’t have an accurate depiction of reality, and so you’re not going to make appropriate decisions. This is the same case.
Nicki: Yeah. I think you should do a Salty Talk on that one.
Robb: I probably should.
Nicki: Yep. All right. Let’s announce our T-shirt winner for our review of the week, and it goes to Bennett M. Smith. Bennett, a healthy take on nutrition information. I’ve been following Robb since he was a gym owner offering nutritional advice as a cornerstone to a healthy lifestyle. He breaks down complex topics in an entertaining and pragmatic way. I love the broad range of topics that help provide innovative ways to improve your quality of life.
Robb: Bennett’s like old guard.
Nicki: Old school crossfit. Yeah, Bennett, it’s so good to see your name pop up in the reviews. Thank you. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your T-shirt size and your mailing address, and we’ll send you a Healthy Rebellion Radio T-shirt.
Nicki: This episode of the Healthy Rebellion Radio is sponsored by Four Sigmatic, the makers of the incredibly popular mushroom coffee with chaga and lion’s mane, your go-to morning beverage to support productivity, focus, and creativity. We’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of people in The Healthy Rebellion community and elsewhere who are in these times experiencing a little bit of heightened anxiety and choosing to decrease their coffee consumption.
Robb: We did.
Nicki: Yeah, we did too.
Robb: I think we mentioned this a week into this whole thing. We were kind of like, “Okay, we need to pump the breaks on the caffeine intake.”
Nicki: Yeah. Definitely getting a little heart palpitation. It was just like, “Okay, there’s just too much going on right now.” So, Four Sigmatic is perfect, because their mushroom coffee is great, and it only has like 50-
Robb: 50 milligrams of caffeine in it.
Nicki: … milligrams of caffeine. So, a lot-
Robb: If you still need a little something-something, then that’s a great option. Then they have all their caffeine free options.
Nicki: So, if you’re a coffee drink who’s looking for an alternative or even if you don’t want to replace coffee but you want a healthy creativity and productivity boosting beverage, then Four Sigmatic is your go-to.
Robb: Wow. That was a lot.
Nicki: Check out Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffees, matchas, cocoas, mushroom elixir mixers at foursigmatic.com/rebel. And if you use code REBEL, R-E-B-E-L, you’ll get 15% off your order. You ready to answer some questions?
Robb: Yeah. I had a grammatical question that I was going to fire off to you.
Nicki: What is it?
Robb: When is it rebel versus rebel?
Nicki: It depends on if you’re talking about a rebel in the Healthy Rebellion, which is why we gave them that code to use, or rebel … Yeah, I don’t have a good question.
Robb: Okay. Okay, I’m just curious. Just one of those-
Nicki: A rebel is the noun; rebel is the verb.
Robb: Why do you pronounce it differently?
Nicki: I don’t know.
Robb: Okay. Fair enough, fair enough. Just curious. You’re the one handling the phonetics and all that. So, yep.
Nicki: I don’t know. Maybe there’s differences in pronunciations from East Coast to West Coast on these words too.
Robb: Could be. Could be.
Nicki: All right. Our first question today is from Mike on the LPIR versus the Kraft test. Robb and Nicki, can you discuss the relationship between the Kraft test and the LPIR test? Are they equivalent, i.e. does having a low LPIR score mean you will be category one on the cast test, or do they measure different things? If they are different, what are the differences? Thanks.
Robb: Yeah. This is a lot to unpack. A good place to start with this is just actually the way that they … One, are folks familiar with the Kraft pattern? I actually kind of neglected to even think about that. But Kraft patterns were developed by this physician I believe 1970s, could have been earlier than that, and it looks at blood glucose levels, insulin levels, and different patterns emerge where folks will, say, get a very high blood glucose level, and then a high insulin level, and then a crash. Again, there’s five different patterns that emerge from this. It kind of gives you a sense of prediabetes, pre-prediabetes, right on the verge of diabetes, diabetes.
Robb: The thing with the LPIR score is it was developed looking at a ton of nurses’ health data correlating different biomarkers that are found in the NMR profile to these different health states. What’s interesting about that is that folks can be heading towards type two diabetes for quite some time, prediabetes, type two diabetes, prior to seeing any blood glucose elevations really. And this is some of the stuff that can emerge within the Kraft patterns.
Robb: The thing about the Kraft patterns … They’re really cool, and the guy deserves a major hat-tip for the work that he did, but they’re shockingly expensive to do. Like hardly anybody does them at this point. They’re really invasive. They take about six hours, I believe, to do a full Kraft pattern. So, I’ve been a little bit frustrated by the Kraft pattern, because everybody kind of geeks out about it, but Peter Attia really makes this point pretty clearly, which is only test the things that you can do something about.
Robb: Now, you could make the case that, if your Kraft pattern comes back and it’s garbage, then, okay, we probably need low-carb, and we need to lift some weights and do all that type of stuff. But the other kind of corollary there is don’t recommend tests that you can’t fucking do. So, it’s really hard to do a Kraft pattern. It is dead simple to do an LPIR score. Again, the LPIR score, I would say that there’s been no … Or, you know what? Actually, I seem to remember talking to William Cromwell about this, and there might be somewhere in the development of the LPIR score …
Robb: So, the paper I linked to describes the history of where the LPIR score came from and the validation process and all that type of jive, and I think that there was … Bill Cromwell said that there was some integration of the Kraft pattern stuff in there, now that I’m thinking about that. I’ll try to remember to look that up. And if I find something else, I’ll put it in the show notes. But it’s just kind of jogging my memory talking about it.
Robb: But I find the LPIR score super valuable. The nice thing about it is numbers on a spectrum. Closer to zero, you’re more metabolically healthy, more insulin sensitive. Higher, you are less so. It’s cool, because, if the number changes, the favorable direction is real and valuable and we can, based off of adding in some numbers like your age, gender, ethnicity, get a really good sense of where you are on your metabolic health and the risk associated with type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease. Again, it’s like a $100 test, and it’s accessible. You can get it anywhere so long as you’re in the United States. I will say Canada, the UK … The UK has a little access to the LPIR sure, but it’s very, very difficult by comparison to get it.
Robb: So, they’re not exactly the same. They definitely do look at similar stuff. They are both valuable in providing some predictive elements to are you heading towards type two diabetes, are you pre-diabetic, and what have you, but I just … The Kraft patterns is such amazing work, really valuable insight, and an absolute pain in the balls to use. So, part of me just kind of wishes they would disappear and everybody would understand the LPIR score, because that’s just something that’s actionable. It’s easy, and it’s inexpensive.
Nicki: Got it. And we’ll link to that paper in the show notes. Our next question is from Derrick on chemo recovery. Good afternoon. Brief: My 69-year-old mother has just finished her six-month chemo medication for follicular lymphoma. She is due for her scan to assess progress, but by all other accounts seems to be responding very well. I’m planning to put her on a mostly red meat diet to help her recover. I’m not an expert by any stretch, but I’ve been learning a bit about paleo carnivore way of eating, and I have been 90% carnivore myself for six months with lovely results. I’ve lost 25 kilos and have great blood lipids.
Nicki: In any case, my question is, besides eating beef, lamb, steak, and mince and liver, aiming for 1.6 grams of lean kilogram mass, eggs, fish, pork, chicken, butter, cheese weekly, and some fruits and nuts, we’ll be avoiding peanuts, almonds, and cashews, and veggies sprinkled in there, is there anything else like certain supplements that you would recommend she perhaps take generally for a while to help build up what the treatment may have destroyed? One article explained that some B vitamins especially can be depleted after chemo. Or should the above diet be fine in replenishing her body over months? P.S. I’m also keen on getting her to do some exercise. Any guidance or points would be very welcome. Love your work. Derrick.
Robb: Man. Really good question. Nobody really knows. I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s anything specifically that’s going to help from kind of a nutrient deficiency standpoint. I will say that, when we’re talking about cancer, this is one of the things that Loren Cordain was really concerned about, like the high-dose B vitamins. He was working on a paper that I don’t think ever got published, but it was looking at all the nutrients in foods and then basically doing a 3D mapping of the amount and ratios of the different food. It was kind of like a topographical map.
Robb: There wasn’t that much difference. Some foods are comparatively high in vitamin C, but there are these bounds. There’s not like a Mount Everest of Vitamin C. They happen within certain amounts, certain ratios. One of his concerns was taking things in particular, like B vitamins. The amounts are just superphysiologic, and people make the case that RDAs are based around deficiency diseases, not around optimization. But even then, when we look at some of the work that they did in his early papers, like Contemporary Diet, Native Paleo Food Sources, people ended up generally getting multiples of the RDA on the vitamins, minerals, what have you, not uniformly. Things like calcium were kind of middle of the road and stuff like that, which is interesting in and of itself.
Robb: But, again, there was kind of this topography to it that wasn’t super extreme, and his concern, particularly again for B vitamins, because they’re involved with all these methylation processes, and methylation is so important in cancer promotion and suppression, that-
Nicki: You don’t want to mess with that so much?
Robb: You don’t want to mess with that. You kind of want that to happen at that infinite processing level of our genetics and our metabolism. You don’t want to be the guy that’s trying to-
Nicki: Flip the switches?
Robb: … be smarter than your genetics and your metabolism. So, I would strongly default to just whole, unprocessed foods. I’m glad that he mentioned exercise. We know for a fact that people that exercise do better under a host of different health circumstances, and it’s crystal clear that it helps improve outcomes with different chemotherapy regimens. Then the other piece is sunlight, going out and getting sun on your person, getting sun on your skin. Again, it’s not trying to turn yourself into a leather handbag, but-
Nicki: Just going out for a morning walk, sitting out and-
Robb: Circadian entrainment. Yep, all that stuff. Again, I talk about this in my longevity piece. People who are under-sun exposed are as at high risk for morbidity, mortality as smokers versus nonsmokers.
Nicki: Which is huge.
Robb: It’s a huge deal. So, we can hang our hat really strongly on largely whole, unprocessed or minimally processed whole food diet. Okay. Done. Get some exercise. Get some sun on your person, and have some meaningful relationships. We can take that to the bank.
Robb: Different supplements, I don’t know. There’s interesting research on all kinds of different things, but, again, I think trying to outsmart biology, it’s a dodgy proposition, whereas these things we can take this to the bank. So, I would lean towards that. Again, the number of things that you’re asking … I think he said that she’s 69 years old.
Robb: She may be super adaptable. Sometimes folks are, sometimes they’re not. Anybody gets overwhelmed at some point. So, you kind of want to pick your battles. If she’s willing to largely modify her diet in this direction, I think that that’s probably great. Then get her lifting some weights and walking and getting some sun. That’s as good as we’re likely to do. Yeah.
Nicki: Awesome. We’ve got a question from Ben. Can low-carb work for hard gainers? Hi, Robb and Nicki. Longtime listener, first time caller. Love the renewed mission and content. It is critical. Here’s my question. Have you seen a low-carb template work for people that have a hard time putting on muscle? For context, I’m six feet tall, 155 pounds, 11% body fat, and 30 years old, though this problem isn’t new. I split my training between crossfit and lifting heavy, compound, functional movements. I’ve always been a sugar carb burner, and since my training has been biased towards strength and crossfit, I’ve always eaten high-carb, about 350 grams a day.
Nicki: Still in the paleo whole foods world, but still have a lot of difficulty adding muscle even at a caloric surplus. I continuously experiment with my calories and macros, but I’ve never tried low carb, because I thought it would be too hard to get enough calories, and it didn’t make sense to me with my training. Am I missing out on gains not trying low-carb? My standard labs are all in good shape. Are there other tests I should be doing to see where I’m lacking like nutritional DNA tests? There are obviously important factors outside of nutrition. I’m constantly trying to optimize my sleep and recovery.
Nicki: So, let’s focus on nutrition for the sake of this question.
Robb: What do you think here, wife?
Nicki: There are lots of people that are able to put on muscle low-carb. It’s calories.
Robb: The thing that I’m getting from … It’s mainly calories. Ben, something that I’m not seeing here … You didn’t delineate a goal. But if the goal is to let’s just say gain muscle mass or what have you, some peripheral goals to that. I want a triple body weight deadlift. I want a double body weight back squat. I want a body weight plus 50% bench, and a body weight standing press. 10 pull-ups with 40 pounds on a weight belt. You get some strength goals like that, and then work to hit those strength goals. But I’m not seeing a … There’s kind of a goal here of, I guess, getting stronger, bigger, but then there’s crossfit in the mix. There’s just a reality some people get real jacked doing crossfit, but even then, I think if you look at the way that they train, they’re not doing crossfit. They’re doing smart strength and conditioning and then peak and then get ready for crossfit.
Robb: So, one thing I think that’s missing is a really delineated goal. If you want to get big, you want to get strong, which it seems completely reasonable that we should be able to stick like 30 pounds of muscle on this guy and take him from 155 to 185 in a year and a half, two years. But you’ve got to ditch the crossfit. If you want to do a little low intensity cardio, if you want to O lift or whatever, but I would at something of kind of a power bodybuilding program, the Ketogains 5×5 program, something like that. Again, the conditioning just needs to go out the fucking window. What’s the saying? One ass cannot sit on two saddles or something like that.
Nicki: I haven’t heard that.
Robb: You’ve got to fucking pick a lane. At six feet, 155 pounds, that’s pretty really thin. So, this is above and beyond the whole discussion around, “Will low-carb be of benefit?” It sounds like eating enough calories is already challenging. If there’s one great benefit of low-carb, it’s that it’s satiating. So, that may not drive the boat in the right direction. That said though, depending … This is where some followup questions would be really-
Nicki: Right. Being able to ask.
Robb: … really nice. I would be really curious if Ben is able to go six or eight hours without eating. Because if he’s not, you can eat high-carb, but your body needs carbs constantly. If you get into a carb deficit-
Nicki: You’re hungry.
Robb: … you’re hungry, and you start breaking down protein immediately. So, that’s where even moderating carbs … Keep enough in there to kind of kick the appetite centers, but maybe a little bit lower, and he’s not going to be as purely a sugar burner. That can buy you a little bit of buffer too. Again, it depends, but people have gotten big, strong, and jacked on very low-carb, very high-carb.
Robb: At the end of the day, I think we’ve said this before, you probably will need to eat until you hit a point where you feel disgusted and you feel that way almost all the time. And you just keep fucking doing it. In my opinion, gaining significant muscle mass is far more difficult, far more uncomfortable, than really leaning out. I know a bunch of people want to murder me on that, but you’re not … If you’re trying to do it with some eye towards body composition and not just Ho-Hos and Twinkies and just going crazy, it sucks. You’re just full all the time. You feel backed up. Your digestion isn’t great. There’s a huge amount of time, effort, and money that goes into it. So, there’s another thing too. Why do you want to do this? Is the juice really worth the squeeze on this stuff?
Robb: One final thing, if you want to, doing a hormone profile, total testosterone, total and free testosterone, maybe thyroid panel, just to get a snapshot of that. If for no other reason, I really wish that I had done something like that when I was 28 to 32., because then I would have had a snapshot of what a youthful hormone profile looked like for me.
Nicki: For you.
Robb: Then that way, as I go forward, if I decide to tinker with some TRT or something like that, then I’ve at least got a benchmark of like, “Oh, this is probably where I want my total testosterone, free testosterone, estrogen, estradiol, whatever have you.” So, if I were to do any testing, that’s something that I would do, and more as a bench mark. But who knows? Maybe we have some really low testosterone levels here, and we could do some things to mitigate or address that.
Nicki: Okay. It’s time for the Healthy Rebellion Radio trivia. Today’s trivia sponsor is Drink Element. Drink Element is giving a box of Element Recharge Electrolytes to three lucky winners selected at random who answer this question correctly. Robb, what was the first concert you attended?
Robb: Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction album, and it was at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento.
Nicki: In Sacramento. There you go. There you go.
Robb: There was a insane story around making it to that. I don’t even know if I’ve shared that story with you.
Nicki: I don’t think I’ve heard that story.
Robb: Yeah. It’s a fascinating story.
Nicki: Okay. We’ll save that one for another time.
Robb: Cars literally exploding on the roadway, hitchhiking.
Robb: Fascinating stuff. Yeah.
Nicki: Oh, okay. There we go.
Robb: Yeah. It’s a good story.
Nicki: We’ll have to-
Robb: We need a cocktail for it, but it’s good. So, Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction.
Nicki: Appetite for Destruction. All right. Folks, to play, go to robbwolf.com/trivia and enter your answer. We’ll randomly select three people with the correct answer to win a box of Element Recharge Electrolytes. The cutoff to answer this week’s trivia and be eligible to win is Thursday, May 14th, at midnight. Winners will be notified via email and also on Instagram. This is open to residents of the US only.
Nicki: Okay. We have a question from Cheryl on reverse dieting. Hey, Robb. I’ve been a longtime fan of your work, have all your books, and see you largely as a voice of reason in the sea of ever-growing health and wellbeing opinions. So, thank you. First, a little about me for context. I’m a 63-year-old woman, 5’5″, and currently weight 244 pounds. I have hypothyroidism and, until I adopted a keto diet, struggled with high blood pressure and borderline insulin resistance. My blood pressure and blood glucose both stay nice and steady now, 115/70 and 89 respectively, thanks to keto.
Nicki: Here’s my question. Back about three years ago, I participated in a group that operated on the reverse dieting concept to restore metabolic rate, and they did it via a decent amount of protein, pretty low fat, and massive carbs. My personal macros were 140 grams of protein, 50 grams of fat, and 180 grams of carbs. In four weeks, I gained eight pounds and quickly determined that I was going in the wrong direction. After that, I became a part of the Ketogains community, participated in several boot camps. While I some progress there, it was extremely slow. I lost about 10 pounds total and undoubtedly gained some muscle.
Nicki: My slow progress with the keto macros and boot camp has led me to wonder once again if my metabolic rate has somehow been damaged over the years of desperate attempts to drop my excess body weight. And if so, I want to understand how to restore it. I’ve run into yet another group that espouses the reverse dieting concept, but they do it the keto way. I’ve given it a go, just finished three weeks, and I’m a little surprised at the results. My macros have been set at 60 grams of protein, 20 grams of total carbs, and 145 to 200 grams of fat, fat cycling throughout the week.
Nicki: At any average of 600 to 700 calories higher than any Ketogains macros I had, I have somehow managed to drop three pounds. Can you help me understand what’s happening here? Assuming I have some metabolic damage going on, is there anything to this reverse dieting concept, or what would you recommend instead? Cheryl from Louisville, Kentucky.
Robb: Again, what do you think, wife? There’s a lot going on in here.
Nicki: There’s a lot going on here. The 60 gram of protein is really concerning to me for this most recent thing that she’s trying. I’m wondering about other factors in her life, other than just macros, too like sleep and stress and-
Robb: Well, previously she mentioned extremely slow, lost 10 pounds.
Nicki: And actually, the question here is, what was your body composition change with regards to photos and clothes fitting and stuff? Because sometimes the scale weight just is really not-
Robb: I see a bunch of scale weight fixation here, which, if … Tyler and Luis manage daily weighing, because when they do their boot camps, they are there talking to people every single day. So, they’re able to deal with the neuroses at least to some degree that emerges when people are serially taking their body weight.
Robb: What we’ve recommended for a long time is more of a check-in, a quick snapshot, here’s a benchmark, and then find a pair of pants or a shirt or something that’s tight, and don’t go wash it or do something squirrelly, but don’t necessarily wear it. Use it as literally a size gauge. Do photos. Do some tape measure measurements. Do those the same way each time. Those things don’t really lie to us the same way that the scale weight does.
Robb: Even that said, she doesn’t delineate what the timeframe was where she lost 10 pounds total, and she said that she undoubtedly gained some muscle. I’m assuming she looked better maybe, felt better, strong, better lifts or what have you. But that’s really good progress at the end of the day. And if it took you a year, it took you a year. Now do a second year.
Robb: This is where being very process-oriented instead of outcome-oriented is important, and this is where things like crossfit or at least having a performance orientation to your efforts are valuable, because that’s the goal, not specifically body composition or a particular dress size and stuff like that. If you commit, hell or high water, that you’re going to get 10 dead hang pull-ups, you’re going to have good fucking body composition just by extension. You’re going to do the things necessary to make that happen. Similar if you want a triple body weight deadlift. You’re going to do certain things. And good stuff kind of comes out of that, both aesthetically and performance-wise.
Robb: So, yeah, I’m really concerned about the low protein at this. I’m concerned that a three-pound weight drop, which is a bowel movement plus or minus, is something that’s kind of firing Cheryl up. We don’t know if this was good or bad. So, Cheryl, I super appreciate the kind words, but I think that there’s probably an over-fixation on just the weight.
Nicki: It’s hard too, because sometimes when you’re in a boot camp scenario … I mean, we’re running one of our resets right now, and there was one gentleman who, in the first nine days, lost already 14 pounds. And that’s not the case for everybody. So, sometimes it’s hard when you see other people having really kind of dramatic scale weight successes.
Nicki: We shared a photo of a woman with those pictures in our keto masterclass materials as well … Of a woman who, a before and after, and I can’t remember … It’s like a six dress size or pant size difference. She weighs the same. She weighs 182 pounds in the first picture, and her after photo is 180 pounds. And she looks like a completely … Her physique is completely and entirely different. She has the measurements that she’s taken around her waist and her bust and hips and all that.
Nicki: So, it’s a great image to really show and highlight that the scale is not … The number on the scale is not the be all end all. Because you could look at this woman, and most people would say, “Oh, gosh. She’s lost tons of weight. Look at her in the after photo,” but it’s really a two-pound scale difference. To the degree that you can kind of … I mean, you’ve always said, Robb, give your scale to someone you don’t like. Don’t fixate on it. Cheryl, I would stick with the macros that you were given in the Ketogains boot camps and just keep training, keep working out-
Robb: Get some really specific performance goals like increasing your squat, your deadlift, your press, working towards chin-ups and body rows and stuff like that.
Nicki: Working on your … If you have any sleep issues, trying to rectify those. Getting outside in the morning, getting sunlight on your person. Again, all of those things help with our circadian biology and can help restore-
Robb: She asked kind of twice a little bit about is there metabolic damage here. Well, she mentions that she has hypothyroidism. She didn’t mention whether or not she’s on medication for that. So, that’s a thing that … Is this being properly managed? Then you look at some of the Michael Ruscio stuff that we’ve talked about. Just putting people on thyroid meds doesn’t always address their symptoms, because the thyroid is itself a symptom of, say, gut dysregulation. And this is where this stuff starts getting kind of gnarly to unpack.
Robb: But I will say this, and it’s really kind of controversial within standard dietetic circles and some of the evidence-based crowd and all that, but there’s kind of a reality that folks just tend to overeat also. This was something that, again, I’ve got to give a really good hat-tip to Luis and Tyler where, in the past if somebody was really struggling and they were really emphatically, they’re like, “No, man. I’m following the diet. I’m doing it,” and I’m like, “Okay, I’ll believe you.” Luis was basically like, “It’s bullshit,” and he’s like, “I know it’s bullshit, because I used to do that.” He had every disordered eating thing imaginable prior to where he’s arrived today. He’s like, “People are just overeating.”
Robb: Even folks like Layne Norton, he’s like, “Yeah, you might have some hypoglycemia, but maybe you’re just eating too much food.” This sounds harsh, but it’s amazing to me eating as … I eat a reasonably clean diet. Really when we sit down and add up the numbers on it, I don’t eat that much food calorically. I’m reasonably lean. I’m modestly active. If I was much more active, I might need to bump it up a little bit, but it’s kind of interesting that ironically I think clean eating and the eating more in this keto vein … Greg Glassman, ages ago, he said that he noticed that once people got adapted to that higher fat zone diet, which is not far off of kind of ketogenic ratios, he felt like people ran fine on 25 to 30% below what was normal.
Robb: So, I think a lot of these benchmarks … And there’s all this concern around you’re going to downregulate your metabolism and everything. I don’t know. Maybe there’s some truth to that under some circumstances, but I think under a lot of circumstances folks are just overeating, and it’s easy to overeat relative to what you really need. Yeah. I could go on about that.
Nicki: I think the main thing-
Robb: I’m really concerned about the low protein. I would-
Nicki: The main takeaways are you’re in it for the long haul, not really looking for the quick, massive loss of pounds via the scale. It doesn’t happen for everyone like that. So, I would just keep with the training regimen, keep lifting weights, and keep moving your person, try to keep working to improve your-
Robb: I would go with a higher protein level too.
Nicki: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yep, for longevity and a whole host of reasons.
Robb: I would love for Cheryl to circle back with us. I would be really curious to know what she’s up to, if she wants to join a future Healthy Rebellion Reset. It would be great to have her in there. This again is where things like the Rebel Reset are awesome, because folks post things like, “Hey, so I’m having this problem,” and then we can get this back and forth. Every once in a while, I’ll even like, “Okay, fuck this. Call me, and we’ll spend 10 minutes, and I can … Okay, we’ll unpack this, this, and this. Then we can get it going.” We’ve been able to help a ton of people via this process.
Robb: So, the podcast is cool. We disseminate a lot of information in kind of a quick fashion, but that back and forth, that ability to ask some questions, is really good. So, Cheryl, give this stuff some tinkering, and then reach back out to us.
Nicki: All right. Our last question for this week is from Gage on estrogen and fermented soybeans versus improvements in gut health. Gage says, on a recent podcast you discussed soy and how estrogenic it is. My question is a followup to that. Does fermentation remove some of these estrogens signaling isoflavones, and does it make soy less allergenic in general? I currently live in Japan, and I’m wondering whether it would detract from my mostly carnivore diet to incorporate natto in my eating regimen for the admittedly vague goal of improving gut health.
Nicki: While I’m not terribly worried about my testosterone or estrogen levels, I’m still a young man and would like the most testosterone and least estrogen as I can manage. Is there a trade-off here? And, if there is, is it worth it? Gage in Okinawa.
Robb: Really good question. One of the first questions, does fermentation reduce the isoflavones? No. It actually kind of concentrates them. But then there’s a peripheral question there. Does it change the allergenic nature of the food? It generally improves the allergenic profile for soy. Not everybody who is allergic to soy will fermented soy products be acceptable, but some people it will improve it. Those are two totally separate things, the isoflavones versus the allergenic proteins. Those are two things.
Robb: The only thing that is higher in soy isoflavone concentration are roasted soy nuts versus natto, which is super high. Natto is cool in my perspective, because it’s a great vitamin K2 source. I think it’s valuable in that regard and making sure that you get adequate A, D, and K, specific K2, is really important. So, I think that dropping it in occasionally is probably smart from that regard.
Nicki: Not like a daily thing.
Robb: I don’t know about daily, but men in these areas eat these things daily. It’s interesting though the way that a lot of these foods have traditionally been consumed. It’s with seaweed. There’s some broth and stuff like that. I seem to recall some of the combinations tend to decrease the amount of the activity of these isoflavones. So, they’ve kind of figured this stuff out.
Robb: My good friend Pedro Bastos, he did this massive deep dive on dairy collection around the world in preagricultural societies. What’s really interesting is there are periods of time when the hormone content in milk can be remarkably high, either estrogen or what have you. And these traditional societies kind of instinctively knew don’t collect dairy when the animal is in this period of feeding its young or whatever. They kind of instinctively mapped their way around that. So, that ends up mitigating some of the negative effects.
Robb: I think there’s examples of … Bill Schindler was talking about an Amazonian tribe that eats cassava, but with the cassava they eat this particular type of mineral-rich clay, and it ends up absorbing some of the antinutrients that are in the cassava.
Robb: It takes things so that it’s not coprophagy. That’s shit-eating. It’s geophagy, where people either via instinct or experimentation or what have you, they figure out that, “Oh, if I eat this plant or food, it’s going to give me problems. But if I eat this thing with it, then it helps to mitigate and reduce it.” I do believe that some of the traditional Japanese food preparation techniques and accompaniments and whatnot tended to mitigate the impact of these soy isoflavones.
Nicki: All righty. Gage-
Robb: There you have it. Yeah.
Nicki: There you have it. Maybe the occasional natto in your eating regimen. Okay. That was our final question for this week. Thank you all for joining us. Remember to check out Four Sigmatic for all of your mushroom needs. Foursigmatic.com/rebel, and you can use code REBEL, or rebel as Robb would say, for 15% off.
Robb: It sounds more French. Rebel.
Nicki: Rebel. Yeah. It’s probably something completely other than that though.
Robb: Right. Right.
Nicki: That’s a wrap. Thanks for listening to another episode of the Healthy Rebellion Radio. Please subscribe, leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you go for your podcasting, and-
Robb: Take care, everybody. Here’s to getting out of fucking quarantine.
Nicki: There we go. All right.
Nicki: Cheers, everyone.
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