This is not Steven Gundry MDs first time on the Genius Life podcast, so feel free to listen to episodes 49 and 216 to learn more from this articulate longevity expert. He is a former cardiac surgeon, a practicing physician, and author of the best selling books The Plant Paradox, The Longevity Paradox, The Energy Paradox, and his latest offering, Unlocking the Keto Code.
I have been eating once or twice a day only this year (2022), and in a very short space of time I have noticed interesting changes to my body. The love handles which are common on most men of my age are mysteriously disappearing. Yes I know that by eating once or twice a day you effectively force yourself into a calorie deficit. But this is different.
Over the last 12 months I have been trying to lean back down to what I consider my fighting weight of 67/68kgs. I went from 77kgs in April 2021, to currently 69kgs in March 2022. The last time I was down at this weight was in 2016, but the difference in my appearance is quite contrasting.
In 2016, I looked gaunt and skinny and not very well. I also still looked fat, something which is described as skinny fat. Of course I have worked hard to build muscle through resistance training and other activities. But I just know what is happening to me now is something different I have not experienced before. And after listening to this podcast, I strongly believe it is to do with reduced meal frequency.
As with everything in this Instagram world, a label seems to be applied to anything which is not considered the norm. In this case the label would be Intermittent Fasting (IF). Prior to such labelling, it was simply called, eating one or two meals per day.
By eating less frequently, you can compress the eating window (the hours in the day between where you start and finish eating). This will encourage metabolic adaptation, which is an incredibly important part of human biology, and one which many humans today never achieve.
Metabolic adaptation simply means the ability to switch between the two human energy systems. Being glycogen (from carbohydrates), and ketones (from fats).
Because most of us are eating three meals per day, and within those three meals is always some form of carbohydrate, our bodies never actually switch from burning glycogen to burning fats.
Within the many benefits of fasting is this highly important metabolic adaptation which I will attempt to explain as simply as possible:
- The human body can store approximately 400gms of glycogen (from carbohydrates) within the muscles and liver.
- Once those storage buckets are full, excess glucose spills out into the bloodstream and is stored as fat cells (this is an incredibly simplistic description of the process, but I do not want to get bogged down into scientific detail for the sake of understanding)
- If you continually eat carbohydrates, glycogen storage is always full and glucose is constantly spilling into the bloodstream converting to fat cells.
- If you fast, the glucose/glycogen can be fully used up, as this is always the first energy storage to be called upon. At this point your body has to switch its energy burning fuel to fat by burning ketones.
This switching back and forth from glucose energy to fat/ketone energy is metabolic adaptation. The more often you can switch back and forth, the more metabolically adapted you become, and the easier it is for your body to continually switch these energy systems.
Once you are metabolically adapted, there are ways to fuel the fat burning fires even faster by using MCT oils. But rather than explain how that works, I suggest you settle down and listen to this podcast where you will also learn:
- Why continued digestion is damaging to the gut wall.
- The more you work the digestive system, the more chance there is to damage the gut wall.
- Why resting the energy intensive digestive system allows mitochondria time to repair and multiply.
- Why the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is a modern construct, and not true in the common understanding of the phrase.
- The history of the ketogenic diet, and how ketones are used as fuel by the body and brain.
- The pitfalls of eating a strict ketogenic diet, and how we can gain benefits of manufacturing ketones by simply compressing our eating window.
- The complex role of polyphenols on our gut health.
- Dr. Gundry’s favourite polyphenol and post-biotic rich foods, and why he is such a fan of adding vinegar to your diet when eating carbohydrates.
- And much much more……..