Hi guys, one of my clients was told by a previous health coach to never have MCT oil because it is highly processed. I know it is fractionated, but I can’t see how that would damage it. Another process is “lipase esterification” which I think involves heat to rearrange the molecules?
You recommend MCT oil often so I can’t imagine it’s up there with hydrogenated oils, if you could please clarify it would be much appreciated.
How to Improve My Carb Tolerance
I love the show including the non-health stuff 😉
You guys are a treasure.
Now my question.
My carb tolerance is poor even though my fasting insulin is low.
Been using a CGM which matches a finger prick within 5-10 points
My fasting glucose is typically 97-105.
Just 100g rice (30g carbs) as a morning test spikes my BG to 180+, though it comes down quickly: 110 by 90 minutes. Same with potatoes, and fruit. If I eat a big meaty restaurant meal with mashed potatoes and a medium dessert, 200!.
Then during the day even if I eat no carbs, my BG will hover from 100-110.
I’m 6-pack lean (12% fat as per DEXA) and fit, 145 lbs 5’7″. I eat carnivore-ish with dairy and fruit. I eat 3x a day (usually just a protein smoothie for breakfast after working out). I do 30 minute daily heavy band workouts, and just started doing daily 20 minutes zone 2 in addition.
No health conditions other than this. I sleep very well most nights.
Am a bit stressed with life recently though.
My TG are typically 70+; HDL 60+. Liver numbers good.
A1c was 5.2, fasting insulin 3.5. This should mean my insulin sensitivity is good.
I seem to have “lost the plot” as a year ago my morning BG was usually 83-89, and my BG would only spike briefly to 125 after a small potato as a morning test. One change is that I used to drink homemade kefir every day. I just re-started again, but so far no improvement.
Some more clues:
– I tested Acarbose and 50 mg reduces the BG spike a lot
– I tested a mountain of carbs and 200 mg Acarbose, and… almost no spike but … HOLY GAS BATMAN!!!!! I’m not doing that again unless I want to annoy my wife and co-workers!
– If I eat a bunch of carbs and I see BG rising rapidly, I do 3-4 minutes of HIIT on my air bike and it brings my BG way down in 15 mins.
– If I have half a shot of Brandy with 4 oz ice cream, my BG spikes less than with ice cream alone… wuuut?
– I tried metformin slow release, 500 mg for 2 weeks and it didn’t seem to help
– I tried berberine for 2 weeks and it didn’t seem to help. I’m now trying dihydroberberine and after a week, no change.
Why is my carb tolerance poor even though my fasted insulin and A1c are low?
How do I improve it? I want to eat the occasional carby meal without my BG spiking to 200.
Thanks so much and may you and all the listeners have the blessing of vibrant health.
Kids and Food
Hi Robb and Nicki! It’s been a year- you both helped me tremendously last spring (2022) when I was diagnosed with GD during the last trimester of my pregnancy. You pointed me to Lily Nichols and her books and videos and I was able to manage my blood sugar through food alone. My doctor was skeptical (surprise, surprise), but humored me for a few weeks until she saw it was working (side note: for any other pregnant moms out there- if you fail the first glucose test, just ask if you can skip the second one and go straight to the glucose monitor. It saved us a lot of time and expedited stopping any potential health issues with the baby… I also didn’t have to have a redo on that nasty drink.). Post-partum, I gave myself a year to try different eating plans, watching my glucose, and by far the most helpful for my milk supply was paleo with lots of water and LMNT.
Last week’s episode- episode 150- was really motivating for me. My husband and I just turned 40 with a 10, 8 and 1 year old. We are in the throws of business in career, kids activities, homeschooling, etc. all while trying to fit in our workouts and eat healthy. We both have weight to drop, but we aren’t gaining, which is a bit of success I guess? With health problems in the past, primarily hormone related, my doctor has always pointed me to a grain and dairy free diet with extremely minimal sugar and alcohol and no coffee (sad but for sure helps me stay healthier than SAD- ha). I’ve been able to get my husband on board after talking to him about Wired to Eat and watching my results. He tried whole 30, then a strict Paleo diet and slept so much better, among other benefits.
The children are the tricky part now. I have no problem telling them what to eat, but I’m curious, what limits do you set for your children with eating and what are some good ways you’ve explained why you eat this way as a family? I see how truly addicting our American food culture is. I didn’t really begin paleo until 2017, and because my husband is just now getting on board, the big kids basically ate the same way as dad- starchy, sugary breakfasts, sandwiches for lunch and paleo dinners unless they felt the need for a tortilla which they would grab on their own. I’ve gotten to a place where grains and sugar are almost completely out of the house now that we are on the same page. The complaints from the big kids are not lacking and the baby flips out if there is even a hint of tortilla, bread or cookie anywhere (he’s grabbed bites and now wants them all the time too). Ideas please!
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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. 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. 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 Plus.
Robb: Welcome back friends, neighbors, loved ones.
Nicki: Hello. Hello. This is episode 153 of The Healthy Rebellion Radio. We’re back, we made it another week. We’re still here.
Robb: For good or ill.
Nicki: Yes. We had a nice visit this past weekend with John Welbourn, good friend of ours from Power Athlete. I’m sure many of you are familiar with him and his work. Former CrossFit football, man of, what do you call him? Renaissance man, man of all the things.
Robb: He is definitely the Renaissance man.
Nicki: Yeah, so it was nice visit. He lives in Austin, Texas. Since leaving Texas, we haven’t really been able to connect in person, so it was nice to have him out just for a couple of nights. Did a little jiu-jitsu.
Robb: I did a little more jiu-jitsu with him than you did.
Nicki: I did not roll with him because you know, what does he weigh?
Nicki: He’s like six foot seven.
Robb: Yeah. There’s not a scrap of fat on him.
Nicki: Yeah. I leave men that size to other men that size or men your size, but not for me.
Robb: I had no business rolling with him, but I did, but I didn’t die.
Nicki: You didn’t die. No. That was a lot of fun. Robb is trying to maintain a positive outlook. We had this whole string of sunny days on the weather forecast, so sunshine, sunshine, sunshine. It’s amazing out. We’re going to get some time outside and good vitamin D. We woke up yesterday morning to really poor air quality, thanks to our Canadian neighbors to the North and Alberta who are burning.
Robb: Apparently burning down.
Nicki: There’s a lot there. I think there’s over 90 wildfires right now going on up there. So we are catching some of the smoke from that.
Robb: This area is very prone to smokiness in the summer, either from locally produced fires or unfortunately when California, Oregon and Washington and Idaho burned down, then the jet stream being what it is and where it is, all of that blows over us. And so the summers here can be kind of miserable.
Nicki: Last summer, we didn’t really have much smoke. The first summer we were here was pretty smokey.
Robb: Was super smokey.
Nicki: Last summer, I don’t recall there being a big-
Robb: It wasn’t as bad.
Nicki: Maybe a little bit, but it wasn’t… Oh, we did have that one fire right around 4th of July.
Nicki: That was West of the Flathead Lake. That was a Montana fire, anyway.
Robb: I just devolve evermore into the old man shaking his fist at the weather, but it’s like, geez. So we’re what? We’re still in May, right?
Robb: I usually don’t expect this stuff until late July. You can get a little bit in earlier July, but usually it’s late July. Definitely getting into September, October when things are dry, you can anticipate this type of stuff. So it was two nights ago I was outside grabbing something out of the car and you just look at the shadows on the ground, when there’s smoke in the air, the light just has a different quality. I’m like, damn, that really looks like there’s smoke in the air. But man, we’re still in May. It couldn’t be smoke. And then woke up.
Nicki: When I looked on the Montana fire map, there were no fires in Montana. So I’m like, okay, wonder where that’s coming from. And then we went to the gym and Travis informed us it was Canada, Alberta.
Robb: Good to know. Canada has as poor of forestry management practices as the United States, so it just makes me feel a little better.
Nicki: I don’t know. I think that makes me feel worse.
Robb: Hopefully somebody gets it right somewhere.
Nicki: All right, let’s move on. News topic. Ooh, we’re talking about lab meat.
Robb: So this is a pretty cool YouTube video where a guy got in and really did a nice step-by-step analysis of what all goes into the production of lab-grown meat. And there’s been all of these claims that lab-grown… God, the wistful optimism around this stuff. This is the way we’re going to feed the world. And it’s like, no, we’re not. And Diana and I detailed this in the book, I forget to what degree we really unpacked this in the film, but just the thermodynamics, the energy inputs relative to the outputs just don’t work favorably in this case. If you are on Mars, if you’re on a spaceship going between stars, then lab-grown meat, yes, I get it. It makes sense. But when you’ve got an ecosystem and sunlight and grass, it really doesn’t pencil out.
And so it’s called lab meat, the one trillion dollar ugly truth. It’s been interesting, it’s been a bit of a watershed moment of the Impossible Foods and Beyond Burger, I believe both getting sued for failure to perform. And investors now saying that they were lied to, which I’m back and forth on. On the one hand, there’s a due diligence piece to all of this that none of these idiots clearly had any science, any engineering background or just bothered to ask the question, could this really outperform a field of grass?
Nicki: I think they just see the sexy idea and the dollar signs behind it. Obviously it’s trendy to be in this anti-cattle in particular, but anti-livestock, on team anti-livestock, that’s very trendy. And so it’s like, okay, this company is going to come on and make millions of dollars.
Robb: Billions of dollars.
Nicki: Billions of dollars.
Robb: One million dollars. I have a quick point here, sorry to interrupt you.
Nicki: No worries.
Robb: I’m getting old and it’s hard to keep points intact anymore, but a lot of very smart people with a lot of money dumped a lot of this money into this, assuming that this was legit. They were like, this is going to be cleaner, it’s going to be cheaper, it’s going to be more ethical. This is going to be healthier. And it was all bullshit. Fucking bullshit. It’s hard for me to even remain professional about this. And if you can be bamboozled at this, I saw through this so early, so early.
Nicki: Robb was like, “I should figure out how to short.”
Robb: Ages ago.
Nicki: “I should figure out how to short these companies.” And we never did. And that’s not something we’re familiar with how to do.
Robb: Our friend Dan, so Dan, I posted about this and Dan Harp popped up on Instagram. He’s like, “Fuck, man, do you remember when we were talking about shorting this?” He did just a quick back of the envelope thing for a really modest investment on this. It would’ve probably been about 22 million dollars right now that we would’ve made on that. So, shit.
Nicki: We could have been laughing all the way to the bank.
Robb: We could have been laughing all the way to the bank. But more broadly, these people who were involved with this were so fucking certain that they were right, that this lab-grown meat was right, that it was cheaper and more thermodynamic and they couldn’t have been more wrong. And they were also certain about the pandemic and they were also certain about climate change. And they were also certain about how to handle all the social justice woes. And it’s like, fuck, how many things can you get wrong and still assume that you’re right? And this is the thing that I still have to mind my Ps and Qs a little bit or I will get out there and get myself canceled. But this is the thing where it’s like, I’ve gotten some things right, I’ve gotten some things wrong. I really thought that intermittent fasting was going to be the biz fucking ness and it was going to be this middle ground between catabolism and anabolism and it was going to be great.
And within a year, the feedback from that was so clearly split. And the best that people had to offer on the favorable side was, this makes my life a little bit easier eating two or three meals a day versus six or seven meals a day. And then there was just this whole tranche of people that were broken from it. I was like, oh my God, what have I done here? What have I done putting this thing out? So it was immediately obvious that this thing was a boondoggle at best. I’m just still waiting for the folks. There’s some prominent person that has bailed out of the autoimmune paleo protocol scene. I think in large part because this person can’t, it is so wrapped up in the social justice issues that the individual cannot comport themselves with the reality that meat is probably integral to human health.
It certainly seems to become this really critical piece of dealing with autoimmune and gut issues. But then this individual has also gone on to say multiple times the climate crisis, climate crisis. And just as a quick aside, I don’t deny the reality of climate change. What I question is the severity that it poses for the world. And I would just refer people to Steven Koonin’s book, Unsettled. Basically, he goes through and cites the actual source material and what the worst case scenarios are. And the worst case scenarios are nothing like what the media is suggesting, what Greta Thunberg is suggesting, what Bernie Sanders, all the rest of them are suggesting. So it’s this thing that is just clearly making me a little bit crazy in that we are making these massive decisions, allocating huge amounts of resources.
Eric Adams, the New York mayor, he just came out with this thing that’s basically they’re going to limit the servings of meat and dairy offered at different public institutions. And within their charter, people were rightfully kind of up in arms over this stuff, in part. Again, Diana and I pointed this out early, early on in Sacred Cow, that the main people that are being affected by these things like the two days of vegan meals impacting New York City schools are the poor and already marginalized. 70% of these kids are on free lunch. Something like 10% of the kids are technically homeless. Many of them, the only meals that they get at all are at school. And then the poultry amount of animal protein that they were getting from the mystery meat in the previous iterations are now not even there. And oftentimes there’s been pretty good documentation of this that when they give these kids this whole bean and corn kernel burritos, they just don’t fucking eat them. They just go get some Cheetos from somewhere and eat that instead. So off the rails, I don’t even know what my point is here other than-
Nicki: Lab-meat is not the answer.
Robb: Lab-meat is not the answer. And we were right about this and we keep being right about all this stuff. I want to really emphasize that without being this like, I told you so, prick, and getting out over the tips of my skis.
Nicki: Really comes down to that certitude piece, right? If anybody is making a claim, something that’s also a novel technology like lab meat or mRNA vaccines or whatever, and they’re making a claim that they know that the outcome with a hundred percent certitude that this is the way and they won’t tolerate questions about anything regarding that, then we’ve got a lot of red flags and a lot more people should be seeing those as red flags. The certitude piece, almost nothing is that black and white. This is your whole platform, is nuance, right? N equals one, that kind of thing. So the certitude piece is definitely the concerning piece. The way that which the elites and big industry kind of tackle all of this stuff and the way that the media soundbites come across and folks that are just headline readers and take it for face value, that’s where we’re getting in trouble. That’s where we’re losing the battle with this stuff.
Robb: For sure. I guess the thing in addition to that, we have people and people that got there start effectively in this space because of me supporting them, giving a hat tip to them and different things like that. And many of them never really had a solid science background. So in some ways I feel chagrined even promoting them at this point. But these people have backed various social issues and these wrong climate change narratives. And part of the problem there is that these folks don’t have the chops to be able to get in and analyze this information at even a cursory level. And because of their sociopolitical leanings, it’s inconvenient for them to actually side on reality because the reality ends up putting them in a camp that they don’t feel comfortable with. I forget if we’ve discussed that here like some of the discussions in the low-carb practitioner group that I’m a part of.
Some of the more prominent people in there have really had heartburn over this animals cause climate change topic, and slowly there’s like some glacial thawing in that area. But the main reason that these folks aren’t coming around a reality is that it puts you in this climate change denier camp alt-right? Like you’re a racist. There’s all this stuff that’s been weaponized around just looking at reality, at acknowledging that a pasture-centric food system, at least on the animal side, is actually very thermodynamically efficient. And yes, it can be done wrong. Yes, it can be done in ways that aren’t injurious to the environment. And the flip side of that is true too. It can be incredibly restorative and regenerative when we don’t need to contribute to huge dead zones out in the Gulf of Mexico and shit like that. That is poor management. It’s not something that is inherently broken to the system. And oh, by the way, lab-grown meat doesn’t fix any of it.
Nicki: There you go. One thing I love about you, Robb, is you always have this uncanny ability to pull in these really descriptive metaphors. You’re talking about climate change and you’re talking about the glacial thawing, I don’t know. You paint a really good picture.
Robb: Thank you.
Nicki: You’re welcome. All right.
Robb: We’ve been trying to tell our girls to-
Nicki: Compliment each other because they don’t ever. It’s always like, you did that. It’s this constant bicker fest.
Robb: Every once in a while they will acknowledge the other one and you’re almost like, “What are you up to now?” But thank you for the acknowledgement.
Nicki: For sure. All right. The Healthy Rebellion Radio is sponsored by our Salty AF electrolyte company LMNT. It’s officially grapefruit season. Grapefruit salt is back. Insider bundle subscribers get first dibs. If you’ve purchased an insider bundle, previously known as the value bundle in the last six months, you can grab grapefruit salt now. If that’s not you, have no fear, grapefruit salt will be available for everyone this next Thursday, May 25th. I know lots of people were anxiously awaiting grapefruit, so happy to say that we’re in the strike zone there. And remember, electrolytes don’t need to be brightly colored and full of sugar. In fact, the brightly colored and highly sugared concoctions on store shelves often contain very few electrolytes, the sodium, magnesium, and potassium that your body needs to perform at its best. That’s why we made LMNT the way that we did. All the electrolytes you need and none of the crap you don’t. You can get yours at drinklmnt.com/robb. That’s drinklmnt.com/robb.
Robb: My goodness, there was a lot of body English on that.
Nicki: I can’t read things in a dynamic way just standing still. I really can’t.
Robb: I was poking around actually looking at video of people doing voice acting stuff and they act it out.
Nicki: I don’t know. I have to wiggle around in order to-
Robb: Someday I’ll shoot some video of Nicki recording the ad. It’s pretty good. There’s a lot going on.
Nicki: All right. Now to our questions for this week, our first one on MCT oil, this is from Liz. She says, “Hi guys. One of my clients was told by a previous health coach to never have MCT oil because it is highly processed. I know it’s fractionated, but I can’t see how that would damage it. Another process is lipase esterification, which I think involves heat to rearrange the molecules. You recommend MCT oil often, so I can’t imagine it’s up there with hydrogenated oils. If you could please clarify, it would be much appreciated.”
Robb: Yeah, Liz, this is another one of those things where we have general rules like eat minimally processed foods. And then people will say, what about MCT oil? It’s like, well, what about olive oil? What about lard leftover from cooking bacon? I mean, technically this is processed food. If you get right down to it, unless you kill an animal with a stick and then start eating it on the carcass, it’s processed. Like cooking, butchering. These are all certain degrees of process, putting meat through a meat processor, a grinder is processing. Milling grains or seeds is processing. In general, I think that we’ve got this sense that when we start processing foods, it’s easier to eat more. And in some cases, that’s great. When we’re dealing with little kids, they tend to eat hamburger better than steak because it’s easier for them to chew. The Weston A. Price people rightfully or wrongly might point out that that is maybe a problem because they’re not getting enough activity at chewing tough foods, and so they don’t get proper dental arch formation. But there’s pluses and minuses, trade-offs with all these stuff.
And with MCT, it is a short-chain or medium-chain saturated fat, very low oxidation potential. Unlike say a lot of the seed oils, although I have to admit, I’m not as weirded out by seed oils as a lot of people. There are folks out there that won’t eat a steak if somebody put safflower oil on the grill or something. I think that’s insanity. I think that is, I can’t use the word any more in polite circles, but it is moronic. How about that? It’s in that neighborhood. And it’s some really brand name people out there that are perpetuating these things. Or you go out for dinner and they’ve got a balsamic vinegarette for your salad and you eat out once every three weeks or something and you just want that god-damn salad. It’s like that day of safflower oil or something is not going to kill you, in my opinion. I just don’t think that it’s that big of a deal.
Nicki: Especially if you don’t have any overt, if you’re highly inflamed and you’re got an autoimmune condition and you notice that it exacerbates it, then maybe you’re a little bit more fastidious about it. But if you’re generally healthy, and I don’t think you need to be so crazy about that.
Robb: I think in general, yeah. With the MCT, it’s very difficult to oxidize it. Do our pluses and minuses to MCT, it might increase intestinal permeability in some people. It might pull some endotoxins through the gut lining and there may be some endotoxemia associated with it. And these are all, again, the pluses and minuses of using a particular item. But because it’s processed, I wouldn’t shy away from this thing. This is not in fact a jug of corn oil, metabolically totally different.
Nicki: I wonder if the same health coach has issue with olive oil.
Robb: That would be a great question. If he or she does-
Nicki: Or coconut oil.
Robb: Well, why? Yeah. Or again, you’re cooking bacon, and yet we’ve been finding this Hills Bacon, it’s this stuff out of Oregon. It’s not like pastured or anything, but it tastes great. The bacon fat tastes great. It makes veggies tasty enough.
Nicki: You chop up a bunch of zucchini or Brussels sprouts or any of those types of vegetables and you cook it down in bacon fat, it’s amazing.
Robb: Yeah. And that’s processed too. So that would be a great question for this health coach. Are you okay with olive oil? Are you okay with coconut oil? And if so, why not the MCT? I guess would be the long and short of that.
Nicki: All right. Next question is from Jason, “How to improve my carb tolerance. Hi folks. I love the show, including the non-health stuff. You guys are a treasure. Now to my question, my carb tolerance is poor even though my fasting insulin is low. I’ve been using a CGM which matches a finger prick within five to 10 points. My fasting glucose is typically 97 to 105. Just 100 grams of rice, 30 grams of carbs as a morning test spikes my blood glucose to over 180, though it comes down quickly to 110 by 90 minutes. Same with potatoes and fruit. If I eat a big meaty restaurant meal with mashed potatoes and a medium dessert, my blood glucose reaches 200. Then during the day, even if I eat no carbs, my blood glucose will hover from a hundred to 110. I’m six-pack lean, 12% fat as per DXA, and fit. 145 pounds at five foot seven. I eat carnivore-ish with dairy and fruit. I eat three times a day, usually just a protein smoothie for breakfast after working out.
I do 30 minute daily heavy band workouts and just started doing daily 20 minutes zone two in addition. No health conditions other than this. And I sleep very well most nights. I am a bit stressed with life recently though. My triglycerides are typically in the seventies. HDL 60, liver number is good. A1C was 5.2, fasting insulin 3.5. This should mean my insulin sensitivity is good. I seem to have lost the plot as a year ago my morning blood glucose was usually 83 to 89 and my blood glucose would only spike briefly to 125 after a small potato as a morning test. One change is that I used to drink homemade kefir every day. I just restarted again. But so far, no improvement.
Some more clues. I tested Acarbose,” I don’t know if that’s how you pronounce that. “And 50 milligrams reduces the blood glucose spike a lot. I tested a mountain of carbs and 200 milligrams of Acarbose and almost no spike. But holy gas, Batman, I’m not doing that again unless I want to annoy my wife and coworkers. If I eat a bunch of carbs and I see blood glucose rising rapidly, I do three to four minutes of high intensity interval training on my air bike and it brings my blood glucose way down in 15 minutes. If I have a half a shot of brandy with four ounces of ice cream, my blood glucose spikes less than with ice cream alone.” What? “I tried Metformin slow release 500 milligrams for two weeks, didn’t seem to help. Tried berberine for two weeks and it didn’t seem to help. And I’m now trying dihydroberberine, and after a week, no change. Why is my carb tolerance poor even though my fasted insulin and A1C are low? How do I improve it? I want to eat the occasional carby meal without my blood glucose spiking to 200. Thanks so much. And may you and all the listeners have the blessing of vibrant health.”
Robb: Indeed, that would be great. Jason actually did a lot of good digging around here. Let me don’t go too far there. I want to mention, so the Acarbose is interesting stuff, but it basically just blocks the ability to absorb carbs. When I read this initially, I never know if my subconscious can read the next line down, I’m like, oh my god, doing that would make me balloon up and fart like a hippopotamus or something. And then he mentioned that. I mean, Acarbose isn’t really in my mind a solution. It’s like when they came out with Olestra, which was the fake fat that we can’t digest and it just gave people the shit because the fat were just blasting through them and they were getting the steed diarrhea.
The alcohol is interesting, and this actually directs us in kind of an interesting way. When we consume alcohol, it actually reduces the liver’s output of glucose because… And this is something that folks forget when we’re eating low-carb, we think that the only source of glucose in our system is from dietary carbohydrate and that’s not the case. If you look at a situation of a poorly controlled type 1 diabetic, they can have sky high blood glucose levels just simply because their glucagon is unregulated because they have no insulin and their blood glucose levels can be three, four, 500 because the liver is just dumping glucose out. So with that alcohol, it’s not surprising that the blood glucose spike is less. This is the interesting thing, the 5.2 A1C is not actually low. It’s a little bit on the higher than I would like side.
I’d like to see five or lower, to be completely honest. We do have to factor in a little bit with that that people that are eating low-carb, their red blood cells can live longer and so it can provide an artificially elevated A1C. And this is why we recommend looking at fructosamine or we just go with things like the precision health reports and they look at GlycA and some other markers of glycation and inflammation to zero in on whether or not we are okay there. But it’s interesting because part of what is being described here makes me think about a liver-driven elevated glucose. But the glucophage should have addressed that. The berberine-
Nicki: He said his liver numbers are good.
Robb: Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he would have weird liver enzyme numbers. It’s just that the glucose may be coming from hepatic source. But then the fact that the glucophage should address that.
Nicki: The metformin?
Robb: Yeah, the metformin, which is glucophage, and then berberine works very, very similarly. Neither of those seem to be addressing that. So that’s kind of weird because on the one hand I see things that make me think about, again, hepatic glucose release. The alcohol ends up being “beneficial” and that it reduces glucose transiently and whatnot. One of the things that’s interesting eating a lower carb diet and then sometimes wanting to kick one’s heels up is that, and we see this as Stefan Guine had a great piece talking about the San Bushmen. Talking about their glucose tolerance test that didn’t look particularly good, but they administered it in these folks during the time of year that it’s their summertime. But in their summertime, they end up eating what we would consider pretty close like a ketogenic diet, a very high protein, higher fat, low carbohydrate because there’s just not carbohydrate readily available.
And then there’s other periods of the year where the virtually no fat, a tiny little bit of protein, but carbohydrate is all over the place with Manongo nuts and essentially melons and different types of fruit so they really vary. But if you’re eating a low-carb diet and then you will become physiologically insulin resistant to partition carbohydrate just for red blood cells in the brain. So then if you introduce a significant whack of carbohydrate, you will see probably a disproportionately high blood glucose reading. But that doesn’t really answer the reason why his A1C is high. I almost didn’t take this one because I thought about and thought about it and thought about it. I’m not really sure what’s going on here. Yeah, the lean individual, otherwise pretty good metabolic numbers seemingly on blood work, although we don’t see LDL-P. Or again, like the GlycA and all the stuff that we would get out of a precision health report.
So triglycerides are pretty good. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here. So he’s wanting to eat occasional carby meals and not suffer a big glucose spike. That may be difficult if he’s eating just generally kind of low-carb. You may need to time this either pre or post workout to be able to make that work. But then the flip side of this is that there may be some mildly stressful element to the way that he’s eating that is causing the liver to release more glucose than you might otherwise want. Because I’m just not sure mechanistically where else this is all coming from.
Nicki: I’m seeing that he says he sleeps very well most nights, but that he’s a bit stressed with life recently. So I don’t know how recent that is because this is a year ago. A year ago, he seems like he was on track and everything was in the range that he was happy with. So it’s been a year and now things are a little off. And so I’m wondering how long has that life stress been present? Because stress can definitely affect our insulin sensitivity.
Robb: For sure. He was trying to zero in on that too, mentioning the kefir because he used to do the kefir. And then for whatever reason, he dropped it. And mechanistically, that is a spot that could cause some problems if you have alterations in the gut function that can affect the way that we respond to carbohydrates. That was all of the Weitzman Institute stuff, looking at the different blood glucose responses to various types of carbohydrates. And they really did link it back a lot to the status of our gut flora. The problem being, I think in some circumstances we can modify that stuff, but it just seems to be all over the place and difficult to modify in a really predictable way.
Nicki: That’s interesting. I wonder if, like he said, he used to be able to do a small potato. But maybe, I mean, could it be possible that the carbs that he tolerated previously, maybe it’s not the carb load, but maybe the particular carbs that he’s testing now are no longer agreeing with him.
Robb: It could be.
Nicki: Because of some sort of gut change.
Robb: Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. There might be an alteration in the gut. There might be an alteration in his stress level. He may be eating too few carbohydrates to be carb sensitive for large carb meals.
Nicki: I’d be curious to know what. I mean, he says he eats carnivore but includes dairy and fruit. It would be interesting to know what.
Robb: Exactly what he eats.
Nicki: What volume of dairy and fruit that he’s doing.
Robb: The smoothie for breakfast is always a red flag just as a standalone thing. It’s like that’s not breakfast. Want people to chew food. It’s kind of funny. I don’t know why, but it just like when people are having problems, I see the smoothie for breakfast. It’s like, well, let’s eat real food and see what happens with that. So I don’t really know what’s going on here. Maybe somebody’s smarter than me like Chris Masterjohn might be able to look at this and just say, oh, it’s absolutely this. But again, I do think that there’s a mechanistic argument for if he’s generally eating kind of low-carb, that a larger carbier meal may not go well for him because he’s physiologically insulin resistant to accommodate a low-carb way of eating.
Nicki: Which is what happens when women who eat low-carb get pregnant and have to do the oral glucose tolerance test, and then they get flagged.
Robb: Yes, that’s a great example of that. But then it also, the weird thing though is that he’s running just a little higher than what makes sense to me on his just moment to moment blood glucose levels as evidenced by his A1C. So that’s where I’m confused by this. We could put in some alpha lipoic acid. We could put in some selenium. Some of these other co-factors that help both with liver function and with general glucose clearance and insulin sensitivity and whatnot. But I would recommend eating a real meal for breakfast.
Nicki: Let’s skip the shake. Let’s skip the shake for what, three months?
Robb: Yeah. Three months is good. And retest.
Nicki: Eat some solid protein, some beef.
Robb: Real protein and maybe some fruit with it, like a track for a little while, how much of everything you’re eating, how much protein, how much carbs, how much fat, total caloric load.
Nicki: Use something like Cronometer and just weigh and measure and just really get a clear picture.
Robb: Yeah, because there are sufficient number of moving parts here that if you don’t pin those parameters down, it’s just a guess you’re just casting around. And if you tweak a variable, you don’t really know if the favorable response was due to that or the lack of favorable response, you just don’t know. So I would do a breakfast. I would track everything that you’re eating. You don’t necessarily need to eat to any specific level. Let’s just get a sense of really where you are with regards to total caloric load, amount of protein, carbs, fat. Maybe keep a little bit of an eye towards the timing, breakfast, lunch, dinner, all that stuff. Really late eating can kind of bugger carb tolerance and glucose tolerance later. So that could be a thing. If you’re eating at 11 o’clock and then going to bed at midnight or something. Even if you sleep well, then the metabolic consequences of that can be problematic. But there’s just a lot of unknowns here and a lot of moving parts. There’s been a lot of good work done already, but it just kind of almost creates more questions than answers at this point.
Nicki: All right, Jason, start tracking some stuff.
Robb: And get back to us. It’d be fun to figure this one out for sure.
Nicki: Yep. Cool. All right. Last question for this week is from Lindsay on kids and food. “Hi Robb and Nicki, it’s been a year. You both helped me tremendously last spring in 2022 when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during the last trimester of my pregnancy. You pointed me to Lily Nichols and her books and videos and I was able to manage my blood sugar through food alone. My doctor was skeptical, surprise, surprise, but humored me for a few weeks until she saw it was working. Side note, for any other pregnant moms out there, if you fail the first glucose test, just ask if you can skip the second one and go straight to the glucose monitor. Saved us a lot of time and expedited stopping any potential health issues with the baby. I also didn’t have to have a redo on that nasty drink.
Postpartum, I gave myself a year to try different eating plans, watching my glucose, and by far the most helpful for my milk supply was paleo with lots of water and LMNT. Now, last week’s episode, episode 150, was really motivating for me. My husband and I just turned 40 with a 10, eight and one year old. We are in the throes of business and career, kids activities, homeschooling, et cetera, all while trying to fit in our workouts and eat healthy. We both have weight to drop, but we aren’t gaining, which is a bit of a success I guess. With health problems in the past, primarily hormone related, my doctor has always pointed me to a grain and dairy-free diet with extremely minimal sugar and alcohol and no coffee. Sad but for sure helps me stay healthier than the standard American diet.”
She goes, “Sad, but sure helps me stay healthier than sad. I’ve been able to get my husband on board after talking to him about Wired to Eat and watching my results. He tried Whole30, then a strict paleo diet, and slept so much better among other benefits. The children are the tricky part now. I have no problem telling them what to eat, but I’m curious, what limits do you set for your children with eating? What are some good ways you’ve explained why you eat this way as a family? I see how truly addicting our American food culture is. I didn’t really begin paleo until 2017 because my husband is just now getting on board. The big kids basically ate the same way as dad, starchy, sugary breakfasts, sandwiches for lunch, and paleo dinners unless they felt the need for a tortilla which they would grab on their own. I’ve gotten to a place where grains and sugar are almost completely out of the house now that we are on the same page. The complaints from the big kids are not lacking and the baby flips out if there is even a hint of tortilla bread or cookie anywhere. He’s grabbed bites and now wants them all the time too. Ideas please, Lindsay.”
Robb: It’s a thing.
Nicki: It’s a thing. It’s a tricky, tricky thing. The older the kids get and the more they’re exposed to more refined, processed, sugary foods, it’s definitely a challenge and one that I don’t see going away ever. For us, the main thing that we talk about is how food can really impact how you feel. And Robb, given all of his health issues, the girls know, dad can’t have this because dairy hurts his wrist, or now tomatoes, they bother. They really understand how certain foods affect his physiology.
Robb: And I make a really strong point that that is specific to me. It does apply to other people, it doesn’t apply to everybody, but we should be aware that if we’re having a problem health-wise, food might be a smart place to look and just do some experimentation. So really trying to empower them that there is probably something you can do to improve your situation. I’m hopeful that in that way then we don’t get some sort of disordered eating or religious zealotry around the ways of eating and stuff like that.
Nicki: And Zoe, she just turned 11 and she’s starting to get some little pimples on her face. We talk about dairy and how dairy and also with sugar can definitely impact how your skin looks. And so she’ll opt out. So usually we do pizza for the girls on Friday night. I make it with a gluten-free crust. She recognizes that if she’s had cheese earlier in the week and then it’s pizza night, she’ll self-select, “Mama, can you make mine without cheeses tonight?” Or, “I’m not going to have cheese on my hamburger because I want to have it on the pizza.” So she’s really dialed into that based on her skin. And so I think for older kids, that can be a nice way to introduce how food can affect, especially when they’re really conscious of, as we all are with how our skin looks. Beyond that, we talk a lot about how food helps us be strong, food helps us recover. We always focus on protein first. This is funny between the two kids. We feed the girls mainly paleo, but we do have rice occasionally. They have some dairy. We don’t typically buy milk, but cheese. They’ll do some cheese.
Robb: We have corn tortillas.
Nicki: Tortillas. Because they tolerate all that stuff. So we’re not excluding tortillas from our kids’ diets. They’re active growing and they don’t seem to have any kind of issue with corn. So right now it’s in play.
Robb: But one of them, one of the kids definitely suffers from hypoglycemia.
Nicki: She takes more after Robb with her carb tolerance.
Robb: She takes more after me in that regard. Gently, but with a little bit more pressure as time has gone on, I’ve pointed that out. I’ve said, “I was exactly that way as a kid. I am still that way as an adult and that’s part of the reason why I eat this way.” I’ve said, “As you get older, you are going to be the one responsible for managing that.” Because if Sagan gets hypoglycemic-
Nicki: She turns into a demon spawn.
Robb: She’s a monster. And otherwise she’s the most affable, thoughtful, cool kid you could imagine. She would shive you in the liver and not even think about it, and super emotional, really prone to meltdowns and stuff like that. And so I’ve just been providing outside input that, “Hey, do you see what’s going on?” Instead of telling, I’m like, “How are you feeling right now?” “Well, I don’t feel good.” “You feel cranky?” “Yes.” “What did you eat earlier?” “Well, I didn’t have enough protein,” stuff like that. The funny thing is I know that there’s a big cadre of the woke mob that would be like, you’re instilling food whateverness in her. And it’s like maybe, or maybe I’m providing feedback that it’s like if you let your kids go, I think being out in the sun is fantastic. I think driving your kids out into the sun and letting them burn day after day is fucking irresponsible. And similarly, if you’ve got a kid that is clearly has some rebound hypoglycemia, that’s poor tension for all kinds of other health difficulties down the road.
And so it’s irresponsible as hell to not provide some lane lines at least. They’re still in the junior bowling league here of life. And so right now, Nikki and I are still the bumpers that are trying to keep the ball going down and get as many pins in each hand that we get.
Nicki: Trying to stay out of the gutter.
Robb: Try to stay out of the gutter. And so we do that. I don’t do it in an accusatory way. I don’t do it in a way that is going to instill shame. But there’s also like, I will say, I’m like, Hey, you’re being a jerk right now. I have said this, I’m open to feedback. I’m fascinated to see what people think, but I’ll say, “You’re being a jerk right now and you know how X, Y, Z food makes you feel. And so when you choose to do that, when you always have options to mitigate this stuff, to eat a little more protein, to not go do the whole bag of Siete fuego chips,” which are amazing. But it’s like we’ve said, “Grab a handful or two, put it in a plate, put the other bag away and divvy that thing out over multiple meals.” When they insist on making poor decisions, then I hold them accountable. I don’t know, again, there may be a tell all book from both kids at some point that I was a horrible parent. When I called Nikki wife and she called me hubs, they were like, “She’s clearly in an abusive relationship.” Maybe all that’s true. I don’t know, maybe.
Nicki: You can’t call me wife because that means you are declaring possession or something. I don’t remember what the comment was.
Robb: Where it’s like clearly these people are so clueless because if I was abusive to Nikki, I would be in a shallow grave and replaced.
Nicki: That’s right.
Robb: So it’s like, fuck, give me a break. But I don’t know if any of this stuff is right. I will put that caveat on there. This is, again, kind of going back to maybe my intro about the YouTube and the trillion dollar fake meat industry. I have some pretty strong convictions around things because I think we’ve got a model here that does a great job of predicting reality. And I also understand that humans being humans, there’s this other factor of emotionality and all this stuff. We just had a Turkey walk by my office, which is kind of cool. We have emotions and all these other things that make, just trying to be a Vulcan about this and purely logical doesn’t really apply. You got to figure out how to navigate emotions and social situations and all that type of stuff too. But I think providing that feedback.
Nicki: And I think couching it in terms of performance, whether it’s cognitive performance or physical performance. If your kids are into any kind of sports or if there’s anything that they’re really trying to do well, performance in general, then it’s like, here’s what we know. You’ll have a clear mind for thinking critically, problem solving if you focus on protein first and try to get your carbs from more minimally processed sources. Again, all you can do at this point is control the stuff that’s in the house. Your kids are old enough that at school and friends’ houses and whatnot, they’re going to have other things.
Robb: They’re going to do what they’re going to do.
Nicki: But I think just really helping them to understand how eating a certain thing makes them feel. They went to a birthday party last year, and at this party there was Dr Pepper, which they’d never had. We do Zevias, the Stevia sweetened sodas, but they never had a real Dr Pepper. So they had two liter bottles of Dr Pepper. It was like a store bought sheet cake for the birthday cake and all kinds of candy at this party, and pizza. Both girls, when we picked them up, they were like, “Huh, we feel so bad.” And they proceeded to name all of the stuff that they had eaten at this party. And so it was a really great illustration. You didn’t really have any protein because it was, I think there was pepperoni pizza, but how much protein is on a pepperoni pizza, really?
And so if they do have a meal or an event where they eat really poorly, try to connect that so that they understand. Okay, I feel like this because I just ate all of that. And then give them some tools like, okay, if you know you’re going to a party and you know you’re going to have some kind of dessert or a bunch of stuff that is not in your normal way of eating, really focus on the protein first. Maybe you’re going to a friend’s house that they don’t eat that well. What can you have now before you leave to really shore up that gas tank before you get there? I was going to say one other thing, but I just lost my train of thought.
Robb: I liked where you were going. It’s interesting between the two kids. And the funny thing is the one that has fewer issues with this stuff is more conscientious about coloring within the lines. The one that has more issues and I think has a little bit more of an addictive personality, regards it less.
Nicki: It’ll be interesting though when she gets a little older and if she starts having blemishes. She’s super into gymnastics and jiu-jitsu, like performance is a big thing for her. We talk about that a lot. Recovery, food helps in recovery, food helps in performance. Again, I feel like those types of angles can be motivating for the right kid because they’re wanting that edge. They want to be able to get their pullover on the uneven bars or whatever it is. And so it’s like, we’re going to eat really well because that’s going to help us achieve the thing that you’re going for. I’m trying to think. There was one other thing that was kind of floating in the back of my brain.
Robb: Maybe they have a good protein meal before they go to the birthday party. I know that we’ve talked about that, and that happens sometimes. I don’t know, I mean, we do just try to-
Nicki: I’m sorry. What I was going to say, the girls really like to bake, right? They’re like, “Mom, we never bake.” It was just Zoe’s birthday, so we made her birthday cake. The girls like to help make cakes. So birthdays, we tend to make stuff at home instead of buying it from the store, they prefer it. Their friends actually are like, “This is the best cake I’ve ever had.” Because most people are used to just the store bought sheet cake. I’m not doing anything. It’s not low carb or anything. I just get a gluten-free yellow cake mix. And then this started five years ago, they wanted a strawberry cake. And so I blend actual strawberries in a blender to puree it, and I mix it into the batter. And then I also use either a Simple Mills or Miss Jones, kind of one of the Better Than frostings, but again, it’s got sugar in it. It’s not like it’s something ultra pure.
It’s just a kind of Better Than variety. And then I’ll blend strawberries and mix it in with the vanilla frosting and it tastes amazing. So they enjoy that. But one of the complaints is like, “Mom, we never bake. I like baking and we never get to bake that much.” I’m like, “Well, we bake on special occasions, or if we’re having company over and there’s more people to share it with.” But it’s like we know that if we have this stuff around, we all want to eat it and it’s not good for our health. It’s not good for us being able to maintain our strength and do the things that we want to do physically. But it’s challenging. I get it. There’s that communal bonding, baking in the kitchen shared activity thing that I think is really fun with baking. I kind of derailed things a little bit.
Robb: No, no, no. I think this is, again, it weaves in that emotional social piece because it’s really easy on the one hand to lay this out, again, as if we were Vulcan and this is all just logic and you just do the logical thing. You can use that maybe as a little bit of a guidepost, but there’s all these emotional, cultural, social issues that pop up and you have to figure out how to navigate that for sure.
Nicki: I think just reserving that type of thing for special occasions, holidays, birthdays, it’s not an everyday thing because it doesn’t make us feel good if we eat that way every day.
Robb: I’ve got a cookbook kicking around in storage that my mom had, and it’s not Betty Crocker, but it’s almost like a Betty Crocker, Better Homes & Gardens meets Dear Annie or whatever. Like the advice column thing. And so there would be recipes and then Q&A stuff, common questions that people had. One of the questions, this thing was written at the end of the Great Depression heading into World War II. One of the questions was, “My husband really wants a dessert every day. Is that okay?” And the response was, “That is absolutely not okay. We do desserts on Sundays with family and special events. Were in a time of crisis.” There was all this stuff that was in it.
Robb: But it was like, “No, absolutely not. You have a good wholesome meal, a protein, a starch, and a vegetable at the primary dinners. And then these desserts are for special occasions and special occasions only.”
Nicki: Is that because they were still in the rationing mindset of we don’t-
Robb: That was a part of it. It was also part of it that it’s just gauche to eat dessert every day. And now, anybody listening to this is in the know on this. I’m not saying anything new, but every fucking meal is dessert. It’s like, whether it’s coffee or croissants, on and on and on.
Nicki: What was that cereal that we saw that they’re making? It was like Chips Ahoy cereal or something?
Nicki: There was some cookie like Nabisco or cookie that was now going to be a cereal.
Robb: A cereal.
Nicki: It’s like, wow. We have lost the plot.
Robb: And it gets so-and-so’s stamp of approval because it’s low fat.
Nicki: So Lindsay, I don’t know. That was a long and rambly. And I’m not sure that that-
Robb: That was a lot. Do we have a couple of bullet points?
Nicki: The bullet points I think are just really trying to share that the reason why we eat this way is because it helps keep our bodies strong, our minds clear and focused, and we can do the things that we love more effectively and we feel better. Unless your kids have some sort of health issue, I don’t know that I would, well, this is just me. Our kids have tortillas when we do taco night on Tuesday. They will have gluten-free hamburger if we go out and have burgers. We don’t do sugary breakfasts at all. We usually do either something that’s leftover from the night before that’s heated up, some kind of protein or tacos for breakfast if we have leftovers from the night before, or eggs, sausage, meat, that kind of thing. So they definitely have a solid breakfast without sugar. Occasionally they’ll do some oatmeal. So maybe substituting some of these things that they want for some better than varieties might be some sort of a compromise. And then just really helping them understand how food affects how they feel, how they perform, and so they have some control over how their body feels.
Robb: In an understanding that there is a cause and effect process there. That it’s not just some random event and that there’s no connection between the food and how they look, feel, and perform. And she’s in Boerne.
Nicki: She’s in Boerne, Texas. Yep. Love it. All right. I think that’s a wrap for this episode. Thank you all for tuning in yet again. Please check out our show sponsor, LMNT, for all of your electrolyte needs. Remember, if you are an insider bundle subscriber, you can get grapefruit salt now. If not, it’ll be available for everyone on next Thursday, which is May 25th. You can grab your LMNT at drinklmnt.com/robb. Wishing you all, let’s see, how did Jason put it? He did such a great, great… Wishing you all the blessing of vibrant health.
Robb: I like it.
Nicki: Yep. All right, folks. We will see you next week.
Robb: Bye everybody.
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