This episode is all about overcoming insulin resistance, accelerating weight loss, and the most significant signs of insulin resistance.
Benjamin Bikman earned his Ph.D. in Bioenergetics and was a postdoctoral fellow with the Duke-National University of Singapore in metabolic disorders. Currently, his professional focus as a scientist and professor (Brigham Young University) is to understand better the role of elevated insulin in regulating obesity and diabetes, including the relevance of ketones in mitochondrial function.
Outside lab, Dr. Bikman is a devoted husband and father and enjoys nothing more than traveling and adventuring with his wife and three children.
In this podcast, The Secrets To Overcoming Insulin Resistance, we cover:
Why a majority of people are not metabolically flexible
How to truly know if you are insulin resistant
Ways to overcome insulin resistance
Why only twelve percent of Americans are metabolically fit
Which is worse: sugars or bad fats?
Metabolic Flexibility Is A Worldwide Problem
Only twelve percent of Americans are metabolically fit. This study looked at how well people did in the metrics of metabolic syndrome. The researchers looked at the following items:
– Waist circumference
– Blood pressure
– Blood glucose
– Blood lipids
Researchers found that only twelve percent of US adults were good in all of those aspects. In contrast, eighty-eight percent failed in one or multiple of those aspects. Metabolic flexibility isn’t only a problem in America; it’s a problem worldwide. People who have poor metabolic health are substantially more likely to suffer problems from an infection.
Why A Majority of People Are Not Metabolically Flexible
Americans and people worldwide are not metabolically fit because of what we eat and how frequently we eat. The food we eat can be the culprit, or it can be the cure. Lifestyle and metabolic health continue to be overlooked in the media. Sadly, giving dietary advice doesn’t make money. Companies have a desire to outcompete other companies and make money; money is an excellent motivation. However, money can motivate companies for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, there’s no money to be made by telling people to watch what they eat.
The Most Important Meal To Skip
Dr. Bikman says that you don’t necessarily have to skip breakfast, but it’s probably the easiest meal to skip. Breakfast is one of the less social meals that we have, and that matters. There was a study that looked at whether we should cut dinner or we should cut breakfast. They found that cutting dinner yielded more significant metabolic benefits than cutting breakfast. However, it’s tricky to fast through dinner because that’s a social meal. Even though fasting through dinner will yield more significant metabolic dividends than fasting through breakfast, you may want to eat with the people you love—while on the other hand, not eating breakfast doesn’t affect the family dynamic.
Which Is Worse: Sugars or Bad Fats?
Robust data is suggesting that high levels of linoleic acid consumption are very pathogenic. Dr. Bikman doesn’t do these studies himself, and he is not as familiar with the research. So, Dr. Bikman says that refined carbs are worse for our health. If you remove sugar from your diet, then you have essentially removed bad fats. When people are eating high refined starches, they’re getting them from processed foods high in refined oils. People aren’t drinking soybean oil. Instead, they’re getting the foods that the soybean oil has been cooked in, always refined starches or sugars. In reality, we get them together, and there is no pulling them apart. Overall, Dr. Bikman would say to ditch the refined starches.
Signs That You Are Insulin Resistant
88% of people in America have some form of insulin resistance. Well, only 60% of the population is overweight or obese. So, you have a portion of the people that don’t fall into the overweight or obese category by current standards. However, they are still failing aspects of metabolic health. So, what are the less obvious signs of insulin resistance? If you can’t fast for 12 hours, that’s a terrible sign. It is a reflection of insulin resistance and chronically elevated insulin. If insulin is high, you won’t be able to burn fat for fuel. It’s time to help your body learn how to use fat for energy. High blood pressure and infertility are also signs of insulin resistance.
Are Antibiotics Decelerating Your Weight Loss?
When humans are on high doses of antibiotics, they gain weight. We know that the microbiome matters when it comes to metabolic health. Everything we do will change the microbiome. So, it’s difficult to test how antibiotics are changing the microbiome. We know that our microbiome matters. However, how we can change the microbiome to work for us isn’t that certain.
Dr. Ben Bikman 0:00 Insulin matters. If I can look back at my career and say I have helped people understand the clinical relevance of insulin resistance, then I will finish I will retire very, very happy.
Dr. Mindy 0:11 I am a woman on a mission that is dedicated to teaching you just how powerful your body it was built to be. I like to do that by bringing you the latest science, the greatest thought leaders and applicable steps that help you tap into your own internal healing power. The purpose of this podcast is to give you the power back and help you believe in yourself again, my name is Dr. Mindy Pels, and I want to thank you for spending part of your day with me. Okay, ri centers have I got a podcast for you. So my next guest is Dr. Ben bickman. And I just got done interviewing him. And this is the episode that those of you who have been trying to lose weight, you’ve been trying to overcome insulin resistance. You’re trying to figure out what foods to eat, how long to fast, you want hacks to accelerate weight loss. Dr. Ben Beckman, he’s gonna bring it to you. And he does it in such a clear way. This is really one of the most enjoyable conversations I’ve had with this podcast. Let me give you a little bit of a background on him as you’re listening to him so you know who you’re talking to, because you’re gonna hear that he has a love for science. He is a professor at BYU in Utah. And his specialty is insulin resistance. He is a scientist, he’s a professor, he’s an author. His book is why we get sick, which is a phenomenal book if you haven’t listened to it. And he is so good at expell explaining what happens to our body when we get spikes in insulin, and how we can keep insulin down. So on this episode, everything you wanted to know about insulin resistance, we unpack we went through the microbiomes effect. One of the things I wanted to know was if we took a round of antibiotics, did that make us gain weight? Immediately following that round of antibiotics? He answers that? I wanted to know. What about if I drink water from a plastic water bottle? We’ve all heard that BPA plastics can cause us to be insulin resistant and hold on to wait. What did he think of that? He answered that. I also want to know is our insulin resistant? Or are we only insulin resistant when we are obese or have too much extra weight? Or what are other signs of that? And the way to hear this conversation, he had a very interesting point about how we can make sure or know if we’re insulin resistant. We I mean, the list went on and on and on one of my favorite episodes, and those of you that are looking to lose weight. Here’s my gift to you, Dr. Ben Beckman. Okay, resetera is let’s talk about breaking your fast. So as you guys know, I love organic products. And I really love them for two reasons, the quality of the ingredients and how incredible these products taste. And each time I try a new product, I literally feel like they have knocked it out of the park in both of those categories. So I have a new one for you to try breaking your fast with and it’s called pure and it’s for mental clarity and digestion. And check this out. If you haven’t heard of the concept of a nootropic. A nootropic is any nutrient that’s going to enhance your cognitive abilities. And in pure one of the main ingredients is Lion’s Mane which not only gives you great mental focus, but a very calm and alert mental focus. But they didn’t really stop there. They put a bunch of digestive enzymes in there so it will calm the your belly down. This is great for those of you with either constipation issues or bloated ness. So they’ve got these great digestive enzymes in it. And I really think they should be calling this the fasters dream product because they put apple cider vinegar in it, which will help with balancing blood sugar. So and it tastes great. So go ahead and check it out. It’s called pure and you can we’ll put the link in the notes. You can go to Organa phi.com forward slash pills, that is Organa phi o r g anifi.com forward slash pells p e LZ and they will give you 20% off. So check it out and let me know how smart you get and how low your blood sugar goes. I’m so excited to share this product with you.
Insulin resistance is literally a topic my brain has been obsessing on for several years, but I feel like the last year It was really brought to light when we start started seeing statistics that only 12% of Americans were metabolically fit. So I just want to start by throwing that out at you and saying, Why are only 12% of Americans and I know we have a worldwide audience. But why are only 12% of us metabolically fit?
Dr. Ben Bikman 5:21 Yeah, yeah. So that that eye opening study was based on looking at how well people did in the metrics of metabolic syndrome. So they looked at waist circumference, blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood lipids, just to maybe lumped that those together, when they found that only 12% of US adults, were good in all of those aspects. And in contrast, 88% failed one or multiple of them. So it’s pretty sobering. And I liked that you noted the international aspect to your audience, I have a great appreciation for this problem worldwide. And so far as my, my actual career as a scientist, in a way started in Singapore, you know, tucked away in Southeast Asia, where I did what’s called a postdoctoral fellowship with with Duke medical school there, with the explicit purpose of understanding the metabolic disorders that are becoming so prevalent in Southeast Asia, I’ve given talks on this topic throughout that part of the world and the Middle East, which actually has worst worse statistics than we do. So as much as we think the problem is bad here, it’s even worse in some other countries. So that that certainly gives us the scope of the problem. But I might even add that this unique moment in time where people are more mindful of their immune function, then it makes insulin resistance even more relevant, where we know that in the midst of this current fear of a particular virus, those who have poor metabolic health are substantially orders of magnitude more likely to suffer problems from an infection. So now more than ever, not to mention the growing Alzheimer’s disease and certain metabolic related cancers and heart disease, those are all relevant than always have been even immune system and our our ability to fight off to successfully defend against the viral infection that makes this topic all the more relevant. It does.
Dr. Mindy 7:24 And yeah, why are we you know, people like you and me are bringing it to light but I have sat around for the last year in all, while we had everybody quarantined inside, that the education on insulin resistance stopped it that is that it? That cannot continue. We have to why is that? Is it a lack of media attention? Is it big pharma, big food? Like why aren’t we bringing this to light for people?
Dr. Ben Bikman 7:51 Yeah, yeah. So I, you asking that I realized I didn’t quite answer a part of your previous question, which was how did we get to where we are, and very, very briefly, it’s because of what we eat. It’s what we eat, and how frequently we eat it. And we can get into those details later. But that really is at the heart of the problem, the food we eat is the culprit or the cure. And then in the context of the current concerns with immune health, I can only speculate, I can speak on you know how we get to the problem very, very authoritatively, with high you know, as a research scientist, but why lifestyle and overall metabolic health continues to be overlooked. I can only assume there’s just competing interests. And and not to sound too cynical. But But, but giving dietary advice doesn’t make money. And and I’m enough of a capitalist to appreciate companies and the desire to outcompete another company and make money. I’m not I’m not saying I don’t mean for this to be interpreted incorrectly. Money can be a wonderful motivation, but it can also be a terrible motivation, or motivation for all the wrong reasons. So I think the ongoing refusal to acknowledge metabolic health in the context of a viral epidemic can only I can only assume there’s just competing interests, and there’s no money to be made by telling people that they need to watch their diet. Yeah.
Dr. Mindy 9:17 So on the food and I agree with you, I really do and I think it breaks my heart because and this is why I love doing podcasts with people like you so we can bring this to light. But do you think on the topic of food that we’re in a situation where it’s a little bit like if you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out but if you put a frog in cold water and gradually raise the heat, it will die? I feel like that’s what’s happening to our food. Everything is changed about our food chemicals are our food. Fats are different and and but humans haven’t figured it out. No, like that’s what’s going on.
Dr. Ben Bikman 9:55 Yeah, absolutely. I think that we have been like every organism human have an ability to adapt to their environment. And within reason, like every organism, it’s always within reason, just like the frog can’t immediately adapt to the boiling water, it would be lethal, of course. But within reason the small in this case, you know, the small degradations or the small degrees of change, we can adapt. I think what we’ve done within the last couple generations, is something that is totally unique in the history of humans, and human nutrition, which is now for the first time we’re getting very high fat and high carbohydrate foods. That doesn’t exist in nature, really, with one exception, which is milk, where you know, like you imagine mom, mother mammal, giving a perfect food to baby mammal. And milk happens to be high in all three macronutrients fat carbohydrate protein, that means it’s a perfect cocktail for growth. But for those of us that are grown, you don’t get fat and protein, fat and carbohydrate and high levels together. And I mentioned protein, what we’ve done is, of course, strip away the protein because protein is very satiating. So it doesn’t make sense for a food manufacturer to want to keep the protein in there. Because that’s bad for business, because then someone doesn’t want to eat as much. And protein is expensive. Yeah, so they can peel that protein off and do something else with it, well, then that’s just another way to make more money. So protein, and sorry, carbohydrate and fat in nature, would never come at a high level without some protein. But that’s what we’ve put ourselves in, where we’re eating foods, from bags and boxes with barcodes. And that essentially means we’re getting high fat, high carb, low protein foods. And tragically, it’s the worst kind of carbs, which is refined sugars and starches, and the worst kinds of fats, which are refined seed oils, this is a total, a total departure from an ancestral way of eating that we’ve put ourselves in, in very little time.
Dr. Mindy 11:54 Yeah. And so what I’m hearing from a lot of the public, this is why I love fasting so much, is because this is our food industry. But if I want to eat better food, I’m going to be willing to pay more. So which is horrible, onto itself. And so the way I’ve looked at this for a long time is that the only way out is to get people to start skipping meals, and to start fasting so that we can learn how to not put as much of this food in it. Do you see another way for us to change the that that exact scenario that you just talked about?
Dr. Ben Bikman 12:31 In the context of food, and there are other inputs that affect insulin resistance and metabolic health. But food is the biggest no question of all the leavers we’re trying to manipulate to get healthier, a bunch of there are a bunch of them there, some of them are slippery, the food we eat, is absolutely firm, we can change that, immediately, we can push it up or push it down based on what we’re eating, I am a fan of fasting. I like the nuance or the context that you bring in, which is if you’re eating better, and that’s more real food and more real food costs, more expensive costs more than than fake food, well then combine that with fasting because you just need less of that real food. I think there’s, there’s, that’s an intelligent view and, and maybe we defend it, I would defend it as a kind of nutrient biochemist by saying, by eating real food, you’re getting so much more nutrition. It’s so much more nutrient dense that you can metabolically afford to fast because you’ve gotten everything you need it in such a condensed or dense nutrient, or you know, food stuff that you you you physically metabolically it’s no problem if you now go 12 hours or 16 hours, because you are nourished in that that’s the it’s in such stark contrast to where most people find themselves, which is they are overfed yet, Miss or undernourished. And I kind of refer to that as, as like a miss nourishment, where they get plenty of energy, plenty of calorie, which a human needs to survive, of course, we have to have energy. Thankfully, we store a lot of it in our fat cells. But then you also need all of the other stuff that comes with you that ought to come with nutrition as we’re eating. So that’s one benefit of intermittent fasting, no doubt, to me as a as a metabolic and a fat cell scientist, I just have to emphasize that one of the best ways to improve insulin sensitivity is to lower your insulin. And there’s no question. Fasting is the most, most effective, rapid way of lowering insulin. When you simply stop eating or drinking energy and calories. Insulin has no choice but to start to come down. So in we as we look at a kind of microscopic level, you see, I don’t mean literally, but maybe in a in a small timeframe. When someone goes to bed, they’re not eating now for the first time in a long time, insulin can finally start to come down because it takes several hours after eating for insulin to come down during that period. Sloane is at its low or fasting state, the body is becoming more insulin sensitive, and the body starts going into a more fat burning state because low insulin means higher fat burning. Well, if you can fast through that period, or somehow prolong it either by fasting through breakfast or fasting through dinner by just starting the insulin drop earlier, whatever way you do that on either end of the day, you’ve simply prolonged the period of low insulin, which means you’re enhancing an insulin sensitizing state or allowing insulin to do its job a little better, and stay at lower levels. But the tragedy is that someone has eaten a big dinner and an evening snack and their insulin takes a long time to come down. Well, right around the time it’s coming down, they’re waking up. And wouldn’t you know it, they’re ending they’re faster, they’re breaking their fast with a starchy, sugary breakfast, it’s bagels, or cinnamon rolls are toast or cereal or orange juice. And that spikes insulin 10 times over where it had been. And it takes three hours to come down. And right around, then they’re having their mid morning snack and then lunch, and then afternoon snack in every waking moment is spent in a state of elevated insulin. That’s a wonderful way to never burn fat for fuel. And it’s a terrible way to become to make sure your body is becoming more and more insulin resistant, at every moment of the day.
Dr. Mindy 16:21 So would you say that the most important meal to skip then would be breakfast?
Dr. Ben Bikman 16:27 That is a great question. In fact, Mindy, I’m not gonna let you pin me down to that. That’s that is the that is the that’s probably the easiest way to do it. Yeah, for the reasons I mentioned, which is you’ve been sleeping and it’s already low. So just keep it low. And it’s easiest because insulin is breakfast rather, is one of the less social meals we have. And that employee matters. So yeah, for me, personally, well, not even me. There was a study that looked at cutting breakfast or cutting dinner, cutting dinner yielded more significant metabolic benefits than cutting breakfasted. So that’s the objective data. However, it’s tricky to fast through dinner, because that is the social meal. I’m a, I’m a husband, and I’m a father. And that matters more to me than keeping a six pack in my mid 40s. So even though I know as a metabolic scientist, fasting through dinner is going to actually yield greater metabolic dividends and fasting through breakfast. I just can’t fast through dinner. It doesn’t work. I’m sitting at home with my kids. And so it doesn’t work. Breakfast in contrast, no, it doesn’t upset a family dynamic at all. If I fast through breakfast, even though I’m with my family, virtually every breakfast, Daddy is in charge of breakfast, that’s part of the family dynamic. I’m there. I’m making crepes. I’m making egg muffins for the kid, whatever it may be. And my kids eat more carbs than I do. It’s no problem to them. If I’m not eating breakfast, I’m sipping on a cup of tea or something, it doesn’t matter to them. The Breakfast morning is so busy, people are coming and going. It doesn’t upset a social dynamic in my home. And even more of the case with lunch when I’m at work all the time. If I so I, my Well, I don’t want to get off topic. So you know, best bang for your buck would be fasting through dinner. But that is hard to do. So I’d hate for someone to take it to leave our conversation and say, Alright, Ben said fasting for dinner, I’m going to fast for dinner, and only do it once successfully and never do it again. Well said. And so the fasting through breakfast is the easiest way to do it. Even if even if it’s not quite as high dividend as fasting through dinner, it’s still going to be wonderful. So that’s the one that someone can do than do it.
Dr. Mindy 18:37 And yet, if you’re listening to this, maybe you don’t have a family or you’re like I want to do whatever I can to lose weight. What I hear you say is then you’re going to want to fast through dinner. Yep, absolutely. And why? Why is that? Is it just a you’re going into bed without food in your stomach?
Dr. Ben Bikman 18:54 Yeah, cortisol surge. Yeah, yes, that’s a great point. There could absolutely be this this more pronounced flux or shift in hormones. Maybe when you’re eating a lot right before you’re going to bed. Now it just takes the body a lot longer to clear it because your metabolic rate has slowed energy demands is just much down a much, much further down. I actually think it’s because of a permissive effect that comes in the evening. I know for me personally, after dinner evening is the witching hour. That is when I’m at my weakest. When it comes to temptations and indulgences. I would look at something in the morning around breakfast, and not even have a speck of temptation to eat that. It is totally unappealing. But if I put that same thing in the evening, oh my goodness, it’ll take a Herculean discipline on my part not to indulge. And so if I have just decided, I eat a big, heavy hearty lunch, and then I’m done until breakfast the next day, well, then you’re done. There’s just no getting around it. But if I’ve eaten dinner, and I can still eat I’m kind of roaming the house then I just start snacking. And that’s the challenge for me, where, if I, if I, because I don’t fast through dinner, I really try to have a very big lunch. And so that because I’ve found not that everyone would feel this way. But if I only eat one meal a day, and it’s dinner as my only meal, then I almost always overindulge at dinner. And I almost always end up snacking on stuff after dinner and go to bed full and uncomfortable and sleep poorly. And it sets me off for another round of trying to do that again. So I more and more as I’m learning more about my own habits. And again, this might be helpful to some, I tried to have a big lunch. And so when I come home for dinner, I’m already a little full. And then it just makes eating a small amount of dinner so much easier. And it makes stopping after dinner so much easier than otherwise. But if I have that kind of hunger pressure growing throughout the day, and it kind of crests at dinnertime, then usually I don’t do it well. And so as much as I’m a fan of condensing an eating window, and one meal a day in theory, for me, it doesn’t work out that well. Because if I’m only going to eat one meal a day, it’s most certainly going to be dinner with my family. And then it just sets me up to fail. So I’d rather fast through breakfast, have a really big lunch, and then a very modest dinner. So it’s almost, it’s almost like I’m kind of coming down for my lunch. And it just keeps coming down through dinner because it’s so modest. And then I just flatline early in the evening with my insulin.
Dr. Mindy 21:32 I love that and actually I’ve done that on I like to vary my eating styles all the time on my fasting lights, and I so what you’re saying I actually did today, and I like that because when you get home, you’re not like Okay, I’m gonna break my fast. Get me the food. What do you mean dinner is not on the table? Like there is an emotional and response to your meal at night that you don’t typically have in the middle of the day. Yeah, but but I have to be very strategic at the meal I put together for lunch so that I don’t crash my energy does doesn’t crash? Do you find that? And if so what meal both put together. So
Dr. Ben Bikman 22:08 yeah, for sure. I noticed that that mid afternoon is the hardest for me, right where I start to get the most tired, and my productivity would tend to go down. I just simply nip that in the bud by not eating carbs for lunch. I’m very, very strict on lunch. And that was a study published by David Ludwig’s group at Harvard last year where he looked at energy availability after so basically how much nutrient is in the blood after a high carb meal versus a low carb meal. And it was significantly lower in the wake of the high carb meal. And that might be why people get hungrier sooner after a high carb meal. Because you’ve cleared the blood of all the nutrients insulin spikes up, and it lowers glucose lowers fats lowers ketones. Now the brain is thinking Wait a minute, we’re getting low on energy we need to eat. And the same time the brain might be getting might be giving us a sense of fatigue, because it’s sensing the lower energy and thinking oh, wait energies a little low, we need to kind of tamp down our brain metabolic rate, which would be manifest as a fatigue or tiredness. So I eat a big lunch and I just make sure that it’s a lot of protein and a lot of fat. And very little are very smart about my starches that kind of reflects my three nutritional principles in general,
Dr. Mindy 23:24 what would be Give me an example would you do like a big chef salad?
Dr. Ben Bikman 23:28 Yeah, yeah, so yes, some examples. I’m not a big salad guy, but I’d be totally in favor of it. It’s just that I don’t really have the patience to make it on my own and bring it that’s not my in my wheelhouse. And there’s no convenient place nearby. So lunches for me is a mix of leftovers from the night before. Like Like today it was a bunch of taco meats just a hamburger from the night before that I just mixed with avocado and and sour cream. And then it just kind of aided by the spoonful, you know so pretty ugly, miserable little dinner, lunch, but but delicious and very nourishing. Other times, it’s I go to this little hotdog joint near campus, and I get two big hotdogs on a plate with a bunch of mustard and sauerkraut. And I eat that no been. And then other times when I when I really needed to be convenient, then I will take a shake, and not to sound like a shill. But But my a couple of my brothers made a low carb meal replacement shake just for this purpose, which is a low carb it’s sometimes hard to have super convenient foods. And if anyone wants to learn more about it, I won’t say any more than that. But go to a website called get health and health is spelled h l th no vowels and health but get health calm and you can learn more about the shake and see my blog posts.
Dr. Mindy 24:43 There. We’ll put it we’ll put it in the notes because I actually think shakes are can be really horrible. Or they could be really beneficial. So whenever somebody creates a good shake, that is awesome.
Dr. Ben Bikman 24:55 And we’re just sort of a shake obsessed culture for various reasons. One that can taste very good. And two, they’re just so convenient very can be. And so depending on what my day is, now, I don’t think anything’s a replacement for real good hearty food. That always ought to be the priority. But the fact is, sometimes it just doesn’t work. And the more you go low carb, the more you you don’t have convenient foods, and you can’t just rip open the backs of the box, or the bag of junk that you were about to eat for lunch. You know, real food doesn’t come off in that way. So So for those that find it to be a little, they’re time pressed and they can’t plan their meal out or don’t have time to hit the hotdog shop, or the hot dog joint, well, then I think a shake is always a pretty option.
Dr. Mindy 25:42 Well said, What do you think’s worse? You think sugar is worth worse? Or do you think the bad fats are
Dr. Ben Bikman 25:47 all Oh, my goodness, this of course, you know, you being who you are, you know, the debate that’s raging? Yeah, this topic most especially on social media. You know? So here, you know, I can’t I don’t want to answer that definitively. But maybe let me just talk through it for just a minute. And put some context here, maybe that’ll lead me to a conclusion. So we are I mean, the people who attack, so I do tend to fall on the insulin side of things, I think chronically elevated insulin is so clearly pathogenic, creating insulin resistance and all the problems that come from that come from it, then it’s very hard for me to say that refined starches or sugars aren’t important. I have to just tip that way, simply because my scientific scientific expertise is so strong, that I know the data so well, that I just have to say that, however, I acknowledge that there is robust data suggesting that high levels of linoleic acid consumption are also very pathogenic. I just don’t do those kinds of studies myself, and I’m not as familiar with the research. So I have to fall on the refined carb side. But in the end, I think we’re splitting hairs, because the fact is, we’re getting both. Yeah, I think if you remove one in the other, or if you remove one, you’ve essentially removed the other. Yeah, because when people are getting high refined starches, they’re getting them from processed foods that are high refined oils, when someone’s getting high refined oils, it’s not that they’re drinking a bottle of soybean oil, they’re getting the foods that the soybean oil has been cooked in, which is always going to be refined starch, or sugar. So in reality, we get them together, and there’s really no pulling them apart. But if I had to pick one, just because I’m, I’m so much more familiar with the science, that I would have to just say, while the refined starches are going to be a huge problem. No, well said you’re the you’re the insulin resistance. Yeah. That’s right. I’m the carb insulin. Yeah,
Dr. Mindy 27:52 I love it. And you know, what I always tell people is if I came into your house, and I swapped out all your oils, I just poured the good oils and the bad oil bottles, you probably wouldn’t even notice a difference in taste. So I do feel like some people are very insulin resistant. If they can’t get that sugar craving under control. If we just start by swapping out their fats, we at least have a door and
Dr. Ben Bikman 28:14 Yep, in fact, but even then, Mindy, I think it’s genius. The moment you say that, though, we’re also immediately forcing them to toss out all the refined foods they’re eating, which is such a culprit because if we’re just talking about replacing their cooking oils, which would be huge, it would be huge. Because it’s not like these people are getting their carbs because they’re making cake at home. You know, right, they’re eating. They’re getting their treats from the stores. And so there’s in reality, there’s just no pulling the two apart. But I like your sentiment, if there if we could just say, you know what, just use that olive oil or use that coconut oil instead. Yeah, but they’re not baking, cooking at home, you know, they’re eating, most of that stuff is coming from outside the home anyway.
Dr. Mindy 28:55 Yeah. How would somebody know one thing I’ve realized and just interacting with so many people is that we don’t we only look at insulin resistance if we have an obesity issue, or we’re struggling to lose weight, or we’ve been given a, you know, a diabetes diagnosis, but there are a lot of other signs that we are insulin resistant, to help our listeners understand, like, what are some of the other signs, like one time somebody brought to my attention and I was like, I had never even thought about this. If you can’t go without food, you’re metabolically unflexible that those mitochondria are struggling. And that is could be a precursor to you being insulin resistant. That might be the first sign. How do you feel on that?
Dr. Ben Bikman 29:39 Yeah, yeah, that’s great. I love that you’re bringing this up. In by way of context, you know, if we’re saying the 88% of all adults in the US have some form of insulin resistance, well, then there isn’t there is a gap there because only about you know, 60% are overweight or obese. So you have a portion of the population that don’t fall into the overweight or obese category by current standards, but yet still would be failing some aspects of metabolic health. So how do we explain those to what might be the less obvious signs of insulin resistance to your point, rather than just I have too much fat that I’m juggling or pinching one, that’s a great one, if someone can’t fast for 12 hours, that’s a terrible sign, in a way probably reflect insulin resistance and chronically elevated insulin, which always comes with insulin resistance. And if insulin is high, good luck burning fat for fuel. And that creates a problem with the person who’s fasting because of your insulin is high, because you’re insulin resistant, even when you’re fasting, it’s still going to be higher than ideal. And when insulin is high, you are in glucose or sugar burning mode in the body runs out of sugar very quickly. And so if you can’t go 12 hours with an adult, as fast, that’s a problem. Yeah, you need to wean yourself off of that starch and sugar and help your body learn to burn fat better. And then it’s nourished and it senses it has energy because you’re using your own fat for energy, which, after all, is why it’s there. That can only happen when insulin is down. But But beyond beyond the context of fasting for or not being able to fast as a sign of insulin resistance, others would be high blood pressure, it is almost a guarantee if someone has high blood pressure that it is caused by insulin resistance that is the overwhelmingly most common and then other less, very noticeable to the individual and more subtle would be infertility. erectile dysfunction in men. There was a manuscript published a couple years ago that the title of it is unforgettable. And it’s something like I just said, it was unforgettable. But I’ll get it wrong a little bit. forgotten. I clearly forgot the precise words here. But it was something like in its in its being memorable, it was something like is erectile dysfunction, the earliest manifestation of insulin resistance in a man that is a reflection of the problem that’s happening at blood vessels in insulin resistance, which is that there is no there’s insufficient vasodilation. And good luck getting an erection if you can’t have blood vessels, the dilate, that has to happen. In women, the most common infertility is pcls, polycystic ovary syndrome, and that is at its core, a metabolic problem, insulin resistance. Now, some this, this really plays in well to the conference of this immediate topic, which is you can have women with, with PCs, who don’t meet the metrics of insulin resistance, they are lean and they look healthy. Yep. Even in those women, they have much higher level of insulin resistance at their fat cells than women who have the same body weight but who don’t have PCs. So even there, when they look like they’re metabolically healthy, when you actually scratch beneath the surface, you find that they do in fact, have insulin resistance, it’s just subtle. It’s not clinically evident. But with a little further scientific scrutiny, you detect it at the level of where insulin resistance actually starts, which I believe is that the fat cell these these seemingly lean healthy women with pcls have insulin resistance at its origin, which is at the fat cell, and that’s very likely what’s contributing to the polycystic ovary syndrome.
Dr. Mindy 33:26 Yeah, and we’ve, you know, there’s another breakdown in how we measure health is we think a number on the scale or BMI gets tossed around a lot as that’s the measurement for health. I can’t tell you how many women in our community have struggled to get pregnant. They told their BMI was high. We show them how to fast according to their hormonal cycle, and within a month they’re pregnant without even dropping any weight.
Dr. Ben Bikman 33:51 That’s awesome. Yep, that’s that’s right. Yep, that’s right. And that that is a reflection, just like you said, we’re insulin resistance is not something that’s so manifest on the scale, it often is. But that doesn’t mean it always is even more the case with different ethnicities that I like to joke that that if you want to be really fat, you want to be Caucasian, because Caucasians appear to be able to be the fattest, and yet retain some form of health. But when I was doing my postdoctoral work in Singapore, talk about a difference of body fat and body type. If you compare, if I had to two guys, two men, one of Chinese ethnicity in Singapore, one of say your European or Northern European or Caucasian ethnicity in Singapore, same environment, same diet, same culture, in a way, even eating the same food has a different response. But the Chinese guy, he’s starting to experience substantial metabolic problems and a very mild body fat level. So he just looks he just looks a little overweight, and he’s already suffering the metabolic health. That would take the white guy the cut. asian guy, obese levels to get to. So there’s there’s massive ethnic differences on how the body stores fat and and how how pathological or pathogenic it is in kind of starting or contributing to this progression of insulin resistance to diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimers infertility, and so on.
Dr. Mindy 35:20 Oh, that’s fascinating. I’d never heard that before. That’s fascinating. Have you guys noticed that on most of my resetter podcasts, I bring up the word fasting, I maybe just little obsessed with fasting. And the reason why is I feel like I have found a tool that is free, doesn’t take a lot of time, and has the ability to help us as humans overcome chronic disease. So in order to spread the word of fasting to the world, I do something called fast training week, every single month, it is a five day period where I teach my community, how to fast, I teach the principles of fasting, and we test out different fasts together, it’s completely free. And in order for you guys to really succeed at fast training week, I’ve created a companion guide. So after you listen to this podcast, go down into the show notes, and you will see a link where you can get this month’s free companion guide for fast training week. And it’ll tell you all the different strategies that I’m using for this particular fast trading week, it’ll give you some of my favorite fasting hacks, and it’ll make your fast training week experience that much more enjoyable. So as always, I hope it helps fasting is going to be our way out of chronic disease. And I’m just on a mission to get the world excited about fasting. So head on down to the show notes and get yourself a free companion guide. How much does the microbiome play in it? If I’ve been on a round of 20 antibiotics? And now all of a sudden, I can’t lose weight? Did I just kill all those bacteria to help me manage my blood sugar?
Dr. Ben Bikman 37:06 Yeah, so you? That’s what a great question. And it’s certainly I know, a topic of interest in you, you start you frame that in a nice way for me to answer because I can start with the easiest part of it, and then confess the the challenge. So that I think easy. And we know in humans, that after doses of high, high strength, antibiotics, they gain weight, it’s it is an exceptionally consistent finding across multiple different types of antibiotics. So there’s no doubt the microbiome matters when it comes to our metabolic health. But that is for me where the certainty ends. Because now when the conversation turns into trying to manipulate certain types of bacteria, trying to promote the growth of some and the death of others, and certain foods or habits to change the microbiome, everything we do will change the microbiome. It changes so much. And so for me, I don’t like that that’s too shaky ground for me, as a scientist. So while there are some scientists, undoubtedly, who can navigate those shaky waters very well, I like to stay in the still waters of known metabolism in bio nutrient biochemistry. So I just can’t speak to that very well. But in general, I’m a little cautious when it comes to the microbiome and how well we understand it, in how we ought to change it. One, it matters, I say that with absolute certainty based on the human evidence that we do have, but then to how we can change it in a way to work for us that I just don’t know, as well. And don’t know, I don’t know how much is known.
Dr. Mindy 38:45 The the information on fasting right now that’s coming out. I’ve been looking at the trends on science behind fasting for about four years now. And I find it really interesting that the current research that’s coming out is showing that the most dramatic change is happening at the microbiome level. And when you fast, you’re making that specific change, like there was a study that just came out April 2021, where they took two groups of people and they put them on the DASH diet. But they decided with one group, they would fast them for five days, put them on like a soup liquid diet before they went on the DASH diet. And what they found is when they went into the diet, they got a better result. And they speculated the change was because of a change in the microbiome. So I agree with you that there’s the sensitivity of the microbiome is is high. And we it can be influenced one positive or negative. But I also think it has so much to do with how we’re regulating blood sugar. And we just love to kill every bacteria we can find in our culture.
Dr. Ben Bikman 39:50 Yeah, yeah. So I think there’s, that’s all I’m thrilled to hear that. I do think bacteria matter. I love that bacteria are able to take These beneficial bacteria are able to take fiber like soluble fiber not insoluble fiber, they’re able to take soluble fiber and metabolize it into short chain fatty acids that then feed other bacteria and feed the human body, we get to pull those short chain fats in and talk about metabolic magic, those little short chain fat boy, they’re they’re minute, they’re diminutive, but they punch up above their weight class, where they are known to induce mitochondrial biogenesis. They are known to enhance insulin sensitivity and improve glucose tolerance. So to more rapidly lower glucose after the consumption of a starchy sugary meal. So in that sense, I’m a great defender of the microbiome. Because they do what what we can’t. But again, it is an encouragement to focus on soluble fiber, the fiber that comes from fruits and vegetables, and not as much hold not as much regard for insoluble fiber, which is neither a fuel for us nor the bacteria, they just comes through us as bulk. And that’s what we’d be more getting from from grains. So, yeah, I do think there’s something there’s some metabolic leverage we can have when it comes to soluble fiber, in addition, and not giving us a sense of satiety and not providing direct calorie, you know, we’re not digesting it, but the good bacteria are digesting it.
Dr. Mindy 41:20 So then, are we missing out on that necessary fiber for those bacteria? If we hop on something like the carnivore diet?
Dr. Ben Bikman 41:27 Oh, my goodness. I’m just gonna go after all. You’re trying to get me in trouble with like every camp. I’m going to offend everyone, today. Yes. So this is where the fact is. There’s no question that going on a carnivore diet would change the microbiome. But there’s also no question that the metabolic dividends are massive on a carnivore diet. I mean, I have personally seen I have to say this as an anecdote, because there just isn’t a lot of evidence out yet. I’m optimistic more will start to come as this is gaining steam. But the metabolic improvements in people that go on a carnivore diet are absolutely mind blowing. It is it is just it is shocking, how quickly these people start cutting medications, and feel better and look better and move better. I’ve I’ve never seen anything comparable to be frank. So the despite the view I just mentioned, which is the role of soluble fiber in promoting or feeding healthy bacteria as a prebiotic. I have to then say, but it’s clearly not essential. Because when someone’s adopting a carnivore diet, they aren’t putting that fiber in their system. There’s no question they still have a healthy gut microbiome. I don’t think there should be any question. stools studies. elim, a limited amount of evidence suggests that the microbiome are very much there. But they change profile, which makes sense. I would then just say, the microbiome is still there, the gut bacteria are still there, they have changed in their population of who’s dominant, who’s not. Clearly the bacteria that don’t need fiber to live are thriving. And that doesn’t mean they’re bad, because these are people who have just profound improvements in their health. So once in all of this is, in fact, part of what brings me to my conclusion that we just should be very careful in making conclusions about bacteria and how much we understand, and, and how much we understand of the individual roles of these bacteria that despite me already saying repeatedly, good and bad bacteria, we don’t really know how that balance really works. We know that bacteria are good, based on the antibiotic data we have from humans. But But whether it’s harmful if we’re not getting fiber, now these bacteria are starving. Well, clearly, there’s still a bunch of other bacteria that are working wonderfully, because these people are ridiculously healthy.
Dr. Mindy 43:53 Yeah, yeah. Is it possible that as humans, we’re not meant to all go on the same diet?
Dr. Ben Bikman 43:59 I think that’s absolute, that’s almost a cop out for me to agree with, because then you know, then it’s just says everyone’s different. So might not work for you. But, but I think it is, I think their safety in that view. While I do think I’m bold in saying that, I think everyone would benefit on a diet that is lower and refined starches. You know, whether it’s really low carb or still, like even someone could say, I’m going to go on a vegetarian diet, I cannot in any way really condone vegan diet. I just think that’s too antithetical to human survival. But if someone were vegetarian, primarily, you know, whole food plant based, but they’re getting the essential nutrients they need from animal based foods, then there’s no doubt that they’re going to be so healthy, they’re going to be super healthy and thrive. There may be other people who have an inherent iron deficiency, where that wouldn’t work for them. They just need more heme iron from beef. And so the very low levels like So I, this is on that one is a low hanging fruit for me because I’m a university professor. And every semester I have young women, only young women who come to me and complain about being tired, and they don’t have their iron dose. Correct. And they’re always vegan. Yes. And so I look at that and think the vegan diet isn’t working for you. Yeah, not to, I don’t mean to offend people, I really don’t. where someone listening is a staunch vegan, and they’re gonna contact me and say, you know, screw you. I’ve never felt better. You know, that’s great. Good for you. I’m glad. But when you need to be supplementing, when you need to be supplementing, it does suggest that what you’re eating isn’t adequate. And so, you know, for these young women, who are, they’re experiencing, of course, very frequent menstrual cycles. And they’re college age kids. So they’re very physically active for the most part. That, to me doesn’t work. And I just want to just put my hands on their shoulders and just say, eat some beef. Yeah, no, don’t worry. So yeah, I do think different diets absolutely can work for different people. And it can, in fact, cover a massive spectrum, kind of whole food plant based vegetarian diet, I think it can work wonderfully for some people. And then a pure carnivore diet can also work wonderfully. What I would say they all have in common is that they have cut back on the refined starches and sugars and the refined oils. That’s what would be common across this whole spectrum. And why I think it could work.
Dr. Mindy 46:31 Yeah, yeah. And I think that this is my point and asking you, if you think that there’s one diet for every human, we tend to look at our friends and go, Oh, they went on the carnivore diet, they lost a bunch of weight, I’m going to go on it, that’s going to be right for me. And what I’m trying to educate my audience on is that there is a unique path that’s right for you. And it may look different, it may look than anybody else. And I would agree with you. But every amazing diet should not have refined flours in it and sugars and it should not have bad oils.
Dr. Ben Bikman 47:02 Yeah. So I would say I, I kind of, I presented the case as a kind of nutrient biochemist sort of physiologist, which is, you know, in the case of the undergraduate who’s not getting enough iron, eat more iron. And that’s a part of the the adaptability of a diet, and we’re not, you know, neither you nor I is advocating or advocating one single diet, it really is take these principles and then find a way to make it work. But what what goes into that also is the cultural differences, that if we were to tell someone who comes from India, you got to go on a carnivore diet. Good luck. No more interesting. Yeah, you know, I mean, that is a culture that generally is a heavily vegetarian, heavily plant based, and culturally, it just might not work. And so there are those intangibles of the culture, macroscopic or microscopic, you know, in a country and hold ethnicity or just within a family, that it might not work for someone to go too far to the extremes. So biochemically we can defend someone adapting the diet, but even culturally, we need to be sympathetic and mindful of the fact that some food some dietary changes just won’t work with some micro or macro scopic cultures.
Dr. Mindy 48:20 Yeah, well said Well said. And again, this is why I want to elevate people’s thought and stop trying to fit everybody into the same box. Talk to me a little bit about toxins. So the term obesogens has really been thrown around. And one thing I’d love to know from you, is it is it true if I put a toxic lotion on my skin? Is that making me insulin resistant?
Dr. Ben Bikman 48:42 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So um, so there are there are chemicals obesogens, as you call them, and I agree, that’s a great name that are uniquely fattening, all things equal. Now, the evidence starts to fall apart in humans, because there’s no causal or mechanistic evidence proving that this happens in humans. So we have correlations in humans that fit well with the causal evidence that we have from animals from lab animals, where we know chemicals that come from plastics and detergents, and even certain lotions, perhaps, they are capable of making lab animals fatter than what the calorie load suggests they should be so there’s something uniquely fattening about some of these chemicals. And again, pesticides and, and detergents and plastics are really the big culprits. And then maybe to a lesser degree, certain lotions. That’d be a far, far lesser degree. In humans, we do find that people who are have who have more fat do have higher circulating levels of these chemicals in their blood. So we find the correlation. That’s just correlation. We don’t know the causality in humans, but we do know the causality in rodents, which kind of gives us some confidence that what we see As correlation probably reflect actual causality. So these are molecules that can be uniquely unique fertilizers to the fat cell and promote the growth of fat cells. All calories equal. And these are things like die, Ethel still best all these are things like Bisphenol A even BPA, is a known obesogens in lab animals and correlates very tightly with human obesity. So these are, these are chemicals that are all around and in many, many dozens more than I can’t even think of at the moment. They are all around us. But it is a strong encouragement, especially for kids, especially for kids who are really setting the tone for how many fat cells they’re going to have for the rest of their lives. Because we basically set our number of fat cells when we finish puberty, which is early, which is late teens and girls in early 20s. And boys, people think puberty ends much earlier than it actually does. But nevertheless, that’s typically where we’ve set the number of fat cells we’re going to have for the rest of our adult life until our 70s, and 80s, when we actually start to lose some, which sounds better than the neck than it is. But But these obesogens can, in the youth, the fear for me as a father, is that I want to make sure I give my kid the best possible start that when they leave our home as adults, even metabolically, I’m putting them on the right path. And so I do deliberately, I’m very mindful of them drinking too much water from malleable plastic bottles. Because those squishable plastic bottles that we’re all buying our water from from the grocery store are going to be very high in BPA, all the more if they’ve been heated up in any way, if they’re warm and sitting in your car, then you’re leaching even more of those chemicals into the water. So we ought to be really as much as we can, where our kids are taking water bottles with them. And everybody does these days, let it be metal or glass, certainly as the best options. And then if it’s got to be plastic, just try to get the better plastics, and I don’t remember the exact numbers. But you can just check the BPA levels in all plastic bottles look on the bottom and they’ll tell you the number. And you can look that number up online. But I think like plastics three and six, I think we’re the best, but I can’t remember. But if it’s BPA free, at least you’re removing the the elephant in the room.
Dr. Mindy 52:17 Yeah, yeah, we always say get glass because I guess they’re you know, the way they’re looking at the other BPA is now is that they’re toxic as well. On the on the topic of you have all the fat cells, you’re gonna get all of the fat cells for your life. In your teenage years. Does that mean if I was a overweight, 17 year old, and that and I’ve been overweight ever since. And now I’m 35 and I want to lose weight. And what’s happening when I’m trying to reduce my weight down? Am I are those fat cells disappearing? Are they just shrinking?
Dr. Ben Bikman 52:46 They’re just shrinking. So so what happens is yes, so we set the number of fat cells we have prior to the end of puberty, so transitioning into adulthood. And if someone is overweight, and then they start to lose weight in their 30s 40s 50s they’re shrinking those fat cells. They’re not killing them. That doesn’t happen. We don’t we don’t start destroying the fat cells. fat cells have a natural life. I’ve heard some chuckleheads, even professors say who should know better fat cells are immortal. That’s just, that’s just ridiculous. They’re not immortal. A fat cell has a life of about 10 years. But throughout adulthood, when one fat cell dies, as it has lived, it’s 10 years, it typically will just move into a new fat cell that’s been created. So we have this capacity to replace one for one, that actually we start to lose that in our older age 70s and 80s. And that sounds like it’s a good thing. But let me make sure I answered your question. So you just shrink the fat cells, you don’t cut the number back. Now in older age, what’s so interesting about the loss of those fat cells, then is that if someone’s continuing to eat the same way they were before they start losing their fat cells, all that means is the remaining fat cells start to get bigger and bigger and bigger. Because once what was once a fat amount that was being held in fat and five fat cells, has now been whittled down to say two fat cells, but they’re still all the calories and all the insulin telling the body to store fat, it just puts an increasing pressure on the remaining fat cells to store more. And that’s the worst way to store fat. When you have individual fat cells getting very, very fat, or what’s called hypertrophic, those are the fat cells that become very insulin resistant. And that’s probably part of the reason why as we age, we start to have much more insulin resistance. It’s just because even if the person doesn’t look like they’re storing any more fat than they were before, those remaining fat cells are all more hypertrophic and that is more pathogenic when it comes to insulin resistance.
Dr. Mindy 54:49 How do you get it? How do you get around that?
Dr. Ben Bikman 54:51 Yeah, so it is a stronger push as we age to just make sure we’re keeping our insulin in check because of insulin. is low, you cannot have fat cells grow. And in contrast, you have no choice. But for the fat cells to start shrinking. So all the more anyone listening, getting into their 70s and 80s, control your insulin, those simple rules. Well, I four simple rules control carbs, prioritize protein don’t feel fat, and fast. If you’re doing those four things, it’s an you’re doing everything you can. And I would maybe just say, be physically active. Where’s exercise? Yeah, where’s that? Well, it’s not as much as people think. There was a study just published about a month ago, or so that took overweight diet, type two diabetics, and put them into two groups. One was a group of vigorous weekly exercise, coached multiple times a week high intensity exercise. The other group was just a low carb diet, like basically following the strategies I just mentioned. And they had significantly greater fat loss, significantly greater glucose and insulin control, just by going on the low carb diet, no exercise intervention at all. Now, again, I’m a huge defender of exercise. Let me be clear, yeah. But when it comes to just maximizing your your metabolic benefit, changing your diet will yield significantly greater returns on your investment, then trying to exercise you can’t out exercise a bad diet. Yeah, cliche. I know, but it’s true.
Dr. Mindy 56:21 But you know, I’m 51. And when I went into my 40s, I started to do more fasting. And as I started to drop weight and enjoy my body more, I stopped exercising as much. And then I started to think to myself, why am I exercising? And then I realized, Oh, I’m exercising for brain health. That’s what I’m exercising for. And it was a beautiful switch. Because then I totally looked at my exercise different. I wasn’t trying to run marathons, my weight where I wanted it to be.
Dr. Ben Bikman 56:49 Yeah, good for you. I’m very quick to say your reasons are slightly different than mine. But they certainly align, eat smart to be lean and metabolically healthy and exercise to be strong. I exercise Well, one, one, my ego, you know, I’m involved in my early 20s. And I got to give my wife a reason to come home to me every day, let me in the house, I still wanted to be interested in me physically. So I want to be I want to look healthy, but to I want to be a healthy Grandpa, even though that is in years or more down the road, I really want to be the kind of grandpa who can go skiing with his grandkids, or I can get on the ground and wrestle with my grandkids and get right up and throw them up into the air and play with them. I in play on the playground. Healthy Diet will certainly help with that. But to just be physically strong enough to you know, pick up my grandkids, you have to be challenging your muscle to do that. So so my reasons aren’t necessarily staying lean and metabolically healthy. It’s just I want to stay physically capable. Yeah,
Dr. Mindy 57:47 I love that. I love that. Well, gosh, I feel like I could stay on here for like three hours. And for every question I’ve ever had about insulin resistance to you. Those are the only questions I can answer. Just
Dr. Ben Bikman 57:58 don’t ask me anything about your car or plumbing or if it’s insulin and metabolic health?
Unknown Speaker 58:05 Well, you know, unfortunately, I’m like probably in the same boat as you I spent about 70% of my day thinking about metabolic health. So, so we, you know, we could have a lot of good conversations together.
Dr. Mindy 58:17 So but let me finish up. I have five rapid fire questions for you that I’m actually really now that I’ve chatted with you for an hour. I’m very intrigued how you’re going to answer them. Now I’ll start off with an easy one. I’m going to give you an easy one first. Okay, what is the one book we’re starting a book club with our podcasts that changed your life that you feel everybody should read?
Dr. Ben Bikman 58:38 Okay, okay, so I’m not going to say my book.
Dr. Mindy 58:41 Yeah. And actually say your book because
Dr. Ben Bikman 58:43 I won’t, I won’t, because I actually do want to answer that. I’m just just a shameless plug. Everybody get my book?
Dr. Mindy 58:49 Yeah. Why? Why we get sick. Yeah.
Dr. Ben Bikman 58:54 It’s all about a lot of the stuff we’ve been talking about. What is insulin resistance? Why does it matter? Where does it come from and what to do about it? Now, separate from that, if I were to mention a book strictly within the realm of biomedical science, because I have other favorites in other genres that are not relevant at all, I would say good calories, bad calories by Gary Taubes is was was an absolute revelation to me. And in a way I credit his book for allowing for giving me the courage to step on the path that I already kind of suspected was there, based on my own research with insulin and feeding in the animal studies we were doing. I think his book is absolutely wonderful. It’s encyclopedic. So you have to roll up your sleeves, but good calories, bad calories.
Dr. Mindy 59:41 Okay. Great. I love it. Okay, now for more difficult question. If you were the Surgeon General, the US Surgeon General right now, and you saw the bad that 40% of Americans have two or more chronic disease. 60% have one and that’s moving worldwide. What would what would you implement To end chronic disease in our country.
Dr. Ben Bikman 1:00:02 Yeah, yeah. So that would I, there’s no simple answer, but I would, I would. This is maybe I might regret saying this at another point, but I’d remove the, the food label that indicates calories. Hmm. Well, sad. In part because we miscategorized protein, I don’t think protein should be given a caloric value whatsoever. We never use it as energy in all but the most extreme metabolic circumstances, proteins a building block, and it is it has given rise to the fear of fat that persists. And fat is not what we need to be fearing. And at least in its ancestral version from fruits and animals, we should be eating those abundantly with no regard on the calorie number. Because if our hormones are in check, then the body knows what to do with extra energy. So there are other things I’d say, but maybe that’s the easiest one remove the calorie value that we give to foods.
Dr. Mindy 1:00:56 Yeah. Oh, I love that.
Dr. Ben Bikman 1:00:58 I love that. Maybe replace it with like a carb warning or and a seed oil warning. Yeah. Well, I
Dr. Mindy 1:01:04 mean, most people don’t even know how to read a label. So but they know calories, because that’s where it’s been drilled. And I
Dr. Ben Bikman 1:01:09 think that that is a huge tragedy. The laws of thermodynamics should have never been applied to nutrition. Ever. Full stop. Yeah.
Dr. Mindy 1:01:20 Agree. Agree. Okay. What’s the one health habit you do every single day that you would never give up? It is like your go to? Oh, gosh.
Dr. Ben Bikman 1:01:31 Well, I don’t do this every day. Because I don’t exercise on Sundays. But it would be actually no, let me change it. I’m sauna, sauna, or no estate every day that I can. Okay, which is, which is to say when I’m on campus. And I live so close to campus that even on Saturdays on occasion, my wife will give me the Wink when she knows if I want to go sauna. So you go just take us on a really quick. So I’ll go schvitz in the sauna for for 15 or 20 minutes. But I yeah, I mean, everything else I’d say would be obvious. But I’m such an advocate of the sauna. I, I feel so good. When I’m in there, and it’s just quiet. It’s kind of a meditative sort of time. Not that I’m praying or doing anything like that. But it’s just a thoughtful time. And it’s quiet. And you feel so good when I do when I come out of there. And it’s funny because when I used to go to the YMCA with my dad, as a boy, I thought the sauna was the worst thing on the planet. It was just torture. But now now that I’m becoming my dad, I think it’s the best place in the world. So every day that I can, I will sauna for 15 minutes or so. And there is very real benefits that come from that, of course, ample evidence out of Scandinavian countries showing reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and there might be a lot of confounding variables there. I just do it because I feel so good when I come out.
Dr. Mindy 1:02:55 You know, I just interviewed a doctor who said hormone, male hormone expert, and he talked about how but he said for both women and men, we make testosterone out from our skin from the cells on our skin. So the more that you are sweating, you’re opening up that circulation, and it’s improving testosterone levels,
Dr. Ben Bikman 1:03:15 genius. And that for me,
Dr. Mindy 1:03:18 amazing. I’ll take the fourth question here for you. If you’re listening to this, and you’re just you’re in the standard American diet, you’re trying to figure out where to go from there. What’s the one hack that you feel like is the most helpful? Maybe it’s a hack, nobody talks about much to manage blood sugar.
Dr. Ben Bikman 1:03:37 Yeah, I would say change breakfast tomorrow, you might have already we’ve covered so many great topics. I already talked about the tragedy of of how we weave insulin has been coming down overnight, and we immediately spike at 10 times with all this junk that we eat. Breakfast, unfortunately, has become almost a meal of nothing but desert in the way we do it. So I would say change breakfast, change it tomorrow. Either just drink a cup of coffee or tea or even water and fast through it. Or eat something with protein and fat and essentially little to no carbohydrate, whether it’s a smart omelet with some smart veggies in there, or it’s just bacon and eggs or it’s a smart low carb meal replacement shake whatever it is. Make sure it’s heavy protein, heavy fat and little to no carbs. Certainly, certainly no refined carbs. That would be the easiest thing. Change breakfast. Change it tomorrow.
Dr. Mindy 1:04:30 Yeah. And everybody could do that. It doesn’t cost money doesn’t take time. I love it. Okay, last question. If you had one message for the world that you could get into everybody’s brain, what would it be? Oh,
Dr. Ben Bikman 1:04:41 yeah, yeah. So the bumper sticker would be insulin matters. And that is that is. That’s a big idea. I know. And just to parse it down a little. That really is my professional goal. That at the end of my career, if I can look back at my career and say I have helped people understand the clinical relevance of insulin resistance. Then I will finish I will retire very, very happy. And all of this plays into what we’ve been talking about, which is, insulin resistance is the single most prevalent problem on the world, it is the single most common health disorder to define problem a little better. It’s the single most common health disorder worldwide. And in addition to its its prevalence is the relevance, which is that virtually every chronic disease is in some way derivative, or coming from insulin resistance, whether the insulin resistance is directly causing it, like heart disease and hypertension, or infertility, or whether it is exacerbating or accelerating it, like breast or prostate cancers are all timers disease, insulin resistance is the come, it’s really kind of the tree that all of these branches are coming from. So rather than someone opening their medicine cabinet, and taking out their pill for their blood pressure, their pill for their infertility, their pill for their diabetes, my hope, would be that after this kind of discussion, they would say, you know what, I just keep trimming the branches of this tree and the branches are always growing back, I’m just going to cut the tree down. That is what happens when we finally start taking control of our insulin resistance. All of those problems that are just branches off one common trunk start to get better. I’m not saying they’ll go away, but they will absolutely start to get better. And the best news of all is that we can do that just by changing the food we eat, you don’t have to focus on drugs when you’re improving insulin resistance. In fact, the best way to do it is to change the food. The food we eat is either the culprit or the cure. We just need to let it be the ladder, we need to start letting the food we eat work for us rather than against us.
Dr. Mindy 1:06:48 You need a mic drop on that one. That was awesome. I love that Well, again, then I can sit and chat with you forever. This was great. Hey, resellers, I just want to start off by saying thank you so much for all your wonderful reviews. And those of you that have left me comments on iTunes. I just greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness and how much you guys are enjoying these episodes. And it seems like you’re enjoying them as much as I am enjoying doing them. One of the things that I’ve learned in just interacting with so many people is that we’ve really lost the art of deep conversations. And for me is the resetter podcast stands for having meaningful conversations with people who are thinking about health, about life about mindset in a way that we may not be getting on social media or in mainstream media. And so I just want to say give you guys a shout out and just say thank you for participating in this process with me. Because as much as I absolutely love delivering the information to you, I love even more knowing that it’s impacting your life. So please let us know if there’s anything we can do to make this podcast more customized to you to make it better. We are now officially in season two. And we are working to bring you the best conversations that health influencers have that mindset changers can give and to really deliver you something that you’re not able to get anywhere else. So from the bottom of my heart, as I always say my YouTube from the bottom of my heart. I am deeply appreciative of you I am deeply grateful to be on this journey with you and let’s get healthy together.