High Carb Vs Low Carb, Fatigue, Hormesis & Mitochondria w/ Ari Whitten


alright let’s get started so Ari welcome
to the channel really happy to have you here
so just for everyone watching ari Ari Whidden he’s an author he’s a nutrition
and fitness expert he’s written two really cool books called forever fat
loss and I think he co-authored what was it called
myth right and you’re also the founder of the energy blueprint that’s it’s a
podcast so you’ve done a lot you have been in this industry for a long long
time so really keen to have you on the channel today just to talk about
carbohydrates and fat loss yeah thanks thanks very much for having me and it
was a pleasure you having you on my podcast as well yeah true true it was a
fun time um so I guess wish we get started what inspired you to write these
books about fat loss and especially about debunking carbohydrates and and
low carb diets yeah you know it’s it’s it’s weird actually having talking about
this subject because I really don’t do very many conversations on this subject
anymore it’s uh it almost seems like a previous life that I was very fat loss
focused and very you know centered around kind of debunking myths around
carbs and fats and insulin and that sort of thing I’ve since moved away from it
the last several years my work has really focused on building out the
science around fatigue and understanding of chronic
fatigue and how to increase your energy levels and part of the reason that I got
out that I moved away from you know kind of the fat loss focus and especially you
know talking about carbs and fats and myths and things like that is people are
just so dogmatic when it comes to diets and I mean they treat him like religions
and people are incapable of having conversations about the actual evidence
I mean it becomes just religious sell a tree as far as like these are my beliefs
and you know and and really is I’m gonna kill I’m gonna kill everyone that that
doesn’t agree with me and I mean literally people are just not capable of
even comprehending science that conflicts
with their belief systems so I mean I I just found it you can only have those
kinds of discussions with people that go nowhere and where they’re just not
capable of seeing evidence and understanding evidence that conflicts
with their dogmas you can only do that for so long before
it just becomes painful and you just you sit there and you’re wondering why am i
spending my time doing this so and you know the other reason is there’s a lot
of pseudoscience and and nonsense in in the r8 weight-loss realm and the average
consumer really has no way of differentiating the nonsense and the
pseudoscience from the good stuff and in fact it’s actually a lot of the
pseudoscience and the nonsense that has the edge from from the lay person’s
perspective because those things are you know they’re often portrayed as magical
diets and and very you know amazing new breakthroughs and and this sort of thing
whereas the the stuff that’s real and that actually works and that’s supported
by the evidence is not as sexy and is not as seemingly magical and so it has
less appeal to the average consumer and it’s it’s in other words it’s an uphill
battle fighting you know fighting against the nonsense with the evidence
you’re just fighting this insurmountable you know mess of just garbage
that’s unceasing and unrelenting just like there’s there’s a new stream of it
being poured out every single day so you know I mean my personal background I
started studying you know like probably you and a lot of people I got into you
know fitness and bodybuilding wanted to get abs and biceps when I was a teenager
when I was 14 and I had an older brother who was a personal trainer who is now a
chiropractor and he and I have been best friends since you know since I was 13
years old when I started lifting weights and did a degree in kinesiology and
specializing in exercise fitness nutrition
and you know I’ve been interested in in this ever since it’s been an obsession
of mine ever since I’ve done a whole bunch of you know university education
certifications graduate school a lot of postgraduate training so yeah I mean
it’s it’s been an obsession of mine now for over 20 years and and I mean that’s
kind of the origins of it there’s lots of details I’m leaving out of the story
obviously so we can get into some of the meat of this conversation but yeah
basically been doing this for for 20-some years now
awesome yeah it’s a really interesting subject nutrition and fitness in general
I love it as well I have a deep deep love for it um so was that the reason
why you kind of stopped with that topic with with your fascination with that
loss because you you felt like your message was not getting out there you
know the low carb myth so forever fat loss has done really well and I actually
when I wrote the low carb myth it was actually something I put way more time
into it was a way more time consuming process it has 500 references I mean
every major relevant study in existence on the topic of of carbs and fats and
their relevance in weight loss and in health is in that book I mean it was it
was a massive undertaking and when I saw how many people went and write and you
know over all the reviews of that book are positive but there are literally
dozens of people who went and wrote reviews of that book who never read the
book and who never bought the book and I mean you can you there’s a little thing
on Amazon where it says verified purchase where you can actually see if
somebody actually purchased it or not and you know there are people who didn’t
purchase this you can tell both by the lack of verified purchase as well as
what they’re saying who went and wrote nasty you know ad hominem reviews just
like really like nasty stuff just because I believe in low carb and this
guy must not know what he’s talking about and
must have some kind of agenda and must be stupid for criticizing low-carb or
suggesting that low-carb isn’t the best thing ever in the world and that it
doesn’t have magical fat loss properties and that’s when I realized I’m like geez
like you’re not even going to read the book and actually like analyze the
evidence and the arguments that are being put forward you’re just going to
assume you already know what’s in it and then attack the authors like I mean it’s
it’s a very it’s a very bizarre thing and that’s what I mean people treat it
dogmatically and you know that kind of thing is as I find just very annoying
that that it like you didn’t you’re not talking to people who are analyzing your
argument and who are able to put forth a counter-argument and say well you said
this this and this and well here’s the evidence that shows your claim here is
incorrect because this study said this and you know they’re not putting forth a
logical intelligent argument it’s just you’re you’re evil and you’re an idiot
and you must not know anything because what you’re saying conflicts whether
what I think you’re saying given that I haven’t even read what you’re saying
conflicts with my belief system and I just I don’t have any interest in in
getting into that kind of battle with with people so I’d rather you know my
interests are in helping people and I’d rather just be in an environment where I
can teach people and help people without being engaged in this sort of
mudslinging and ad hominem attacks and engaged with this like just religious
dogma nonsense of diet you know of diet nonsense yeah fair enough I think the
really interesting question is is to ask why people become so dogmatic because
you see it everywhere and politics and and nutrition people have such a
tendency to want to label themselves a certain way because everything becomes
easier when you can label yourself because then you can just look for the
answer when you someone asks a question you have a reference point it’s yeah
yeah I mean it’s interesting I don’t I mean there seems to be some aspect of
human psychology that we’re just sort of wired to find something to identify with
and then it’s you know this set of beliefs is Who I am as a person and I’m
going to defend it and attack anybody who is you know attacking my my set of
dogmas and yeah I mean I I don’t know I mean I think that’s more that’s probably
a question for you know some sort of neuroscientists who could probably tell
you about the specific parts of the brain that identif that fused belief
systems with our identity and so on but yeah I mean I it’s a quirk of human
psychology and I and I think it’s a it’s a really big problem because it you know
when when you’re trained in science and there’s actually research to support
this but one of the things that you’re able to do when you learn to think as a
scientist is you’re able to actually set aside assuming you’re doing things right
you’re you’re able to set aside your preconceived notions your belief systems
and look at things objectively and you know as and I mean that you know of
course understanding that no human can perceive absolute truth and you know
pure objectivity and so on but speaking in terms of degrees you’re able to do
that much more than the average person who is not trained in in scientific
disciplines so set aside your belief system set aside your dogmas evaluate
the argument evaluate the evidence on its own merits and like I said there’s
actually evidence this has been researched to show that people who are
scientific minded and and have a strong education in science are able to do that
much better than most most people and I think that is a really really important
skill to have and and you know I think it serves the
individual but it also serves the greater conversation of the greater good
of people when people are able to have a conversation with each other and
evaluate arguments and evaluate evidence on its own merits rather than it the
whole conversation just being polluted with everybody’s preconceived notions
and and everybody putting their blinders on and not being capable of of
evaluating the evidence yeah so I get I guess I could an example could be
somebody who found a lot of positive results from following a low-carb diet
so then they just presumed that that’s the same for everybody else because a
high carb diet didn’t work for them therefore it’s not gonna work for
anybody right and if you’re preaching a high carb diet then you’re dumb right
mm-hmm that’s the basic idea so I guess yeah the problem with that is you know
you also have to realize that there are also people on the complete opposite end
of the spectrum people who are vegans or raw vegans who went on that and you know
I know people who are vegans who have lost 150 pounds and swear that veganism
is the greatest thing I know people who are low carb who had the exact same
experience and I know people who you know who eat at paleo that’s not
necessarily low carb but like just kind of a paleo template or a Mediterranean
diet template and have had amazing results maybe it’s energy balance could
be that who knows yeah yes possibly um so going with what you said I guess
do you think there’s any merit to a low-carb ketogenic diet because there’s
there is a lot of research emerging about possible benefits for the brain
and therefore things like that so what do you think about the positive effects
of a look at that yeah so you know as far as the research is concerned the
strongest evidence is for childhood epilepsy okay that’s that’s where a
ketogenic diet is really well established to be beneficial there’s a
number of other potentials where it may be a useful treatment in the context of
certain neurological diseases it’s been some research on that as well as in the
potentially for certain kinds of answers that’s very early in the
development and you know also it’s important to realize that this is not a
cure-all for every type of cancer and you need to specifically break it down
by different types of cancers and there are even certain cancers that have now
been shown to feed specifically on ketones and where it made it may be a
really bad idea to be on a ketogenic diet for that particular kind of cancer
so this is not you know I don’t want anybody to hear that and say oh
ketogenic diets are amazing for cancer people here that cancer cells feed off
glucose okay keto that means no cancer like it’s just now as simple as that
yeah exactly so you know there are a number of different potential conditions
where a ketogenic diet may be useful some are I’d say pretty well-established
epilepsy others are still kind of early and you know they’re nuanced maybe
they’re good for certain specific conditions or certain subtypes of people
and maybe not others but yeah I think I think there’s a role for it as being
beneficial in the in certain context for sure there’s another question here which
is another important aspect of context which is short term versus long term is
this a dietary intervention being used therapeutically as something being done
for a short period of time or maybe intermittently every so often every few
months or whatever every few weeks you go for a period on ketogenic diet or are
you saying keto diets are best for blank and I’m gonna be on a keto diet forever
because I mean I get I cannot tell you how many people that I have in my energy
blueprint program and I have several thousand members I cannot tell you how
many times I hear from people saying I went on Keith I went on a keto diet I
felt great for the first six months and then I completely crashed and everything
started to get worse and worse and worse and it became totally counterproductive
from then on so I personally am actually believe it or not even though I wrote
the low-carb myth I actually teach people to to go into a
state of glycogen depletion and and ketogenesis intermittently every so
often as something that is a beneficial form of hormesis for metabolic health
but do I think keto is a universally healthy diet that’s beneficial to be on
all the time for a large portion of the population absolutely not and for anyone
who is thinking along the lines those lines I just have two questions
show me one long-term human study where ketogenic diets have been supportive of
longevity and disease prevention or show me one Blue Zones show me one population
in the world today that has that is known for that is renowned for health
and longevity that eats a ketogenic diet or eats anything even remotely close to
a ketogenic diet even a even a low-carb high-fat diet you know that’s not
ketogenic no such population exists and in fact there isn’t even a population in
existence let alone a blue zone population there isn’t a human
population in existence that that eats a ketogenic diet not even the Inuit eat a
ketogenic diet they actually get enough carbs in the form of glycogen from the
meat that they’re consuming when you eat fresh meat it actually still has a lot
of the glycogen the carbohydrate content they eat enough of that and they eat
enough protein to actually keep them out of ketogenesis so the the population
group that eats that the lowest carb highest fat diet in the world who by the
way aren’t even renowned for health or longevity doesn’t even eat a ketogenic
diet so where is where is the evidence to support all of these claims that this
diet should be adopted by a large portion of the population the evidence
doesn’t exist it doesn’t exist on the on the epidemiological the population level
and it also doesn’t exist in terms of randomized controlled studies it also
doesn’t even exist in terms of like the mechanisms if you
if you’re willing to go down in that kind of mechanism based research which
is I would argue very misguided path but it doesn’t really exist on on any level
of the evidence I think looking at the Blue Zones is a really smart thing to do
I mean you look at them what do they eat they eat they eat carbohydrates lots of
vegetables but the most important thing is that the very very physically active
they’re always on their feet and they’re not eating that many calories per day I
mean they’re taking big breaks in between meals so I think it’s things
like that we should be focusing on if we’re talking about longevity in general
health who else is better to look at than the oldest living people in the
world and so and you could you could argue it’s it’s also from like genetic
you know breeding and older people though having sex with each other but
overall it seems like there are common variables between the Sardinians and the
Okinawans and yeah um for sure there are so what do you think about intimate
bossing because it achieves a similar state to a ketogenic diet ketosis right
so do you think intamin fasting is as healthy yeah so you know actually I
think that that there’s a lot of conflation going on right now among keto
advocates of conflating the benefits of fasting with elevated ketones in the in
the blood because when you’re innocent when you’re in a fasted State for an
extended period of time you have elevated ketone levels so people know
that and then they say well we can do nutritional ketosis and and go on this
very low carb very high fat diet and also elevate ketone levels in the blood
maybe to a similar degree as you might get from fasting and then you can say oh
you know we’ve achieved the same state of physiology and so we’re gonna get the
same benefits and so there’s a lot of that sort of conflation going on
conflation of the benefits of fasting with nutritional ketosis the problem is
that the benefits of fasting come from fasting they come from not eating they
don’t come from the ketones being at a certain level in
blood and so yeah I mean you can have ketones elevated and ketones might do
certain things they might have certain effects on energy levels or alertness or
hunger and so on but you’re not actually getting the the majority of the the true
benefits of fasting as far as stem cell activation and immune regeneration and
anti-cancer effects and all the hormetic effects of boosting the internal
antioxidant defense system and up regulating anti-cancer genes and up down
regulating you know inflammatory genes NF kappa-b and and so on I mean those
effects are not occurring when you’re on a nutritional ketosis regimen I just had
dr. Valter Longo on my podcast you know a couple weeks ago I actually haven’t
published the episode as of this recording but I spoke with him in depth
on this subject and you know he he’ll tell you the exact same thing that I
told you which is that the benefits of fasting are from fasting not from the L
of not from having your ketones being at a certain level yeah I think I saw some
research recently where ketone esters and like beta hydroxy butyrate
supplements are becoming really popular and I mean it was shown that you’re not
gonna get the same benefits just by getting your ketone body levels past 1.5
whatever it is not necessarily gonna mean that you’re getting all the
benefits like you say oh yeah I think it with carbohydrates in general you just
need to ask yourself what are your goals right now if your goals are to lose
weight and build muscle or retain muscle ask yourself can I do that by eating a
lot of carbohydrates and maybe even putting in some sweet fruits from time
to time and if I can do it in that comfortable way
why wouldn’t I make that my main strategy that’s kind of how I like to
look at it what’s your opinion on fat loss in the sense of calories and macros
do you think you can just calculate your macros and your calories add in a bunch
of junk food and get the same results even if it’s not optimal well you can
short-term you can you can do that and you can probably get pretty similar
results so it’s you know technically possible if you can if you tightly
control for everything and you you tightly control for your calories and
and and you know nutrients of various kinds and fiber and macros and all that
that you can potentially eat you know more junk food types of things and as
long as calories and macros are controlled for you can potentially still
get a particular result as far as body composition now things get much more
complex than that when you consider like what’s actually happening in real world
settings so first of all processed foods have certain effect on certain effects
on the brain okay and on the reward centers of the brain and on appetite
regulation so in other words if somebody’s eating a bunch of breakfast
cereal and donuts and ice cream and things like that yeah you can
potentially tightly control for calories if you’re you know a type-a personality
and you have very strong willpower but in a real-world setting
for the average overweight person who doesn’t have extremely strong willpower
who’s not like a fitness competitor or a bodybuilder or some somebody like that
who’s gonna be extremely attentive and neurotic about you know calculating all
these things and keeping track of everything what’s the end effect for
them is that they’re going to actually feel hungry or even if they’re eating
the same amount of calories of more processed foods versus Whole Foods they
may have the exact same amount of calories but there’s going to be
differences as far as hunger hormones circulating in their body there’s going
to be differences in how it affects the reward centers of the brain there’s
going to be differences in the gut microbiome which also influence hormones
that affect appetite regulation so and also needless to say also health like
that’s not important but yeah your health is also affected by
this as well as nutrient deficiencies that are going to arise form eating more
processed foods so it’s affecting a number of different physiological
systems that in a real-world setting in a person who’s not doesn’t have amazing
will power the average overweight person or just average person in general in the
long term so not in the context of like a physique show preparation for three
months but in the long term all of these different physiological systems the gut
microbiome the brain hunger hormones they’re all going to be affected in a
way that make it that essentially drive you to consume more food and that
eventually obviously lead to you deviating from that regimen if you’re
trying to restrict your calories to a particular amount you’re gonna deviate
and cheat and break break the diet more often and you’re going to gain fat as a
result of that or you’re going to not lose fat if you’re in the process of
trying to lose fat so yeah basically in the short term under somebody with
extreme willpower it’s possible to do that if you’re neurotically controlling
for calories and macros it is possible to get a certain body composition result
in the real world with the average person in the long term it’s rewiring
physiological systems in a way that are gonna drive you to gain weight right so
I guess you’re a big proponent of sustainability and long term strategies
when it comes to body composition yeah 100% you know again just to contrast are
are we talking to a physique competitor who’s dieting down for a show and then
just someone 20:27 the guy who just wants to look good you know muscle no
much body fat okay so for the long term yeah okay so if he wants to stay lean
then he needs to adopt a strategy that supports proper appetite regulation
that’s that creates a hormonal milieu that is so
corta v’ of leanness and not overeating and that you know has to do with the gut
microbiome and the reward centers of the brain so yeah I do think that it’s a
very very smart idea to not eat processed food or really minimize your
consumption of processed food and again the other layer of this is is nutrient
deficiencies and if you’re eating lots of processed food you’re going to be
deficient in certain minerals vitamins and minerals but especially minerals and
that may also impact the other side of the calories in calories out equation it
may impact energy expenditure how much energy you feel and resting metabolic
rate and meat and so on and you know basically processed foods are going to
work on both sides of the calories and calories out equation to shift things in
a way that doesn’t support leanness yeah I’m a big proponent of like the 80/20
rule you know you want to 80% of your diet you want it to be really really
good natural foods and ideally a hundred percent but occasionally if you want to
slip in a bowl of ice cream it’s not going to kill you you know sure do you
think there’s any advantage of having a bit of junk fruit from time to time in
terms of making a diet I don’t want to use that word but a lifestyle
sustainable or do you think somebody should aim to be eating a hundred
percent clean as much as possible yeah I think it depends on on personality type
actually right so you know they’re the in the intuitive eating circles they
have personality types called abstainer and moderator and moderator types really
don’t do well with black and white rule sets that say you can never have this
food ever again and they need that psychological break of you know
Saturdays my cheat day or you know Saturday night is my cheat meal and I
get to have pizza and ice cream and and french fries and whatever and and and
they need that and they need to know that they’re they have that day or that
meal set up for them where they’re gonna get a break so that
the rest of the week that they can stick to their diet okay now on the other hand
abstainer types and I have a friend one of my good friends named Susan Pierce
Thompson she runs a business called bright line eating which is all about
helping people with food addiction okay so it’s a lot of sugar addicts and binge
eaters and so on these are people that are abstainer types and what they will
all tell you and I mean these are there are tens of thousands of overweight
women what they will all tell you is that cheat days in moderation do not
work for them and the eighty your 80/20 rule that you just you know gave that
doesn’t work for them for them because what they will tell you is when I have a
cheat day or a cheat meal or I have a little bowl of ice cream here you know a
slice of pizza there or whatever I spiral out of control and then I binge
for the next three days straight and I haven’t I lose all self-control and so
you know one of the things that that my friend Susan Pierce Thompson does let
her whole diet stick is built around is these things called bright lines which
is basically abstinence I mean she basically treats it like a 12-step
program for people who are addicts and it’s you know basically you shall not
have sugar or flour ever essentially you know you make a clear-cut rule that you
do not have those foods ever because if you have a little bike here a little
bite there our meal with them you’re gonna binge and you’re gonna spiral out
of control and you’re gonna you know rewire that neural circuitry of the
pleasure center of the brain to to you know seek out more of that stuff so
there definitely is a personality type that falls into that category where they
need very clear-cut rules and they do not do well with a cheat day so yeah I
mean I think both strategies are acceptable I’d
have you know I for me it’s not one way or the other I think both are perfectly
acceptable it’s about finding the right one for the individual for me personally
I am definitely more of a moderator and I can have little bits of indulgences
here and there I really choose not to do it very often because I like eating
healthy but I can have indulgences here there with it and then just go right
back to healthy eating you know without it disrupting anything
for me yeah I’m exactly the same I think it also depends on what kind of training
you’re doing if you’re doing a lot of weight lifting for example most days of
the week chances are you can get away with a bit of ice cream or something
like that and it’s not going to be the biggest ill you your body has a reason
to sort of use it um do you think there’s a difference in terms of gender
do you think more females tend to work better with abstaining completely and in
males tend to be better off with moderating do you think there’s any
difference there or is it purely down to the individual it’s possible I mean what
I will tell you is is that my friends business is like 90 percent women so I
mean just just that alone is suggestive that there is some kind of male/female
sex difference when it comes to this may be something to do with stress yeah I
mean it’s possible I I I don’t I I don’t claim to know the mechanisms I’m not
sure that anyone knows the mechanisms it could be something about differences in
the male female brain it could be hormonal differences as far as you know
test testosterone to estrogen ratio or something like that yeah
don’t don’t really know the mechanism right um so these days you’re doing more
about energy right and getting people to have that vigor
about about life I mean be energetic and not have to rely on things like caffeine
and other stimulants that’s really interesting so tell us about that what
are you kind of interested in right now there’s so much yeah I mean chronic
fatigue is a really it’s it’s it’s kind of it’s just epidemic but it’s really
poorly understood I mean if you go like look up the causes of chronic
fatigue syndrome you know from WebMD or like conventional medical website the
general kind of line of thinking is like hey we we don’t really know what’s
what’s causing this and there’s no known cure and and you know we don’t we don’t
really know what’s going on and in fact for many many years for decades it was
actually thought it was called the yuppie flu it was thought that it was
hypochondriasis it was thought that these people were that it was just a
psychosomatic issue that they were just hypochondriacs and and essentially just
depressed people and and just kind of making something up it was all in their
heads and it turns out these people actually you know we have a number of
lines of research now showing that these people have very serious dysfunction and
especially mitochondrial dysfunction so most of my work really centers around
supporting mitochondrial health and and there’s a whole bunch of aspects to that
almost everything affects the mitochondria circadian rhythm and sleep
affect the mitochondria hugely nutrition obviously affected a ton gut health and
microbiome health affected neuroscience when a person psychology affects it
toxins affect it light exposure affects it and hormesis which is you know both
for you and me one of our favorite topics so you know all the the hermetic
strategies also affect mitochondrial health so you know there’s a lot of
layers to the fatigue and energy story what are some actionable steps you would
recommend to people in general obviously it’s a very individualistic thing but
what are some patterns you’ve seen in general with people and what seems to
work for for most people’s fatigue and lack of energy yeah so you know your
audience is tend to tends to be younger males which is different from you know
the majority of people suffering from serious chronic fatigue
tends to be more middle-aged people predominantly women those does affect
some men so that you know the strategies differ
you know I’ll speak more to your audience here circadian rhythm and sleep
are going to be big factors for a lot of your audience
light deficiencies are going to be big factors and the neuroscience aspects of
things as well you know anxiety depression pretty common among young
males and then hormesis layering lots of you know especially if you’re a young
relatively healthy male you know protect your health protect your energy levels
by layering lots of different kinds of hormesis into your life not just
exercise and not just one type of exercise but multiple types of exercise
intermittent fasting heat cold different phytonutrients for xeno hormesis hypoxia
intermittent hypoxic training I mean lots of different layers of hormesis
absolutely critical for mitochondrial health so I would say probably circadian
rhythm and sleep and hormesis are gonna be keys for for generally speaking
younger males 22 to 40 right um yeah let’s get into a whole Mises a bit just
to finish up the the podcast I guess you could call it so what are some of your
favorite forms of form ASIS you like intamin fasting cold therapy saunas
really really great I love having a sauna after after the gym if I have if I
have access to one um what are some things you do when your personal life I
actually have a barrel sauna right outside this door behind me really like
you yeah yeah so yeah so the saunas are awesome I love saunas
I actually am more of a fan of traditional saunas especially for
younger healthier males than I am of infrared saunas actually which is what’s
infrared and for its own infrared saunas are actually super popular now and
they’re they’re actually I would say much
more popular than traditional saunas are now infrared saunas are this is
generally what most people buy for home use is they’ll get an infrared sauna
which has heaters embedded into all the side panels the wall panels of the sauna
that are usually carbon fiber sometimes ceramic and they pass electricity to
them and then they emit infrared rays far infrared rays which is part of the
spectrum that the Sun emits and that’s the part of the spectrum that we feel as
heat so it’s as this part of the electromagnetic spectrum that
essentially penetrates into our body and then heats us up from the inside and
that is in contrast to a traditional sauna which uses a heater with you know
kind of hot rocks to heat up the air in the room so one is heating up the air in
the room and then it’s heating you essentially by convection by being in a
hot air room and the other one is emitting infrared radiation that’s
penetrating your body and heating you up from the inside there’s also a
difference in the temperature of operation so infrared saunas typically
operate at much lower temperatures usually 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit I
don’t know what that is in Celsius maybe 40 or 50 or something like that and traditional saunas are much hotter
around 180 190 and above 200 even degrees Fahrenheit so often my
experience in being in a true in a infrared sauna is that I will sweat a
lot but if the temperature in the in the room is only 130 150 degrees I don’t
feel that hot I feel like okay I’m sweating I’m moderately hot but I don’t
really like get overheated whereas a traditional sauna really heats heats you
up and gets you to a point fairly quickly if it’s hot enough
that you go wow I’m I’m overheated I need to get out of this thing and that’s
that’s critical because most of the benefits of sauna come from from heat
hormesis so you actually want to get to that place of being uncomfortably hot
and I think that’s a bit of a missing piece of the puzzle with the infrared
saunas especially for younger males especially fitter people who are gonna
have a higher heat tolerance now I I deal with a lot of people with chronic
fatigue I actually recommend an infrared sauna
for those people because it’s much gentler on them and they’re much more
fragile and sensitive and heat intolerant often so but yes saunas are
amazing I mean there’s there’s a huge amount of research showing all kinds of
benefits for sauna use there was one study in in that and Sweden or maybe
Finland I think Sweden where they showed massive reductions in cardiovascular
disease and even all cause mortality dying from any cause with and it
correlated directly with the amount of sauna use the times per week that you
used it as well as the duration that you spent in the sauna and I mean if you
look at these charts and I can send you the study if you’re interested it’s
absolutely remarkable I mean the way that I talk about this is if there were
a pharmaceutical drug that showed these same effects on cardiovascular disease
reduction and all cars all cause mortality reduction it would be hailed
as a miracle drug I mean the most incredible drug ever and everyone you
know everyone in the planet would be prescribed this drug because it was just
it’s the most amazing thing ever I mean massive blockbuster and the interesting
thing is that drug exists it’s just not a pill made by a pharmaceutical company
it’s a sauna so I mean really really powerful benefits of course everybody
knows the benefits of exercise cold thermogenesis probably your audience’s
is hip to that one aspect of that that maybe some
of your audience might not realize is that simple cold water immersion is is
likely superior to cryotherapy you know kind of the fancy cryotherapy chambers
that are popping up everywhere so you know kind of good news like you can you
can actually do this in your bathtub and actually have superior benefits than
paying a whole bunch of money to do these cryotherapy treatments so yeah I
think I think those are critical the sauna
especially and then you know I don’t do the the ice baths I I surf and I live
right next to the ocean so you know for me I get cold or mises all winter long
when I’m surfing in real cold water but you know if you want to do cold baths
I’m a fan of that and it’s also you know it’s also mental toughness training it’s
psychological hormesis to be able to motivate yourself to do something that
is physically uncomfortable and unpleasant at least at first and and to
be able to to sit in there when your body’s telling you to get out and it
wants to get back to comfort to calm yourself and and relax into that I feel
there’s also a strong mental toughness or Mises taking place as well and then
the other one that I’ll mention is intermittent hypoxic training which wim
HOF does a variation of that you know basically any type of breath holding
practice is going to be intermittent hypoxic training and and interestingly
there’s a whole bunch of research actually out of Russia that’s the main
place where they’ve done most of the research on that that shows really
remarkable benefits from intermittent hypoxic training so I’m a big fan of
that I usually start with that when I’m working with people with severe chronic
fatigue not with exercise exercise can be very counterproductive for somebody
with severe chronic fatigue so usually I’ll start them with very gentle breath
holding practices intermittent hypoxic training
interesting um how would you begin that the intimate hypoxic training just like
hold your breath for 20 seconds 10 seconds and break and repeat yeah well
you know first of all recommend there’s a good book by Patrick McKee land called
the oxygen advantage so there’s some nice methods in that I I will say that
there’s there’s almost no wrong way to do breath hold practices like any type
of breath hold practice that you do will have some benefits having said that
there definitely and I’ve talked to Patrick McEwan about this there
definitely seems to be stronger benefits in terms of actually entering into
hypoxia and decreasing blood oxygen levels by doing breath holds after the
exhale so exhaling all your air and then holding your breath and practicing
breath holds in that scenario so it can be done in a number of different ways
you can do it just kind of sitting in a chair or do it with you know the kind of
the fire breath sorts of breathing that wim hof does in between breath holds I
really like doing it while walking so I’ll do breath holds actually while
walking and the nice thing about that too is you can actually kind of
challenge yourself by counting paces and and kind of make it a game to see if you
can push yourself to get more steps in on each breath hold and you can kind of
objectively see how you’re progressing in that way as well so yeah I mean but
any any type of breath hold practice that someone wants to do the one caveat
that I’ll mention here is don’t do this kind of training in a pool which is you
know kind of intuitively the place most people associate with breath holding and
and the reason why is basically you can pass out and drown so you know I just
don’t want I just want to issue that warning in case anybody’s inclined to do
that you shouldn’t do any sort of breath-holding
practice unless you know there’s somebody there watching you at all times
yeah I mean if you pass out on the ground you’ll probably be okay but and
the pool maybe someone isn’t watching and then and then you’re screwed
um yes yeah and you don’t have to have anybody watching you if you’re doing it
on land if you faceplant and you know you you go
unconscious and you faceplant the worst that’s gonna happen is you might be a
little bruised up but you’re gonna die the ambulance was sure what were you
doing oh just intimate hypoxia what do you think yeah I’ve done all of those
intimate falling sauna cold therapy and stuff but I’ve never really tried the
breath-holding so maybe that’s something all implement from now on I’ll try it
out it’s good stuff and you know you also notice that your fitness that it
translates into your recovery in between sets if you’re weightlifting at the gym
or doing interval training and things like that that you recover faster and
that your perceived exertion is lower so you know it’s I find it to be a really
nice training and I’ve heard that not just for myself but I’ve heard it from a
lot of people maybe maybe you could try like holding a breath for a set of bench
press or something like that you know I I wouldn’t don’t do it in that context I
mean you can and maybe a little bit is perfectly fine yeah but the reason I
wouldn’t is that you don’t want to impair your performance in the gym
because if you do something that impairs your your ability to like lift heavy
weights or do as many sets or something like that
you’re now impairing that form of hormesis you know so the benefits of you
know the adaptations from that strength training sure going I mean like just
Labe is like an extra set at the end of your workout or something like sure yeah
you can do that yeah interesting um yeah so you were telling me before we
started the talk that you’re you’re working on a book on hormesis on this
topic so is that kind of what it’s about the topics we’ve just included or is
there something else in there you haven’t you haven’t mentioned yet yeah
well a lot of it is actually going to be you know kind of my vision of what I
want to build out here is resilience so and and kind of I
hinted at it a bit with kind of that mental toughness aspect of things but
resilience becoming tolerant and resilient in the face of stress in
general is a big aspect of it and and there’s a physical biochemical aspect to
that but there’s also a psychological mental toughness aspect of that
how does a person respond to stress and obviously stoic philosophy kind of has
things to say about that as well which is why I found your book interesting but
I’m kind of more interested in that in the physiological mechanisms behind mental toughness and resilience and I
think where Mises has a lot to do with with helping a person consciously
cultivate a bigger capacity for resilience and for dealing with
stressors so yeah that’s that’s kind of what the book is really centered on do
you think our modern world likes that today I guess we kind of like that
natural discomfort that we should be having on a daily basis and I guess
that’s it’s kind of sad that books like yours are required to be written not
that there’s anything wrong with that but it just says a lot about the state
of our society right now and a hidden ISM yeah yeah I do think that there’s
issues with that for sure I think I think that yeah we’ve become
sissified and to put it bluntly we’ve we’ve lost a lot of our toughness and
this you know this doesn’t apply to all individuals of course some people go
through very tough circumstances or go through very intense rites of passage or
go through the military or you know grew up you know kind of doing lots of
camping trips and outdoor you know outdoor like rugged kind of outdoorsy
stuff and or just grew up with like you know a bad family environment and an
abusive father or something like that and
and toxic relationships and and came out better on the other side because of it I
mean it’s possible for people to become tough and and mentally resilient and but
I would say by and large a lot of people have become sissified and and and have
lost their mental toughness and you know I think part of it relates to the fact
that we’ve lost rites of passage as a society we’ve lost rites of passage for
young male so we have young males transitioning into adulthood where
they’re technically they’re sort of now in their 20s or 30s and they’re now sort
of looked at as adults but they never really went through any sort of rite of
passage that you know all traditional human societies had that allows a boy to
transition into a man and usually that involves being subjected to some kind of
some kind of intense psychological and physical hormesis that is their
toughness training that where they’ve they now earn their right to to be a man
and yeah I mean I think those things are intertwined of course you know this also
applies to women but I think for men in particular it’s it’s a big issue and so
how can we you know this is not this is not about being judgemental but it’s
about how how can we correct what’s going on in the society in our lack of
rites of passage and all these the lack of hormesis in our lot in the modern
lifestyle and how can we now consciously cultivate toughness on a physiological
level at the cellular level and resilience at that level and at the
mitochondrial level and how can we also cultivate more mental toughness and and
resilience and the ability to deal with the stressors in our life that are
inevitable because we all have stress and it’s an inescapable part of life how
can we deal with them with more equanimity and more Grace and more ease
and more toughness without being anxious and depressed and freaking
out yeah I mean I think it’s a really interesting point you bring up without
the the rite of passage I mean you look at certain tribes around the world and
they have these weird kind of ceremonies where they put these ants that sting you
on on on guys arms and bodies when they turn 18 or something like that I’m
actually much much younger they do yes I remember watching this on documentary on
YouTube about that it was kind of it was kind of funny actually but because they
had they got the guy who was filming the documentary to do it maybe that has
something to do with why testosterone levels and men have been declining so
much over the last few decades some some people say it’s because of soy but there
isn’t actually that much good evidence to say that eating a bit of soy is gonna
grow man boobs on you right but I think that all these hormetic stress is like
cold exposure exercise saunas a lot of them have positive effects on
testosterone levels so maybe that’s something there’s just a lack of
physiological stress which is caused us to become sissified a lot of us at least
so maybe there’s something the that we are really interesting topic to read
about yeah well you know I mean one of the other aspects of this is you might
be familiar with something called the mitochondrial theory of Aging and it’s
it’s one of the main theories of how we age and I’m gonna oversimplify this so
you know if there are any aging scientists watching this they’re
probably gonna be mad at me but I just want to kind of simplify this down
distill it down to the bare bones of what’s going on but basically we so a
lot of people know that free radicals or oxidants are bad and kind of have this
idea that free radicals or oxidants are bad and and antioxidants are good well
it turns out that that whole theory and it’s called the free radical theory of
Aging has mostly been debunked and is really not taken seriously at all by
aging scientists in really anymore at all despite the fact that among
laypeople Wragge people that theory is still kind of the
dominant paradigm dominant way of thinking instead what actually turns out
to be a key factor in aging is the amount of free radicals actually
produced within the mitochondria that then act within the mitochondria so it’s
essentially mitochondrial leakiness how often they throw off free radicals and
then which then caused damage to mitochondrial DNA as a cell as as a as
mitochondria get damaged in this way they produce energy less efficiently and
as cells get there their overall energy their overall ATP requirements are not
being sufficiently fulfilled that essentially creates a signaling of of
within that cell into the body where the body says hey this cell is
underperforming it’s not producing enough energy so we’re just gonna
eliminate that cell and then it undergoes something called apoptosis
which is programmed cell death and and it really revolves around the
mitochondria and energy how well the mitochondria are producing energy or not
producing energy that’s kind of the critical factor here so one of these
these key factors that it’s driving aging is essentially this cascade of
mitochondria and not producing enough energy throwing off free radicals
damaging mitochondrial DNA having the overall cell now not producing enough
energy and then over time we lose lots of viable cells and lots of mitochondria
through apoptosis through the loss of cells lose muscle cells you lose organ
cells use gland cells like testosterone producing gland cells so essentially
everything starts to perform less well and we age as a whole through this
process of declining mitochondrial health and then
loss of cells through apoptosis so I imagine that is factor in the declining
levels of testosterone most definitely right so then if I’m right then those
HoMedics tresses like cold exposure and all these things they up regulate
mitochondrial biogenesis and help prevent aging and theory is that yeah
beautiful so I’m glad you segwayed into that so one of the key factors that
determines this mitochondrial leakiness is which is how many sort of free
radicals they’re throwing off that is essentially this key thing that’s
driving the whole aging process the key factor in that seems to be this
essentially the strain on the mitochondria okay so if a mýto
particular individual mitochondria is under a lot of strain to meet the energy
demands of that cell it’s going to tend to be leakier it’s kind of at its
threshold it’s it’s like kind of working at ninety percent of its capacity and
and and now as soon as there’s any stressor present let’s say psychological
stress or let’s say toxin exposure or you know you eat some junk food or
whatever you are now creating a stressor an added demand added strain on that
mitochondria that now overwhelms its capacity to produce energy efficiently
to deal with that stressor and then what happens as a result of of that is of
course that that sequence of cell gets the signaling that it’s not producing
enough energy apoptosis and so on so the key here I believe and I think there’s a
lot of evidence pointing in this direction is that what you want to do is
minimize the strain on on each individual mitochondria and
the way that you do that is that you produce bigger stronger more powerful
mitochondria and more mitochondria which is what you mentioned mitochondrial
biogenesis and the bigger and stronger your mitochondria are and the more of
them that you have the less strain that each individual one will be under in
order to meet the energy demands of that cell so now instead of that individual
mitochondria working at 90 percent of its capacity and being overwhelmed by
any little exposure to a stressor it’s working at 40% of its capacity and now
has what I call a much higher resilience threshold which means it it has the
capacity each individual since that overall energy load of our energy demand
of the cell is being spread over many more mitochondria and met and much
bigger more powerful mitochondria that the actual strain on each one is much
much lower so the resilience threshold is much higher and I believe that’s
going to translate into less leakiness of mitochondria less throwing off of
free radicals and damaging of mitochondrial DNA and less apoptosis
less loss of cells over time so I do believe that hormesis is the crux of
anti-aging done that that’s really interesting um so I guess it’s that
mental toughness of staying in that cold shower whatever for a little bit longer
which really does translate to true physiological resilience in the molecule
yeah that’s nice stuff I think we’ll end up with that it’s a good end to the to
the talk thanks for coming on tell everybody where they can find your work
your podcast your books and I will put all those links in the description which
you should all check out cool so yeah I have a couple books on Amazon you know
again it’s kind of my previous life when I was more fat loss focused forever fat
loss and low carb myth low carb myth goes into a lot more detail around the
science of kind of analyzing the the carbohydrate and fat
myths and claims that have been out there over the last 10 20 years really
really in-depth on the science and that so anybody who’s interested in that sort
of nutrition science should check that out and then all my work for the last
several years has been the energy blueprint which is building out the
science of energy levels really revolves around mitochondrial health and and
helping people to overcome fatigue and increase their energy levels and you can
go to the energy blueprint com and I have a free training there where people
can sign up for that awesome well it’s been great talking to you hopefully we
can do this again sometime in the future and yeah yeah likewise man it was it was
a pleasure it was a pleasure to have this conversation and the last one and I
look forward to many more cool

Comments 21

  • What you said concerning the lack of tolerance among those that have a different view point is so true and so sad. I consider it a lack of maturity on their part. I was on a keto plan for 1.5 yrs. I become so ill I was nearly bed ridden. Now healing on a high carb diet. Great message, thank you!

  • Oh gosh! 😃 Great colab guys!

  • I love these interviews with doctors, authors, and scientist. Keep up the good work Phillip!

  • Your criticism of the keto diet is basically summed up by saying there are no long term studies to variety its validity as a good diet.
    There have been no long term studies conducted as yet. That’s pretty flawed logic

  • Thanks for introducing Ari, Philip. Very interesting👍I'm sure you've seen this one on Autophagy and heat shock proteins. https://youtu.be/Gm626MgpveI

  • I'm not sure what's the point of this interview to be honest.
    Is he going to claim that he understands nutrition better than Atkins, Noakes, Westman, DeAugustino, Eades, etc..? That would be pretentious and insulting to our intelligence, this exaltion of his knowledge was a put off from the get go, we didn't go to quacks and they told us to do Keto, we listened to expert opinion, experts who have million times the experience and scientific backup he has.
    Are there communities who chose to live Ketogenic style long term? No, meat and fatty foods have always been an expensive food, and the world has always been very poor up to 30-40 years ago, yeah, there aren't any references for such populations, innuits lived in the worst living conditions man can live in, in fact in my community, we had a cheap source of fat, olive oil, and guess what, it is one of the basis of our diet historically.
    No long term studies? Sure, RCTs cost millions for few months, no one is going to fund such a research.
    Is the diet successful for many people? Both of you know this answer very well.
    And for young people, any diet works, try evaluating diets past 35, and come back and tell me
    No, I'm not saying Keto is the be all end all, I'm saying that it is a very successful and all I see is someone trying to ride the wave of its success, to say, I'm so smart and you idiots are killing yourself.
    Is 90% WFPB proven to be healthy? there are no studies but yeah, people who practice it are very healthy, keep in mind they also ate organic, and no refined foods (okinawa, traditional Mediterranean), but of course, it's a very acceptable conclusion and healthy lifestyle.
    One more thing, Keto has no longer term studies, but intermittent hypoxic training has? Or is this a problem for things he disagrees with?
    I'm on LFHC right now, and I'm tracking my body reaction very well, I can say quite honestly, for my n=1 experiment, this is total crap, in every measurement possible, Keto is superior, except for the cost, and for those who can afford it, go for it.

  • sideways thumb!

  • tgat was so insightful! thanks so much!!!

  • I've been on a keto diet for a little over a year fairly strict I would say.

    Not 100% sure what your guest was advocating as far as a better alternative goes.

    I believe mindset is important and the discipline required for Keto I believe is difficult to turn on and off this for me it's sort of evolved into All or Nothing with regard to carbs other than cruciferous veg.

  • Fantastic interview, I laughed to myself when he was talking about intermediate hypoxia. I learned it from wim Hoff and was practicing while driving and had a mini black out for about 7seconds. Lol will never be doing that again.. Didn't know at the time you can blackout, but lesson learned. But other than that great podcast Philip

  • sissified! Wow, guilty as charged! Brought me back to my old wrestling days-hormesis en grande! Fantastic video. Will watch again and take notes. Great job Philip and Ari. Am creating a reading list right away.

  • incredible episode,

  • excellent!

  • Stop complaining and get to the point jeezzz

  • I had learned how carbs were connected with weight gain and also generally to keep away from carbs, even so had actually never contemplated using them to lose excess weight. The central idea behind the four cycle fat loss strategy is to train your whole body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs. It’s founded on scientific research into the very high carb diets of the Japanese and also their astounding long life expectancy. The conclusions indicate that it’s their substantial carb-cycling diet method which helps to keep on being healthy and balanced into old age with a low body mass index (much lower incidence of unhealthy weight).Read even more here https://shar.es/1NKp7Q

  • I'm almost at the point of being convinced no matter how much facts you display, the keto zealots will find a way to ignore/rationalize/demonize you anyway, Keep up the good work Ari.

  • Scientists are able to set aside and look at things objectively, until a bundle of cash is dangled in front of them. This moral superiority of the scientist narrative is equally myopic.

  • people who enjoy the science should appreciate this 2016 talk by Prof. Stephen Simpson on geometrical nutrition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIM-yIKV2GU&t=1726s

  • i think there is a lot of 'correlation is not causation' going on here.
    when ari whitten talks about people 'crashing' after 6 months or longer on keto, i would argue that these are a lot of people that are using it as a weight loss diet. and that happens on every diet where you take in less calories than your body burns per day. keto is just a very convenient way to do that without counting calories and this is the first diet where many people can stay on that diet for many months. the metabolism slows down because in a caloric deficit the body does not build mitochondria like crazy.
    this happend to me too. my weight loss also slowed down. but now that i found out that it is the amount of mitochondria that are low because of long term fasting and dieting where a lot of autophagy/mitophagy is going on and maybe also killing mitochondria that work at 50% of their capacity, i can now move on and focus on growing new mitochondria.
    and i do this with SIT (sprint interval training) which is a little bit more healthy and effective compare to the popular HIIT.
    (there are videos from prof. martin gibala on youtube and studies to find at pubmed, that support this. high mitochondria growth and best improvement in insulin sensitivity that on the other side does not make hungry like long steady state cardio but kills hunger)

  • Would like to know more about the sauna study, surely healthier people are using saunas as going the gym etc, so having a better CVD rate would be expected surely

  • Not everyone knows what hormesis is… just saying

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