Manage episode 277845774 series 1333691
Steph Lowe discusses How to Supercharge Your Metabolism with Dr. Ben Weitz.
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4:30 The Low Carb Healthy Fat (LCHF) diet. The high carb, whole grain diet promoted in western countries leads to blood sugar issues, inflammation, and weight gain. We should focus on eating foods that come out of the ground, off a tree or from an animal–foods that have the least amount of human interference and the highest nutrient density.
5:56 Healthy fats include olive oil, olives, oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocado. We should avoid pro-inflammatory seed oils like canola, corn, and soybean oil.
9:04 Saturated fats have been demonized for five decades, but the idea that saturated fats cause heart disease has been disproven in the literature. Steph supports the use of foods like coconut oil, grass fed butter, and ghee, as well as grass fed animal fats found in meats. Our brain is 25% saturated fat and saturated fats are important components of our cell membranes and are the building block for hormones. She also does not think that we should be eating a huge plate of steak with a slab of butter on top. Her version of LCHF is actually largely plant based has a lot of fiber and she recommends eating six or more cups of vegetables per day. If we look at the Blue Zones, the areas in the world where people live the longest, people think they’re vegan, but while they don’t eat a lot of meat, they do eat eggs and seafood in small amounts and the common denominator is plants.
12:07 You get better blood sugar control and better long term energy when you rely more on fats than on carbs. When you eat a lot of carbs, esp. high refined carbs, you are on a blood sugar roller coaster. When you reduce the carbs and eat more healthy fats, you get fewer cravings for carbs.
20:11 After high intensity exercise Steph believes in ingesting some extra carbs, such as fruit in a smoothie. She finds that eating carbs prior to working out may cause digestive issues, since digestion is impeded by exercise. The carbs after exercise do not need to be within 30 minutes but can be somewhat after that.
32:10 Some of the negatives of following a low carb diet are that people may have emotional attachments to foods like bread and therefore have trouble following it, so she recommends an 80:20 rule where they can follow it 80% of the time and deviate 20%. There are also negative health consequences of following an imbalanced low car/high fat diet where you are eating a number of coffees with cream and eating a big steak with butter and cheese and very few vegetables. You will be missing out on essential vitamins, minerals, and important phytonutrients. Steph believes in eating some fruit like berries and some sweet potatoes and lots of vegetables. Having some sweet potato can make it easier to sleep. It is also not healthy to get too extreme about following a ketogenic or low carb diet and being obsessed with your macros, your online diary, your finger pricking or your breath ketones. It is better not to be too extreme.
Steph Lowe is a sports nutritionist and yogi from Melbourne, Victoria and she is the founder of The Natural Nutritionist and author of Low Carb Healthy Fat Nutrition. Her website is TheNaturalNutritionist.com.au. Her podcast is Health, Happiness, and Human Kind. On Instagram Steph is @thenaturalnutritionist.
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations, including remote consults via video or phone, specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111 or go to www.drweitz.com. Phone or video consulting with Dr. Weitz is available.
Dr. Weitz: Hey, this is Dr. Ben Weitz, host of The Rational Wellness Podcast. I talk to the leading health and nutrition experts and researchers in the field, to bring you the latest in cutting edge health information. Subscribe to The Rational Wellness Podcast for weekly updates, and to learn more, check out my website, drweitz.com. Thanks for joining me, and let’s jump into the podcast.
Hello Rational Wellness podcasters, thank you so much for joining me again today. Today our interview is with Steph Lowe, who’s a sports nutritionist and Yogi, all the way from Melbourne Victoria in Australia, and she’s the founder of The Natural Nutritionist and the author of the Low Carb Healthy Fat Nutrition book. And, so we’re going to talk about the low carb high fat diet and especially as it relates to metabolism, so thank you so much for joining me today Steph.
Steph Lowe: Awesome to be here, thank you.
Dr. Weitz: Good, so maybe you could start by telling us your own personal journey, how you came to become a nutritionist, and how you found now the low carb high fat diet?
Steph Lowe: Yeah, for sure. So, I mean, like a lot of people in the industry I do have my own personal journey with food, which started back as a teenager when I decided I wanted to lose weight to achieve this happiness that I thought that being thin would create.
Dr. Weitz: Did you achieve happiness?
Steph Lowe: I did not. I cut all fat from my diet, I became very disordered, and my poor mother was so worried that she took me to see a dietitian. And I still remember sitting in the dietician clinic thinking how amazing this woman’s job was, that she gets to sit here and talk about food, so I definitely know that the seed was planted then. Not surprising, when you cut all the fat from your diet you start to have mental health issues because your brain is predominantly fat. So I then experienced what was never diagnosed but certainly felt like depression, and I met someone who convinced me to cut gluten from my diet. This is over 15 years ago, I wasn’t a nutritionist, really no one knew what gluten was and how to maintain a gluten free approach, but I was pretty desperate to feel better that I was willing to try anything. And for me personally, the difference was night and day. So, I started to have a lot more clarity of focus, a lot less issues with regulating my mood that I was really inspired to learn more. So, it started as gluten free but it quickly became understanding more about the healing power of food, and when you learn that for the first time it’s pretty mind blowing that we haven’t been taught that from a young age. So, I was inspired to go back to uni and study my post grad in nutrition, so I had what we call-
Dr. Weitz: We learned about the food pyramid, right? 12 servings of bread and pasta every day.
Steph Lowe: Yeah, exactly. And in Australia, and it’s obviously the same way you are, that’s what we define as healthy, and we certainly over the last five or more years have really understood how wrong we had it. So, I set myself a mission to unpack a lot of the myths in the nutrition space, especially the food pyramid and how fats have been demonized for five decades, so I got my qualifications as a nutritionist and started The Natural Nutritionist in 2011. So, that was a while ago now if we think about how rapidly the real food space has evolved in that time, but I was a triathlete doing long course distances like 70.3s or half Ironman, and naturally that will is really high carb. I remember going for long bike rides and being told to take multiple gels that just make you feel sick, and when you read the ingredients the logical mind would definitely tell you that it doesn’t make sense to be fueling with all this sugar. So, I was determined to find another way. So, I do work with a lot of long course athletes to this day, but my niche is different as my journey has evolved because, as you would know, real food movement and certainly the low carb movement is pretty big now which is amazing, because we need to be having this conversation and moving away from the food pyramid.
Dr. Weitz: So, tell us about the low carb high fat diet and why should someone follow it?
Steph Lowe: Yeah, so there’s a lot to discuss there because my version of LCHF, it stands for lower carbohydrate healthy fat, so lower as in context to the food pyramid. So, you said before 12 serves or sometimes we see six to eight serves of whole grains per day, but regardless, that’s 400 or more grams of carbohydrates per day. And what that creates is what we see in western countries, we see not only blood sugar issues and cravings, and the weight gain that occurs with excess carbohydrates, we’re now seeing chronic diseases that are all inflammatory in nature, that have origins in excess refined carbohydrates and sugar. So, it’s a disaster. Versus lower carbohydrate healthy fat, we’re actually talking about real food. So, food that comes out of the ground, off a tree, or from an animal, and the latter is an option of course, you don’t have to eat animal products, but we’re looking for food with the lowest degree of human interference, because we know it all have the highest degree of nutrient density, the opposite is true to right, so if we see food or we look at food that has a high degree of human interference it’s nearly always going to be really nutrient poor, and that’s not what our body needs.
Dr. Weitz: So, what are healthy fats?
Steph Lowe: Healthy fats should be predominantly Omega-3s. So, our anti inflammatory fats that come in whole food forms like olive oil, olives, oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, for example.
Dr. Weitz: Olive oil and avocado aren’t necessarily high in Omega-3s.
Steph Lowe: Well, they certainly contain Omega-3s and they are these beautiful whole food forms. Avocado, for example, naturally contain some omega six, but we don’t want to be eating too many omega sixes, but the real issue are the pro-inflammatory seed oils like that we used through the 80s and 90s.
Dr. Weitz: Which are those?
Steph Lowe: Well canola is a big one that still really popularized to this day, but it’s really any-
Dr. Weitz: Now, some people like canola because they say it’s higher in Omega-3s.
Steph Lowe: Yeah, look and certainly the vegan movement really celebrates canola oil. I personally disagree with that, because we know that the optimal ratio for health is a one to one ratio between our Omega-3s and omega sixes. So, we’re not saying don’t eat any omega six, but using it as your predominant oil can’t makes sense because you would be creating a pro-inflammatory environment, and there’s incredible studies in the literature around the role of that one to one ratio.
Dr. Weitz: Well, that one to one ratio is kind of extreme, I mean, that’s not I don’t think generally accepted. I’ve certainly heard people say the one to one ratio is maybe what our paleolithic ancestors ate, but if you look at most of the normative values for, say, Omega-3 to six ratio, they typically say under four to one is considered normal, is considered optimal.
Steph Lowe: Depends on your health goal, it’s like our blood test reference ranges. You can certainly set yourself a goal of “normal”, or we can look at what optimal is, and everyone has their own goals around what they want their health and their longevity to look like.
Dr. Weitz: One to One is tough to achieve though.
Steph Lowe: Do you think so?
Dr. Weitz: Oh yeah, I need-
Steph Lowe: On a whole food diet?
Dr. Weitz: I think so. I think so, because most of the fats are still not going to be Omega-3s, olive oil is basically omega nine, and there aren’t that many foods that are really high in Omega-3 other than fish oil, flax seeds, so it’s hard to get one to one in Omega-3. I know I measure mine regularly and I try to keep it at two to one, but to do that I have to consume about eight grams of fish oil a day. So, it’s not easy to get to one to one, there aren’t that many foods that are super high in Omega-3, even if you have grass fed beef it’s still not predominantly Omega-3, it’s higher in Omega-3, but… Anyways, but so what are other healthy fats besides olive oil, avocado,…
Steph Lowe: So, then we need to look at saturated fats, which naturally have been demonized for five decades. Now, it’s been disproven in the literature, but unfortunately it’s a myth that is hanging around quite strongly. And, again, I think it’s perpetuated by specific food trends, but if we, again, think about what food has the lowest degree of interference, I support the use of things like coconut oil, grass fed butter, and ghee. And then there are additional grass fed animal fats for those that are inclined. We only need to be having about 20% saturated fat from that component of healthy fats, but we do need to acknowledge that when we look at what saturated fat is, by weight 25% of it is in our brain, it’s a really important component of all cell membrane, and is a foundation building block for hormones. So, we need to stop demonizing saturated fat but, at the same time, we don’t need to be eating just a huge plate of steak with a slab of butter on top. I think there’s lots of extremes in the health space, whereas my version of LCHF is actually largely plant based, where eating about six, if not more, cups of vegetables per day on a good day. And that’s what everyone can agree on, almost everyone, I’m not talking about the carnivore here, but almost everyone can agree on the role of a fiber rich diet with plants predominant. If we look at the Blue Zones, for example, people think they’re vegan, they’re not really, they don’t eat a lot of meat but they do eat eggs and seafood in small amounts, but what the common denominator is, is plants. And I think that’s an important conversation, because if you look at the food pyramid it doesn’t really celebrate vegetables; it celebrates bread and cereals, and almost everyone I meet is probably eating between one to two cups of vegetables per day. And so, it’s well under our goal of that six cups.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, it’s hard to get a lot of vegetables in, most people are not used to eating vegetables and they’re not super tasty or super rich, so you have to get used to eating a lot more vegetables to get yourself off that rich, super palatable, standard American, standard Australian diet.
Steph Lowe: Well, yeah. The addictive food, you’re right, when you’ve got poor blood sugar control and you’re addicted to carbs, you’re not going to crave broccoli, it’s going to taste quite bitter and you’ll find it more of a chore to eat, versus one of the major immediate benefits of LCHF is blood sugar control. So, you can do way more than a 12 hour fast without being hungry, you can eat every four or five hours, you don’t have cravings, you don’t crash at 3:30, or 4:00 o’clock, and your taste buds change. So, food that once you thought was delicious will taste ridiculously sweet or unpalatable, and then vegetables will start to taste really nice, and pumpkin will taste sweet, and you’ll actually really enjoy that food, it just takes time to adjust, like anything.
Dr. Weitz: And, so you get better long term energy because you’re relying on fats rather than getting carbs.
Steph Lowe: That’s the thing, carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, cause that blood sugar rollercoaster. So, it’s a disaster during the day for energy and productivity, but by the afternoon it becomes pretty impossible to deal with when we’re having cravings and really struggling to stay awake, for a lot of people were relying on more caffeine, perhaps, whereas LCHF you have just beautiful stable energy, stable blood sugar, great satiety, and my clients they will definitely notice that shift in their cravings, which is, that’s proof in the pudding. We don’t need these carbs and high sugar foods to prop us up anymore we’re burning fat that energy.
Dr. Weitz: Are there certain specific patients or categories of patients who maybe don’t do as well with a higher fat diet? I’m thinking of perhaps people with unfavorable lipid profiles and a history of heart disease, or maybe people who have one or two copies of the apoE4 gene.
Steph Lowe: Yeah, so there are definitely some more detail that we need, and that’s why I think testing is really important. So, if you’re going to embark on a low carb diet there’s lots of different tests that you would do, and certainly your blood lipid profile and some genetics could be fascinating. Now, the thing is about how we have interpreted a blood lipid profile over the last five decades is, we’ve done that very incorrectly, we’ve just basically look at total cholesterol, and if it was high we’ve assumed heart disease risk, which we know is hugely incorrect. So, the first thing that we actually want to look at is what the inflammation is, or is not. So, we look at triglycerides less than one, which would pretty much almost always rule out any heart disease risk, but we do want to dig deeper than that. So, we look at the total cholesterol to HDL ratio-
Dr. Weitz: Triglycerides less than one, maybe in the United States that would be under 100, I think.
Steph Lowe: Yes.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, okay.
Steph Lowe: The units are always going to catch us up, but the ratios are fine. So, when you look at a total cholesterol to HDL ratio we want at 3.5, and that tells us that even if we have LDLs, or high LDLs, that they were large and fluffy, so they protect the heart. Whereas the higher that total cholesterol to HDL ratio is, and certainly five and above, will tell us that there’s small dense particles that carry plaque and that’s problematic for cardiovascular health. So, we definitely need to be interpreting our blood lipid panel differently, and then it will-
Dr. Weitz: And even better would be to get advanced lipid profile that includes lipid particle size.
Steph Lowe: Yeah, you can do testing now, can’t you, so rather than just interpreting and using correlated information, you can do advanced profiles and look at your lipids. Anyone that’s, say, older who might have more risk factors like family history or carrying extra weight around the middle, you can do Lp(a), a coronary calcium score, there’s many more diagnostics that are far more indicative of cardiovascular disease health, than just looking at total cholesterol.
Dr. Weitz: Yes, for sure. So, how is your low carb high fat diet different than, say, paleo or ketogenic?
Steph Lowe: Yeah, there are some obvious similarities in that with focusing on real food, so that’s very much the Paleo model. But, the thing is with keto is, by definition it’s-
Dr. Weitz: By the way, real as opposed to refined, or processed?
Steph Lowe: Yeah, exactly. Food that comes in a packet or a box. So, keto is quite low carb, so it’s somewhere between 25 and 50 grams of carbs a day usually, and more typically the lower end of that, especially if someone’s got Type two diabetes or metabolic syndrome, but that is quite low and should be prescribed when someone has a metabolic condition, and we would know that by diagnostics, again, so glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c, the higher it is, the more say on the other side of 5.3 it is, the more you’re insulin resistant. And so then the obvious solution to that is to address the insulin resistance by lowering the carbohydrate, but if you have a HbA1c of 5.3 or lower, like a five, you don’t need to be only eating 25 to 50 grams of carbs per day. If you’re a male athlete who does some intensity, you could be eating up to 150 grams of carbs a day, so that’s more than three times a keto diet, but for some people, not everyone, but they’re still experiencing all the benefits from a clarity of mind, a concentration, a performance, a recovery, and a longevity benefit, and it’s a lot more food and a lot more sustainable. So, I think it’s important that it’s really individualized.
Dr. Weitz: Does it matter the time of day people eat their carbs?
Steph Lowe: There’s a lot of different theories on that, as you would know, so what we want to understand is a lot more about the exercise program or schedule, because certainly high-intensity exercise is naturally going to be utilizing muscle glycogen as the fuel. And so, many people feel like they recovered better if they eat whole food carbs like fruit in a smoothie the hour after a high-intensity workout, the same doesn’t apply for anything aerobic in nature because that’s naturally a more fat burning session.
Dr. Weitz: What about carbs before the exercise to fuel the exercise?
Steph Lowe: There are some people that feel much better if they do pre-load with carbohydrates before high-intensity exercise, but the thing about high-intensity exercise is that it’s really-
Dr. Weitz: By the way, what do we mean by high-intensity exercise?
Steph Lowe: Well, there’s lots of formulas, but as a general rule we use the MAF formula, so it’s Phil Maffetone formula, and so 180 minus your age would tell you where essentially that crossover point is. So, higher than that would be considered high-intensity, whereas lower than that would be aerobic or low intensity. So, it’s a formula that you use, 180 minus your age.
Dr. Weitz: So, if I were doing a traditional heavy weight training session where I’m doing sets of, say, maybe eight to 10 reps with as much weight as I can, and maybe taking a minute or two rest in between. Is that a high-intensity or are we talking about doing maybe a circuit training where you’re going from one exercise, or one set to the other with very little or no rest, and maybe lighter weight. So, are those both high-intensity, what’s high-intensity?
Steph Lowe: It all depends on the heart rate response, so everyone is going to be really different.
Dr. Weitz: So, it all depends on the heart rate?
Steph Lowe: Yeah, they both sound like they’re potentially high-intensity to me, because of the volume of weight in the first example, and then of course the circuit nature is nearly always high-intensity. But, then it becomes really individual, which is why we tend to use heart rate, so it’s not so subjective. Some people use RPE which is that rate of perceived exertion, but it’s very vague, we need to know how to interpret that. And so it’s not a clear definition, whereas, if you get to the end of a session you know what your average heart rate is, you can call it, so you know what you really need to refuel with.
Dr. Weitz: And you’re saying for high-intensity you don’t necessarily need carbs before, but you should have carbs afterwards to refuel your glycogen?
Steph Lowe: Yeah, the thing is about that, if you have it prior, a lot of people find I start to get digestive issues, because when you start exercising naturally your blood flow goes outwards, so to heart, lungs, legs, extremities, et cetera. So, you don’t have the blood flow coming into the gut, so we tend to find our digestion it’s compromised, and we see many examples of that certainly in Ironman races where people experience a lot of unnecessary gastrointestinal distress, and it can happen in much more mild versions of that when people eat before exercise. If it’s later in the day and we’ve been up for many hours and we’re training in the evening, and lunch has been hours ago, and dinner is not for another couple of hours, then usually we’re going to feel better if we’ve eaten, but the same wouldn’t apply to the morning, because if we wake up we haven’t depleted any muscle glycogen, we’ve only depleted a little bit of liver glycogen overnight, and that’s irrelevant for training. And so, we don’t have anything to replenish, and we feel more often much better without having anything prior.
Dr. Weitz: And so, is it important to get a certain amount of carbohydrates within a certain period of time after the exercise, do you believe in that glycogen replenishment window concept?
Steph Lowe: I do, but it doesn’t need to be 30 minutes or anything ridiculous, because that’s the other thing, the same applies to our digestion on the other side of high-intensity. Almost everyone will say to you, they don’t feel like eating straightaway, and that’s because their body is diverting the blood flow outwards again it’s not coming into the gut. So, we tend to want to wait until we’ve actually cooled down, maybe do your stretches have a shower and get yourself organized, and then think about eating, rather than running to the kitchen for fear of not recovering, which is a myth that’s been perpetuated by the protein powder industry. So, I think it’s going to be quite individual, but I’d say roughly an hour. And it’s only between 30 to 50 grams of carbs usually for a female up to–it’s not bowls of pasta or anything like, again, we might have been told.
Dr. Weitz: What about endurance athletes who maybe are going to go on a two hour bike ride?
Steph Lowe: Yeah, so it depends on how fat adapted you are or are not. If you’re just starting out and you’ve been following a high carb diet, then naturally you’re not going to be able to do two hours without fueling because your body is very sugar burning in nature, so that’s why we see people needing to have gels or Gatorade or different versions of that. But, when you’re fat adapted, and in fact, a good barometer of how fat adapted you are, is when you can do two hours fasted, when you have the ability to do that on water, lemon, and salt, our natural electrolytes.
Dr. Weitz: Should fat burning athletes maybe have a packet of peanut butter or almond butter, in other words, should they have the fat version of the carb load in the middle of their training session?
Steph Lowe: So, it depends on the goal of the session. So, certainly if the session continues to be aerobic in nature, so under that 180 minus your age, and you want calories, you can definitely be doing that from fat sources. It’s just going to depend on whether that’s practical for the type of exercise you’re doing, there’s nothing wrong with having some carbohydrates after that two hours, but what we don’t want to choose is gels or Gatorade which play with our blood sugar and spike and crash us. So, that’s why we tend to look for more natural carbs or products like Generation UCAN, or SFuels, because they’re designed to support that fat burning metabolism, but give us a small amount of carbohydrate to help us extend those long-
Dr. Weitz: What are those products you just mentioned?
Steph Lowe: So, Generation UCAN is made from a modified corn starch, so it’s been heat treated in such a way that it has a slower release, so it’s a slower release in terms of that carbohydrate, a bit like how you do low GI. We want it to be slower release, and so we can fuel off those carbs rather than spiking and crashing and needing more. And SFuels has a similar concept, they use some MCT oil in there, as well, which we know increases fatty acid oxidation, and they’ve got their own proprietary blend but the concept is quite similar in terms of it being a fuel to help us for that longer session, without impacting our metabolic goals and our fat burning capacity.
Dr. Weitz: Is this high fat training program catching on among athletes, if we were to say survey athletes in the Olympics, what percentage of them you think are using a high fat fueling program?
Steph Lowe: I don’t know if the Olympics is the right example because that a lot of high-intensity exercise there, so-
Dr. Weitz: Okay, so what’s a right example?
Steph Lowe: I think that’s why we see it happening in sports like Ironman Triathlon, because it is a really perfect example of where you need to be fat adapted, because some people are out there for 17 hours. So, it’s not possible to consume that many grams of carbohydrates every hour upon hour when you’re out there for seven to 17 hours, and so it really does suit the more aerobic athletes, ultra runners, triathletes. Now, I’m not saying that people in the live Olympics can’t do it because they’re all going to do aerobic sessions as part of their training, but I just don’t think it is as popular as they are yet. It should be because it is the best approach for longevity and managing inflammation, which naturally helps recovery and longevity, but we just need to acknowledge that it would need to be applied, very specifically for someone who’s doing a lot of high-intensity exercise.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, how does low carb/high fat benefit metabolism?
Steph Lowe: So, if you’re eating a food pyramid and you’re eating those 400 grams of carbohydrates per day, your body relies on sugar so you’re in that constant sugar burning state, when we burn sugar we also produce those reactive oxygen species and they are pro-inflammatory, so that’s why we see issues with recovery, issues with our inflammatory markers, and then unfortunately those chronic lifestyle diseases that happen after time. Whereas fats burn clean, there’s only byproducts of carbon dioxide and water, so there are no inflammatory species, reactive oxygen species, and we, again, create this fat burning metabolism which means that we have fat to burn as our fuel, so as our Diesel, versus sugar which acts more like petrol.
And then we have those benefits that I was talking to you about before, like the blood sugar control and the satiety, but it really is the inflammation that’s the most important piece because, again, we know that there’s so many lifestyle diseases that have that inflammatory nature, and most of them could be avoided, like type two diabetes doesn’t need to exist. It is a lifestyle disease that comes from a high carbohydrate diet in someone that’s genetically inclined to become insulin resistant, and I meet people who still think that type two diabetes is a life sentence. And to me that’s tragic that no one’s told them that there’s a dietary fix to put that disease into remission, they think it’s a life sentence of taking medication and running the risk of lots of side effects which come from the medication, and the increase in medication required when the weight continues to go up, and their diabetes continues to get worse. That’s a real tragedy of this century.
Dr. Weitz: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I’m a chiropractor and I also do the Functional Medicine, and so when patients come in for chiropractic, and we had a patient a couple of weeks ago, and I was helping him with his back and then I noticed that he had some blood sugar issues and was pre-diabetic, and I asked him what he was going to do about his pre-diabetes and he said, “Oh, my doctor said, just wait until the blood sugar gets higher and then we’ll put you on medication.”
Steph Lowe: And so we have, unfortunately, a reactive health care system, whereas you and I are very proactive. So, a blood sugar issue can be addressed with a lower carb diet, so you don’t need to wait until you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes to fix it, and I think-
Dr. Weitz: Oh, it’s absolutely insane but our system which is controlled by insurance companies actually doesn’t recognize that concept, so his doctor probably can’t even bill for pre-diabetes, so we can’t really under the insurance system do anything until the patient can get a diagnosis of diabetes.
Steph Lowe: I know, and so that’s why you go to a doctor when you’re quite sick, and perhaps a chiropractor or a nutritionist when you’re looking to improve your health, right?
Dr. Weitz: Exactly.
Steph Lowe: Because we would obviously be able to be much more proactive than that.
Dr. Weitz: And it’s insane to just get put on medication and not change your diet and lifestyle for a diseases caused by diet and lifestyle.
Steph Lowe: And there are many examples of that. I think it’s the same with, unfortunately, what we’re seeing with the Alzheimer’s and Dementia epidemic. That has come partly from the low fat era, it’s a metabolic disease, and we’ve depleted our brain of its primary building block, we shouldn’t be surprised that we’re seeing this but it’s absolutely heartbreaking that people are going through this, when they’ve been on statin drugs totally stopping their cholesterol production for years, if not decades, and no one’s really talking about this until the year 2020, and that’s another tragedy that we could have avoided.
Dr. Weitz: Oh, absolutely. Another factor there is the incredible amount of toxins that get into us from our environment, from the food, from the air, from all the chemicals being dumped into our environment. And so, those toxins-
Steph Lowe: Again, lifestyle.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, absolutely.
Steph Lowe: For sure.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah.
Steph Lowe: I agree, and I think there’s so many lessons. I’ve got a little one, she’s 18 months, and I think to myself, “I don’t know what the world is going to look like when she’s my age, but I hope that we won’t have as many regrets as we do now.” Like when we look at, say, my parents who are in their 60s and 70s, unfortunately I think that generation have been the unluckiest so far in terms of health, because they’ve live through the low fat era, they’ve lived through the polypharmacy era, they’re the ones that have been taking proton pump inhibitors, statin drugs, blood pressure medication, et cetera, et cetera, 16 pills when they get up in the morning. And no one has taught them about the power of food and what you can do to actually come off many of those medications, whereas with my knowledge my children won’t be taking medications, and hopefully that will continue. And it’s important because Big Pharma unfortunately are not interested in our health, they’re really just interested in profit, largely.
Dr. Weitz: Oh absolutely. Unfortunately I’m in the same generation with your parents, but not following the same path.
Steph Lowe: Yes, exactly, of course there are many exceptions to the role, but you probably see it in your friends. Do you have friends or people, friends of friends that are taking lots of medication, and I think that’s something that-
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, it’s tragic.
Steph Lowe: … could be… Yeah, again, avoided.
Dr. Weitz: A polypharmacy route, and then the medications counter the side effects of the other medications.
Steph Lowe: I know, and it continues, that’s how someone could possibly end up on 16 meds.
Dr. Weitz: Oh, absolutely. So, what are some of the drawbacks, what are the negative aspects of following a low carb high fat diet?
Steph Lowe: Yeah, so I said to you off air that I think because people like bread, and I’m joking but I’m not because people have these real attachments to certain foods. Now, the way I approach things is 80, 20. So, when I work with a client one on one, I’d never tell them I could never eat bread again, if that was their thing, of course we talk about quality and maybe looking at homemade examples, or how to do it better, what to eat with that bread, et cetera, for blood sugar control. But, ultimately I think if we take an approach to low carb that’s balanced, there aren’t going to be many drawbacks because in that 20% of your week you could technically eat whatever you want. Now in my 20% I’m still not going to drink heaps of wine and eat rubbish food, but that’s each to their own right, I’ve just learned over the years that sort of food and those choices would make me feel horrible, and I’m just not willing to pay the price, but I don’t make that decision for anyone else. It needs to be sustainable and that’s the main goal.
Dr. Weitz: Right, so I think one of the important things to emphasize is, there are versions of following a low carb high fat diet whereas, when we were talking off air, the person’s having a big steak with butter and cheese and very few vegetables, and so they have a very unbalanced high fat low carb diet. And that’s where I think you’re going to get into problems with missing out on important phytonutrients, and others essential vitamins and minerals that you would get from having a high plant rich low Carb high fat diet.
Steph Lowe: Yeah, I agree with you, and that’s why I think keto has gone a bit wrong. I meet a lot of people doing keto, and the amount of dairy that they’re eating and the number of coffees with cream and drinking, it’s really misguided that we need to be even consuming dairy at all, there’s no nutrient that we’re going to miss out on if we don’t eat dairy. Now, if you like it any preference quality and you treat it as an occasional food, then go for your life, but I’m talking about people that have cheese with everything for their fat, and cream and every coffee, and so on and so forth. But, really, vegetables are an afterthought or, as I said earlier, we want this to be plant based, you can eat fruit, you should be eating berries, and you can eat sweet potato. And you asked me before about what time we can eat carbs, there’s a lot of people that feel like if they do have some sweet potato at night they sleep a lot better because of that serotonin and melatonin relationship, and that’s something that is good to trial and error, as well, because you don’t want to do keto or low carb and then not be sleeping, because the impact of poor quality sleep is horrific, that’s going to take 10 years of your life.
Dr. Weitz: Right, so there are potentially some negative hormonal consequences of having too few carbs.
Steph Lowe: There’s negative hormonal consequences of being extreme, honestly, people, I think it’s the diet industry, we’re so used to being 1200 calories, eat less, move more, or starve yourself to be skinny, or only chicken and broccoli to put on muscle, and there’s all these things that we’ve seen over the last 20 or 30 years. And then when you jump into keto or low carb, you become so obsessed about your macros, your online diary, your finger pricking, or your breath ketones, or whatever it might be, that you lose that capacity to see the forest for the trees, because you want to take an approach that’s sustainable. And I just don’t think being extreme is the answer ever.
Dr. Weitz: So, you’re advocating on your high fat program that people are essentially running on ketones, but you don’t advocate measuring ketones through urine or blood or breath.
Steph Lowe: You can, so I’m not not advocating, I’m just not… I just think, for many people, it’s not going to suit them, and those that want to do it can do it, and that’s awesome, but we just need to realize that certainly initially we can get some good numbers and understand when we hit that 1.5 to three millimoles of that therapeutic ketosis. But after that, if we’re really efficient at using ketones we’re burning them, so they’re not in the bloodstream, so we might get low ketone readings, but we fast for 16 hours, we only eat, every five we can do two hours aerobic training fasted and there are all these incredible barometers, no inflammation in the blood markers, et cetera. So, there’s so many other barometers that I think give us much more powerful information beyond trying to get so obsessed about every day being in this goal, or in this range, when perhaps we’re actually burning those ketones for fuel.
Dr. Weitz: So, if people want to measure ketones, should they measure them in blood or should they do the breath testing that’s now available?
Steph Lowe: I think both can really be good, I many years ago I bought one of the breath ketone meters, and I found that quite easy to use and quite practical, it’s certainly more affordable than doing it via blood, like people that are finger pricking all day will start to really chew through those sticks obviously, so there’s a few variables that one would consider. I don’t mind either, do you have a preference?
Dr. Weitz: No, not necessarily, I think the blood is probably more accurate, but less convenient.
Steph Lowe: Yeah, I’d agree.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, so you also advocate intermittent fasting, a 16 hour fast as part of your program.
Steph Lowe: It depends on the individual, so if it’s a female who’s got some hormonal issues going on we wouldn’t be jumping into 16, eight. We know that the sweet spot for women is 12, 12 or 14, 10. We have to acknowledge that most of the-
Dr. Weitz: So, you’re talking about 16 hours of fasting, eight hours window of eating, or 10 hours of fasting and 14 hours-
Steph Lowe: So, If I said 14, 10, it would be a 14 hour fast with a 10 hour eating window, and we find that’s the sweet spot for women usually. Most of the research that’s done around intermittent fasting is in college aged male athletes, so we don’t want to take that data and apply it to women. Now, there are some women that have been doing low carb for many years that are either postmenopausal, so they can jump into 16:8, or those that are really well versed and have a good hormonal balance as referenced by what is a healthy menstrual cycle, and they might do 16:8 twice a week, but I don’t prescribe more than that for a female.
But, men tend to have more free rein here, due to that lack of hormonal fluctuation across the month, so they can do 16:8, but like anything you want to qualify it. So, you don’t go into the gym and start swinging 80 kilo kettlebells, so you want to start where you’re at and then build on from there. So, it’s the same with fasting, you want a minimum of 12 hours, so don’t eat from 8 until 8, and then you might add on from there and just make sure you’ve got good blood sugar control, craving control, and that the day doesn’t unravel because you fasted too long, you don’t have your head in the pantry by four or 5:00 PM.
Dr. Weitz: And what are the advantages of adding this intermittent fasting?
Steph Lowe: It’s just the perfect opportunity to accelerate that fat burning, because when you’re not eating your body moves into that fat burning state, so you’re really accelerating your ability to be fat adapted, and then 16 hours is incredible because we start to promote autophagy which is that cleaning out of dead and disease-like cells. So, it’s like PAC-MAN goes in, mops up all the potential issues that could be occurring, we know that’s great for managing inflammation, resting the gut, for anyone that’s got digestive issues it’s magic, and then there’s some really powerful longevity benefits that we see with fasting when it’s done appropriately.
Dr. Weitz: Great, and of course exercise is a great way to promote [inaudible 00:40:47], often not mentioned.
Steph Lowe: Yeah, very true. What’s the three eat introduced strategies that are about longevity? I think we’re still waiting for a magic pill, but so far there isn’t one. It’s real food, it’s sleep, it’s movement, it’s fasting, it’s nature- [crosstalk 00:41:07]
Dr. Weitz: Actually, the latest anti-aging compound I’m hearing about is Spermidine.
Steph Lowe: Oh, really?
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, there’s always a new one, so…
Steph Lowe: There is, there is. When we will probably continue to be magic pill orientated, but I think when we go back to the proven answers, they’re right in front of us so far, which is good to know.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, which is sleep, rest, healthy diet, exercise…
Steph Lowe: Time in nature, time with loved ones.
Dr. Weitz: Time in nature, yeah. Okay, thank you so much for joining us Steph, how can listeners and viewers get a hold of you?
Steph Lowe: Yeah, my online home is thejnaturalnutritionist.com.au, and I hang out mostly on Instagram @thenaturalnutritionist.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, that’s great. Thank you so much.
Steph Lowe: Thanks, Ben.