Hello and welcome to another episode of Get Yourself Optimized! I’m your host, Stephan Spencer, and today I have with us, Dr. Wayne Hayes. I met Dr. Hayes through a Mastermind that I’m in, a secret society run by Neil Strauss, the best-selling author, and this was as at a bio-hacking intensive so we had really amazing guests on stage talking about interesting innovations, bio-hacking, and getting more performance out of your body and living longer and so forth. Interestingly, I got the chance to hang out with Wayne in the hallways and started talking about what he does in the bio-hacking world and it’s pretty fascinating. He had a very successful Kickstarter campaign. He is actually now on his second one and between Kickstarter and Indiegogo, he’s raised about half a million dollars in crowdfunding for his startup, which is a vest that helps with weight loss using thermogenesis, so it gets your body cold and then your body reacts by shutting fat and we’ll talk more about how that works, the science behind it, and other weight loss approaches and stuff, bio-hacking, and so forth in the episode.
So, let me just give you a little more background on Wayne. He’s a total geek so we absolutely relate on that level. I taught myself computer programming when I was a little kid, even assembly language, hexadecimal, and all that so he is a UNIX geek and a C++ programmer but that’s not his claim to fame. He is a true scientist. He is a professor and a scientist at the University of California-Irvine. He is a visiting scientist at Jet Propulsion Lab or JPL in Pasadena. His background covers everything from astrophysics, biology, and computer science. He is the quintessential geek. He has earned his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. He was a postdoc under the Japan prize winner, James A. Yorke at the University of Maryland-College Park. He’s held visiting positions at Oxford University, at Imperial College- London, at University College- London, and he was doing genome stuff—just a fascinated, storied career. And now, he has done this crowdfunding and he’s built something that I think really has legs with this weight loss vest, which we’ll talk more about. He even ran a hedge fund briefly from 2008-2010, doubling his clients’ money, even through that rollercoaster ride of the housing correction and everything. Pretty cool stuff. It’s great to have you here, Wayne! Thanks for joining us today.
Awesome, it’s great to be here. Thanks for inviting me!
Let’s start by describing what thermogenesis is to our listeners and why should they care? I mean, how does it relate to them looking their best?
So, thermogenesis, just like it sounds, it’s thermo-genesis. It’s the generation of heat, specifically inside the body of a mammal—us, in particular—and thermogenesis is actually happening all the time inside your body just through the process of being alive so for example, the blood that is coursing through your veins causes friction when the blood rub against your veins and that generates heat in your body has to eventually radiate that heat or use it to stay warm. Thermogenesis also refers to the intentional generation of heat, if your body is cold and you were just a little cold all the way through shivering and eventually hypothermia. The kind of cold that we aim for with this vest that you mentioned-it’s called the Cold Shoulder-it’s a very mild form of cold, not even enough to generate goosebumps usually, and we find that users find this comfortable and they still burn a significant number of calories, just sitting on their butt and wearing the ice vest.
Great, so how did this come about? That you created this ice vest? I mean you weren’t studying thermogenesis in your research so what happened there?
Yeah, probably just like a lot of your listeners, I’ve read the book called The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, and that was, I think, published in 2010 but I read it probably somewhere around 2011 and in that, one of the chapters, chronicles a story of another NASA scientist named Ray Cronise. Ray had, since I met Ray and we’ve become friends, he read about the idea in about mid-2000s and started self-experimentation. He started drinking a gallon of ice water a day, taking ice baths, sleeping without sheets in the wintertime, going for winter chill walks, and having cold showers. Tim Ferriss, the author of the book, also did some self-experimentation where he tried putting ice on the back of his neck and found that it also had a significant calorie-burning effect.
That’s when I first read about the idea and I went, “Oh, wow! It’s a pretty simple idea!” but surely, there’s going to be an easy way to do it than an ice bath or wearing frozen peas at the back of your neck, sitting on a couch, because you can’t even get up or off the couch, it’s very inconvenient so I thought, “Why not just create a garment?” so I googled around, see if anyone else created a garment that was designed for cold exposure-induced calorie burn and nothing existed at the time—it was about 2011. And I thought, “Well, how hard could it be to build a vest that’s full of ice?” and it turns out, it’s actually very hard to do if you don’t know anything about it and to start a company as well. I actually waited about two years before I actually started to really act on the idea because in my full-time job, I’m a professor and I’m a scientist. I don’t really work in the garment industry so it took me two years to get my butt moving to start the company and get the product out there. That was the genesis of the idea. It was back in 2011, reading Tim Farriss’ 4-Hour Body.
Wow, so how come we haven’t heard of this technique to weight loss before? Everybody’s trying all sorts of crazy, fad diets and everything but this seems pretty straightforward and backed up by science. Why isn’t everybody doing this?
You know, everyone is asking about the idea and the answer is, I haven’t got a freaking clue. I mean, scientists have been studying this idea since the 1960s. It was first studied by Canadian scientists who were trying to figure out how do hibernating rodents in the middle of winter when it’s -10 degrees out and they’re sleeping, how do they not freeze to death when they’re just sitting around and sleeping in their burrows at -10 or -20 or even -40 degrees? They’ve been studying it in the lab, with other mammals, for more than 50 years now, and they have even done some experiments on humans and putting humans in a mildly cold room that’s about 60 or 65 Fahrenheit for 10 hours a day wearing nothing but a shorts and a t-shirt for two weeks straight and have shown very clearly that such mildly cold temperatures can generate a lot of thermogenesis that generally causes your body to respond by burning tons of extra calories and losing fat in just over a 10-day period of such cold exposure.
Now, some of you might be thinking that a 60-65 Fahrenheit in shorts and t-shirt is not really all that mild and you’re right. The first few days that you would do something like that, you would feel miserable. You’d be getting goosebumps, you might be shivering, but your body actually adjusts over relatively a short period of time for a few days. Your body acclimatizes to the cold and by the end of the 10-day period, these research subjects were sitting around, perfectly comfortable in 60-degrees Fahrenheit in shorts and t-shirt on their computers or reading books or whatever. Your body acclimatizes no problem to the cold exposure so the idea of our vest is, we don’t want it to be uncomfortable for you so we recommend that you start wearing it even for just a few minutes a day.
You can wear a shirt underneath until your body starts to acclimatize and as you start to acclimatize to the cold coming from the vest, you will be prompted yourself to recognize that, “Gosh, it doesn’t even feel cold anymore! Maybe I’ll switch from wearing a sweater underneath the vest to just wearing a t-shirt underneath the vest,” and then after a few days of that, you’ll recognize that even when you’re wearing a t-shirt now, it doesn’t feel cold enough and you’ll start to relish the cold and maybe even start wearing it directly against your skin. That’s what my wife does now. She’s started off hating cold, now she wears the vest directly against her skin because otherwise, it doesn’t feel cold enough to her.
Right, so this is called cold acclimatization—is that the technical term?
Yes, it’s a seasonal thing. In the natural habitat of our caveman days, in the winter, it gets colder and we didn’t have central heating 10,000 years ago so your body just adjusts to the cold and generates the extra calories that are required to keep you warm and then your body de-acclimatizes and actually acclimatize to the heat in the summer when it’s a hot climate. Your body adjusts but it takes time because it’s normally in a natural circumstance that the temperature changes slowly over the seasons. It takes a few days or maybe as much as a few weeks for your body to adjust so we say start off slow and when you get used to it, you’ll be wearing it every day for hours and you won’t even notice.
Alright, so how long should we be wearing a vest on a regular regimen?
So, once you’ve gotten used to it, the test that we have done already with some fitness nerds, where we recommend for them to wear the vest for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, and the test that we did, like I said, these were fitness nerds—the kind of guys who weigh their food on the kitchen scale to know exactly how many calories they’re eating—and we had eight people doing this and they found that over a 2-week period, they lost about an extra pound of fat per week wearing the vest so, it can cause a pretty significant amount of fat loss. That was an old version of the vest that didn’t have very much ice and didn’t last very long. Now, we have a more sophisticated, glycerin-based, FDA-cleared gel that is inside the vest and can last anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on the environment you wear it in. So, you could conceivably, wear it several hours in a stretch more than once a day and you would burn probably a lot more—I mean, we haven’t tested it yet formally but it just stands to reason that the longer you endure the cold, the more calories you’ll burn so we would expect that you would burn a lot more than a pound of fat a week with our most recent incarnation of the vest. We are working towards a clinical trial right now—a formalized clinical trial in a university setting—to test all of this more precisely but the science is so old and so well-established that it burns calories and there’s no question.
Right, and clinical trials are pretty important in terms of proving the viability, the efficacy, and so forth, and getting peers and the academic community to sign on to a new technology. You have to get those clinical trials in places, is that correct?
Absolutely. That’s our goal. The idea that cold exposure burns calories is a solid fact that’s been entrenched for 50 years but still, to formally make claims about how many calories it burns, we would like to have a formal clinical trial behind us where even the skeptics and the scientists out there can say, “Yeah, so cold exposure burns calories but what does your vest do exactly?” so we want to pin down those numbers more accurately and furthermore, if we get some clinical trials, possibly even more than one under our belt then we could go to the FDA and say, “Look, this is not just like an exercise machine,” and maybe get it cleared as a medical device and then people with medical insurance can start purchasing it using medical insurance funds. That would be awesome! That would also boost our sales a lot.
Yeah, so one distinction I want to make sure we make for our listeners is your vest allows calorie burn. It doesn’t necessarily equate to weight loss like, somebody could eat a bunch of extra brownies to make up for the calorie loss to actually gain more weight.
Yes, that’s absolutely correct. This is not a magic bullet. It’s not going to magically cause you to lose weight or burn fat. It’s a calorie-burning device, just like exercise is a calorie-burning activity. But if you continue eating tons of junk food by the calorie load, then if you use this device, and let’s say it burns 500 calories and then you think, “Wow, I’ve burned 500 calories, I’ve earned a tub of Chocopocalypse ice cream.” So now, you go out to the grocery store and buy yourself a gallon of ice cream and eat it. No, you’re not going to lose fat and you’re not going to lose weight. You would have burned calories but you can easily offset that if you’re not careful. So we recommend this as an extra addition to a healthy diet and exercise regimen. It’s not a magic bullet.
Right, and speaking of different kinds of magic bullets out there, what are some of the other things that, we talked before the episode of so many other stuff that people do, like the gastrointestinal surgery.
Yeah, a lot of people, when I first tell them that I sell an ice vest that’s designed to burn calories, they’re like, “What? Are you nuts? I hate being cold,” but then I tell them, “Well, think about the other crazy things that you personally or that anybody else has done in an effort to lose weight?” I mean, you can go on crazy diets—some of them work, some of them don’t. You can kill yourself in the gym on a treadmill and you can go as far as surgery like, gastrointestinal surgery or liposuction. A lot of people go through really drastic painful activities in an effort to lose weight and I think donning an ice vest and wearing it while you’re sitting in front of your computer or watching the Super Bowl is not really all that crazy when you compare it to some of the crazy things that some people do in an effort to burn calories and lose weight.
I actually know somebody who had that surgery and she lost a fair amount of weight from it but then she’s slowly getting it back and that’s sad to see because what happens is, your stomach has been shrunk by the surgery and then it expands overtime as you keep filling it up.
Yeah, the truth is, if you want to maintain a healthy weight or get to a healthy weight, it must involve lifestyle changes because, in the end, you have to balance your calorie intake with the calories you expend. Some people will try to tell you that it’s not as simple as calories in and calories out—it’s not quite that simple but certainly, the first order, the most important aspect of weight loss, or balancing or maintaining a healthy weight, is calories in, calories out and you have to keep that in mind. There’s nothing that can counteract a really bad diet that’s high in calories so if you see them munching on potato chips, chocolate cake, and ice cream all day, there’s virtually nothing that’s going to stop your weight gain so after getting some surgery to reduce your stomach size, you have to make some permanent dietary lifestyle changes in order to maintain that weight.
We actually went to that in a lot of detail in a new book that my wife and I are working on so I’ll put a plugin for that. It’s called, The Cold War on Fat. We actually have a professional editor going through it right now so it’s almost finished and we’re going to have that for sale at our website sometime within the next of a couple of weeks, probably. The first half of the book is basically all about diet and say, “look we are toting a cold exposure vest here but let’s be clear, the most important thing in weight-maintenance and health-maintenance is your diet,” so let’s start talking about your diet and only after we’ll explain to you what is necessary for a healthy diet, only then will we talk about cold exposure because cold exposure is just meant to augment your calorie burn but you have to focus on your lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight.
Right, absolutely. So, the gastric bypass surgery and all that is kind of a last resort for folks who can’t seem to make the lifestyle changes, who can’t bother to buy the vest, and wear it and so forth.
Well, no, my point was more along the lines of whether it was gastrointestinal surgery or liposuction, once you get rid of the fat, it’s not going to stay off unless you change your diet.
Yeah, in fact, I read somewhere that when you have liposuction, it doesn’t change your blood numbers so you still have a lot of cholesterol floating around in your bloodstream. Your numbers don’t improve just because you got rid of a whole bunch of fat from the liposuction. You actually have to work at it, you have to earn that fat loss and then your numbers will go down, otherwise, you’re still in a health risk situation even though you’ve gotten rid of a whole ton of fat through a liposuction procedure.
Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. I mean, I’m not an expert on liposuction but that statement doesn’t surprise me. One thing I do know is that, individual fat cells actually have no limit on their size so when people gain fat in their bodies, they’re not actually getting more fat cells, their individual fat cells are just getting bigger and if you want to lose weight or lose fat or burn fat, you have to just actually extract the fatty acids that are inside those fat cells to make those fat cells shrink again. What liposuction does is it removes some number of fat cells from your body, very carefully chosen by the surgeon, but your remaining fat cells, if you don’t change your diet, they’ll just keep on getting bigger. It’s actually kind of gross to think of it but if you remove 50% of your fat cells and you don’t change your diet, you’re going to keep on pumping more calories into your body and the remaining fat cells are just going to blow to enormous, unnatural sizes to compensate.
I think that liposuction and gastrointestinal are kind of desperate measures, which are warranted in some cases, but that doesn’t mean that they can keep eating the same way they were before. They have to change their diet to a more healthy diet and like I said, the first half of our book, The Cold War on Fat, goes a lot into diet. I can give you a one-sentence summary of it because a healthy diet basically boils down to eat what we call, whole foods, and whole foods are what you would call, fresh foods, so you know, a carrot is a whole food, a steak is a whole food, but a box of potato chips is not because it’s highly processed. A box of breakfast cereals is highly-processed. Robert Lustig is a pretty famous author. He’s written several books about obesity. He’s a scientist who specifically studies obesity, fat, and all that. I think one of his books is called, Fat Chance. One of the statements that he has in that book that we’ve quoted in ours is something along the lines of, “Does it look like it came from something in nature or is it a box with a long list of artificial ingredients?” That’s a distinction that even a five-year-old can make and it’s the first kind of thing you want to put into your body and not the second.
I recently made a big shift in my diet. I’ve been a vegetarian for a decade now but I recently, as of July, stopped eating sugar to the best of my ability. I mean, there’s added sugar in so many different things I can’t cut it out completely but I’ve stopped eating desserts, so no more candies, no more cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, none of that. I definitely feel better and I feel reducing the inflammation in my body and I’m going to live longer because of it. It’s been a major shift for somebody who has been a “sugarholic” his whole life. I’ve never dreamed that I’ll get to this place, where I’d be able to say, “Yup, I’m off of sugar,” but so far, so good.
That’s awesome, and you’ve hit pretty much the nail on the head. In the diet section of our book, we basically demonized sugar. It’s like, look, there have been 30 years of demonizing fat and as it turns out, in the most recent science has demonstrated that we have incorrectly demonized dietary fat. Certainly, trans fats are really bad, saturated fats are pretty bad but not as bad as we thought but there’s plenty of good fats that you can have like olive oil, for example, and plenty of other good fats are available in food. It’s sugar and sugary things that are the culprit. The most recent science has made that absolutely clear that sugar or fast carbohydrates are the culprits because they cause insulin-insensitivity and diabetes.
The good news is, though, that you don’t have to give up sweet stuff entirely because a lot of artificial sweetness right now—well, some artificial sweetness you might want to stay away from—but some of the artificial sweetness, for example, Stevia is fairly natural and you can still make desserts. Right now, my wife makes sugar-free but still very yummy desserts, which are either sweetened naturally with fruit or with Stevia. For example, we’re having an appendix in our book that’s all about, what we call, cold war-friendly recipes and you can use all sorts of flours like nuts, almond, tiger nut, or cashew flour to make cakes or bread. You can make a cashew butter bread so it’s a bread that looks and feels like rye. It’s bread made from nut flour so there’s no carbs in it and there’s no sugar and you can toast it or put ham between it and it’s like a Paleo bread. There are lots of options if you look for them and our book is going to have a whole appendix of recipes and alternatives to sugar and sugar-based products.
Okay, cool! I’m looking forward to that. You hit on a keyword and we’ll have to circle back and talk about more in this episode of Paleo but we’ll come back to that. Not all calories are created equal, right? So you can eat a whole bunch of calories of junk food, processed food, and that’s going to be calories, if you’re going to have to burn, so calories in and calories out but the quality of the caloric intake was not there if you ate a bunch of brownies or whatever and now, you’re robbing yourself of the micronutrients, all the vitamins and minerals, and things for different biochemical cycles and things that keep you healthy.
Yeah, there’s a lot of complexity in biology. You’re right. One of the best summaries, and there are very many summaries on how to eat, but one of them was the, “Does it look like something from the nature or are they artificial ingredients?” Another good summary is, you should your food based on the vitamin, mineral, and nutrient density rather than the caloric value because if you choose your foods based on, “Oh, wow! Look at all the vitamins and minerals!”—and it has to be naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, like you know, a cereal fortified with iron does not really qualify because it’s all artificially-inserted vitamins in there, not as bioavailable inside your body as natural-occurring vitamins. I want to circle back on about the “calorie in, calorie out” thing. Scientists have done plenty of studies that demonstrate very clearly that weight-maintenance is exactly and nothing but “calories in, calories out.”
What I mean by that, for example, is there have been studies, it’s what’s called a metabolic word. You basically lock people in a room, voluntarily of course, and they are only allowed to eat what the scientists give them and they are only allowed to do exercises that the scientists tell them to do and you can take three sets of people that eat: Group A eats 90% fat; Group B eats 90% protein, and Group C eats 90% carbs. Now if all three of those meal choices have the same number of calories then the three groups of people will have the same weight-loss or weight-gain as the case may be based on the caloric value of what they ate. The difference will be, the people who ate the protein and the fat calories will feel much more satiated. The people who have been drinking 90% sugar will get the same caloric value but they will be ravenous the whole time and they’ll start getting borderline diabetes or start getting insulin spikes that are not healthy. The weight-gain that you get is directly related to the calories that you eat.
The problem is, if you eat too many fast carbs, which means things like sugar, you get a huge calories influx but it doesn’t make you feel full and so you can eat a lot of sugary stuff, get one day’s worth of calories in one meal but still not feel full. So, if you eat a huge bag of potato chips, you could eat like, 1500-2000 calories in one sitting, and then an hour or two later, you’ll get hungry again. Whereas, if you ate the same number of—you would not eat that many calories if that was a steak as it will be like a 32-ounce steak and you would not be able to eat that in one sitting, you’ll be stuffed after in the first 12 ounces or so, and you’ll feel full for several hours because a steak is fat and protein. I don’t want to give the impression that you have to be a carnivore either because you said that you are a vegetarian. It’s perfectly possible to eat well and feel satiated being a vegan or a vegetarian. You just have to choose your foods to be whole and natural foods rather than potato chips, French fries, corn chips, and cake.You just have to choose your foods to be whole and natural foods rather than potato chips, French fries, corn chips, and cake. Click To Tweet
Now, some people actually ingest clay, which has no nutritional value, just so they can feel full. What do you think about that?
Right, I don’t know much about it but I heard there is a diet called, The Clay Diet, where people are ingesting clay just to make themselves feel full and there’s zero calories. The funny thing is that, I’ve only heard of this as a rumor, but some people are eating clay that you can find naturally and natural clay has significant levels of arsenic in it so I’ve heard of some people who have to go to the hospital because they got arsenic poisoning by ingesting clay. The point is, avoid all these crazy fad things and just eat regular food. Eat normal food. Go to the fresh food and vegetable aisle of your supermarket and load up on fruits and veggies and if you want to eat meat then load up on the fishes and the meats. Try to aim for lean cuts but just eat stuff that is obviously directly from nature. Something that is or was recently alive that has not been put into a machine and put into a box and dehydrated.
And how do you feel about juice cleanses or juice fasting?
I think they are around that way of fasting so fasting basically just means reducing your caloric intake or eliminating calories altogether so circling back to this other NASA scientist named Ray Cronise who was experimenting on himself with cold exposure in the mid-2000s, more recently he’s been self-experimenting with extreme complete fasting which means basically just drinking water. Nothing but water for days on end. Now, we can’t recommend doing this without a doctor’s supervision because Ray does it explicitly for experimental purposes under the direct supervision of a doctor. But the point is that, if you simply—you can fast for a day without any adverse effects other than you’ll feel hungry—but to just drink water for a day or two and you will roughly the same effect as a “juice cleanse” and you’ll also feel just as hungry because I tried some of those juice cleanses and I hate to say it but fruit juice is not a whole food because you’re just basically drinking sugar water and the fact that the sugar came from the fruit is almost irrelevant.
So when you see this carton full of juice and it says. “Made with the juice of 16 oranges!” I’m thinking, when was the last time I tried to eat 16 oranges? You wouldn’t be able to because, even when you peel off the skin, of course, there is lots of fiber in the flesh of the interior of an orange and that fiber helps to make you feel full, has positive benefits on your intestines and digestive tracks, and when you remove that fiber from the juice then all you have left is sugar water and a lot of the vitamins are also in the pulp. So, “made with the juice of 16 oranges” is not a good thing. That means you just drank 2,000 calories of sugar water and it tastes good and you might think it’s healthy but fruit juice is not fruit so we recommend that you get your fructose from eating actual fruit because the fiber is really important.
One of the things fiber does, in addition to helping to clean your intestinal tract, is that it just makes you feel full and it also slows down the digestion of the fructose, which is a good thing, because you don’t want fast digestion of anything. Fast digestion results in a huge influx of calories into your bloodstream and unless you happen to be running a marathon on that particular instant, the calories have nowhere to go except into your fat cells. You want to eat food that digests slowly and fiber helps to make the fruit digest more slowly so just stick to natural foods because even fruit juice has been highly-processed and does not qualify as a whole food.
I used to drink Naked juices and stuff and that stuff is just so bad for you. When I stopped sugar, I stopped drinking fruit juices as well. The fruit that I intake is limited and I am conscious of what I’m eating so I’ll try to eat more vegetables and fewer fruits. If I’m going to eat an orange, I’m going to do that once every few days or a week and not chow down on mandarins all day long like I’m snacking. Also, the big difference between juice cleanses or juice fasting with veggie juices versus fruit juices, I mean, fruit juices, you’re just spiking your sugar all day long but a veggie juice cleanse is much better for your body to my understanding.
Probably, yeah. I’m not an expert in that area either but it certainly sounds possible.
Yeah, my fiancée, Orion, just recently did a 12-day juice fast and she felt great. The first couple of days were hard but that was a really great cleanse for her and she was very careful about the juices that she would juice so she would, half the time, juice all these healthy veggies herself, but then sometimes she would get tired of juicing all day long because it’s a lot of work so then she’ll buy juices but she would go to places like Whole Foods, for example, where you can specifically say, “I want these veggies in the juice,” and leave out any fruits or whatever and watch them make it and it’s all organic.
I think the reason that juice cleanses are successful is because they’re reducing the calories your body is taking. I think people are too afraid of simply having zero calories so with the juice cleansers, you’re still getting some calories. For some reason, people have this idea that they’re going to somehow starve to death if they actually just literally stop eating no calories at all, so what I’ve done, inspired again by Ray Cronise, who is doing this 21-day water-only fasts—I’ve never gone that long, I’ve gone about 3-and-a-half days as the longest I’ve done, and again, I can’t really recommend this because you should already be really healthy person and I wouldn’t recommend trying to fast more than a day or so. I’ve done some reading, I’m not an expert on this, but in my personal experience, I’ve done a significant amount of reading and fasting for a few days is actually fairly safe as long as you’re a healthy person otherwise.
The reason is, again, go back to the Paleo caveman days, we do not have a fridge at our disposal, we didn’t have central heating, we didn’t have food processors but we also didn’t have, you know when you wake up in the morning in your cave, there’s no fridge that you can just reach into to get food, so typically in the morning, back in caveman days, you have to find your food before you can eat it. That might be some hunting and gathering and it might not be until late morning or early afternoon when you found food, and there will even be times when you might go days without food just because it wasn’t easily available or you’re too lazy to look for it. It’s really not quite to clear whether we should eat once a day or if there are benefits to eating twice a day because the Ancient Greeks only ate once a day.
They only have one meal a day because they couldn’t be bothered to have three meals a day. My point is that, mild fasting, whether it’s just having one meal a day so that you’re fasting for the other 23 hours or so, or even fasting for multiple days, is not, other than being careful if you have eating disorders, which you also have to be careful because some people will push it too far, but if you do it in a healthy way, then fasting is a good way to clean out your body by simply putting water to it and your body will naturally cleanse out the toxins or whatever else that is in your body. The other thing I want to address is a lot of people ask if you start to lose energy by the 2nd or 3rd day of a fast and the answer is, no, not at all. As a matter of fact, when I do a 3-day fast, which I’ve done probably about half a dozen times now, you’ll wake up feeling terrific on the 3rd day. You’ve been drinking water, nothing but water, for the past couple of days and what happens is, and this is a natural occurrence in human evolution, there have been times in the past where our bodies just have to survive for multiple days without food.
What happens is, your body has plenty of fat storage and you start burning fat but what also happens is, you become more alert—not less alert but more alert because your body is saying, “Well, you’ve gone two days without food, it’s time to start finding some food, dude!” That’s what your body is saying to you so you wake up extremely alert and full of energy and ready to go out to hunt and gather. Some of the best days that I’ve had in the past year, activity-wise and certainly you’re hungry and you can feel that your stomach is empty and it’s growling and it’s a little bit uncomfortable but if you just ignore that discomfort and just drink lots of water, the most productive days that I’ve ever had is during my fast. One thing, you’re not wasting time with meals so you’ve got an extra three hours right there during your waking hours because you eliminated three hours of eating and cooking, or whatever else you do to get food so you can be very productive and very alert. As long as you limit it to no more than a couple of days, it shouldn’t be adversely affecting your health, but if you have a history of eating disorders then I would not recommend fasting at all. This is for people who would be reluctant to fast and try it. It’s worth a try.
Yeah, standard disclaimers apply: see your doctor, etc. I just recently saw the movie, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and the guy in the movie was really touting the benefits of a 60-day juice cleanse and that’s a long time but he was showing the results for these different people who were doing it and himself and, wow, that was very impressive! What you’re describing is just not eating until the afternoon because you have to go out and hunt for your meal or just by eating once a day like the Greeks or the Romans—was it the Greeks or the Romans? I forgot which one you said.
Yeah, the Ancient Greeks.
The Greeks. That sounds like intermittent fasting which—
Oh, yeah, it is. I should have mentioned that. That’s exactly what it is—the suave, chic term is “intermittent fasting,” which basically means skip some meals.
Well, there’s certain regimen around this like, you’re supposed to eat within an 8-hour window all your meals for the day and then the other remaining 16, you’re fasting and then you do this day after day after day. Have you had much experience with that or know anybody who has? I know a guy named John Smart, who is an accelerated technologies guy and a really smart and geeky guy and he just swears by it.
Yeah, that’s just one particular regimen so the idea of intermittent fasting is much more general than that. It just means not eating for an extended period of time and whether or not that extended period of time means 16 hours a day thereby leaving 8 hours a day left where you’re allowed to eat, so for example, you might want to eat between 10 am-6 pm or noon until 8 pm or whatever, that’s is just simply the most popular form of intermittent fasting but the idea could be pushed further. For example, what if you want to do all your meals within a 4-hour window? One of the ways I’ve tried is only eating one meal a day, which would be in the evening, so I’d have dinner and that’s it. Do that several days running and your body, again, quickly adjusts to that. When I’m doing the kind of extreme intermittent fasting where I only eat once a day, I don’t even feel hungry in the morning because what happens is, I eat a ginormous meal in the evening—you know, by 6 pm I’m starving so my wife or I usually cook a huge meal and I just stuff myself silly in the evening—but still probably less than a normal day’s worth of calories and then by the next morning, you’re still feeling full.
You slept for 8 hours, you’ve been in bed and you wake up still feeling full and not feeling hungry and I would easily go until 12 or [2:00] in the afternoon before I even start to feel peckish. Then by about 3-4 pm, I’m starting to feel hungry and then by 6 pm, I’m starving and then I’ll have my dinner and that’s it. So that’s a bit more of an extreme intermittent fast where you’re basically only eating for a 2-4 hour window. Even more extreme is when you skip the whole dinner too so you go for 36 hours or just 22 hours without eating. For example, you stuff yourself silly on Sunday nights or you know, Sunday dinner with your family, and then you won’t have a meal at all on Monday and the first meal you’ve had would be your normal afternoon meal on Tuesdays—that would be like, a 36 or maybe even a bit more, 40-hours straight of no eating. John Romaniello is another guy who recommends this. He’s a really serious bodybuilder, a successful author, and he runs Roman Fitness Systems and his recommended eating schedule is the intermittent fasting thing, so skip breakfast, eat during the afternoon and then have a binge day on Sunday, where he eats whatever he wants to eat.
Sunday is a free-for-all: potato chips, ice cream—that’s the day to get your psychological craving for junk food out of your system and make yourself almost sick with junk food on Sunday. Have a huge meal on Sunday night and then Monday, the whole day, no food, and then Tuesday afternoon is the first meal so he actually recommends a binge day followed by a fasting day so you get the combination of Tim Ferriss’ binge day that he expounded on The 4-Hour Body. And then, to counteract the calories, you eat two days worth of calories on Sunday and then nothing at all on Monday. There’s another famous doctor, a BBC correspondent, named Michael Mosley. He is a doctor who does BBC television show in the United Kingdom and he wrote a book called, The 5:2 Diet, which is where you eat normally for five days in a week and you fast two days a week.
Now, when he says fast, he basically means that you’re allowed to have one small meal like a salad, a low-calorie salad, in the evening but two days a week, you have nothing but that salad in the evening and in the other five days, you eat normally, and there’s research that shows and he talks all about it in one of his TV episodes on the BBC about how this has phenomenal effects on reducing diabetes-like reactions in your body, reducing obesity, and making all sorts of numbers to be a lot more healthy like your cholesterol, insulin-insensitivity, and all. I meant not all the numbers but basically, across the board, you get better numbers by fasting two days a week, where a definition of fast is one small meal or if you want to be crazy, you can just push it as far as eating nothing at all for those 2 days. He has a book about it called, The 5:2 Diet.
5:2 Diet, okay, and in Roman’s book was called, Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha.
Yeah, that was his second book. He had another book before that, I can’t remember what it was called, but the most famous is the one that you have just mentioned.
I didn’t know of it as binge days, I remember hearing cheat days.
Yeah, it’s the same, exact idea. Binge day, cheat day, whatever you want to call it.
So, do you do that? Do you do cheat days or have you tried that?
Sometimes. It depends. I mean, I find it more of a psychological—well, crutch is not the right word because it has a positive psychological benefit, right? So, if you’re trying to cut out junk food then allowing yourself one day a week where you can have the junk food has tremendous psychological benefits because you know, if it’s Tuesday and you see that slice of cake, it’s not like you can never have that slice of cake, but the psychological knowledge of knowing that you are allowed to have that slice of cake on Sunday, that is four days away, you can handle that. It’s a lot different than saying going on a month-long diet where you’re trying to avoid junk food for an entire month. Nobody has the willpower to do that. Even I don’t and I’m pretty good with self-control so I find the idea of binge days are more of a psychological benefit than anything else because allowing yourself to go crazy on that one day would be getting it out of your system because, by the end of the day, you’ll be sick of it. “Okay, I really had enough corn chips now, thank you very much!” and then the rest of the week, you’re fine. So, yes, there have been periods of my life where I’ve done binge days but now, kind of like you, I’ve gotten so used to the idea of cutting out crappy foods, sugary foods, fast carbs, and processed foods that I really don’t need them anymore.
For the most part, I eat fairly healthy. I’ll still grab a chocolate chip cookie once in a while, for example, my neighborhood grocer has free samples of chocolate chip cookies so if he happens to have some available when I walk to the grocery store, I’ll grab one but it’s free so I haven’t bought it. Having a chocolate chip cookie a couple of times—you know, one chocolate chip cookie—a couple of times a week, that’s my binge meal. I don’t really do binge days very frequently anymore—occasionally, but I don’t really feel I need them. I have successfully changed my lifestyle to the point where I look at a box and I don’t even consider that to be food anymore. It doesn’t qualify as food in my mind anymore. That bag of—I won’t mention any brand name—but a bag of potato chips or a bag of corn chips doesn’t really register in my mind as food anymore. You know, food to me is the vegetable aisle.
Yeah, that’s amazing and I hope all of our listeners get to that point. In the meantime, there’s an approach that can be taken that gets you on a path so I’m on the path. I’m not to your level yet because I’ll still eat healthier versions of processed chips, maybe once a week or whatever. I’ll get a bag of chips like Blue Corn Organic nachos or whatever with some salsa but to go off of sugar as extreme as I have has been a journey. It wasn’t something that I was able to accomplish straight off the bat. I did fall off the wagon several times and then I found that by having a kind of a cheat day mentality that I will allow myself once in a blue moon on certain dates, not like just whenever I feel like I’m losing it but on holidays, specifically, I’ll allow myself to have desserts, candy, and stuff, so even though it’s been July since I had a dessert, I have to be truthful here that I did have desserts on Christmas, on New Year’s, and on my birthday.
That’s great! That’s phenomenal self-control. See, I don’t trust myself to have that sort of self-control. I don’t even buy junk food anymore. This is why I allow myself a free sample cookie in my local grocery store but I never buy a dessert because if there’s a dessert in the house, I will eat it. I don’t have the self-control. I limit my self-control to not walking down that aisle in the grocery store. That’s a lot easier to do than knowing there’s a slice of chocolate cake in the fridge and you can’t have it. That I can’t do. I don’t have that self-control so what I do is I walk past that aisle and just say, “I’m not going down that aisle.”
Yeah, I totally relate. It’s hard for me when it’s just sitting in front of me. I used to, when I had a team of people, and we had an office and my office manager would buy lots of candies and put a candy bowl out on the front and every time I would walk past the front reception, I would grab a piece of candy out of that damn bowl and that was like the devil for me. I could not stop myself from eating a bunch of Tootsie Rolls and a bunch of junk by the end of the day and I was oblivious to how much volume I was eating until I looked in the trash can in my office and I saw a whole pile of wrappers. I’m like, “What the hell did I do to myself today?” So, I’m an abstainer and it sounds like you are too. There are two types and the one I relate to is the abstainer. I cannot eat in moderation. If there’s candy around or junk food, it’s really difficult for me to not eat it and if I do eat it then it’s a slippery slope so I just have to say no. Cold turkey. No more sugar. No more whatever and I have to stick by it.
Cold turkey or cold shoulder.
Yeah, exactly. But this I learned from Kabbalah class, which I’ve found really helpful and I speak it for our listeners too that if you learn the distinction that there is either suppression or there’s restriction and suppression is where it’s really hard for you to get to say “no” to this thing so I was definitely in suppression for the first few weeks of cutting out sugar. It was painful and it was hard work so suppression is where it’s painful for you to walk past that cupcake or whatever.
That’s because sugar is actually addictive. We go into that in our book again. I don’t want to interrupt too much but sugar is actually addictive so there can be genuine pain and it can cause withdrawal symptoms.
Yeah, it lights up the same part of your brain that cocaine does, from what I’ve read. So, what I found to be a really helpful way to frame this up is if you switch from suppression to restriction where you gain energy, power, resolve, and strength from saying “no” to this thing—and now I’m in that—I’m in restriction and the difference is night and day. So, if I walk past—and I tell you, it was a lot harder with free candy and junk than it was if I paid for it—I’d much more easily not buy the candy at the grocery store but if there are free candy bars at a conference like a Mars bar or Snickers and they’re all free and you can have several if you want, that was a lot harder for me. But now that I’m in restriction, I actually gained strength and I feel amazing by walking past that and not taking one.
It sounds like you’re further than me in that regard because whenever things are free, I still find it difficult to hold back.
Yeah, but I tell you, it was that flip where I became in restriction instead of in suppression. Before that, forget about it! It was like agony—absolute agony—and there was this one moment that I remember when I flipped and it became restriction for me and that’s when we were doing a two-week sugar challenge—me, my fiancée, and my youngest daughter—we were all in this and we’re texting each night to say what we did and if we made it. My daughter was failing spectacularly, it was pretty funny, but I was sticking with it but oh boy, it was tough! And then the two weeks ended and she’s like, “I’m out!” and I’m like, “Wait a second, maybe we should try this one more week!” because originally, when we started this two-week challenge, it was my fiancée who came up with the idea and she’s kind of leading the charge on that.
This time, I was the one taking the charge and I’m like, “Let’s give it another week!” and my fiancée said, “I don’t need it. I know I’m not going to eat sugar and I’m going to eat clean and stuff,” and she’s been eating incredibly clean but my daughter and I were going to continue the challenge, maybe, and I’m like, “Maybe we should do this,” but then I was in the leadership position this time. When she said, “Okay, I’ll commit to another week and I will really give it a try,” I had to be not only the leader but I had to be an example for her and then it was a restriction. I’m like, “Okay, I made another day!” and whether or not she failed spectacularly that day or she stuck with it was immaterial. I still gained a lot of strength from doing that so I remembered that. That was the flip point for me and it was pretty amazing. So, back to the calories and stuff, there’s this called the Calorie Restriction Diet or CR, what has been your experience with it, if any, or do you know anybody who’s tried it?
Oh, is this the idea of permanent caloric restriction?
Yes, so the idea is extending your lifespan—
Right, so I’m certainly familiar with the fact that there have been tons of studies on mice and even some circumstantial evidence with humans to show that reducing calories is correlated with longer life but it’s not clear that it’s causation, so there this concept of correlation versus causation. One of my favorite examples is, a guy who shows that global warming is inversely proportional to the number of pirates on the open seas so for the past 300 years, there was a perfectly linear correlation, a reverse correlation as the number of pirates reduces on the open seas, the global temperature has been increasing. Now, there’s no possible way that there can be a causative effect there. Pirates are not causing global warming and vice versa so there’s a correlation without causation there and there is a possibility that there’s also correlation without causation in the calorie restriction and long life thing. One of the reasons I believe that is possible, there may be a cause there but the calorie restriction, if you stick with it, results in a very low body fat percentage, right?
So, people who practice calorie restriction are not generally bodybuilders so they end up being very scrawny, very thin, and just kind of looking sickly, even though they would probably end up having a longer life and the question is, isn’t it the restricted calorie that is causing the longer life or is the restricted calories that’s causing the low-fat body percentage and the low-fat body percentage that is causing the long life? The reason the second, in my mind, is more likely is because there’s been some scientists who explicitly look into this question with mice and what they did was they took three groups of mice, one of them would eat normally and just live a normal lifespan for a mouse; the second group was calorie restricted and so they ended up being pretty scrawny mice and lived about 50% longer, which was commonly known in the calorie restriction community; but they took a third group of mice and they did an experiment, and we understand genetics so well that we can say that this particular gene here is a necessary part of the metabolism for getting fat and if we remove this gene from the mice then they cannot possibly get fat, no matter what they eat.
In the third group, the mice were eating a normal diet, same as the first group that was getting fat, but this third group of mice was not getting fat and they ended up living just as long as group B so group A, normal diet, normal genes; group B, calorie-restricted, lived longer; and group C, same diet, low body fat percentage, also lived longer, so that is pretty strong evidence to me that it’s the low body fat percentage that’s leading to longer life, not the calorie restriction directly, and so what needs to be done now, to kind of corroborate this and make it a stronger scientific result would be to, and I’d like for there to be some kind of a statistical study on humans to look. Let’s look at bodybuilders, right? They are definitely not calorie-restricted but let’s find some people who body-build into their 70’s or 80’s and see what their health markers look like because they have low body fat percentage but they’re eating plenty of calories. It would be hard to do because there are not that many fitness enthusiasts bodybuilders who eat lots and are still low body fat percentage but I’m sure the study can be done. You can really do it in a controlled manner. It has to be some kind of a statistical study across the population but my guess, my hypothesis, I hope that it’s low body fat percentage because I don’t want calorie restriction. Calorie restriction sucks. It’s terrible. You’re going to eat nothing but celery sticks for the rest of your life. I’m exaggerating but–
Oh, it’s crazy! The stuff that they do. Like, they’ll peel the apple and only eat the peel and throw the rest of the apple away!
Right, and I’ve seen these people. They might end up living long but maybe I’m vain but I just don’t want to look that scrawny. They actually have lost muscle mass. They’re actually physically weak as well and I don’t mean that in the older sense. I just mean that, the loss of a muscle mass—it results in a lower quality of life. There are things that you can do that would lower the quality of your life and make you live longer, would you make that choice? If it comes to eating cake or not, then yes, I can forego the cake but I want to look like a healthy human being and live to the age of 110.
Yeah, it’s funny that they don’t even have the calories to go work out in the gym so they cannot work out.
Well, I know, tragically, a friend of mine who’s also a professor here. I mean, he didn’t die or anything, but he was practicing calorie restriction and I was not there at that time but my other colleagues told me that there was one particular day when this calorie-restricted professor was feeling so weak and so frail that he couldn’t even get up from his office chair to go pick up a textbook. He yelled across the hallway for one of his colleagues, “Hey, can you get this book for me in my office?” “Can you please walk across the hall to my office, get this book that is 6 feet away from me, and please hand it to me because I don’t have the energy to stand up and get it.” And I think he’s pushing his calorie restriction a bit too far and he agreed and he’s eating more calories now. But yeah, that was a point in his life where he realized that it’s not worth it.
Yeah, so there’s another form of life extension therapy that is related to the cold shoulder and that’s called Cryotherapy. I hear that extends the telomeres, which is correlated, or maybe causated, to the onset of aging. So, what’s your position on cryotherapy? Like, getting in those boxes or chambers?
I don’t have any scientific knowledge on the subject so all I’ll say is, I’m not aware of any scientific studies at all that show any efficacy of—you know, the standing in -200 degree mist for a few minutes—my personal opinion is, I don’t think there’s anything to it but I have not done a diligent literature search but I just can’t imagine two things: first of all, I can’t imagine how that could possibly benefit but that’s entirely an opinion and the other thing is, I have done a cursory literature search on cryotherapy and to be honest, it’s just hasn’t been around long enough for them to be able to make any such claims so I don’t think it’s been studied. It may or may not have benefits but I think they’re on the shaky ground certainly from a scientific standpoint. Also, there is a risk of frostbite and you’ve got to be careful with frostbite. I mean, we’re careful with our vest. We use a material in the cold shoulder that has been used for years for physical therapy so we know that the material we use protects from the risk of frostbite so we’re perfectly confident that you can wear this vest for several hours and not get frostbite because we’re using material that has been proven in that manner. This cryotherapy thing, my guess is that it will be a fad although, I don’t want to go on a limb too far and say it’s useless.
Then there’s this thing called The Quantified Self Movement. You talked about some geeks at the beginning of the episode who helped you do some preliminary studies and they were measuring everything they ate, all the calories, and everything so that sounds like quantified self or parts of it. So, what’s your take on the Quantified Self Movement?
Again, I’ve always looked at it from a cursory standpoint. From where I stand, it’s just basically people who are measuring stuff and trying to base their decisions on the results of accurate measurements of their body and to me, that sounds like a scientific method and it’s perfectly fine. However, I don’t know the details of how they do it or how it works so to me, it’s just the idea of using measurements and self-experimentation and as long as you do it carefully and in a healthy fashion then it sounds like a perfectly reasonable way to try and improve your health. But I don’t know much about the Quantified Self Movement other than having heard about it and heard a vague description of it.
Yeah, there is one device that really intrigued me. I’m not really into the Quantified Self Movement myself. I’m looking at, perhaps, doing some wellness-effects test and so forth but one device in particular that really caught my eye and that’s from Healbe and it’s called the GoBe. It’s one of those devices you wear on your wrist and instead of just measuring the number of steps you take, it also measures somehow your caloric intake in particular, even the macronutrients so your fats, your carbs, and proteins—it’s actually giving you measures within, supposedly, 85% accuracy, which is amazing and so I bought one of these because my fiancée was doing the macronutrient diet where you measure your macros and then trying to hit those certain numbers each day of just protein, carbs, and fats.
Well, I’ll be curious to see how accurate it is if your fiancée tries it. I’d be curious to know how they can possibly measure your macronutrients but I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an accurate way to do that. I would just be curious as to how they do that. It could be hocus-pocus or it could be real because there is some pretty amazing stuff that you can do with measuring the spectrum of the light when it’s passing through your skin. Maybe there might be something that has to do with that spectrum that can measure—I have no idea how it would work, it’s not completely out of the question that it could work but I’m curious to see how accurate it is.
I’m excited to try it and for my fiancée to start incorporating into her routine but that’s just sitting there ready to be opened because we haven’t tried it yet. So, let’s wrap up this episode with just a little lightning round here of a few different questions just to get your take on a few things. So, the Paleo diet? What’s your take on that?
I think it’s a great starting point. I think it’s very close to what I would call a Whole Food Diet. Basically, it’s based on if you couldn’t hunt or gather it 10,000 years ago then don’t eat it. I think that’s certainly a safe way to start but it’s not the whole story. I mean, there are plenty of foods that are not Paleo and they are still perfectly healthy. For example, the Mediterranean diet recommends olive oil. Olive oil is not paleo but there have been plenty of findings to this to show that olive oil is not only safe but actually quite healthy for you—so Paleo is not the whole story.
Got it! Okay, so, macronutrients versus micronutrients? Can you just briefly define these two for our listeners?
Well, macronutrients would be the fats, proteins, and carbs. The ratio of those in your diet. Micronutrients, I’m actually quite not sure, I mean, micronutrients are referring to vitamins and minerals. You’ve asked me a question I don’t know how to answer.
Yeah, that’s exactly it. Vitamins and minerals.
Well, certainly, vitamins and minerals, I think, are probably at least AS important or possibly, even more important than the macronutrient profile of what you eat. As long as the carbs are not fast carbs. I mean, vegetables are carbohydrates so eating lots of carbohydrates is fine. That’s what vegetables are but you want to avoid the fast carbohydrates, which means processed sugars and processed grains and stuff.
And what about bread and what about potatoes?
Those are, I might say, borderline. Tim Ferriss recommends avoiding those. He calls those “white starches” or “white foods” so you know, potatoes or white bread. Personally, I’m fine with bread. I eat whole wheat bread, as long as you find the ones that are 100% whole wheat that’s because apparently according to the law, anything that has 51% or more of whole wheat can call themselves whole wheat. I try to not eat too much breads, my wife avoids breads entirely but I’m a fan of sandwiches so I will eat breads occasionally. I think as long as they’re whole wheat then they’re not terrible for you but that’s a matter of opinion. I think the evidence is not 100% clear on whether we should entirely avoid grains that would include corn or if whole food-type grains are probably okay. I don’t know what the answer there is.
And supplements? Like, the multivitamins and –?
Vitamins are probably okay but the vast majority of fat-burning supplements are a completely BS. For example, one of my favorites is, I will actually mention it by name, it’s not a product and it’s not a brand name, it’s called Garcinia Cambogia. Garcinia Cambogia has been proven again and again to be completely worthless and completely ineffective when it comes to fat-burning and yet you will find tons of ads. You can go to Amazon and search for Garcinia Cambogia and you will find bottles of Garcinia Cambogia extract for prices anywhere from $4.00 to $40.00 and I’m thinking, anything that has a price range that varies by a factor of 10 is probably garbage because who knows what’s actually in the bottle and in any case, even if you actually do eat pure Garcinia Cambogia extracts, it’s been shown in the scientific studies that half a dozen times since the mid-1990s, it’s been tested over and over again completely worthless as a weight-loss supplement, which is mostly how it’s marketed.
There are some supplements that are complete bullshit, and others that might have some effect like creatinine. Creatinine has been proven to have a minimal effect on increasing muscle mass but it’s not a huge effect so my general rule of thumb is, being a scientist, I don’t use Google to search for information. I use Google Scholar. Google Scholar is a special website under Google that only searches scientific articles, which is peer-reviewed scientific literature rather than just some random websites because random websites can have everything but peer-reviewed scientific literature is a much higher quality information source so if you google Garcinia Cambogia on Google Scholar, you will find anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen articles that have clinically tested it and found it completely useless so if there’s any other substance that you want to know about, don’t bother reading random websites from people who may or may not know what they’re talking about. Go look at actual scientific data as published on Google Scholar. That’s my recommendation for any supplement that you want to know about.
Okay, great. And then vitamins? Which ones do you take? Which ones do you recommend?
I’m not really an expert here but I have found that taking a multivitamin does make you feel a little bit better. So, for example, I have this weird condition where if I don’t get enough vitamins in my diet, the skin underneath my fingernails separates from the fingernails and it’s very painful and actually causes bleeding. It’s really disgusting and painful so I’m not even sure what vitamin deficiency causes that but sometimes, when I don’t get enough vitamins in the food I eat, I’ll take a multivitamin. My favorite ones thought that are most bioavailable and most useful are the food-based crushed greens. There are all sorts of them—there’s Vitamineral Green, there are Athletic Greens and they vary a lot in prices well. I find one called Vitaminineral Green is just one of the ones that is reasonably priced and basically, it’s dehydrated, crushed vegetables. They have like, 2 or 3 dozen different types of vegetables, algae, and a whole bunch of stuff that are bioavailable sources of vitamins. I have a tablespoon of that almost every day, either in the morning or the evening, and it keeps my skin looking good and my fingernails healthy. I think there’s got to be something too but I’ve not really done any scientific literature search on it. This is my personal experience, I do need a multivitamin to feel healthy.
Okay, cool, and getting to the end here, so you mentioned “bioavailable” a couple of times, and for our listeners, who are not familiar with that term, what is bioavailability? What does that mean?
Oh, you take a breakfast cereal, those food stuffs don’t have a significant amount of micronutrients in them. What they do is they fortify them. What that means is they take pure vitamin B, or K, or C and they crush it up into a dust and they sprinkle it onto the food. It turns out that, that form of vitamin B, or C, or K will not be absorbed as efficiently as natural sources. So, for example, celery is high in vitamin A or K and it’s not the molecular level. It’s not crushed powder. It’s even smaller than powder. It’s molecular vitamins and those are very readily absorbed into your bloodstream directly because it’s dissolved in the liquid in the cells of the celery whereas, a crushed powder simply doesn’t get absorbed into your bloodstream as efficiently so bioavailable means how available is it to the biology of your digestive system.
Perfect. Great! And then the last one here, I’ve heard the term sugar-burner and fat-burner. Conceptually, I get it that if you’re burning sugar, you’re not burning fat and you’re not going to lose weight. Are people either sugar-burners or fat-burners? Can you flip to become a fat-burner if you’re just primarily a sugar-burner? That’s all unclear to me.
I see what you’re saying. I thought you’re talking about there’s some magic supplement that burns sugar that’s in your blood. Have you heard of ketosis? If you fast for a day, then there will be no sugar in your bloodstream because all the sugar would have either burned up in your muscles or shoved into your fat cells. The fat in your body is storing energy as fat. You don’t store energy as glucose but most of the “battery” storage of energy is done in the fat cells so if you don’t eat any sugars in your diet then your body will switch or acclimatize more normally to burn fat that’s in your fat cells whereas, if you eat lots of sugars then there’s no way to give a sure answer here but eating lots of sugar actually locks fat into your fat cells because if insulin is high in your bloodstream, then the energy cannot get out of your fat cells because insulin is a signal in your body that tells fat cells to absorb energy so if you have lots of sugar in your bloodstream, you cannot possibly burn fat out of your fat cells because the fat is locked in the fat cells because your insulin is high.
So yes, there’s definitely a difference between burning sugar and burning fat in your bloodstream and if you keep your insulin low by avoiding sugars then it’s much easier for the fat to get out of your fat cells in order to be burned so that’s a very important distinction and we actually went into that a lot into our Cold War on Fat book, which should be available on our website fairly soon. And speaking about my website, let me give you one more plug about my product—it’s called the Cold Shoulder, the Ice Vest. You can get it at coldshouldervest.com or you can just google “cold shoulder vest” but you might as well type in directly coldshouldervest.com so you can get our vest. It will help you burn more calories and seeing that there will the book available out there as well and yeah, I’d be happy to answer any questions.
So, if somebody wants to reach out to you or if they want to ask you a question or something, how would they find you? On the coldshouldervest.com site or somewhere else on the web?
You can send an email to email@example.com. It’s really a bit annoying now and we’re going to fix this but the website is coldshouldervest.com but our emails are all @coldsh.com, only because I think, having people to type coldshouldervest.com into an email bar is too much. But yeah, so you can send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and that will get to me eventually—it will get to our customer service team and get to me.
Well, thank you so much for sharing all this wealth of knowledge, Wayne, and your experience with weight-loss, with bio-hacking, and all the geeky biochemistry stuff and everything. It just has been really fascinating and I’m sure that our listeners are going to enjoy it when it publishes. Again, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you, listeners, for listening and I encourage you to go check out the Get Yourself Optimized website for the transcript to this episode. It’s getyourselfoptimized.com. The checklist that goes with the transcript is going to be a must for you as well because there are plenty of action items to take from the episode so we distill some of the best action items from the episode into a checklist, which will be a part of a downloadable transcript and also the show notes with links to all the different things that were mentioned in the episode. Catch you on the next episode! My name is Stephan Spencer and you’ve been listening to Get Yourself Optimized.
Links and Resources Mentioned
- Cold Shoulder Vest
- The 4 Hour Body
- The Cold War on Fat
- Fat Chance by Robert Lustig
- Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
- Roman Fitness Systems
- The 5:2 Diet
- Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha
- Healbe GoBe
- Vitamineral Green
- Athletic Greens
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
☑ Start grocery shopping on the outside perimeter of the store-that is generally where whole foods will be, like fresh fruits, veggies, and meats.
☑ Read labels! If a pre-packaged food item has more than three ingredients or ingredients that you can’t pronounce, skip it.
☑ Try the Cold Shoulder to start burning more calories today.
☑ Keep your insulin low by avoiding sugars, white bread, and only eating white potatoes in moderation.
☑ Start taking a good multivitamin, but getting most of your vitamins from fresh foods. Avoid fortified vitamins.
☑ To create a good nutritional starting point, try the Paleo diet for 30 days. Remember that you can add additional healthy options to your diet, as long as they are whole foods.
☑ Read The Cold War on Fat to get more information on your diet, where to start, and the benefits of cold exposure.
☑ Try a juice cleanse, but with mostly veggies. It’s okay to add a fruit for flavor, but don’t overdo it, you don’t need to eat 16 oranges in one sitting.
☑ Weight loss truly comes down to calories in vs. calories out. Get a device like GoBe that measures your caloric intake.
☑ You will feel more full when your diet consists mostly of protein and healthy fats, start tracking your macro-nutrients, and keep carbs low.
About Dr. Wayne Hayes
Dr. Wayne Hayes is a true scientist holding positions such as professor at the University of California-Irvine and visiting scientist at Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. His background covers everything from astrophysics, biology, and computer science. His latest project and startup is called the Cold Shoulder. It’s a vest that helps with weight loss using thermogenesis.