Jonathan: Hey, everyone, Jonathan Bailor here with an extra special – this is like extra special. This is going to go down in history as The Smarter Science of Slim bonus podcast because in a lot of ways, folks, we have ‘the father’ of so much of the science that we are here talking about. We have a gentleman, a researcher, a doctor, and, I think, frankly, a humanitarian with us who has been telling us this message of healthy fats, and sugar and starch are so deleterious to our health, for, literally, decades. That man is none other than the author of The Rosedale Diet. We have Dr. Ron Rosedale himself on the phone. Dr. Rosedale, welcome.
Ron: Thank you. It’s a pleasure being here. I look forward to our conversation.
Jonathan: Ron, thank you again for being here. Just for the listeners who are not familiar with…certainly this is a crowded space, but it hasn’t always been a crowded space. In fact, it was a space of maybe a handful of people decades ago and you were – if not the first – certainly in that handful. When did you get started? How did you get started? Just tell us your story.
Ron: Well, when did I get started? Probably in the late ‘80s, I suppose, early ‘90s. I started in with a practice with another physician who dealt with a lot of cardiovascular patients and a lot of them had diabetes and I had treated diabetics quite successfully by a low-carbohydrate diet. I hadn’t read about it anywhere. In fact, at the time, I never even had heard of Dr. Atkins, who had written about a low-carbohydrate diet previously, but I wasn’t into popular books or anything like that. My approach was that it was just foolish to feed diabetics, who had a problem with high blood sugar, sugar. Really, truthfully, that was my first thought.
Before that, I might add, I was quite a fan – you might even say it was quite a hobby next to medical school and next to medicine in the biology of aging. So I followed the biology of aging quite a bit and recognized the role that glucose, and possibly insulin, played in the biology of aging which, quite a few years later, was very verified when the DAF2 gene was discovered that connected insulin with the actual rate of aging in the laboratory. But early on, in clinical practice, when I was asked to treat cardiovascular patients with diabetes, my very first thought was that really it wasn’t Einsteinian at all, that it would be wrong to treat a diabetic by feeding them a lot of foods that almost immediately turned to sugar and then give them drugs and insulin to try and lower the sugar. It’s like using a car and driving with the brakes and the accelerator on at the same time. It was just really stupid. So, it never even occurred to me to do it any other way.
I remember one of the first patients that I treated after I had joined this other doctor’s practice was a very severe diabetic who was on, I think, almost 300 units of insulin. Basically, it was like candy for him. He had severe cardiovascular disease. He was on a bunch of blood pressure medications and heart medications and had neuropathy, which means damage to the nerves in his legs – which is relatively common in diabetics, such that both of his legs were numb up to his thigh. I treated him with a very low-carbohydrate diet and right away, I knew that a high-protein diet was not the way to go; that protein itself, I knew, could turn to sugar if it was in excess.
Really from 20 years ago or longer, the only nutrient I’ve had people count was protein, the less non-fiber carbohydrates, the better, and differentiated carbohydrates and not from simple or complex, but simply whether it turned to sugar or not; that was whether it had a lot of fiber or not. Fiber does not turn to sugar. Any carbohydrate that is not fiber will turn to some sort of sugar; all of which will be bad and if you eat excess protein, then what your body requires is it will turn a lot of the excess protein into sugar or other substrates which act like sugar and that wouldn’t be good for a diabetic, either, so all you were left with was fat.
The diet that I used right from the very beginning was a very high-fat, very low non-fiber carbohydrate, and the appropriate protein for that person’s size and activity level. He filled it extremely well. So this patient I was talking about – one of my first patients – went on this diet and in a couple of weeks, I was able to get him off of insulin totally. The good part about it was that he was taking so much insulin that he was so desensitized to it and he was so resistant to its action and it was kind of like candy to him – it didn’t do much; but it also didn’t do much when you took him off of it because he was so resistant to it. Taking him off of it got him re-sensitized; like being in a room with a very powerful odor so long that he couldn’t smell it anymore and all you had to do was take him out of the room and then he comes back in the room and he can smell it. So he had plenty of insulin that he was manufacturing himself, but his body wasn’t able to listen to any insulin because he had been taking so much of it for so long.
By just taking him off the insulin and reducing the amount of insulin his cells were exposed to, they could now essentially ‘smell’ the insulin again. Even though he was exposed to much less insulin, the action of the insulin was far more powerful than when he had been on 200-300 units. So he did extremely well. Maybe a month afterwards, he had already been off of insulin and his blood sugars and diabetes were already really well controlled, I remember getting a call from him then – and it might have been two months, I don’t recall exactly; this was a long time ago now – and said, “You know, Doc, I really, really appreciate you. You’ve done just wonders for my diabetes, but right now I just hate you.” I said, “Whoa. Why? Things were going really well. Why would you hate me?” He said, “Because my legs are killing me. It’s so painful right now. At least before, they didn’t hurt.”
All I could remember, to this day right now, is just smiling to myself and then telling him, “Cool. That’s great that your legs hurt.” He didn’t know what I meant right away, but I did explain myself. I said, “I don’t mean it’s great that your legs hurt, but what it means is that the nerves are coming back; that they weren’t dead. Now that you’re on much lower amounts of insulin, your blood sugar is in much better control and your nerves are coming back to life. So they’re going to hurt and they might hurt for a while. We’ll cover you with some medications and get you over the hump here. As the weeks go on, I expect that pain to start diminishing until you get full feeling back.” That’s exactly what happened. So he returned full sensation in his leg, the pain went away, and he was back to normal. I’ve got many, many stories like that.
There was another patient who literally was in the hospital getting ready for his second bypass surgery. His first bypass surgery was such a horrible experience that, like in the movies, he literally pulled out his IVs and signed himself out of the hospital against medical advice and they told him that if he didn’t have this second surgery, he was going to die. He said, “That’s alright. I’d rather be dead than have to go through that again.” His daughter had come in to see me for a different reason. Amazingly, his daughter had dragged him in. I said, “Well, there’s another option here.” Again, to make a long story short, he didn’t need the surgery any longer.
We opened up his arteries, we increased his blood flow a great deal, we got rid of his diabetes just like in the other patient – he had also had severe diabetes – and he started a big organization called Heart Support of America. He lived for many years longer and his organization was to inform people about alternatives to having to go through bypass surgery. So, there are a lot of things that happened many years ago. The unfortunate part is that at that time, there was no such thing as Twitter and Facebook, so information was disseminated much, much more slowly.
The doctor I was working with early on was head of a big society that was headquartered in Chicago and it was a society of doctors who had a more open mind to nutrition and other types of therapies. They were all M.D.s and there were about 200 of them. Anyway, this doctor, who was head of the society, asked me to speak at their next national convention. I asked him, “Well, what do you want me to speak about?” “You’ve got to speak about insulin. You have to speak about what you’re doing with these diabetics and really educate them.” I said, “Well, they must know.” Yeah, I know that it’s certainly not mainstream to put people on a very low-carbohydrate diet at the time. This happened long ago, the word ‘carb’ wasn’t coined. I was using a high-fat, very low-carbohydrate diet that was unknown to almost everybody. At the time – I didn’t know it – but there was Atkins that had done a low-carbohydrate diet, but his view on it was for weight loss and it was very low-carbohydrate and then anything else went high-protein, low-protein, high-fat – it really didn’t matter as long as it was low-carbohydrate.
Then there was another couple, Mike and Mary Dan Eades, who espoused a high-protein diet in particular. Then Barry Sears, at the time, was doing the Zone Diet or just started – actually, he hadn’t even published it yet, but he was writing the Zone Diet that later was published. As far as I know, we were the only four people – four groups, anyway – that were advocating a low-carbohydrate diet and I think that the Eades and Barry Sears knew each other quite well, Atkins was off somewhere else, and I didn’t know any of them; but then we all kind of met at some meetings and bantered around different theories.
When I was first giving this talk at the Great Lakes College of Advancement in Medicine, I believe it was called, in Chicago, nobody had ever heard of any of these terms. I remember talking and when he asked me to speak, I did a little research and read about a study by an obscure physician in Toronto named David Jenkins and he had coined a term called the glycaemic index. He was a diabetologist. He was seeing patients with diabetes and treating them. He decided that he wanted to see what the effects of different foods were on people for centuries really.
Doctors were telling their diabetic patients to eat a certain way and this was based on absolutely nothing. It was kind of strange, but there was really no science to support any of these recommendations, so he wanted to see what different foods would do to blood sugar. He basically got 100 people off the street and fed them different foods and measured their blood sugar and if they raised more rapidly in a certain period of time, they had a so-called higher glycaemic index and these, he decided, were not a very good thing to feed diabetics. But nobody had ever heard of the glycaemic index. Nobody had ever heard, at the time, of even the phrase ‘insulin resistance’ that was at the time being researched at Stanford, Gerald Reaven, who had coined a term called ‘syndrome X’, which they now call the ‘metabolic syndrome’ and talked about the concept of cells becoming desensitized and resistant to insulin.
None of this had really made its way into clinical medicine and even at that time, I talked about the importance of a small dense LDL – and I’m going to mention this now because even today, this is probably going to be very new information for most of your listeners – that so-called ‘bad cholesterol’, LDL, is really very irrelevant and there’s really no such thing as ‘good and bad cholesterol’. It is the same molecule and LDL and HDL aren’t even cholesterol – they’re actually proteins. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein.
They are proteins that shuttle around the fat-soluble cholesterol. Cholesterol is kind of a waxy fat and it’s not going to dissolve in the watery environment of the blood and all those fatty molecules have to be carried around by proteins so that they can actually even be carried around in the water of the blood. It came to my attention 20 years ago that LDL itself wasn’t dangerous at all; but if the LDL particle was too small, it got stuck in between the cells lining the arteries and could set up an inflammation. Inflammation was really the major key there and it wasn’t really cholesterol causing the problem; it was the fact that the particles were too small. People can get their LDL particle size measured and it’s really the only relevant measurement of LDL and LDL itself is not bad cholesterol; in fact, it is required. The reason it’s going to tissues so that you can make new cells. You can’t make a cell without cholesterol. I talked about this way back then.
Jonathan: Ron, just to interject there, because I think that is, in some ways, a wonderful trend and I think one of the obviously major contributions you’ve made is, you’ve brought a lot of these things which are still being considered novel now were issues that you brought up so long ago. My question is – let’s take an example – when you were bringing this up before anyone else did – at this point, it’s acknowledged biology – things like white rice and white potatoes cause a surge of blood sugar. They may not contain a bunch of toxins, but it is just a biological fact that they cause a surge in blood sugar. Help me understand why anyone might say, “You should eat those foods instead of other less blood sugar-damaging foods.”
Ron: That’s a great question. I’ve scratched my head on that ever since I started treating patients which was, unfortunately, at this point, a long time ago. Why would people, especially feed a diabetic foods that turn into sugar when they’re trying to lower their sugar? We know, as you mentioned, that when you eat starches such as rice and potatoes and cereal and bread and pasta, that they’ll readily turn into glucose and be absorbed as such and raise a diabetic’s blood sugar who are being treated to lower their blood sugar. Diabetes is defined as an elevation in blood sugar and diabetics can’t handle blood sugar and here, the recommendation is force-feeding diabetics, sugar.
Jonathan: “Let’s put sugar in their blood.” That’s what they’re doing.
Ron: Exactly, and then give them medications to lower it. Even today, the recommendation by the American Diabetes Association for patients is to eat anything they want as long as they take enough insulin to lower it. So the very first talk I gave on this was called ‘What About Insulin?’ What about the problems with taking insulin? I talked about the physiology of insulin and a lot of this came right from textbooks of physiology. Guyton’s Textbook of Physiology had a lot of this information 20 years ago and that was the most widely read physiology textbook in medical schools at the time by a long shot. In it mentioned that when insulin goes high, it turns off the ability to burn fat and that it makes fat. I presented a slide that shows a study by [indiscernible 19:24] Cruz at the time, who, in the 1970s I think, was doing experiments on dogs for diabetes and he had insulin being infused into the femoral artery of a dog – that’s the big artery that goes down the leg – and he noted at the end of his experiment that the artery that had insulin being put into it, infused into it, dripped into it, was almost totally filled up with plaque, like people get in their coronary arteries and they get heart disease; but the other side didn’t.
He determined that just the contact of insulin on the lining of the arteries caused it essentially to get fat and plug up. I went through many, many other adverse effects of insulin, including the constriction, the narrowing of arteries causes blood to clot too readily, increases inflammation – all of the different elements that people end up with heart disease – they will get from high insulin more than the high sugar even. So, by taking insulin to lower blood sugar, what is happening is that people are substituting one evil for a worse evil.
Jonathan: Absolutely. I can’t put it any better than you did – you’re substituting one evil for another. It’s not a good thing.
Ron: No. This is a message that really, really has to get out there. I applaud you for helping to get the message out there. The ACCORD study was a study done a few years ago and I need to bring it to people’s attention. It is a very big study that was done by a pharmaceutical company and they were so certain as to what the results would be that the study was fairly well publicized prior to the results coming in, which is unusual. The vast majority of time that a medical study is done by a pharmaceutical company – I think 75% of all medical studies are financed by the pharmaceutical industry these days and they don’t do these studies to further some truth; they do it as part of their marketing campaign to get their drug used and typically, they don’t publicize studies until the results are in and you know the results are good because if they’re not good, you’ll never hear about that study.
This one, they were so certain that if they control blood sugar better – in other words, if they gave more medications to keep a diabetic’s blood sugar under better control, which typically is measured by something called the hemoglobin A1C which kind of measures, what they say, is an average blood sugar over three months – which really isn’t, but I won’t go into that right now – that they would have a better long-term outcome, fewer side effects, and less death. It turned out, after a couple of years into the study – it was supposed to be a five year study or something in that neighborhood – they had to stop the study because so many more people were dying that had their blood sugars better controlled.
This really had people scratching their heads and doctors were just totally confused and the results were then first publicized by Gina Colata from the New York Times with a lot of letters to the editor by big diabetic groups – Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, all sorts of places – and they published several of the letters and most of them – almost all of them – were saying, “Well, still we know that controlling a diabetic’s blood sugar is good, so let’s not stop what we’re doing; there must be a reason that this study didn’t show what we wanted it to and that people were dying when they were having their blood sugar better controlled. Maybe their sugars were going too low” – this sort of thing. I wrote a letter to them that said they should have predicted this and that what was happening was that almost all of the medications, including insulin that is being used to treat diabetics, raise insulin and all that’s doing is exchanging one evil for a worse evil.
Jonathan: Ron, it seems – call me crazy and I do not have an M.D. – but there’s also another treatment here. It’s eliminate foods that cause blood sugar to rise in the first place. We could spend billions of dollars trying to invent a drug that mitigates what smoking does to your lungs or attempts to or maybe helps you grow another pair of lungs; or we could just say, “Don’t smoke. Just breathe in clean air and you’ll be alright.”
Ron: I totally agree. Or even more elegant, I suppose – it takes a little more work, I suppose, but just improve in some sensitivity. They both will do the same thing. Don’t feed sugar and you keep insulin down; you improve insulin sensitivity and then you have the better of everything.
Ron: You have [Indecipherable 25:05] and lowering blood sugar, but without having to raise insulin and you don’t have to worry about having to choose one evil from another. You’ve got two benefits.
Jonathan: Absolutely. Ron, let’s go on to the second big contribution. There’s certainly been many, but insulin, certainly something that’s been talked about a lot and gotten a lot of press. Apparently, it’s still not enough because there are still things like the China study and yada, yada, yada, which make it seem like, “Oh, yeah. As long as it’s the plan and it’s good for you, but….” Well, that’s not true.
There’s this other really important hormone which is involved in…. You have a line that you use which I just love! You say that, “People do not become fat because they eat fat; they become fat because they cannot burn it.” I use a clogged sink metaphor and we talk about two very important hormones, are insulin, as we’ve already covered, but also leptin. I know your book dives deeply into this. Can you talk just briefly from a high level of the critical role that leptin plays here?
Ron: Sure. At the same time, I can answer your last question a little bit more about why doctors recommend a high-carbohydrate diet for diabetics even though it turns into sugar. The reason has to do with a paranoia – and it’s a misguided paranoia – about fat. I’m sure most of your listeners – and I did, probably when I was in high school, you think of doctors as really being an echelon of intelligent people that really know what they’re doing and that you could trust their advice, but when one realizes where the advice to eat a high-carbohydrate diet comes from, you have to really question that. It comes from the fact that they picture arteries as the copper pipes that are in your kitchen plumbing and that they get plugged up with fat and that’s how you die of a heart attack. If you eat fat, it will plug up your arteries and you’ll get a heart attack and therefore they knew that cardiovascular disease was high with high incidence in diabetics and so they said, “Oh, you better not eat fat.” That means that you should eat carbohydrates because high-carbohydrate foods don’t have a lot of fat and then you’re not going to plug your arteries. But I call this kindergarten thinking, because it really is. They’re missing everything they were taught in medical school. They’re missing all science.
Jonathan: I always say vegetables are also solid at room temperature, so why don’t they get stuck in your arteries, too?
Ron: Yeah, exactly. What they’re missing is that the body doesn’t work by things haphazardly happening; they work by signals. There are fifteen trillion cells that have to work collectively as one so that we think of ourselves as a single individual and that collective activity is going to be coordinated and orchestrated by hormones. If your arteries are getting plugged up by fat, it’s because you’ve got hormones that are misplacing that fat.
Number one, it’s not putting it where it’s supposed to put it, if you do have excess fat, which would be under your skin subcutaneously, and it’s growing in places that shouldn’t grow and that you’re not able to burn it. You can’t burn that fat because it’s being eaten and not burned or you’re actually making too much fat out of glucose. You’re eating the high-carbohydrate diet that they’re telling people to eat will turn to glucose; then glucose will turn into palmitic acid, which is supposedly the worst kind of saturated fat, where they tell you to eat a low-saturated fat, high-carbohydrate diet, that’s an impossibility. Oxymoron, because all that sugar and glucose that you’re eating is going to be turned into supposedly the worst saturated fat that you can eat and actually they’re telling people, “Eating that is what happens and it’s mediated through hormones.”
The major hormone that mediates fat physiology is leptin. If leptin is not working properly, not only can you not burn fat appropriately, but it will be stored in all the wrong places. The purpose of leptin is to regulate the amount of fat being stored and where it’s being stored. We know now that it goes way, way beyond that into controlling reproduction and thyroid activity and inflammation and cortisol. It controls almost everything because it controls the hypothalamus which is kind of the central switchboard in the brain that regulates pretty much everything and it is greatly involved in the actual aging process.
Jonathan: Doctor, just a quick aside. You mean that the brain regulates things and that we don’t need to just consciously count calories in, calories out? Do you mean that our brain is involved in this in some way?
Ron: Yeah, our brain pretty much regulates everything. We know, for instance, that – your listeners are, I’m sure, going to be really surprised about all this – that calcium has nothing to do with bone strength or even building bone. That has to do with the amount of protein that’s in the bone and that’s built by certain cells and bones that have long been known called osteoclasts and your bone has to be remodeled all the time; meaning that the bone is being built by osteoblasts and being torn down by ostoeclasts so that your bone stays strong.
We constantly need to break down our bone and build it up and this is regulated also by leptin through the vagus nerve in the brain. We know that the brain actually controls how much glucose the liver makes so that when a person becomes diabetic, it’s because the liver is making too much because it’s getting the wrong signal to stop making sugar. Typically what happens is when your sugar levels go up, you have the signal that it goes to your liver, tells your liver you’ve got plenty of sugar around; we don’t need anymore, you can stop making it because you don’t have to eat any sugar the rest of your life.
In fact, it would probably be preferable if you never did because your liver will make exactly what you need. That’s the basis of the safe starch debate we can talk about later. That’s fine and dandy, but if your liver never gets the message – so if your sugar goes up, but your liver is not getting the message that you’ve got plenty of sugar around, it thinks you don’t have enough sugar around for so-called anaerobic emergencies. You can burn sugar without oxygen, so if you have to sprint or fight a saber-toothed tiger or run away from a robber, we can’t breathe fast enough to supply enough oxygen. So we need a fuel that you can burn without oxygen, which is glucose. That’s why we have glucose around.
Your liver will make sure we have enough glucose in our bloodstream to meet any potential so-called anaerobic emergency; but if it doesn’t get the message to quit making it, it just keeps making it. So you have liver insulin resistance. Liver is supposed to shut off the liver, but we know now that leptin controls through the hypothalamus in the brain, through the vagus nerve and the sympathetic nervous system, the amount of sugar that the liver will make. It controls the bone being remodeled. It controls fertility and ovarian function. It controls everything that the hypothalamus controls, which is virtually everything – your rate of breathing, your body temperature – all the things that are required for life that you don’t think about is controlled by leptin through the hypothalamus that then sends out signals to other endocrine glands that make hormones that then – It’s like the military where you have the four-star generals telling the three-star generals telling the colonels and telling the lieutenants and captains and privates. Glucose is a private. The glucose is just listening to orders. Diabetes is not even a disease of blood sugar and yet the reason that we’re not making any headway in controlling diabetes is because doctors don’t even know what the disease is. It’s being mislabeled.
So it’s being called a disease of blood sugar and so they’re taking drugs and they’re taking insulin to keep sugar down when that’s not the problem; the problem is the inability to properly listen to insulin and even more importantly, the inability to listen to leptin. Until those – the generals – are giving the proper orders, the privates are always going to do the wrong thing. That means, glucose is going to go up and if you just lower sugar at the expense of making insulin signaling and leptin signaling worse, then you’re not only messing up the blood sugar control, but you’re messing up all of the other things that insulin and leptin do, which regulate your ability to burn fat and that includes whether the lining of your arteries can burn fat or not and whether they’ll get plugged up with fat and whether your bone gets remodeled properly, i.e., strong bones, and whether too much sugar is going to be made by the liver because leptin signaling is messed up. There are so many other venues that insulin and leptin control that is being left totally mistreated. So in the ACCORD study, what it showed is that if you just concentrated on lowering sugar, people died more.
I will make a statement that is probably going to infuriate all sorts of people, but I’m used to that. That is this: The ACCORD study is just one study. There are a lot of cholesterol studies that show the same thing. You can divide medicine basically into two kinds of medicine – you’ve got critical care medicine in an emergency room and, to me, that’s where the miracles in medicine lie. That’s great. If I were to get in a car accident, then please, take me to the emergency room and keep me alive until tomorrow. They do a great, great job at that.
The next thing I’m going to say, I want to exclude the miraculous venues in critical and emergency room care. The rest of what I’m talking about is the treatment of the more chronically ill. The medicine, as we know it, everything outside of emergency room – so the treatment of heart disease and cardiovascular disease and diabetes and obesity and osteoporosis, what I think and what I really think that the statistics are supporting is that if we just did away with it all, we would be better off. I’m not just saying that flippantly. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t do any good. For certain patients, chronic medical care does some good; but for every patient that it does good, it probably does more harm to two people.
Jonathan: Ron, just a quick analogy a gentleman by the name of Adam Kosloff[37:31] helped to develop. What we’re talking about here – just to bring it home for some of the listeners is – we’re talking about diabetes, obesity, a lot of these things are deep deregulation of core processes in the body; so, hormonal dregulations and neural dysregulations. The body is designed to regulate these things. It’s a brilliantly complicated brilliant system which is designed to keep us healthy. All of life is meant to propagate life. But what we do with some of these brute force medications, which you talk about is like this double whammy. The analogy that Adam used was ‘it’s like taking someone that has a fever because they have some infection and submerging them in an ice bath until they become hypothermic, where you’re like, “Oh, look. You’re cold now.” But you still have this chronic infection and now you have hypothermia, so what the hell is the point?’
Ron: Yeah. Well, that too. I would look at that and more that the reason we have a fever when we get an infection is to perk up our immune system. Fifteen billion years of nature has developed us such that we have an intrinsic knowledge, as you mentioned, to be healthy and so we get a fever to help fight the infection. The first thing the medicine does is tell you to take a Tylenol or aspirin to bring your fever down. That is undoing all of nature’s evolutionary education on how to deal with the disease.
You’ve got a runny nose because you’ve got a cold – you take a decongestant the doctor will prescribe and tell you to. The reason you have a runny nose is not to cause misery, but to cleanse the mucous membranes that have become infected. It washes out the offending agents. So the first thing that we tell you to do is take a decongestant. Again, undoing billions of years of evolutionary knowledge and how to treat that infection. I worked early on in my medical career in Ear, Nose, and Threat. I cannot tell you how many people I saw that had been on decongestants that now came in with a really bad sinus infection because the sinuses could not drain because the secretions were too thick and gummy they couldn’t drain out of the sinus and they just ended up stagnating and getting infected. Then we’d have to go into the sinuses and drain them out like a big abscess.
So you have to, as you say, understand the complexity of how we work that you don’t get heart disease, you don’t get coronary artery disease, you don’t get heart attacks because you’ve eaten fat and it plugged up your arteries. It does not work that way. It’s not even remotely similar to how it works. You go through hormones and instructions that regulates this complex machinery. The way I analogize this secondary part of medicine outside of critical and emergency care where treating the symptom is a good thing, where if you’re bleeding to death, “Hey, stop that bleeding.” It’s pretty apparent. If you adversely affect other systems of the body, that’s okay because that person’s going to be dead if you don’t stop that bleeding. So, that’s good. Outside of that, though, you have to take into account the full complexity and it would be like me, for instance, trying to fix a TV that didn’t work. Well, I don’t know how that TV works entirely so if I were to go in the back and see all these wires and try and move some wires to figure out why that TV is not working, the chances of my doing benefit versus doing more harm are infinitesimally small. It’s not going to happen. I’m not going to do benefit; I’m going to most likely do harm. That’s what is happening. That’s what the ACCORD study showed; that as we try and treat diabetics more to bring their sugars more in line with what is considered normal, we make that person worse and we give them more hypertension.
We know that taking insulin makes people fat, but taking the vast majority of drugs that treat insulin also makes them fat. They’re lowering sugar, which is carbohydrate, which they’re being told to eat to prevent from being fat; and yet, by lowering the sugar, they’re getting fatter. Why is that? That’s because you’re dysregulating the hormones that regulate whether you get fat or not and the primary one – the four-star general in the body – is leptin that controls everything.
Jonathan: For listeners, I know we’ve gone a little bit deep in this episode, but I think that’s actually wonderful because the more we can understand, like Ron is explaining so beautifully here, that there is a lot going on in the body and when we don’t eat the right kinds of fuel – the types of fuel that facilitates that, we can personify it and call that ‘wisdom of the body’ which is just a self-perpetuating system – the system doesn’t want to go away – and then we try to come in and tweak that system – I forget who said this; it wasn’t me, Ron, but there’s no such thing as side effects. There are just effects. If you inject insulin into the body, it might do one thing which you perceive as good, but it just does things. We can call one of them good, but it’s going to do a lot of things. The thing that worries me sometimes, Ron, is that, for example, diabetes. People are like, “Oh, well, diabetes isn’t a big deal because you can just take insulin. You can deal with it.” No. Anytime you become dysregulated and any time the body is malfunctioning, once we’ve broken our body, there is no just ‘come in and put a Band-Aid on it’ unless you’re bleeding. When it’s that deep internal dysregulation, it is so key to just avoid that in the first place by maintaining the natural health of the system through proper nutrition, stress, sleep – all those kinds of things.
Ron: That’s very elegantly said. I might add that even if you do get it dysregulated, you actually can get it re-regulated if you get deep enough. For instance, we can re-regulate leptin if it’s being improperly signaled, which it is in almost everybody, by diet. There are no drugs to do it. All of these very critical hormones that we’re talking about, such as insulin and leptin, are controlled by diet and there’s a reason for that.
The reason is that as life evolved from minerals – from nothing – that there were two things that were mandated in our evolutionary history such that life could perpetuate itself. That was to eat and reproduce; and each supports the other, but everything was built upon that. In other words, every aspect of our physiology is designed to eat properly, as such that we could then reproduce another life to eat properly, so they can also then reproduce. That is fortunate because that is what is allowing you and I to talk today; that mandate in that all of our ancestors were able to eat. But for a long healthy life, we have to look at the science that allows us to live pre-reproductively and apply it post-reproductively. In other words, evolution is for reproduction and we can know what guides nature and it’s important to know that.
We know that insulin is very important for study of reproduction and leptin is extremely important for multicellular organisms to reproduce like us and that they also regulate food and the reason that it’s so important is that fuel availability dictates reproduction. In other words, any mother will tell you that they’re eating for two. We know that if there isn’t a lot of fuel available that biologic systems are pretty smart and they will alter the way that their genes are being read such that life – that organism – can live longer so that it can reproduce into a future, more opportune time. So it totally re-regulates our genetics so we can heal better. When you keep insulin low and leptin low, it actually reduces the rate of aging while it increases our rate of repair. It reduces damage and increases repair and that slows down the actual rate of aging; in other words, we are healthier. That is controlled by these really powerful hormones.
The purpose of insulin for instance, and this will actually surprise people, but I have been saying it for decades – the purpose of insulin has nothing to do with controlling blood sugar; the purpose of insulin has to do with controlling cellular life. When insulin is high, it’s a signal for cells to reproduce and as such, it’s making babies; the parents then become irrelevant, and it accelerates aging. I said this decades ago and subsequently it was found that insulin regulates aging and this was done by people who are going to be getting the Nobel Prize, Cynthia Kenyon, for instance, and Daniel Ruvkun found the first genetic pathway that was ever found, and Tom Johnson, I might add, from the University of Colorado, found the first gene that was involved in this genetic pathway that regulates the aging process.
When you decrease signals to this pathway, you greatly extend health and lifespan and this is information now that’s been around for maybe 15 years but it hasn’t made its way into the clinical practice and I’m sure most of the listeners out there have never even heard of this; that you can take a mouse, for instance, that has a normal lifespan of 2 years and allow it to live for 3½ or 4 years, like taking a human – an average human – and allow that human to live to 140 years old. The knowledge we have now can do that and these pathways are all nutrient-sensing pathways. They’re really, really powerful that are regulated by the three major nutrient sensors that regulates the three major macro-nutrients; so you’ve got insulin for carbohydrates and you’ve got leptin for fat and you’ve got a pathway known as mTOR for protein.
If you regulate these, you get healthy because you’re getting really, really deep into the workings of our complex system that if you’re just around the surface, you’ll never figure out. You’ll always have detrimental effects. If you get leptin working properly, then all of the things that leptin is giving orders to will start working properly, too; such as your ability to burn fat in your arteries, in your liver – everywhere. It will start regulating your ability to manufacture bone properly, it will regulate your thyroid properly – it will do all these great things because it has so many effects, you have to get it to work properly.
Instead, what medicine is doing is the opposite. It’s treating diabetes as if it’s a disease of blood sugar and almost every therapy raises insulin, which actually accelerates aging, turns off your ability to repair, causes a dysregulation and your ability to sense insulin itself so you become insulin-resistant, so the insulin that is high all the time, which tells you to stop burning fat, which is how you get fat, like you mentioned, and all of the different things which insulin does which has to deal with coordinating nutrient availability with cellular reproduction gets messed up, which is why we know now that, for instance, when you accelerate insulin, such as all the medications that people take for diabetes almost, you increase risk of cancer.
Again, this is something that’s basic insulin physiology tells you, that I talked about decades ago, that is now being verified more and more, but is, as Al Gore said, ‘the inconvenient truth’. You don’t want to hear it because all the drugs that treat, supposedly, diabetes – I shouldn’t say it treats diabetes; it’s not treating diabetes, it’s treating elevated blood sugar – that’s not the same thing.
Jonathan: Absolutely. Diabetes is a name of a dysregulation and elevated blood sugar is a symptom.
Ron: Exactly. It treats the one symptom, but it actually causes the underlying cause such as insulin resistance and leptin resistance to get worse….
Jonathan: ….and it causes other problems.
Ron: …and it causes other problems.
Jonathan: It creates new causes.
Ron: It causes death. So, you die with better control of your blood sugar. The same thing with cholesterol. Again, your listeners have no idea – the studies since the 1970s have shown that when you lower cholesterol to the levels that are being recommended, for the last several decades, you greatly increase your risk of total mortality. So, you die with a lower risk of heart disease.
Jonathan: I think I might have to get a T-shirt made of what you just said. “It’s okay, because you’ll die with a lower chance of getting heart disease.”
Ron: That’s true. Notice that everything they say about statin cholesterol lowering drugs has to do with lowering your risk of heart disease. If you read the little fine print, it says, “Yeah, it’ll increase your risk of dying, but that’s okay.”
Jonathan: But you won’t die of heart disease, at least.
Ron: And the stupid part is, you actually will die of heart disease, too.
Jonathan: I realize this is a bit of a funny, morbid note here, but I love to end on laughter and you’ve already shared so much of your time with us. Folks, if you haven’t checked out Dr. Rosedale’s work, please do check out DrRosedale.com. As you can hear from this conversation, Ron has spent a long and very heavily researched life really just getting at the truth. He had no agenda here. He’s saying things that certainly aren’t going to win him any friends necessarily. I mean, I’m his friend, but outside of me…
Ron: I’ve got one friend. Hey.
Jonathan: Friends that have enough money to make his life interesting, let’s put it that way, of which I am not one. And of course, he has a book which is all about hormones, like we love to talk about, especially leptin and insulin, as we’ve talked about, and that’s called The Rosedale Diet, which if you haven’t picked up, please do grab a copy of. Dr. Rosedale, thank you so much for sharing your time with us. I can only imagine how much you’ve got going on. So, we definitely have to have you back. I really, really appreciate all the work you’ve done over the years. Again, thank you for sharing all this insight and even a little bit of laughter with us today.
Ron: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for helping get this information out there. It was a lot of fun and if people want more information and deeper knowledge, they can also go to the website.
Jonathan: Absolutely. That’s DrRosedale.com. Folks, thank you again for listening. Remember – this week and every week afterwards – eat more and exercise less, but do that smarter. Talk to you soon!
Jonathan: Wait, wait. Don’t stop listening yet.
Carrie: You can get fabulous free SANE recipes over at CarrieBrown.com.
Jonathan: And don’t forget, your 100% free Eating and Exercise Quick Start Program as well as free fun daily tips delivered right into your inbox at BailorGroup.com.
This week we have the pleasure of hearing from Dr. Ron Rosedale. Dr. Rosedale is one of the originators of the “eating fat doesn’t make you fat” return to SANEity, is the author of The Rosedale Diet, and is here to explain a bunch of awesome biology behind the benefits of living a SANEr life.