Ep.12 – Eat This to Burn Fat & Why Hormones Matter


Jonathan: Hi everyone Jonathan Bailor, Carrie Brown here living the smarter science of slim. Carrie, how are you doing today?

Carrie: I am so excited I can barely contain myself.

Jonathan: Well, I hear your earrings rattling so you must be shaking your head “I’m so excited, I’m so excited”. Why are you so excited, Carrie?

Carrie: Because, you’ll be so proud of me, I finally went to the sports store and bought pull up bar and the dumbbell.

Jonathan: Whaaat?!

Carrie: But here is the exciting thing. I bought one of those dumbbells where you can put on extra…

Jonathan: Oh the adjustable… nice…

Carrie: … the adjustable one. Because I’m like “hey, I’m going to get big and strong and I’m going to need heavier…”

Jonathan: Not big, but strong. Toned and strong. Olympic sprinter.

Carrie: I took it home and I’m doing that… what do you call it… the one… the arm thing…

Jonathan: Ha ha. I wish you could see Carrie right now. Yes, the one where you flare around, yeah that one.

Carrie: The arm thing…

Jonathan: Yes.

Carrie: … and I felt nothing. So I put a few more bits and metal on and made it heavier and I felt nothing and I put all the bits and metal on and felt nothing. So the next day I had to take it back to the store and so I started off with the 5-12½ pound dumbbells…

Jonathan: OK. It could go up to 12½ pounds.

Carrie: Now… I have a 20 pound dumbbell. I had to swap it. So now there I am with my 20 pound dumbbell and that’s when I started to hate you because it hurt like hell.

Jonathan: Now we know why Carrie doesn’t work out in gyms because frankly they just don’t have enough weight there. They kicked her out “Ma’am, you are using all the resistance. None of the other clientele… Can you please come back at a less busy time”.

Carrie: Ha ha. I’m excited because my wet spaghetti arms are not as puny as we thought.

Jonathan: No, and it’s obviously helpful for day-to-day things. I mean just having stronger arms, stronger upper body. Very useful.

Carrie: So I want lots of kudos because I actually got my dumbbell. You’ve been badgering me for how long..?

Jonathan: Much kudos and hopefully you must have felt pretty cool going back to the store, being like “Yeah, you know, this really isn’t enough for me, I’m going to need to upgrade, please!”

Carrie: You know I did.

Jonathan: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. We’re all about strong women here at the Smarter Science of Slim in all senses of the word, so congratulations, Carrie, that is fantastic. Are you feeling OK today, though?

Carrie: I feel like I have grown oranges in the backs of my arms. And it hurt.

Jonathan: Well, it’s a good hurt.

Carrie: That’s a good thing.

Jonathan: It’s a good hurt. Excellent. Excellent. Well, today Carrie, I figured we would do a quick… We’ve actually already covered two of the big myths. The first was that it’s not about manually regulating calories in and calories out. The second was that a calorie is not a calorie. There is one big myth left we have yet left to cover and that is the whole concept that all we need to think about is calories and that calories are all that matter. That’s not true. Hormones matter a lot. But I figured before we jump into that. Why don’t we do a quick recap.

Carrie: I think… This is podcast number…

Jonathan: We’re in the double digits.

Carrie: We’re in the double digits. It’s time for a quick recap.

Jonathan: So quick recap. Here we go: So our body fat, Carrie, we know is controlled by our set point and our metabolism. It’s internally regulated and that our set point and metabolism are controlled by hormones. They’re our internal communicators that make sure everything is working properly. Here’s the key: Our hormones are controlled by the *quality* of our diet and that’s why we care so much about SANE high quality calories. Because the quality of our calories is what determines our hormonal balance and the quality of our calories is determined by their Satiety, we want highly satisfying calories that fill us up quickly and keep us full for a long time. UnAggressive calories that don’t flood us with energy all at once. We want Nutritious calories that provide many nutrients per calorie. We want inEfficient calories, calories that our body cannot easily convert into body fat. Because when we eat SANE high quality calories we trigger body fat-burning hormones, where when we eat inSANE and low quality calories we trigger body fat-storing hormones. And this is really simple because SANE calories all have three things in common: They’re rich in water, fibre and protein. They enable us to easily feel so full that we can basically fool ourselves into avoiding starches and sweets. Not all the time, but most of the time. So when we raise the quality of our diet, our hormones heal, the clog in our metabolism clears and our set point falls and when our set point falls our body now starts to work towards a slimmer body composition, like today it seems to be actually fighting against that, it actually starts working towards that, it starts working with us rather than against us. And we start to behave a bit like naturally thin people, seemingly automatically staying slim because Carrie, I know it actually sounds maybe a little bit obvious, but we are not designed to be heavy and sick. We are designed to be healthy and fit, right, that is the most basic ability any healthy organism can have. However, when you put the wrong quality of fuel into any system it breaks down, but when you put the right SANE quality fuel into that system, it takes care of itself. How is that for a summary?

Carrie: Fabulous. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Jonathan: You might be wondering “OK, let me put this into action”. Well, we kind of have touched on two general rules so far. We’ll get much more into practical day-to-day applications for SANE eating later on, but you can do 80 percent by following two simple principles. The first is to stay too full for starch and sweets. We’ve gone over this ad nauseum: If you are starving yourself or hungry, you are not doing your body any favours. That is not a good thing. What you want to think about, is not depriving yourself, you want to think about substitution. You want to think about taking in so much good that, so much SANE food that you are too full for inSANE food. Just do that. If you literally eat a double serving of a main dish, a triple serving of non-starchy vegetables, so you are too full for rolls and you are possible too full for dessert. That’s really it. If you are just too full for starches and sweets you will dramatically and sustainably improve your health and fitness.

Carrie: And what is so fascinating to me is it sounds simple and previously when I and probably the rest of the population have tried any kind of conventional diet, it just isn’t easy, it’s not simple. This on the other hand – and this is not me drinking the Kool-Aid is it were, this is my experience of the Smarter Science of Slim, is what you said is actually true. Not only is it simple, but it’s very, very easy to put into practice. It’s very easy to do. I know it’s very easy… I can’t remember the last time I ate potatoes and I can’t remember the last time I even thought about wanting potatoes anymore. I just… It’s actually changed what I crave, it’s changed what I want, it’s changed my pallet. And that has made it easy to stick to. And that for me, and probably most people, that’s the key. Because if it’s easy you can keep doing it. It’s when it becomes so difficult that you eventually give up.

Jonathan: A key point is that losing weight is actually not that hard. Just about everyone in the world has successfully lost weight at one point in time. The challenge is maintaining a healthy and fit body composition so that ability to keep it going… and as you start to do that, Carrie, as we start to do these things like staying full of non-starchy vegetables, high quality protein and whole food natural fats that we are too full for starches and sweets. Another great rule of thumb to use is generally speaking when we are trying to select SANE foods to eat we know it’s about water, fibre, protein. We know we want to stay on the perimeter of our grocery store. Generally speaking the more natural it is, the more SANE it is. Basically the closer the food is to a plan we could gather or an animal we could hunt the more SANE it is. And keep in mind this has nothing to do with organic versus non-organic. You know, organic is wonderful but organic cheerios are less natural than a conventional orange. There is no such thing as a cheerio tree or a bread bush, so when we hear things like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ what I’m saying, when I say ‘natural’ is: It exist in nature. And it’s a general rule of thumb. There are exceptions – we talked about things like Greek yoghurt, there is certainly not Greek yoghurt in nature but as a general rule of thumb the more it is like something you could go out and find naturally occurring, the more SANE it is.

Carrie: And I think maybe the, not confusion, but the biggest stumbling block there is things like potatoes and parsnips and corn which do grow in nature and which aren’t SANE.

Jonathan: Absolutely and that’s why it is a general rule. Snake venom also exists in nature but that doesn’t mean it’s something we should consume. As is tobacco. As is marihuana.

Carrie: Am I allowed to say I think there are some people that I would kind of like to do the snake venom thing…

Jonathan: Ha ha, but again, that’s why it is a general, general rule. So to quickly summarise: We want to feast on as many non-starchy vegetables as we possibly can. I want us all to try to overeat broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peas, peppers, spinach, squash, zucchini, kale, things like that. Deeply coloured, leafy vegetables are the best options. I also want us to feast on high quality protein, really anytime we eat. When we are eating we should be eating non-starchy vegetables, we should eat high quality protein. Focus as much as possible on sea food. Sea food is just awesome for you. High quality meats like organic grass fed beef, free range chicken, poultry, eggs, egg whites, things like protein powders can be useful, pea protein, rice protein and hemp protein, whey protein. They are not as good as whole foods but they can work. Things like cottage cheese, plain Greek yoghurt. All great options for that. Make sense so far?

Carrie: It does but just rewind a little bit to the deeply coloured because people, I wish you could see Jonathan’s shirt right now. Just think day glow pink and that’s Jonathan right now.

Jonathan: Ha ha ha. Yes, yes, you’re not going to find anything in nature that matches the colour of my shirt. Let’s put it that way.

Carrie: No!

Jonathan: Yes, I do have a deeply coloured pink shirt on. Thank you for drawing attention to that, Carrie. Ha ha. So some other things when we are eating, to keep in mind. Certain types of fruits are good for us. But certain kinds. Predominantly berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries etc. and citrus fruits, grapefruits, oranges, things like that. Options like bananas, grapes and apples are certainly better than eating a bag of cheetos however they not our best option if we’re trying to lose body fat because they have relatively low nutrition and relatively high levels of sugar compared to berries and citrus fruits. And this is something that you are going to have to look at at an individual basis. If you are trying to lose 100 pounds of body fat fruit may not be the best option for you, you may want to focus on non-starchy vegetables. If you’re a triathlete you can probably eat as much fruit as you want and no problem there. Another great thing to focus on eating: whole food natural fats. So we already talked about seafood and high quality meat but you can also have some great fats from plants. Nuts and seeds predominantly. So flax seeds, chia seeds, coconuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, all good stuff.

Carrie: Hey, so since, I think it was a couple of podcasts ago you were waxing lyrical about your Greek yoghurt and fruit and chia seeds and you were telling everybody how that was just a fabulous breakfast and so I kind of went home and well, I’m going to do that instead of my smoothie whey protein thing and I got to tell you, I make it in the morning and I put the chia seeds in the bottom of my dish and I pile all the berries on top and I pile Greek yoghurt on top of those, lid it and bring it into work to eat it three hours later and I mix it all up and I got to tell you those little chia seeds, they are kind of like tapioca so I kind of get my starch fix but I don’t really. Psychologically I’m getting my starch fix but in reality I’m just eating all this lovely fibre and healthy fat and goodness.

Jonathan: Absolutely yeah. It’s kind of fun, if you have kids, very fun to do, get a couple of spoons of chia seeds and just put them into water and wait 15 minutes. The water will essentially turn into gelatine and it’s fascinating, it’s incredibly filling but it’s a cool thing to maybe do with your kids and I’ve seen with my niece and nephew they kind of like because it’s kind of like a goo, they kind of like that thing so it’s a creative way to have the kids enjoy eating some SANE foods. It’s also incredibly filling for adults.

Carrie: I just.. I did want to circle our listeners back to let them know that that was actually a good idea!

Jonathan: Ha ha. It’s nice to know that Carrie has to sort of point out when what I say… “Actually Jonathan that thing you said was not a horrible idea”… Excellent, Carrie, well thank you for clarifying. Ha ha.

Carrie: Ha ha. You’re welcome.

Jonathan: Alright. Moving right along. Common area of question in terms of SANEity is beans or legumes and dairy products. So beans are right in the middle so you don’t have to eat any beans. Zero servings of beans are fine, you do not need to eat legumes to be healthy, however if you enjoy legumes I’ll say up to two servings per day if you’re trying to burn fat is fine. Dairy products get a little iffy. Really there are only two dairy products I’m a big fan of and that my research supports in terms of eating for a fat loss and that would be low fat or fat free cottage cheese and low fat or fat free plain Greek yoghurt. Two key elements there: The reason I’m recommending these products are because they are excellent sources of high satiety protein. That’s why the fat free or low fat is important. Not because fat is bad but because I want you to focus on getting your fats from sea foods and plants, not from dairy products. However things like cottage cheese and plain Greek yoghurt are excellent sources of protein so we want to focus on eating them for their protein content. The other thing to watch out for when it comes to dairy is sugar. Most people don’t realise this but milk is predominantly sugar. If you look on the label of 8 ounces of milk it has 8 grams of protein and 12 grams of sugar. The sugar is lactose but it’s still sugar and especially if you look at common yoghurts. You have this teeny tiny cup of yoghurt and if you look at the nutrition label it’s like 20-30 grams of sugar.

Carrie: And it will keep you satiated for about 30 seconds.

Jonathan: For about 30 seconds so literally you might as well drink a soda. Yeah, of course you are going to get some nutrients along with the yoghurt but you wouldn’t drink a soda and then take a vitamin pill and say that was healthy. So when it comes to dairy really focus, if you chose to eat dairy – it’s not required – if you chose to eat dairy, low fat or fat free cottage cheese and plain Greek yoghurt are the best options and they’re great with things like berries and they are great when mixed with things like a whey protein, nut butters. Greek yoghurt by itself I think is foul however my wife and I probably go through twelve 32 ounce containers of Greek yoghurt a week. I love it. I love creaminess, I love dairy products. It doesn’t give me gastrointestinal problems so we really enjoy it.

Carrie: And just to be clear that some of the recipes that I have put on my blog. Some of them do contain half a cup of milk to make a sauce to go on it. That’s not going to kill you. In the grand scheme of things if you’re serving a sauce along with you know salmon or lean chicken or something like that, that half cup of milk is not making it inSANE.

Jonathan: That’s exactly right, Carrie, because that’s half a cup of milk for you know, 6 servings, so an ounce of milk is not going to hurt anyone. And to be clear: We’re not suffering from an obesity epidemic in this country because we’re drinking too much milk. We’re going to talk about the really inSANE things later but to be clear: A carton of chocolate milk has as much sugar in it as a soda but when it comes to just straight up milk or if you need to use some cream or some butter, you can use them but I wouldn’t recommend… you don’t need to drink 8 glasses of milk a day. That’s marketing. That’s not what’s needed.

Carrie: Right, I just want people to understand that you know, it’s not going to completely throw them out of whack if they have a delicious protein, you know a delicious chicken dish with mushroom sauce that’s got half a cup of milk in it. It’s all still goodness.

Jonathan: As a seasoning.

Carrie: Right. And you’re serving that up with 4 servings of vegetables in whatever form. It’s all good.

Jonathan: It’s absolutely and in fact, I’ll be the first one to say, I use parmesan cheese which is just a wonderful seasoning, but I use it as a seasoning. I don’t like: “let’s eat parmesan cheese”. So OK, those are things that you can enjoy in moderation. We talked about things that you need to go out of our way to consume a lot of and we want to that so we can completely avoid any kind of starch and any kind of sweetener. So anything that a starch can do, anything, even whole-grain starch, non-starchy vegetables and fruit do better. There’s nothing uniquely nutritional about starch. In fact I have a really awesome quote, let me see if I can dig it up here really quickly, it was in an article relatively recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMM) and it was critiquing the newest dietary guidelines. And the quote here which says that “a typical recommendation to consume at least half of total energy as carbohydrate, a nutrient for which humans have no absolute require, conflate foods with widely divergent physiologically effects” such as brown rice, white bread, apples, things like that. Now that was pretty dense, Carrie, but let’s focus on one key phrase here: We’re talking about carbohydrate. Now, the authors, and this was in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the author’s last name is Mozaffarian and the other one is Ludwig, and – we’re talking about carbohydrate – “a nutrient for which humans have no absolute requirement”. This is an incredibly important point. There are such things as essential fatty acids. Meaning if we do not eat them we will develop chronic problems and potentially die because our body cannot synthesise them. When you hear about essential fatty acids, omega-3s, we have to eat those or bad things happen. Same thing is for when we hear about amino acids or the essential amino acids. Things like that. We have to eat them, our body cannot synthesise them. If we don’t eat them we’re in bad shape. There is no such thing, this is an undebatable fact, it’s like 1 + 1 equals 2, there’s no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. It doesn’t exist. If you hypothetically were to never eat any carbohydrate ever your body would create it from protein. It can do that. We talked about that in the last podcast, the process of gluconeogenesis: When your liver can actually produce glucose, or what carbohydrate is traditionally converted into after you eat it. The reason I say this is not because we want to go on low-carbohydrate diets necessarily, although those have been shown in studies to be incredible for people with diabetes, people who have epilepsy, just amazing therapeutic effects. Our goal is to focus on eating, or getting our carbohydrate from the most nutrient-dense and satisfying and hormonally helpful sources possible, and those are without a shadow of a doubt non-starchy vegetables and fruit. Even people who recommend eating whole grains do not think they are better for you than non-starchy vegetables. They usually recommend them simply because they think they’re “a convenient source of calories”. Our goal is not convenient sources of calories, our goal is optimal health and nutrition. So let’s just keep that in mind. If it ever seems that we are poopooing carbohydrates, we are not. The single most important component of a SANE lifestyle is eating 10+ servings of non-starchy vegetables per day. Those are carbohydrate but we know that carbohydrate is the only nutrient of the three macronutrients, quoting the JAMM article “for which humans have absolutely no requirement”, so let’s make sure we don’t get 65% of our calories, which is what the government’s dietary guidelines recommend, from the one nutrient that we don’t technically need.

Carrie: That’s wild.

Jonathan: Isn’t it.

Carrie: Yeah, almost as wild as your shirt.

Jonathan: Ha ha. Almost. Almost.

Carrie: I’m sorry to mention it again, but I’m sitting next to it.

Jonathan: It’s distracting. It’s actually hard to focus because it’s blindingly. So all sorts of good stuff here, Carrie, that’s why calories matter. They matter a lot. They just don’t matter in the way we’ve been told. We don’t need to count them. We need to focus on the quality of the food we’re eating so we eat SANE high quality calories, change our hormonal balance, lower our set point and enable our bodies to work like naturally slim people. Sound good?

Carrie: So it’s really the type of calories that’s what matters, not the quantity.

Jonathan: Exactly, and in fact if we never knew what a calorie was, hypothetically if you could take some device and erase from your mind the concept of a calorie and you just focused on eating water, fibre and protein rich foods, you would be fine. Think about it, Carrie, the concept of a calorie. I mean if you ask your great-grandparents “what’s a calorie?” they wouldn’t know, but we had way less obesity, way less diabetes, way less all of the chronic diseases that are killing us today before anyone knew what a calorie was. They just ate food. And predominantly food you can find in nature. So, really, calories are interesting to geek about here, but let’s just eat food! I mean, you know what I am saying? If we want to geek out that’s what we’re going to do next Carrie, because we’re going to talk about what really matters, and that’s hormones.

Carrie: You know that one of my favourite pastimes is eating food so you won’t hear any arguments from me on that.

Jonathan: I also enjoy eating food very much and that is why this lifestyle works so well for me personally, because I like to eat so any lifestyle that tells me you have to limit the total quantity of food you can eat, I’m not about that, but if I just need to be selective in the quality of food I eat, I mean personally I do that for everything else. I’m selective with the kind of music I listen to, I don’t just listen to any kind of music, I just do anything with my time, so why not apply the same logic: You be conscious about what you’re eating. Think about it beforehand. That’s all you got to do.

Carrie: I’m used to you being weird, Jonathan.

Jonathan: Ha ha.

Carrie: Just on that point. I ate this weekend and I think when I first started working with you on this, I kind of, in the back of my mind there was this thing “well, I really like to eat out and this is going to be impossible. It’s just going to really hard.” And I got to tell you since I’ve really been eating SANE there hasn’t been one place where I’ve eaten out where I’ve said “can I switch out the bread for fruit, can I switch out the potatoes for salad”. There hasn’t been one time where they’ve said “absolutely not”. Every time they’ve said: “Absolutely. We’ll do that for you”. It’s easy. I have found eating out, eating SANE out, easiest thing in the world.

Jonathan: Yeah, I’m glad you’re saying that Carrie, I’ve had the same experience where simply saying “hold the starch, double the vegetables”, or if you go to an Asian restaurant just no rice and you eat the main dish, it is surprisingly easy. So, that’s all good news. Hopefully that was a helpful recap. Let’s move on to the third big myth we need to dispel before we free ourselves from all this marketing we’ve heard over the past 40 years and that’s the myth that calories are all that matter. I want to start dispelling this myth with a quote from the journal Physiological Reviews and this quote is: “The classical theory that fat is deposited in the adipose tissue” [or as body fat] only when given in excess of the caloric requirement is finally disproven”. In English: The theory that you only gain fat if you eat too many calories has been disproven. Point blank. And the easy way to understand this is ask any diabetic. Ask anyone who’s gone on an antidepressant. Ask anyone who’s quit smoking. You will note that despite eating the same amount of calories and getting the same amount of exercise they all gain fat. Why is that? Because their hormonal balance has changed. Hormones are the be all and end all when it comes to health and fitness and it’s not calories, it’s about hormones. The only reason calories matter is because the quality of the calories is the way, and the quality of our exercise, is the way we control our hormones. At the end of the day it’s all about hormones.

Carrie: I can think of dozens and dozens of examples where that is true. Where there are other things, you know the calories you consume versus the calories you burn up stay the same and yet your weight changes. I just… I cannot be all about calories. It just can’t. We’ve debated this to death.

Jonathan: Absolutely. And here’s the one most global, universal example that I think proves that point: If any of us ate the same foods that we ate when we were teenagers, we would not get the same results that we did when we were teenagers. Why? The food is the same. Our hormones have changed. We all see that as we age we tend to gain weight more easily. That’s because in men for example testosterone, hormone, levels drop. In women oestrogen, key hormone, drops. Things like that happen. If food levels stay constant, even if food quality stays constant, fat will gain so that’s why we have to learn how to control our hormones. So, just to drive home the critical importance of hormones. I want to talk about some experiments here, Carrie, which are slightly gross and I don’t endorse this technique because it involves a bit of animal testing which seems a little weird but it is just incredibly fascinating and powerful. So it’s a little gross and I don’t support it but it’s already been done so I’m going to talk about it. Is that alright? That’s fine. OK. So this technique that researchers used to study the impact of hormones on body composition is known as parabiosis. Parabiosis is when researchers cut two live animals, often rats or mice, they make an incision in the abdomen and they then stitch the rats or mice together to essentially make siamese twins. They hopefully anaesthetise the rats, I don’t know if they do this, but essentially you have on Franken rat, for the lack of a better term.

Carrie: It is pretty gross.

Jonathan: It is pretty gross. So why do researchers do this? Because it allows them to do fascinating things like for example take an obese rat and stitch it together with a lean rat and now these two rats essentially share the same blood supply and that matters because hormones are transmitted through the blood supply. So you can essentially transplant the hormones from an obese rat to a lean rat. And the question is then “what happens?” So if researchers take an obese rat, stitch it together with a lean rat, the lean rat will without changing anything with the quality or the quantity of the calories it is eating or exercising off, the lean rat will actually burn body fat. To the point where it will die. And why is it doing that? It’s doing that because the obese rat’s body is releasing hormones that are saying “we have too much fat, we need to burn fat” but because the obese rat’s metabolism is “clogged” it’s not able to respond to those hormonal signals which are trying to regulate it out. But the lean rat is not hormonally “clogged” so when, again the obese rat it hears these hormonal signals “burn fat, burn fat”, it’s like “uh, what, I don’t understand”, the lean rat’s metabolism hears it as “OK” and it burns body fat. So you stitch an obese rat together with a lean rat and without doing anything to calories, the lean rat burns fat because of the hormonal signals it’s now getting from the obese rat.

Carrie: So the hormones are the same but the obese rat’s system is broken so it can’t utilise them, the lean rat’s is working properly so it is.

Jonathan: Exactly. The obese rat is resistant to it. We’ll talk about things like insulin resistance or leptin resistance where these hormones, which are basically saying often times “burn body fat” or we naturally expend more calories so that we don’t gain weight, just don’t have the desired effect. But if you were to take these hormones and put them in a non-clogged system they do and that’s what this study shows. Interesting?

Carrie: Yes!

Jonathan: I bet your mind is blown a little bit right now.

Carrie: I’m just kind of… my mind’s going “who could I stitch myself to to make this go faster?”

Jonathan: Ha ha. We don’t want to stitch ourselves to anyone but this actually shows while we cannot necessarily take other’s hormones and bring them into our body we can change our own hormones via food in very natural and healthy ways and there is also unnatural, unhealthy ways to do this. No-one should do this, it’s very bad for you, but most common example is steroids, right. If you take someone and you inject them with steroids without necessarily doing anything, they will build muscle and burn fat. Why is that? Because steroid hormones, testosterone, communicates “build muscle, burn fat”, so the body says “OK” and it does it.

Carrie: I get so excited when we’re doing these podcasts together because it’s just all so easy.

Jonathan: It is. Once we have the correct information it is quite easy. So other kinds of great studies were done where basically if you manipulate hormone levels, body fat levels rise or increase regardless of caloric intake or caloric quality so the key takeaway though, is that a researcher by the name of Le Magnen captures the importance of focussing on our hormones before we are free of body fat with the following quote which is quite brilliant: “Humans that become obese gain weight because they are no longer able to lose weight”. Let me say that again, because it sounds obvious but it’s actually quite profound: “Humans that become obese gain weight because they are no longer able to lose weight”. Carrie, think back to those rat studies we just talked about. The obese rat’s body was releasing hormones that said “burn fat, burn fat, burn fat” but it was not able to respond to those hormonal signals. It was becoming fat because it had lost the ability to lose weight. So we can sit here and starve ourselves and exercise excessively all day but if our hormonal balance has removed our body’s ability to efficiently burn fat we are kind of running on a hamster wheel. It’s not going to end up correctly. We have to have a hormonal environment in our body that is optimised around burning rather than storing fat before anything else will matter because it’s really the key.

Carrie: So, and I’m just sitting here thinking so, and I imagine other people going “well, it’s all about hormones, just somebody invent a hormone that we can take that’ll fix it”. But the point is as that stitched-together rat showed it doesn’t matter if you have the right hormones flooding around your body if your body is clogged and you can’t respond to it. It doesn’t matter so even a chemical intervention you know all the pills, all the weight loss pills that are on the market, they are not going to work.

Jonathan: It’s actually awesome you said that, Carrie, because there is actually plenty of examples of exactly this. The hormone leptin was actually discovered relatively recently and it started this “Oh my god, we are going to create some leptin and when we do that people are just going to lose fat” but what they found is that in addition obese individuals are leptin resistant. You can give them leptin but their body just wasn’t able to respond to it appropriately. You have to have two things: You have to have the right hormonal balance and you also have to have your body being receptive to these hormones and Carrie, we talked about “wouldn’t it be awesome if we could invent some sort of substance we could ingest that would solve this problem”. Fortunately nature has done that for us already. It’s called SANE food. There is a substance that we can ingest that will enable our body to burn fat for us. That’s what we have been talking about this whole time. It’s SANE food. It not only triggers the correct hormones in our body but it also addresses this insulin resistance or leptin resistance, various resistances, and enables our body to respond to those hormones correctly. It’s really a double-edged sword. It’s like if we put our hand on the stove there are two steps: Step 1 is to take your hand off the stove so it doesn’t burn any worse and step 2 is to apply something to the hand so that it will heal. When we avoid starches and sweets we are essentially taking our hand of the stove and when we bring in high quality protein, non-starchy vegetables and whole food natural fats we are basically applying medication to our body that will heal it.

Carrie: We have gone so far down the wrong path over the last 40 years, it’s amazing.

Jonathan: It is and it’s sad. But it’s good news that we are figuring this out right now. I was actually listening to a conversation with Dr Feinman, who is a well-known researcher and endocrinologist and biologist, over the weekend and he talked about how it’s funny that in the research community there really isn’t any conflict anymore. The conflict, or the debate, or the confusion, comes in the political arena. The research community is very clear, they understand what’s going on and that is also what I saw in my meta-analysis of these 1,100 studies. It is quite clear. Carrie, just to quickly summarise when it comes to hormones. Think about it like this: Our body doesn’t speak calories, it speaks hormones, so when our digestive system is communicating to our nervous system and our brain, it’s communicating to our muscles and our body fat, again about how much energy it thinks we have, how much energy it thinks we need, basically enforcing and communicating about our set point. That is done via hormones. So if we want to change that conversation, if we want to lower our set point, we need to change our hormones. And when we eat SANE high quality calories the conversation goes well and we burn body. However when we eat inSANE low quality calories the communication breaks down, our metabolism doesn’t have a good idea of how much fuel we need, hormones go bonkers and our metabolism essentially demands more food because it doesn’t know what’s going on and it errs on the side of not starving. So thanks to this hormonal breakdown we end up overeating, we end up hormonally clogged and heavier. So we can dig more into that in the next podcast because I want to look at one hormone specifically. It’s insulin and the reason I want to dig into it is because it’s the one we hear most talked about. But really Carrie, it’s all about hormones, it’s all about controlling our hormones and we do that by eating water, fibre, protein rich non-starchy vegetables, high quality protein and whole food natural fats. So insulin next week. Also a bit about diabetes. What do you think, Carrie?

Carrie: I’m very excited to hear about insulin and diabetes. I’ve never had diabetes but it’s something that has always fascinated me so I am really excited to understand how it finally works.

Jonathan: Boom, we’re going to do it. Carrie Brown, Jonathan Bailor, eat more, exercise less, but do it smarter. See you next week.

This week:
– Enjoy Carrie’s eccentric training triumph
– Discover the third big calorie myth we’ve all been told
– Hear a quick recap of episodes 1 through 11: it’s all about high quality and how to do that
– Learn the two simple tips that enable you start eating SANE today
– How to always be too full for dessert
– How to enable your body to crave foods that make you slim and healthy
– The key difference between losing weight and maintaining weight loss sustainably
– How to easily stay SANE in the grocery store
– How organic relates to SANEity
– An extensive list of super SANE non-starchy vegetables
– What to always eat
– The SANEest protein powders
– The fruits to focus on and which to avoid
– Carrie’s SANE oatmeal alternative
– How SANE are beans, legumes, and dairy
– How milk is a rich source of sugar
– The one macronutrient that is not needed for health
– Enjoy Carrie’s mocking of Jonathan’s shirt 🙂
– Why thinking in terms of calories is simply unnecessary
– How to stay SANE while eating out
– The critical role hormones play in fat loss and fat gain
– Studies showing how the same quantity and quality of calories can cause fat gain or fat loss depending on the hormones in your body
– One of the major reasons weight loss drugs don’t work
– The inexpensive substance we can all take to heal ourselves hormonally

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