Welcome to Episode 190 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.
Today's episode of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is brought to you by:
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1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: Go To Butcherbox.Com/IFPODCAST For Free Bacon For Life!
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22:10 - Listener Q&A: Kathy - Lowering high cholesterol with IF
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52:10 - Listener Q&A: Jalyn - What is the deal with purified alkaline water?
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 190 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting? Then this show is for you.
I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.
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Hi everybody, and welcome. This is episode number one 190 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.
Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody. I'm so glad to be here today.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, throwing up my routine intro. Why are you so glad to be here today?
Gin Stephens: I don't know, just in general. I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: Wait, is there something? I don't--
Gin Stephens: No, I'm just feeling very cheerful.
Melanie Avalon: Oh.
Gin Stephens: I started decorating for Christmas.
Melanie Avalon: Aww.
Gin Stephens: I know it's really early. We're recording on November 12. It makes me cheery. Just the whole-- I'm going to show you-- look at my little tree that's sitting beside me, isn’t that cute? Can you see it?
Melanie Avalon: It’s doing the weird thing where it just shows me pictures but-- Oh, I see it.
Gin Stephens: Do you see it?
Melanie Avalon: Yes. What is it?
Gin Stephens: It's a little Christmas tree.
Melanie Avalon: Plastic?
Gin Stephens: No, it's ceramic, and I got it. Today, it's this little ceramic tree, if people have seen the green ceramic trees that are big, that have the little multicolored plastic things that you stick in there, but they're usually big. This is a small version, but it's ceramic. And it's battery-powered. It's like a little-- it's my podcasting tree and I'm so excited.
Melanie Avalon: That's fabulous.
Gin Stephens: You just have to be cheerful when you're decorating for Christmas. At least I do.
Melanie Avalon: I love it.
Gin Stephens: I'm doing a little bit at the time every day. Yesterday, I put up the garland around the great room and today I put up two trees, but I didn't decorate them. I just put them up.
Melanie Avalon: Obviously not real trees.
Gin Stephens: Well, no. We're artificial tree over here because if you're going to have a tree up for two months, it can't be real. I use Costco trees. They're fabulous. You can change them from white light to color light. You just click the button and now they're colored or you click the button and now they're white. So depending on the mood you're in. They're really easy to put together.
Melanie Avalon: I'm getting sad. The thing at my house and I might have talked about this before, but we were like known for our Christmas tree. It was so large. It was so tall because we had really really, really tall ceilings and it went almost to the top.
Gin Stephens: I've got really really tall ceilings and I thought about getting a giant one last year for the first Christmas in the house, but I decided I wouldn't be able to manage it myself. I don't want to have to climb up on a giant ladder to decorate it or pay someone to do it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, my mom would pay a decorator to decorate it.
Gin Stephens: I like to do it myself. I will say funny story, when we first moved in, and we had-- there's this local moving company that's run by firefighters and they move from furniture stores or if you need something really big, they'll leave it for you. And I called them, we had ordered-- we had bought some furniture that we needed to have delivered and so we had them deliver it and they're like, “Oh, we've been here before. We delivered the biggest Christmas tree I've ever seen,” the guys, to the old owners. Yes. The biggest Christmas tree he'd ever seen came in our great room because it's a big great room but--
Melanie Avalon: Ah, I love Christmas.
Gin Stephens: I do too.
Melanie Avalon: Something we have in common.
Gin Stephens: We do. We both love Christmas. You just had a great birthday.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Except--
Gin Stephens: Now, look, I'm more excited.
Melanie Avalon: I was like dying from the fumes, so I pretty much canceled all plans. Oh, did I tell you that?
Gin Stephens: No.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, because they fixed my ceilings and then they painted.
Gin Stephens: And it was very painty?
Melanie Avalon: It was awful. I think they use oil-based paints, and literally I just died. I almost got a hotel. So, I was like, “I'm going to postpone,” so we postponed. I'm going to do dinner with the family in a week maybe. But I got flowers from Gin.
Gin Stephens: Yay!
Melanie Avalon: It was a lovely surprise. Thank you.
Gin Stephens: I'm glad you enjoyed the flowers, but I'm sorry, it was all paint fumed.
Melanie Avalon: It's all good. I'm going to make up for it. I’ve got so many wonderful-- you definitely feel loved in the Facebook groups on your birthday. I was like, “Oh my goodness, so many birthday wishes.”
Gin Stephens: It's so special. In mine, I don't even know if I saw them all or kept up with them all. So, if anybody if I didn't like or love yours, thank you anyway.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you, everybody, it was wonderful.
Gin Stephens: Well, I have two other things to talk about that are very exciting.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, perfect. I do too.
Gin Stephens: Yay. First of all, I went to the beach with my friends from college, and I drank zero alcohol.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. And I told them all why and, and they're like, “Oh, that explains a lot,” about why I was always the person who felt so terrible, and even when I tried to pace myself, so it was great. I drove us around. I was the designated driver. I didn't even feel I was missing it. And here's something funny, I was actually able to stay awake longer, I think. I didn't crash and burn.
Melanie Avalon: Well, that makes sense, because I feel you get really tired with alcohol.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I was just as fun and just as funny and probably more. So, I didn't miss it at all.
Melanie Avalon: I only told you, I didn't talk on the podcast about my genetic resulting, right?
Gin Stephens: No, you did not.
Melanie Avalon: Listeners-- I want you to do it, Gin. I want to know what your says. So, I'm a huge fan of SelfDecode. It's a genetic analyzer. And they have really, really detailed reports. I was laughing out loud because I ran the-- they just released a food sensitivity one, at the top, it gives a summary and it shows how you react to carbs, lectins, food additives, histamine, like all these different things in food and then alcohol. Mine was all red, will react to this, except alcohol was green. It was alcohol tolerant.
Gin Stephens: I know I'm the opposite.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I was like, “I bet it will be.” But if you do it, it'll be all green and then alcohol will be red.
Gin Stephens: You're probably right.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, listeners, I'll put a link in the show notes to it, though, because I have a 10% off coupon. It's melanieavalon.com/selfdecode.
Gin Stephens: Well, I had mocktails the whole time and it was great. I felt so good. It was wonderful. I have one other thing that's so exciting. You know me talking about wanting a clock that you could turn off?
Melanie Avalon: At night?
Gin Stephens: Yeah. I found one.
Melanie Avalon: What does it do?
Gin Stephens: It's the Hatch Restore. I wish they were sponsoring our podcast because that's how much I love them, but it's one of those that has the sunrise feature that it turn on a sunrise and wake you gently and gradually, but it has the feature where you can on their app, set it to only display the time during the time you want it. So, I have mine every night at 10:00 PM. It stops displaying the time and it starts displaying the time again at 5:15.
Melanie Avalon: That's really cool. What's it called again?
Gin Stephens: It's so cool, the Hatch Restore.
Melanie Avalon: The Hatch Restore.
Gin Stephens: So, you can pick like a sunrise and it wakes you up with the sunrise that whatever you pick. I don't need a sunrise because I'm always awake, but it's really helping me in the night because when I wake up, I don't have any light on because the clocks are very bright. But, also, I don't have to check the time because I know it's too early. If the clock is not showing, I don't have to wonder because what would happen before is, I would wake up, and now I'd feel it might be morning. Maybe it's morning, I'm wide awake. I would have to pick up my phone and look at it. Well, that's bright light shining into your eyes, and it would be like 2:00 AM. Now I've looked at bright light at 2:00 AM. I didn't want to clock on all the time. Now if there's no clock showing, I know it's still the middle of the night.
Melanie Avalon: Dr. Kirk Parsley, the sleep expert, his one tip that he says or he has a lot of tips. One of his main tips is, when you wake up, do not look at the clock. He says that you might wonder, “Oh, but maybe it's time to get up.” Well, if alarm clock hasn't gone off yet, then it's not time to get up. So, doesn't really matter.
Gin Stephens: See, I didn't have an alarm. For me, I don't need an alarm to wake up in the morning. But I couldn't tell if it was time to get up or if it was 2:00 in the morning. But now, I can't see a clock, I literally can't. It's off. It is a game-changer. I'm so much happier. I've only had it for less than a week. I love it so much. So much.
Melanie Avalon: Well, we'll have to put a link to that in the show notes.
Gin Stephens: Yes. I mean, I knew that there had to be something like that. It was just a matter of finding it.
Melanie Avalon: Was it on Amazon?
Gin Stephens: I don't know if it's on Amazon. I bought it through their website. I first bought like a cheap knockoff on Amazon and it was terrible. It wouldn't link to my WiFi. So, I would not go buy a cheap knockoff on Amazon. I'd go buy the real one.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. We'll put a link to it in the show notes. I actually have a question for you, something I bought on your recommendation. I bought Shapa scale.
Gin Stephens: Love it.
Melanie Avalon: I am struggling majorly to get it to work. I have to stand on it. It literally takes three times every time for it to work.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's weird. I've never had that or heard of that. You’ve got to stand on the metal things. I don’t know, that's weird.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, so that's not normal. I was wondering if maybe--
Gin Stephens: Maybe change the battery. I've never heard anybody else say that. I get on and it works.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, this is the scale that shows you a color, not a number.
Gin Stephens: Love it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, question about it, though, because it says you have to go 10 days in a row to calibrate it. Do you have to measure morning and evening both days for 10 days?
Gin Stephens: For calibration, it wants you to do that. I don't know what will happen if you don't because I did.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, because I was measuring every night because I don't like doing it in the morning. I just don't. It was doing a foot every single day, but then with the mold and the paint and moving, I stopped doing it. Now I have to start over.
Gin Stephens: I just followed the directions and I got on it every day. I think it is important to follow the directions for the calibration period and weigh twice a day.
Melanie Avalon: I'll let you know if it works doing it just at night and we'll see. I'm going to go rogue.
Gin Stephens: All right.
Melanie Avalon: After you calibrate, do you measure morning and night or just--?
Gin Stephens: Just morning. You just have to calibrate it morning and night. And then once a day.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, we'll see. So, I have two quick little things related to all the things we've been talking about, fasting, insulin, and blood sugar.
Gin Stephens: All right.
Melanie Avalon: I told you this, but I got my insulin tested, which is so exciting.
Gin Stephens: It really is exciting.
Melanie Avalon: Because we often talk about how at the doctor, they often measure blood sugar, but not insulin levels. I was really excited because tomorrow I'm interviewing Dr. Bikman. Benjamin Bikman, who wrote why we get sick and it's all about insulin, and he does talk about testing insulin. I was really nervous because I always say that I just feel I'm not very insulin sensitive. He says fasting insulin should be less than six, I guess. Most people are not that. Mine was four. So, I'm happy.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, you should be. That's great.
Melanie Avalon: I do wonder, I do feel it's the intermittent fasting that keeps me there. I think if I were eating a normal diet or anything like that, it would not be that.
Gin Stephens: I think you're right. I wish I knew what mine was way before, but I don't have that data. It would be fascinating to know, but mine was right around that same level.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it was really exciting, though. I thought I was like, it's probably going to be 20.
Gin Stephens: Oh, no. Uh-huh. No, no. I wouldn't think that at all.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I don't know. But in any case, that was really exciting. For listeners, that is a lab test that you can ask for your doctor to draw. It's just not often drawn, but it is something that you can test. Then, second really quick announcement is, I've been wearing CGMs as you know, and I sent you this, Gin, but ever since I've been taking berberine, it's making my blood sugar epic. Epic. Which is really exciting. I've now have a code and discount for listeners. I'm so excited. I've been waiting to share this because I'm testing Nutrisense and Levels. Levels, they're on a waitlist right now. When I have my code, it will get you to the front of the waitlist for it. If you want to get one now, Nutrisense does have theirs now, and you can go to melanieavalon.com/nutrisensecgm, and the coupon code MelanieAvalon will get you 15% off. So, if you want to jump on this CGM train that Gin and I have experienced. I'm obsessed. I think I'm going to wear one for the rest of my life.
Gin Stephens: Do you?
Melanie Avalon: No.
Gin Stephens: I realized I don't like things on my body. It was great. I love the data, but I was ready to get that sucker off.
Melanie Avalon: I've done two rounds now. And now I'm going to put on-- I have three sensors that I can put on. I have my arm air out a little bit.
Gin Stephens: It made me really feel compassion for people who require these types of things, like require them. My friend whose son is type 1 diabetic and he has to wear an insulin pump all the time. I have a lot of compassion now and sympathy because they have to do it to be alive. And goodness, that's a lot.
Melanie Avalon: Monitoring it, and, yeah. I mean, because for us, it's just enlightening and fun, but, yeah, that'd be a completely different situation. Like you said, I don't like having things stuck to me. I just got an Oura ring too, and even that I'm like, I have to-- I love wearing it. The idea of constantly wearing something to monitor you is an interesting concept.
Gin Stephens: I wore an Apple Watch. I was an early adopter and I had one for-- I don't know, a couple years and then I just quit wearing it. I was like, “This is driving me crazy.” I unadopted.
Melanie Avalon: You unadopted.
Gin Stephens: I'm an Apple lover. I love Apple. I'm like, “Yeah, I don't need to wear this.” I also, full disclosure, how am I going to put it? Middle-aged woman and so I could not see the screen very well. So, that was also part of it, but wearing it was one thing too.
Melanie Avalon: I'm on day two of Oura. I really like it so far. Although I realized I had my first night and I didn't feel I slept that well. I had an 85 which is in there, great level. It was like, “Oh, maybe I do sleep better than I think. Maybe I'm too hard on myself.”
Gin Stephens: My friend Sheri, co-host of Life Lessons with me, she has an Oura ring. She really likes it.
Melanie Avalon: She likes it?
Gin Stephens: Oh, she loves it.
Melanie Avalon: If anybody ever wants to propose to me, they have an Oura ring with diamonds in it.
Gin Stephens: Oh, that's hilarious. I love that.
Melanie Avalon: So that better be the way that goes down.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, my sleep score last night was 92 on my bed because my bed gives me a sleep score.
Melanie Avalon: I actually just got in the mail of monitoring mattress thing that will start monitoring and cools. I haven't installed it yet.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I love my sleep number.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, all the things.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. Exactly.
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Ready to get started with our first question?
Melanie Avalon: I think so.
Gin Stephens: All right. This is from Kathy. And the subject is “Lowering High Cholesterol with IF.” She says, “Hi ladies. I absolutely love your podcast. I have been IFing since May and listening to you the whole time. I've already hit my goal weight. I gained 15 quarantine pounds.” I guess she gained the quarantine pounds and then have lost them. That's what I'm understanding there. All right. She says, I feel great and see this as a forever lifestyle. I do a 24, Monday through Thursday and a loose 18:6 Friday through Sunday. I am just now starting to feel the inflammation leaving my body. In the last four years, I have gotten adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder, in the rarity of both shoulders, one at a time. So, that was a big plus for me to start if to maintain my body's inflammation, even though I was already on the mend. But I am wondering how IF affects high cholesterol. My doctor has been watching my levels for the last five years.
Oh, by the way, I'm 52 years old and 5’5”, and 125 pounds. I am mostly vegetarian, eating fish or turkey bacon only a couple of times a month, if that. I don't like the texture and taste of animal protein. Never have. I don't eat yogurt or drink milk. I eat a hard-boiled egg about two times a week, and I love cheese. At my last doctor's appointment, she said she would put me on cholesterol meds if I could not get it lowered by diet and exercise. Which to me seemed odd since I don't eat a lot of the things that are high in cholesterol. I was exercising at least 30 to 60 minutes a day, three to four times a week. I do not want to be put on any medications. I don't know if IF helps with lowering cholesterol, but I'm very interested to see what you both know.
Any research and information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for all your podcasting support and inspiration. Take care, Kathy.”
Melanie Avalon: All right, Kathy. Thank you so much for your question. Gin, did I say on this podcast yet what my mom experienced recently? I think I did.
Gin Stephens: I can't remember.
Melanie Avalon: She has a genetic tendency towards high cholesterol levels. It's not APOE for, I'm not sure what it is, but she went in recently and her cholesterol was pretty bad, and her doctor wanted her on statins. Now she did not do IF, she's not yet on the IF train, but she did change her diet from her standard American to more of like a pescatarian diet. The doctor wanted her on statins, but he said he would give her a month to try this dietary change, and she did and her LDL went down 100 points, which is crazy. Now she's sold on the power of diet, and dietary changes to affect cholesterol. Before I go into the information, really, really brief overview.
Typically when you're checking cholesterol levels in the body, things that are looked at are HDL, which is typically considered the “good cholesterol,” LDL, which is usually considered the “bad cholesterol,” and then triglycerides, which are the actual blood fat. The reason I say typically is there is a lot of debate about, is LDL, actually that problematic? Is it more about the ratio to HDL? Is that actually protective of some things? Is the problem coming from the LDL and HDL? Or is that actually coming from other factors. In any case, as far as affecting, what is seen as good cholesterol levels, the connection with fasting is pretty interesting.
There is a lot of research, I don't want to just say, “Oh, there's tons of research,” saying, “IF is great for cholesterol,” because it's more complicated than that. There is a lot of research showing that. I'll put links to all of this in the show notes. This was in rats, but one called “Time-restricted Feeding is a preventative and therapeutic intervention against diverse nutritional changes.” It found that rats eating a high-fat diet or doing it normally or with time-restricted feeding, it was interesting, they actually had increased expression of enzymes that you think would raise cholesterol, but they actually experienced reduced cholesterol levels. This was in intermittent fasting rats.
In humans, there's also been a lot of studies showing that. For example, and one overview from 2019, called Intermittent Fasting and Cardiovascular Disorders. They found that the IF diet limits many risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease, by affecting the biochemical transformations of lipids, it decreases body mass and has a positive influence on lipid profile parameters. It reduces the concentration of total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Again, that was more of a review. Some studies, however, have found no effect. One study was called “Effects of an eight-hour time-restricted feeding on body weight and metabolic disease risk factors in obese adults,” a pilot study. It compared time-restricted feeding to not time-restricted feeding, and it found that there wasn't really any significant difference between cholesterol levels between the two groups. On the flip side, some studies have actually found the opposite.
They found that cholesterol, particularly LDL goes up. I think this might be more of a case when it's a longer fast or something like alternate day fasting. For example, one called Intermittent Fasting: Is the Wait Worth the Weight? Compared ADF to calorie restriction to control and it found that in the ADF group, their LDL cholesterol levels actually went up. Then it started looking at longer fast. We're talking seven days, it found that cholesterol levels went up, including LDL. That's something that I've seen and heard and a lot of interviews that I've listened to, podcasts, books. In general, intermittent fasting seems to be pretty protective and supportive and great for cardiovascular health and addressing things like cholesterol levels and things like that.
Some of the problems come, and I think there can be a transient rise in cholesterol or LDL, and longer fast, so not what we're talking about with daily fasting, but more like a couple days. Also, like I said that that study looking at ADF found a similar result. I've heard a lot of experts talk about this, and I do think there's the potential that when you are in more of a fat-burning mode that you are up-regulating LDL and HDL carriers. That might not be necessarily a problem as much as just a signifier of being more fasted. I'm sorry, this is so long, but in general, the majority of the research that I've seen seems to show that IF has a-- if not a neutral, than a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels, that was really long. Gin, what are your thoughts?
Gin Stephens: In general, we know that there is a link to high cholesterol in any weight loss. Just because when you're releasing fat, your body releases those free fatty acids, and they're in the bloodstream. There's a study that I share a lot. It's called “The transient hypercholesterolemia of major weight loss.” It's from 1991. It shows that when you're losing fat, you're likely to have a temporary increase in cholesterol. That's why it's called the transient hypercholesterolemia of major weight loss. Burning fat weight loss should go up. I would look for that study and share that with your doctor and say, “Hey, I just lost some fat, so it makes sense that based on this, that I would have temporary increased high cholesterol. So, that would make sense for people who are new to intermittent fasting and releasing fat as well. We would expect that because it's been shown, but then over time, we do see a lot of people who have normalized cholesterol.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. The intense weight loss, like I said, the longer fasting, I think it will typically be transient.
Gin Stephens: If that's why it's high. See, I don't know if that's true for Kathy, because she said that her doctor’s been watching her levels for five years. So, it could be genetic a thing and nothing to do with her fasting or fat loss.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because genetically going back to the genetics, people who do have ApoE4 variant that I mentioned, when I talk about my mom, who I don't think she has that, but people who do have that, that is a variant where you probably don't want to be having high amounts of cholesterol or saturated fat. I mean, that could be something to test for you, Kathy. But if you don't have that, I definitely think IF with dietary practices can help you address it. I would play around with your dietary choices and see if you can lower it with diet and IF. I feel you should be able to. Of course, again, we just said that it could have been from the weight loss, because she doesn't say how high it was up.
Gin Stephens: Exactly, or that it did go. We don't know if it did go up. So, maybe it's just always been high and it's still high. She was hoping it would be down, but maybe it was high, and now it's higher. That's what we're not sure about that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because her doctor just said she put her on meds, she could not get it lowered by diet and exercise. I would say keep on with the IF. You could try-- I say this so hesitantly, well, that’s the other thing is, I would want to know what her ratios are. I'm assuming it's a problematic ratio and panel of cholesterol that she's presenting. What are your thoughts, Gin, on dietary cholesterol and cholesterol levels?
Gin Stephens: Well, it's controversial tiptoeing around it, because you can read by sides of it, and you can see well-respected people talk about it both ways. I'm not an expert in that regard. I don't want to say, “Don't worry about cholesterol, it's no big deal because I read this and it said, not to.” Or, “How about take the statin or don't take the statin.” It's controversial. So, I am not an expert in this area. I don't want to weigh in on it because no matter what I say, half the people are going to be like, “That's not true,” because it just depends on your train of thought with it. That's all I'm going to say about that. Isn't that what Forrest Gump always said? “That's all I'm going to say about that.” It is not my expertise and I'm not going to pretend that it is. And not that you pretend to that it was, we're not pretending that it's our expertise. Neither of us are. You know what I mean.
Melanie Avalon: I'm just fascinated by it because like you just said, there are very polarizing camps on it. My idea is like, if I had really high cholesterol levels, what I think I would do for me is, I don't think I would do a high-fat diet, and I would still eat fats that are like, nourishing. I know, there's the whole keto high fat world, but I don't think anybody necessarily has to be on a high high-fat diet to get all your nutrition. I probably would try a lower-fat diet without doing seed oils and without doing processed foods and things like that.
Gin Stephens: I probably would, too. That's probably what I would do.
Melanie Avalon: Maybe dietary cholesterol has no effect, but maybe it does. I don't know. So, yeah.
Gin Stephens: Again, that's one of those controversial things, you can read both sides of it. Of course, you and I’ve probably both read things that say, “Oh, it's not as bad as you think to have high cholesterol.” And that's also controversial.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. There's a lot of that in the carnivore space.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: People really, really high, high, high levels.
Gin Stephens: They reject the whole theory that high cholesterol is bad for you.
Melanie Avalon: Well, not that it's bad, but in the context of high HDL, and then in the context of no other inflammatory marker-- like no other markers. It's a really fascinating story. Shall we move on to the next question?
Gin Stephens: We have a question from Bernadette and the subject is No Weight Loss. “Hello, Melanie, and Gin. I've been listening to your podcast for a while now for the last year or so. I listened to you ladies when I get up every week getting ready for work, and on my way to work. I enjoy listening to your podcast. Thank you for all the information you provide to your listeners. I am also a member of Gin's Facebook group Delay, Don’t Deny. I posted on there a couple of times and don't really get an answer to my issues at hand. I take the advice as to what to do, but it still hasn't helped in any way when I do follow the advice. I did weighing myself every week and my weight stayed between 178 to 180 for two months or so. I never lost or gained any more than that. I'm truly at a loss as to why I haven't lost weight in the last four years.
I have done keto, low carb, plant-based, no dairy, and now trying carnivore as well. I am on week six of carnivore and the same results. There isn't any no weight loss or inches lost as well. The first year I did intermittent fasting I was also doing Orangetheory classes five days a week for a year and a half. That year I tried keto and low carb with no results. So, I quit Orangetheory because why am I paying for an expensive gym fee with no results while I'm also eating right. I've taken out all sugars, even artificial, and I don't eat fruits either because of the sugar content in fruits. I continued to work out at home and intermittent fast with keto low carb and still no results. Now I'm trying carnivore.” Then she has a frowny emoji, a sad emoji.
“I also join in on the 36 to 42-hour fasts on Gin's group. I start my fast Sunday evening and open my window on Tuesday every week, as I started the carnivores six weeks ago. Do you see my frustration? Still no results. I clean fast and open my window daily between 12:00 and 2:00. I was in two rear-enders last year back to back and have not been able to work out anymore as I am in constant pain from my neck to my lower back. I’ve been seeing my chiropractor and still recovery is slow. I have taken blood tests on my thyroid and they say it's good, all my bloodwork is good no problems as they say and got tested for T3 and T4. Finally, the doctor acknowledged that I am pre-diabetic and have insulin resistance. With all that I've been doing with the fasting, which I have tried different times of day and have done 16:8 or 24, and even done 23:1, still no results. Also, I have tried one meal a day, still nothing.
A little more background on myself. I'm 49, and according to my doctor, I'm in menopause, but not quite fully menopausal, as I had no period for two months. But then I got a period, so a bit confused. I do take supplements which are calcium, magnesium, omega-3s, cinnamon, turmeric, apple cider vinegar pills, cayenne pepper pills, D3, as the doctor says I'm low in that, probiotics and flaxseed oil. Those are my daily supplements. I stopped for a while though, and started back up again with taking them. Sorry for the long email. I've been frustrated with this for four years and don't know more of what to do. I feel like just giving up, but I still go on even though there is no results for this long. I still continue to do intermittent fasting. And, yes, I do fast clean as well. Any ideas as to why my body is just not reacting to anything I'm doing, would be greatly appreciated. I've been doing this for four years with no results,” another frowny emoji. Thank you, Bernadette, from Canada. I actually got a few ideas while I was reading it. So, let's see what you come up with first, Melanie.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, thank you, Bernadette, for your question, and I know for listeners, Bernadette's case is very specific to her and she's done a lot of things specific to her. But I do think there are a lot of people that maybe experienced this where they just feel they're trying all these different things. And then when I say all the things, I mean all the things still within our accepted world of low carb or keto or all these different approaches, and then the exercise and the supplements and testing, and not knowing what is what, and not feeling like anything can work. I think it can be very exacerbating, so I feel for you, Bernadette, a lot. I'm also sorry about your accident that is back to back, two rear-enders that is not a fun thing to go through.
I'm not saying mindset is the answer, but I wanted to start with the mindset and encourage you to take a step back and rather than feeling frustrated or feeling like nothing's working and you need to-- I don't know how long you're giving each of these approaches because you said it's been four years and you've tried all these different things. We know that you've been doing carnivore at least six weeks, but I don't know how long for these different approaches each one lasted. So, it could be a thing of not giving anyone approach long enough to make the changes that you need to see, need to be making. I don't want you to focus on calories or anything like that. But I do wonder-- because she says she has tried different fasting windows. It may be for you that you will need a shorter fasting window compared to the longer fasting windows. It may be on the days when you have longer fasting windows depending on what combination of diet you were trying at that time, that that just wasn't a diet and a window that would work for you to get the weight loss results that you want to get the--
She's been diagnosed as prediabetic and having insulin resistance, so we know that's going on. Since we know that she is at that place right now, and things are not working, I would encourage you, Bernadette, to try a shorter eating window. We talked about length recently about that study that compared a 16:8 window to a control and didn't really find much difference. A lot of people do find success in 16:8, but for you, that might not work. I would suggest a shorter eating window. I know you're doing carnivore right now, although I don't know when she sent this email, but picking one of the approaches, and giving it as a substantial amount of time with the shorter eating window, and maybe just simplifying, because you're taking all these supplements, and then you're taking them and then you're not taking them and then you're taking them again, there's just a lot of potential decision fatigue, a lot of over-analyzing, lot of variables. So, I think if you can get as simple as you can, with your approach, sticking it out, giving it an actual like, “I will give it three months.” And if that doesn't work, then do three months of another dietary approach, perhaps, and just try to make it more simple.
Then, also integrate into that, perhaps whatever mindset type approach works for you personally, because I know struggling with the pain must be a lot to work with. I wanted to point out, for example, you said that you're going to the gym, but you stopped because why are you paying for an expensive gym fee with no results while you're eating right. To me, that says you were maybe expecting the gym to provide weight loss, that's what you're paying for, but the benefits of exercise go so much beyond just weight loss. It could be a reframe of mindset is what I'm trying to encourage here. If you didn't enjoy going to the gym, then that's maybe not the exercise that you should gravitate towards. But if you enjoyed going to it for the social aspect or just getting moving. There are a lot of benefits to that. Even if you're not seeing a change on the scale, you can still most likely see benefits from exercise. I will say, like I said, I'm reading and interviewing Dr. Bikman tomorrow and he talks a lot about the role of exercise and insulin resistance. I don't know what type of classes are Orangetheory, I'm guessing it's different types of classes. It does seem that for insulin resistance, in particular, strength training is probably more beneficial. That's because our muscles are a huge source, they take up glucose from our bloodstream.
The more muscle we have, the more it can take glucose up from our bloodstream and it doesn't even require insulin to do that. If you do strength training exercise, the muscles can lower your blood sugar taken glucose without requiring any insulin. I try to say all this with love and kindness. If you can not be so hard on yourself, find some things that bring you joy beyond the diet and all of that. Mindfulness, meditation, friends, hobbies, and maybe just pick a diet and a window for, I would do it in three month cycles before you evaluate if they're working or not working.
Gin Stephens: Yep. One thing that that really jumped out at me is that she continues to try keto and low carb and carnivore over and over. She mentioned plant-based for one second, for literally one second. It was popped in there. She did keto, low carb plant-based, no dairy, carnivore. Then she talked later about doing carnivore, later about doing low carb. I think she's done a whole lot of low carb keto, carnivore. I would really encourage you, Bernadette, to read Mastering Diabetes, because clearly the keto low carb approach does not seem to be working well for your body because you're still pre-diabetic. And if you've been doing intermittent fasting for four years, and restricting carbs for most of that time, and you're still insulin resistant and pre-diabetic, then the foods you're eating are not working well for your body.
Also, all those supplements, make sure you're not taking them during the fast. Sometimes people get confused by that and they take them all during the fast because people hear, “Oh, you know cinnamon is great for normalizing blood sugar, so I'm going to take it during the fast,” but avoid all those food like supplements during the fast. The omega-3s, the cinnamon, the turmeric, the apple cider vinegar pills, the cayenne pepper pills. Also, by the way, here's my two cents on all these pills supplements, like apple cider vinegar pill.
Melanie Avalon: I agree, just have the apple cider vinegar or have the pepper.
Gin Stephens: Make a salad dressing out of apple cider vinegar with some turmeric.
Melanie Avalon: Or add the cinnamon.
Gin Stephens: Yes, add it to your food. I'm not a fan of taking them as a supplement. So, use the food, ditch them as a supplement. I know it's frustrating, but two other factors that jumped out at me. One, the accident. If you're in constant pain, I think it's really hard to lose weight when you're in constant pain. Your body is focused on the stress of the pain. Also, perimenopause. Most people gain weight during the menopausal transition, most women do. If you are only maintaining, and you're going through the transition, that may be a victory. Maintaining, and not gaining. So, if you go all the way to the other side of menopause without gaining weight, that's a huge victory, because a lot of women gain substantial weight during this time. So, if you're in constant pain, going through menopause and not gaining weight, then intermittent fasting is successful. Is it getting you to the weight loss goal that you have set for yourself? No. I understand that by that metric, it is not successful. But I would really encourage you to-- I think you've shown that keto, low carb, and carnivore are not lowering your insulin levels and getting you out of that pre-diabetic range. So, I would try something different. The Mastering Diabetes approach is the 180 to what it sounds like you've tried. I would try that, see how that goes.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm so glad you said that. That was one thing I highlighted was, for example, she says she doesn't eat fruits because of the sugar content. While I agree, if you're doing low carb, you don't want to be eating fruit without especially if you're doing a high-fat approach. The sugar and fruits is not the same thing as like table sugar. And the majority of, I think, it might be all. It might be that every study on the damaging effects of fructose, maybe there's an exception, but the majority of them are looking at high fructose corn syrup, which is like refined fructose. They're not looking at fruit. There's a lot of studies actually showing a beneficial effect on insulin resistance, and pre-diabetes and even diabetes with fruit, things like berries. Trust me, I google this a lot. So, if you do decide to go on like a higher carb, low-fat approach, whole foods based, like the Mastering Diabetes approach, which is basically what that is. Although Mastering Diabetes, they are completely plant-based, but you can still read that book and it's a new paradigm way of thinking as far as high carb, low fat, whole foods, and the potential benefits that you might experience in weight loss, insulin resistance, things like that. So, we'll put a link to it in the show notes. I keep thinking that we've interviewed them on this show, but we haven't, right?
Gin Stephens: Well, we haven't. No.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I guess we just talked about it is so much.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, just because we know everyone's different when it comes to what foods work for us and we've had the--
Melanie Avalon: We should bring them on. They love fasting.
Gin Stephens: Well, we should we've had the BiOptimizer guys on and they’re each 180 from one another and respect that different styles are better for different people. And so this is just one of those things. It seems like Bernadette really is caught in the paradigm of, I got to eat low carb keto, carnivore, to lower my insulin, to reverse my prediabetes. If that was the magic bullet with the fasting and eating low carb, she would have done it. It would have happened. And so it's time to say, “Well, that was not what my body wanted."
Melanie Avalon: Another thing about if you do high carb, low fat from a just whole foods, and if you did it with intermittent fasting, you would have to try so hard to not be in a calorie deficit, when it's all whole food space. So, that might even-- on top of potentially shifting things around with how your body is processing fuels, you might at the same time without even meaning to bring in a calorie deficit as well. So, you could possibly see major changes. We know that she's done plant-based in the past, so we know at least she's open to eating those types of foods. So maybe trying it with a more concentrated approach with that might be helpful.
Gin Stephens: I would really just see you know what the Mastering Diabetes guys say and then I would just really commit to that and see.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and I did an interview with them on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, so we'll put a link to in the show notes. I think it's melanieavalon.com/masteringdiabetes.
Gin Stephens: Yep. All right. I hope that helped Bernadette, I know that you're frustrated, I can totally hear it.
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The next one is from Jalen, and the subject is, “What is the deal with purified alkaline water?” “Hi, Gin and Melanie. Thank you both so much for everything you do. I have been fasting 24 for about six months, I have lost most of the baby weight, still working on those last 10 pounds. I realize how important it is to fast clean and to get in plenty of water. I usually carry around a half-gallon water container. I have had several friends recently rave about purified alkaline water. I thought water was water, H2O. And it should always be neutral. I prefer distilled water and the occasional mineral water. Since you guys are amazing at digging through the studies, I was just wondering if there really is any benefit to drinking purified alkaline water, especially while fasting. Thanks for your help. Jalen in Pittsburgh.”
Melanie Avalon: All right, alkaline water. This is another thing where there's big camps on this topic. I will tell you my opinion and you can just take what resonates from it with you, and run with that. So really quickly, comparing like the potential alkalizing effect of water versus food on the body because food as well there's the whole alkaline diet thing. The science that I've seen behind alkalinizing food is that when we digest them, they leave-- it's called an ash, but basically it's the metabolic byproducts of the food and whether or not those are alkalinizing, or acidifying. I actually think that all makes a lot of sense. People will say that it won't be reflected in the bloodwork because the kidneys do what they have to do to keep your blood at a certain pH. And yes, that is true, but I do think that if you're eating certain foods that require your kidneys to work more to maintain that. I mean, I think that's saying something, that's the food side of things.
The reason I'm giving that context is that with water, there's not an ash that's being produced. You take in the water. Our stomach is a certain pH, so I have often heard the argument made that it's actually more taxing on your body to bring in alkaline water because in the stomach, it's going to be acidified. It's going to be changed anyway. I don't know that there's an effect beyond that. I know a lot of people and I actually personally experienced this. I was drinking a lot of alkaline water for a while, while fasting, but also right before eating, and it really messed with my digestion and then I switched to “normal water” and it was much better. I'm not really on the alkaline train.
I drink mineral water and glass bottles only, I think that's like the best of all worlds when it comes to water because you are getting minerals from the water and then if it's been in glass, it doesn't have the plastics and the toxins. Whole Foods actually has a store brand, like the 365 brand that you can get in glass bottles. That's mineral water. I love it. Distilled water, I would not suggest drinking distilled water unless you have a very specific reason for doing so because that can actually-- Well, there's arguments about this too, but it is thought that that can actually pull minerals from you. I think that that might be the case. So, I gave you my opinion.
Gin Stephens: I would not drink that at all. Definitely not.
Melanie Avalon: Those are my opinions. You're going to find any opinion you want, but I haven't seen anything science wise that supports.
Gin Stephens: It's actually funny when you think about it because we have these ideas in our head that if they do something to the water, it must be better. Jalen is drinking distilled water, and mineral water, which are the polar opposite. Distilled water is that everything removed and mineral water has stuff in it. They're the opposite, but we don't know. We're like, “Oh, this must be better because they're making it and they take the time to do it. It must be better.”
Melanie Avalon: Well, I guess as far as like watering water, mineral water would sort of be the closest to that, because that is just water from certain places where there are minerals.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it does have that. It's not just 100% H20. Mineral water is not 100% H20.
Melanie Avalon: But it doesn't have minerals added. It's just that water naturally.
Gin Stephens: I mean, the mineral naturally. Distilled water is probably closer to 100% H2O, right?
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I see what you're saying. I was talking about doing something to the water.
Gin Stephens: Right. We have to do something to the water to make it just be water because naturally water is never just water.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so distilled water, I guess would be that. But we don't want to do that. Or I don't, because it's going to change how it interacts with our body.
Gin Stephens: Well, it's not natural. There is no distilled water in nature. We're not designed to drink distilled water, because that's not the way water was presented to human beings ever.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, I'm excited. I'm bringing on Dr. Anthony Beck onto my show. He goes deep into a lot of these myths, and he's very opinionated. I plan to ask him all about this--
Gin Stephens: Oh, good.
Melanie Avalon: -when that episode comes out, I'll put a link. Well, I don't know when that episode is coming out. So, stay tuned. Follow the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. When I interview Dr. Anthony Beck, I plan to ask him this question. So, yeah. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions for the podcast, you can directly email email@example.com, or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can find all the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike. You can follow us on Instagram. I have been posting more, I see Gin has been posting more, applause to that. Gin and I are not so good at posting on Instagram, but we're trying.
Gin Stephens: I'm trying.
Melanie Avalon: We're trying, and so that is @MelanieAvalon, @GinStephens, and you can follow our Instagram IF Podcast, which is @IFpodcast, right? I said out of order, now I forgot. I think it's IF Podcast. Yeah. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it. Good talk.
Melanie Avalon: Good times. I will talk to you next week.
Gin Stephens: All right. Talk to you then.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Gin Stephens: Bye.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Theme music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.
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